Saxophones John Packer sax

Pee Dee

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Dorset
In my band one of the ladies has a bronze and brass tenor. When I saw it I thought must be the much acclaimed Walstein, but it is a John Packer Blue 124, seems larger than the average tenor. She didn't seem to know much about it, any info you buffs?
 

Pjonah

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West Row, Suffolk
These John Packer instruments seem to be getting quite a following and they do seem remarkable value.

There is a Baritone for just under £1000 which has a bronze bell end, ooh err missus. It looks identical to the G4M and Thomann baritones but with the Bronze bit, if you look at the pictures of the Walstein Baritone it too looks.....you guessed it like the G4M and John Packer instruments.

Some may recall recently about the similarity between my G4M soprano and Dooces Walstein Soprano. Every single fixture and fitting was identical, including the "engraved" patern on the bell, right down to the last little dot. They even played the same!

Not wishing to sound too cynical or devicive, but there is a remarkable similarity between WB & JP & G4M & Thomann other than the prices..... lights red touch paper and retreats!:)))

My favourite bit has to be the sales Yarn about additional weight due to Phosphor Bronze. There is on average a 3% increase in the mass of PhosB over brass, if the tube of a sax accounts for approx 40-50% of the overall weight of the instrument the actual increase in mass due to its use would amount to just a few grams, which I very much doubt you'd be able to detect even on a baritone.;}
 

dooce

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Daventry
My teacher has just acquired a John Packer baritone, not the bronze bell variety, and he loves it. Unbelievable value for money and makes a gorgeous noise (when he plays it :) )
 

saxismyaxe

Honored SOTW Ambassador
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Native of the Lone Star state.
I take it these are Asian saxophones branded John Packer, and being sold in the UK only?

I'm curious why there are so many good, inexpensive horn lines seemingly available only in the UK/Europe right now? Surely, even with economy the way it is, horn sales are higher in the US, at least enough to warrant distribution here as well?
 

Stephen Howard

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UK
I've seen apparently identical Chinese horns from entirely different factories, but a closer inspection has revealed quite a difference in build quality. I don't think it's a secret that there are only so many designs doing the rounds and I'd be very surprised if it wasn't easy for a manufacturer to lay his hands on the various jigs and mandrels as used by a competitor...even right down to the engraving template.

As for why there seems to be a dearth of decent examples in the States it's perhaps down to the philosophy of the trade buyers? I had a chat with one manufacturer at Frankfurt last year who told me that the Europeans buy his 'premier' range instruments and the Americans go for the cheaper models.
I was inclined to think this wasn't a representative model, but then again there has to be a logical reason as to why the decent Chinese horns aren't being taken up by American dealers.

Regards,
 
OP
Pee Dee

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
These John Packer instruments seem to be getting quite a following and they do seem remarkable value.

There is a Baritone for just under £1000 which has a bronze bell end, ooh err missus. It looks identical to the G4M and Thomann baritones but with the Bronze bit, if you look at the pictures of the Walstein Baritone it too looks.....you guessed it like the G4M and John Packer instruments.

Some may recall recently about the similarity between my G4M soprano and Dooces Walstein Soprano. Every single fixture and fitting was identical, including the "engraved" patern on the bell, right down to the last little dot. They even played the same!

Not wishing to sound too cynical or devicive, but there is a remarkable similarity between WB & JP & G4M & Thomann other than the prices..... lights red touch paper and retreats!:)))

My favourite bit has to be the sales Yarn about additional weight due to Phosphor Bronze. There is on average a 3% increase in the mass of PhosB over brass, if the tube of a sax accounts for approx 40-50% of the overall weight of the instrument the actual increase in mass due to its use would amount to just a few grams, which I very much doubt you'd be able to detect even on a baritone.;}
Yep, very interesting. This JP tenor is definitely larger than most of the tenors I've seen, this could explain the extra weight. The bronze bell I think is just a gimmick, helps to sell saxes. A bit like the semi-precious stone fitted on the neck of one brand of sax. Some are sure to believe it improves the sound! Caveat Emtor, as they say:D (probably got that wrong):(
 

jonf

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3,620
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Betelgeuse
I take it these are Asian saxophones branded John Packer, and being sold in the UK only?

I'm curious why there are so many good, inexpensive horn lines seemingly available only in the UK/Europe right now? Surely, even with economy the way it is, horn sales are higher in the US, at least enough to warrant distribution here as well?
Hmmm. In my opinion, the threads on SOTW (being a predominantly US membership forum) show a pretty clear tale. The level of scepticism verging on prejudice about far Eastern manufacture suggests the true market for Chines saxes in the US is limited. The only exception seems to be items like the Selmer Prelude, which although made in China has a US-familiar brand name.

Just my view.
 

richardfm

New Member
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Cornwall
T
My favourite bit has to be the sales Yarn about additional weight due to Phosphor Bronze. There is on average a 3% increase in the mass of PhosB over brass, if the tube of a sax accounts for approx 40-50% of the overall weight of the instrument the actual increase in mass due to its use would amount to just a few grams, which I very much doubt you'd be able to detect even on a baritone.;}
Yep, I checked stats on phosphor bronze and brass, and it looks to me like the difference in strength (seems to be 20-30%) is the big advantage, which should mean that you can make a much thinner (and therefore lighter in spite of the 3-4% difference in density) instrument. Alternatively, you can just make a more dent resistant instrument, which would seem to be a good thing for a baritone in particular.

That being said, my phosphor bronze baritone *seems* much heavier than the brass saxophones I tried out before buying it. Perhaps the Walstein has heavier duty keywork than most?
 

Mamos

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691
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Falmouth Cornwall
Yep, very interesting. This JP tenor is definitely larger than most of the tenors I've seen, this could explain the extra weight. The bronze bell I think is just a gimmick, helps to sell saxes. A bit like the semi-precious stone fitted on the neck of one brand of sax. Some are sure to believe it improves the sound! Caveat Emtor, as they say:D (probably got that wrong):(
How can it be larger and still be in tune?

mamos
 

cmelodysax

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25
Location
Weymouth, Dorset UK
I take it these are Asian saxophones branded John Packer, and being sold in the UK only?
saxismyaxe - no-one else mentioned, but John Packer is a well known and respected Music Shop in the West of England. In all probability the same Chinese saxophones would be available to any US shop/dealer from the source, suitably engraved.

There do seem to be a few outlets in the UK who now have 'their own brand' quite sensible saxes at very reasonable prices - and often with good backup.
 

saxismyaxe

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Native of the Lone Star state.
Hmmm. In my opinion, the threads on SOTW (being a predominantly US membership forum) show a pretty clear tale. The level of scepticism verging on prejudice about far Eastern manufacture suggests the true market for Chines saxes in the US is limited. The only exception seems to be items like the Selmer Prelude, which although made in China has a US-familiar brand name.

Just my view.
I would tend to agree. I own a few extremely good value for money horns made in Taiwan, but the over all consensus among horn players here (pro all the way to armchair hobbyists), is one of condescension across the board for any Asian (save for Japanese) built horn.

Slowly but surely this will change. It will have to, as I see most of the European makers closing down as the American ones did, due to the unavoidable competition/cost of doing business.
 

AlanU

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628
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Enfield, North London
I agree about Saxontheweb, but they will have to come round in time. The insular US way of looking is changing slowly.
Their car manufacturors are all bust, and Americans drive imported economical Nissans etc.
Fender guitars are either made in Japan or Mexico.

I recently bought a 'Prelude' Conn-Selmer AS-700, which is built in China.
The review on shwoodwind.co.uk convinced me after I'd read all the reviews available on the net.

I could find no mention of it I on Saxontheweb.
I think they are in denial.

The 'Prelude' is a fine instrument, and at £230?
 

saxismyaxe

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Native of the Lone Star state.
Not to split hairs (I know what your overall message is, and more or less agree.), but being a guitar player as well (albeit only for a few years now), I can say with some accuracy that there IS quite a difference between a Mexican Fender Standard, and a USA built Fender Custom Shop guitar. Electronic and hardware components (pickups, pots, bridge, tuners etc.) being a major quality disparity between the two grades, for example. The price reflects this however, so both are great for the corresponding amount spent.

The Japanese made Fenders are no longer in production, and haven't been for some time. They were terrific quality though, and are much sought after on the used market.

However, going along the lines of your comments, there is the same snob attitude among the asian made guitars offered by Fender, Gibson etc. The Squier, and Epiphone lines are thought of by some as completely unacceptable. Yet, many of these models are quite worthy guitars, and far better than one would imagine for the asking price. There are some other "stencil" axes on the market today that offer similar value vs. cost such as those sold by Guitarfetish, RondoMusic and so forth.

It has never been easier to get a decent quality electric guitar for so little money, again due in large part to Asian manufacturers. In spite of opinions of the afore mentioned budget lines, some of the most in demand, better guitars among the factory made variety are made in Asia, such as ESP, Ibanez, some PRS etc.

I think the main difference between the USA and Europe comes down to
assessment of the quality of Asian made horns, rather that the consumption.
Since Europeans seem to have caught on to the fact that there are some very good, inexpensive models being made there now, they seem to demand the better quality horn lines. The USA consumer apparently still regards the whole lot as only worthy of "Wally-world", knock around instruments.
 
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thomsax

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Sweden
After reading the last posts, I questioned myself: Who is going to built/manufactore "tomorrows" saxes? Are "tomorrows saxes" new inventions or copy's of yesterdays horns? Beside playablity and low price, what do we want of saxophone manufactoring (morals and ethics, enviroment ...)?

We have an interesting project about saxes here in Sweden. The coordinator of the project is professor Jan Lundberg at Luleå Tekniska Universitet (LTUH). He is professor in tribiology and a good amatuer saxplayer. He has played with musicians like Arne Domnérus, Jesper Thilo, Jan Lundgren, Lars Erstrand .... . In his garage he has made improvments of his sax over years to achive "warmer tone", "deeper sound", "differnt feeling" .... .

The main purpose of the project is:

- to decide the sax sound. How does "warm", "full-tone", "rich", "mellow", "edgy" ... sounds?
- to develope the saxophone and understand what actually decides the acustic quality of a saxophone.

There is more in this project. On page 4-8 on the link (pdf) you can read ? (I can't find an English translation but maybe there is one on the web)
http://www.luth.se/pdf/Micromegas_nr_1.pdf

Thomas
 
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jonf

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Betelgeuse
Insular attitudes

Hopefully things will change in the global market. What makes me worried is the complacent attitudes so similar to those held in Europe and the US about car and bike manufacture from Japan in the 1970s and 1980s. Just arrogantly assuming that familiar sounding names are best and that anything from (now) China is rubbish will be the death knell of both European and US musical instrument manufacture, just as it has been with cars and bikes.

Given that the West just cannot compete with the lower labour costs in the far East, the only way Western manufacturers in all industries can be expected to survive is for them to continually strive to improve the product so they can compete on higher quality (like Fender US) if not on price. Differences are small now, although there will always be a smaller market for high quality over price. There's also likely to be a market for niche quality items, in the same way that Harley Davidson and Triumph have developed theirs.

For what it's worth, my musical instruments come from the US, Europe, Japan and China, and they're all at least pretty good.
 

thomsax

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Sweden
I've nothing against Asia/Chinese saxes. Most of the saxes that I've tried sounds and feels good. But I hope we can built saxes in Europe and USA as well in the future. I really like the attemp from the Danish guy Peter Jessen who makes saxes in Denmark.

I sacrified a "The Martin Tenor" for some month ago. We took of everything from the tube (posts, toneholes) and we are going to mesure up the tube, (thickness, bore) toneholes, neck, bell .... . We are going to rebuilt the sax again, if we're able!!! We also talked about if it was possible to have a new Martin-like sax manufactoried in China?? With the bell keys on right side and with modern G#, C#, B and Bb mecanism. Just a thouhgt, but the Chinese sax-wonder also open up opportunities!?!?!

Thomas
 

saxismyaxe

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Native of the Lone Star state.
Thomas,

That would be remarkable. You've chose my personal favorite make and model as the prototype for your new, Asian built sax, which delights me to no end.

I sincerely hope that you are able to succeed in getting your project up and running! I will be an earnest customer for such a horn, believe me.
 

griff136

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1,046
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I live in Exmouth Devon.
For Information, John Packer saxes are made specifically for them, the guys form Packers went to china and helped in the design of the instrument. There may be very similar instuments out there and possibly from the same stable but there will be subtle differences.

For what its worth I think theyre great value, the intonation is great and if you upgrade the crook you get a whole lotta sax for not a lot of dough.

I know a few London Pros that use these saxes when either teaching,going abroad or on gigs where their first choice expensive sax could either get damaged or stolen ..... you know, like the Blues Brothers gig where they had to sing Country and Western behind the wire grill.
 
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