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Saxophones Review of the 'Academy Jericho' Alto sax & Mk11

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
Hi All,

Please have a read! I started a new post as the sax I borrowed for the pass around was a brand new one. I have used it for 2 weeks and sent it back today. Here are my findings based on my level of playing :)
I have been fortunate enough to be able to have the use of a brand new alto in standard gold lacquer with nickel plate keys. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent finish of the sax, especially since it is direct from the factory with no prior adjustments before reaching me.
When I got the sax out of the case it felt very well made and looked like a horn that could easily be asking twice the price.
There is some machined engraving around the bell and the Jericho logo on the bell - this is all very neat and the lacquer appears to be finished to a very high standard and doesn't look thin as it can do on some value end horns. One thing I like that is different is the oval bell/body bracing. It's not the usual so stands out a bit more, it sets it apart and makes the horn more individual. Also the low C & Eb roller keys are of the rounded shape, which I really like as quite often Chinese & Taiwan horns have slightly more square shaped keys here (if this makes sense?!)
Under the fingers the keys closed nicely and made a good uniform 'popping' sound to indicate everything seemed to be sealing well, which it was!
So, for the first trial straight out of the box I played a few numbers with sax & keyboard just to get it warmed up. My initial thoughts were that the horn sounded bright but with a fuller tone than perhaps your average Arbiter or equivalent as technology & ergonomics are always moving forwards etc. I noticed after getting warmed up that the lower stack keys 'resisted' a little bit, but again I put this down to non adjustment and didn't consider it a real issue - I guess they will probably loosen up over time & use.
The intonation was consistent & didn't seem to wave too much. The m/piece that is provided with the sax isn't up to much and if the sax is for a beginner then I certainly wouldn't recommend the size 2.5 reeds that were included etc. With a little trial and error with 3 of my mouthpieces I found that my metal shark bite really gave it some punch and it could be pushed to the max. On solo work this would be great for rock & pop numbers as it has a contemporary sound to it. At this point I was beginning to compare the sound characteristics to my Yamaha 23 alto, ie: being good for pop numbers but it just had that little bit more being so much newer and more advanced. Look at a Yamaha 23 and they're quite basic in comparison with the keywork but sound wise on a good level.
I also had the opportunity to take the sax to band to see how it fared with big band music. I stuck with the shark bite m/piece set up for my ease of playing. The sax carried nicely across in the upper register & also blended very nicely in the Miller numbers too.
For the money I would recommend the sax to any standard of player. As far as Chinese horns go, these are pretty decent instruments for the money if you want consistency and reliability as well as an excellent looking sax. They are well built and well thought out - everything is there and from low Bb up to the top the notes speak freely as they should. If you're a student, team it up with an improved m/piece such as a Yamaha 4c and this will improve the sound greatly. And as recently discussed on the forum I too would have one of these over a 'Vibratosax' as they are what I consider a real horn that's considerate to your bank balance! If I didn't have 7 saxes already then I would express an interest in one. Who knows perhaps I may treat myself after xmas!
Thank you for reading and hope this was of some use
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,077
Good review - well written and positive response for the Jericho saxophones.:thumb:

Greg S.

P.S. 7 saxes ! Are you trying to keep up with Rhys? :)
 

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
7 Saxes I know! Well I suppose if it isn't alot then I can justify getting it up to 10! lol Thanks for reading my review :)
 

MLoosemore

Deluded Senior Member...
Messages
759
... and here I am just getting my second sax... How are you going to get the details of yours into the signature block :)
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Thanks for the excellent review. I am keeping my eye on good Altos. I plant to get my hands on one in the 18 to 24 months(just enough time to get out of debt from my Tenor Sax upgrade a year from now). This one sounds like it might be worth an add to the "possibles" list.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,077
Thanks for the excellent review. I am keeping my eye on good Altos. I plant to get my hands on one in the 18 to 24 months(just enough time to get out of debt from my Tenor Sax upgrade a year from now). This one sounds like it might be worth an add to the "possibles" list.
In the next 18 to 24 months there will be a whole bunch of other brands to choose from...:)))

Every month I pick up "Downbeat" magazine there is a bunch of ads for some new brand of saxes introduced into the market place with some well known player endorsing it saying it's the next best thing since sliced bread, the Selmer Mark VI, the Conn 6M or 10M, etc...it's so bl!@dy confusing...:confused2:

Greg S.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Very nice review,I was hoping for a try myself but having put my name down at the beginning am not sure how the pass on works has anyone up this end had a go yet.As far as numbers go lets see subcontra,contra,bass,baritone,tenor,alto soprano,sopranino,soprillo ,and probably a few more I don't know about,you haven't got the full set yet so I shouldn't worry too much ....John
 

J.J.

New Member
Messages
9
How happy I am that it is now possible to get hold of decent gearwithout splashing out exorbitant sums on some top shelf stuff.Saxophones have always seemed to be the most overpriced and elitistinstruments out there but I reckon times have changed – theevidence of which is my brand new Jericho J6 Mark II Alto Saxophonesitting comfortably next to me on the sofa. Matana Roberts' CD isplaying loudly and I have finally found time to write a fewparagraphs about this horn.


Ihad ordered it on Tuesday and Wednesday morning it was already withme. I won't go on telling you how I spent a month of my life decidingwhat to buy and reading about all this sax-related stuff. It had beenquite painful at times but I know that the final decision was right.I write this review as a total newcomer, having no experience withwoodwind instruments at all, apart from being a great admirer of theworks of free jazzists (I played guitar before, though).


Thesax looks good. Oh yes it does. I specifically wanted a matt version,being appalled by the stylistic design of several cheaper gold &silver saxes. Not all that glitters is gold. This one has got styleand this matt finish does neither look awfully cheap norpseudo-vintage (as many people like to dismiss matt saxes with suchreasoning). Everything looks solid and sturdy; the sax is heavy andyou can feel that you are holding a serious piece of equipment.


Thekey mechanism works smoothly. Palm keys and the F# key are a bitstiff but I guess that is the way they should work. Pinky keys tiltnicely. The octave key allows for smooth transitions – no stickinginvolved.


Ihave played it since Wednesday, about 2x20 minutes, and over an hourtoday. Obviously, the first five minutes were perplexing, to say theleast, and it was the only moment when I actually thought that thesax is a bridge to far for me. It is not. It is not, because of itsremarkable willingness to cooperate with the player! After thosethree sessions, I am capable of playing in the mid register withoutany serious stumbling and hickups, the low register works like acharm (Bb is one of the most terrifying sounds I have ever produced!)and the high register is...well, I guess there is still lots ofpractice to take place as the notes are slightly muted, without theliveliness desired. But taking into account the progress that I havemade so far it might be a matter of a few additional hours devotedspecifically to these techniques. I have not tried the altissimonotes so these won't be discussed. I had some issues with the octavesand thought that the key might be sticking but it turned out that myembochure was too weak to switch back to mid range. It is always easyto blame the gear but this one is a winner! Flawless!


Asyou can see, it is possible for an absolute newbie to get going withthe J6 in a matter of hours. Now I understand what it is they call'free-blowing'. This one blows effortlessly and I think it is itsgreatest advantage. It must be one of those instruments which doesn'tmake a beginner anxious and at the same time allows a pro to do hismagic. A versatile horn.


Thehorn wails like a wounded animal but I have also been playing in asort of quasi-subtone manner and the sound is warm, round and fat. Infact I am quite surprised that such a palette of tones and moods canbe produced with one instrument only. The dynamics, the warmth, it isall here. I am still not quite sure how to reach those crystal-clear,aggressive highs but I am sure it is somewhere there, waiting to bediscovered. My girlfriend, who plays no instrument at all, wascapable of producing a proper C (or was it C#?), and my mate (akeyboard player) also managed to get going pretty quickly with theJ6.


Youprobably can't get anything better for this price; I turned downseveral horns before choosing this one. And I couldn't have beenbetter off. It is well-built, looks nice, blows easily and freely,the price is reasonable and I believe is possible to develop one'stechnique efficiently with this horn (the possibilities seem to beendless!).


Finally,I would like to thank Robbie Fraser of Student Music Supplies for agreat, great service and a friendly chat over the phone. And yes, itwill be a truly noisy Christmas. Don't waste your time at the tableor singing those boring carols – get an alto and play (free) jazz!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,079
With your intermittent use of the space key I am assuming the first scale pattern you learn will be pentatonic.


A horn that pleases the eye the ear and the wallet is an acomplishment. The Jerichos are getting lots of good reviews.
 

J.J.

New Member
Messages
9
Damn spaces, I wrote it in Word and pasted here :/ I will edit it later...

And I say a huge NO to pentatonic ;)
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Damn spaces, I wrote it in Word and pasted here :/ I will edit it later...

And I say a huge NO to pentatonic ;)
I just thought you were in a rush to get back to your sax.

Glad you like it. I keep getting the urge for an alto, but sense prevails as I don't have enough time to play all the instruments I've got, although.....
 
Last edited by a moderator:

TheCureFan

Member
Messages
207
Glad your enjoying your new sax. The matte gold is stunning. Sadly I still have just over a week til I get mine (tenor) properly.
 

TheCureFan

Member
Messages
207
The Jericho tenor looks canny for a back up horn,
Did you read my review on the tenor? It's done from a beginners point of view so is basic especially when describing sound/tone. That said they really are good value for money, for 400 notes you can't go wrong.
 

dram

New Member
Messages
16
Hi All,

Please have a read! I started a new post as the sax I borrowed for the pass around was a brand new one. I have used it for 2 weeks and sent it back today. Here are my findings based on my level of playing :)
I have been fortunate enough to be able to have the use of a brand new alto in standard gold lacquer with nickel plate keys. Upon arrival I was pleasantly surprised at the excellent finish of the sax, especially since it is direct from the factory with no prior adjustments before reaching me.
When I got the sax out of the case it felt very well made and looked like a horn that could easily be asking twice the price.
There is some machined engraving around the bell and the Jericho logo on the bell - this is all very neat and the lacquer appears to be finished to a very high standard and doesn't look thin as it can do on some value end horns. One thing I like that is different is the oval bell/body bracing. It's not the usual so stands out a bit more, it sets it apart and makes the horn more individual. Also the low C & Eb roller keys are of the rounded shape, which I really like as quite often Chinese & Taiwan horns have slightly more square shaped keys here (if this makes sense?!)
Under the fingers the keys closed nicely and made a good uniform 'popping' sound to indicate everything seemed to be sealing well, which it was!
So, for the first trial straight out of the box I played a few numbers with sax & keyboard just to get it warmed up. My initial thoughts were that the horn sounded bright but with a fuller tone than perhaps your average Arbiter or equivalent as technology & ergonomics are always moving forwards etc. I noticed after getting warmed up that the lower stack keys 'resisted' a little bit, but again I put this down to non adjustment and didn't consider it a real issue - I guess they will probably loosen up over time & use.
The intonation was consistent & didn't seem to wave too much. The m/piece that is provided with the sax isn't up to much and if the sax is for a beginner then I certainly wouldn't recommend the size 2.5 reeds that were included etc. With a little trial and error with 3 of my mouthpieces I found that my metal shark bite really gave it some punch and it could be pushed to the max. On solo work this would be great for rock & pop numbers as it has a contemporary sound to it. At this point I was beginning to compare the sound characteristics to my Yamaha 23 alto, ie: being good for pop numbers but it just had that little bit more being so much newer and more advanced. Look at a Yamaha 23 and they're quite basic in comparison with the keywork but sound wise on a good level.
I also had the opportunity to take the sax to band to see how it fared with big band music. I stuck with the shark bite m/piece set up for my ease of playing. The sax carried nicely across in the upper register & also blended very nicely in the Miller numbers too.
For the money I would recommend the sax to any standard of player. As far as Chinese horns go, these are pretty decent instruments for the money if you want consistency and reliability as well as an excellent looking sax. They are well built and well thought out - everything is there and from low Bb up to the top the notes speak freely as they should. If you're a student, team it up with an improved m/piece such as a Yamaha 4c and this will improve the sound greatly. And as recently discussed on the forum I too would have one of these over a 'Vibratosax' as they are what I consider a real horn that's considerate to your bank balance! If I didn't have 7 saxes already then I would express an interest in one. Who knows perhaps I may treat myself after xmas!
Thank you for reading and hope this was of some use
Hi
As a result of reading the reviews on here I have very recently taken delivery of an Academy jericho tenor. I am a relative beginner but it is super. I love it. Lovely tone, plays well, very sturdy and looks great. As suggested I have bought a Yamaha 4c mouthpiece and I think I now have a set up that will keep me going for a long time. I'm very grateful that people took the trouble to review these fine horns.
dram
 
Last edited by a moderator:

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,852
I have to say that due to my early GAS attack this is the one brand I keep coming back to as what seems to be the leader of the "great value for money" pack. Great selection of Alto finishes too. Would be good to see more reviews from new owners.

:)
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,852
:)

The Jericho J6 "pass around" arrived a few weeks ago. I wanted to compare it to my recently acquired Jupiter 567-565 from 2006 and Yamaha YAS-275 from 2004. Oh, and the 60 year old LeBlanc VITO I picked up for a song a few weeks back.



From the left: Jericho; VITO; Yamaha; Jupiter

Unpacking the J6 from its sturdy backpack style case, it appeared to be a brand new "matt gold" model, and Robbie later confirmed it was unused. Not a "vintage" look, but a rather nice scratched/brushed gold under lacquer. I couldn't fault the finish although some of the key rod screw heads had been rather gnarled up during assembly which put me off a little. I queried these with Robbie and he said if I'd been a buyer he would have happily replaced these with perfect ones. So, well handled on the customer service front there. He also mentioned he doesn't set up review models specially. They're just sent out from off the shelf.

I noticed immediately there would be no fingerprint issues with this finish as although there, the brushed finish disguises them well. On with my Yamaha 4C mouthpiece and Rico 3 (orange) reed. Ooooh... nice sound!
This is the first time I've been able to alter the sound by changing the shape of my mouth so I was very pleased to hear the "new" noises. Just to check, I switched back to the Jupiter and no, not as flexible as the J6.

The Jericho keys are fairly strongly sprung but I liked this as it gave a positive feel to my beginners keying. I played a variety of tunes and set the J6 aside to try another sax.

The Jupiter and Yamaha are very similar in build quality, the Yamaha a slightly darker deeper gold finish and showing no sign at all of its 9 years age. Both played as brightly as the Jericho could be made to but I struggled to get darker tones from them both. Overall I preferred the J6 as it gets closer to the "jazzy" sound I like.

The VITO has a leak somewhere so it's difficult to compare, but it too can be persuaded to give a mixture of sounds so I have a good feeling about it once I have had it serviced (shortly).

Overall, for £319 (less 10% discount for forum members) the matt gold J6 is great value compared to a new Yamaha or Jupiter at two or three times the price. Of course at the moment you don't see 2nd hand J6's so the beginner's choice is a £200 used Jupiter, a £300 new J6 or a £400+ used Yamaha. Some will go for the brands with the longer track record, but with a 3 year warranty the J6 buyer can feel fairly safe.

I took all four to my sax tutor, Dave Plummer, yesterday and asked his opinion without leading him. His favourite will probably be the VITO once it's bottom end leak has been sorted. The Jericho was next best and his expert opinion was that it could do with an initial set-up as there were a couple of very minor issues which could be sorted with ease. Robbie at Academy had already advised me to use the 10% members discount to get a new J6 set up properly, as with any new sax.

I shall see how the VITO turns out once serviced but I'd be very happy with the J6 as someone new to the instrument. Recommended.

:thumb:
 

Di in France

Senior Member
Messages
619
Thanks for the review, very interesting. They look very impressive all lined up there. Are you going to keep them all?
 
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