I recently purchased a Monique Pro Sax for my son and was just wondering what you pros thought of it.I paid 400 beans for it and when I inquired about this price at a local store he said for that price it was probably fake without even looking at it.How can I be sure I did not take a beating.
My Cannonball Big Bell Tenor absolutely blew me away 12:30 on Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Well, this thread has been extended long past the time when the initial young poster was trying to make a decision. I therefore type this reply for any other sax player, young or old, who GOOGLES their way into this thread as I did.
I am a professional free-lance player in the Washington DC_area. A section-mate in my jazz orchestra plays a Mark VI alto specimen that was not blessed with great intonation (I`ve tried his axe myself with my own mouthpieces, and its upper register is all over the place compared to my Mark VII alto) so he was looking for an alternative. He went to a major DC-area store and played all the big name brand horns, and nothing really turned him on.
I recalled how the local woodwind repair shop I use sells the complete line of Cannonballs. The proprietor had been nagging me to try one for a few years, but I always blew him off. I figured a discount-price sax has to be cheap for a reason. However, this time around, I figured since the shop-owner`s work on my axes was generally very good, I would at least trust his judgment this time and swing by and try out their altos to see if it would be worth my section-mate`s trip up from Virginia to Maryland to try one himself. I was struck immediately by how smooth the action was on all the different (finish) CB altos, and how spot-on the intonation was. While there, I also tried all the different CB tenors. I wanted a dark and rich sounding tenor for jazz gigs to complement my Yamaha 62 Tenor for loud Rock-N-Roll and R&B gigs.
The black nickel horn stopped me in my tracks. Its rich sound captivated me. Unlike my Yamaha, which cuts but has a brassier-trebly tone no matter what piece I`ve tried on it, the CB tenor with the black nickel neck had projection with DEPTH. The brass neck (which also came with the horn) had a softer, more introspective feel which would be perfect for quartet or trio gigs. Several guys from the shop, including another player/teacher, repair guys and even clerks listened to me play the CB and my original Yamaha axe side by side with my SR pro gold metal mouthpiece and really dug the sound I was getting with it.
I simply had to have that horn, and I have not looked back. The guys in my jazz orchestra love the sound. On the SR piece, adjusting the intensity of my airflow gets me both projection where altissimos scream freely as well as delicate and fat subtones. Truly amazing. I may end up selling my 62.
As for my section-mate, he got the CB Gerald Albright model alto, and we are a better section for it.
I agree with the more erudite and thoughtful previous posters who noted that:
1) skilled players will get 90% of non-student horns to sound basically nice. It`s about what sound you want.
2) different reed and mouthpiece combos need to be tried to give any horn a really fair audition. Combinations of mouthpiece/reed/neck/body acoustics could result in synergy or mismatches!
3) There is no accounting for taste. Some people just have a different mental sonic "picture" of what the most pleasing sax sound is to them.
4) as a new-kid on the block with an Asian heritage, new cannonballs will not hold re-sale value as well as the established brands (tho consider that any new horn will depreciate like a car once you drive it off the lot). As for this point I don`t care about the re-sale issue since they will bury me with this tenor in my hands.
5) The low price is absolutely needed to get predjudiced players (like me) to invest in a newer company`s horn.
Yeah, some of the parts are from Taiwan, and I was as initially put-off by that as many other posters, but the "proof is in the pudding"- the final result. The shop guys report that the newer CB`s are a low-maintenance horn.
The proprietor said that the downside of his carrying Cannonballs is that they have KILLED sales of his more expensive Yanigasawas, Kings, etc. People like the elite established brand axes, but don`t see why they should have to pay an extra $2k-$3k. Also, many have traded Mark IVs for the cannonballs.
I will admit I have not tried many of the horns people have touted in this thread. However, my black nickel CB tenor is the "where-have-you-been-all-my-life" horn for me. It`s sound confroms to an ideal I always had. I would recommend any player at least try these CB horns! I look forward to many many many gigs with mine.
I`ve played alto sax on and off for 16 yrs. and want to try out a soprano for orchestra and solos. I can`t pay alot, but I want a nice tone. Any suggestions? And has anyone ever heard of the brands Bently or Fremont?
I double on soprano in big band and i have tried a few different sopranos and the cannonball plays the best out of what Ive tried. My big band teacher is als o a pro sax who has played many horns and he says it`s awesome, BUT, i woudnt recommend buying this horn(only renting it or something) because after just a year it is falling apart like a hunk of junk. Of course it is the schools so more than 1 person uses it. I got compliments at 2 festivals in a row for intonation on that horn.
As far as altos go i play a Selmer Series II. The cannonball plays just as well in many ways and plays more in tune. You might not realize this at first because you have always automatically adjusted your mouth on your horn to play in tune and u dont have to on this horn. It`s the same thing as the vented c# key on the Series III. My Sax director says the reason it is so cheap is 1) It hasnt made a name for itself and 2) It doesnt have real springs(the blue ones) or springs in the pads like the Selmer and yamaha.
bently and fremont 19:50 on Thursday, April 21, 2005
The bently and the fremont they both suck. I bought one and with in the frist month it started to fall apart. Even with the slightest bumb to get a dent. They have a horible sound. Dont waste yourmoney on them.
longevity of CB`s? 23:41 on Monday, April 25, 2005
I`m not even going to try getting in the middle of this big fight over tone, intonation and feel of Cannonball vs other instruments - my heart`s already set on the Raven. What I want to know is, is a CB going to last me a long time? I`m planning on keeping this horn through the rest of high school (I`m currently a sophomore) and college as well. When I went to try out sax`s, there was a used one at the store that had only been played for about 5 years (by a professional) and its tone and intonation were totally worn out. Is this known to happen with Cannonballs, or is this just the result of professional use? (which I`m guessing is several hours a day EVERY day - I probably won`t be using it that frequently)
Re: Cannonball Saxes 18:14 on Thursday, April 28, 2005
these saxophones are great. im in 10th grade and bought mine last summer. i was in the same position about this as you are. i know i really liked the selmer referance 54... but yet again it was so expensive. if i were you i would go and try the cannonball i tried three different ones and only one of them sounded that great. it was the black nickle plated one called the raven i really enjoy playing my sax and find it very rewarding to have a truely great sound for around the same price as an intermediate selmer, which i found to sound like tin. i hope i helped
Cannonballs are junk. They are made with cheap, soft metal that is susceptable to damage, and won`t last as long. As for the intonation, it is horrible. The tone is inconsitant and the problimatic ranges in the horn are hightend. I have played on two BB series (a tenor and alto), and yes, they seem nice, and are pretty, but they just don`t hold up. I am a Saxophone student, and this has been a topic of debate here at my school all year, and it has been shown that the students with the Cannonball horns can`t compete, soudwise and intonation wise with those who have a Yamaha, Selmer or Yani. Cannonballs just don`t compare. I personally play on a Yamaha 875EX alto, and a Series II Tenor, and am looking to get either a VI or a Z tenor. Basically, if you are looking to buy a horn, look to the three companies I listed above (they will deliver), you have to play test the instrumnet as well. Also, bear in mind that a brand new horn has a break in period. Springs need to worn in, pads adjust...sure a horn fresh off the line is sposed to play well, but what about down the road. It took me a couple of months to fully break in my Yamaha, I also had it adjusted before I bought it. I guess my main point is this, Avoid Cannonball, avoid Keilwerth, avoid Monique, in fact avoid anything that isn`t Selmer, Yamaha or Yanigisawa, and even then, be sure to search around, there are a ton of factors that will change the sound, tambre and intonation of a horn, even from ones in the same line. The best of the 3 companies is up for grabs, each makes great horns, and that is where personal preferences come into play. I hope that this is helpful, but I can`t help stress this enough, Cannonballs aren`t what they are cracked up to be, sure they have pro endorsements, but no one of note (except meybe Aebersold), but I can name countless "Big Name" pro`s who use equipment from the Big three in Saxophones. If you want something that is going to last, you are going to have to be willing to fork out the cash and pay for a more expensive horn, that has been proven will last.
The cannonball i played on was more in tune than my selmer. 1 reason u may not be in tune is because if u have been playing the selmer long enough u r adjusting your mouth to be in tune. You just dont realize it anymore. Selmers are way out of tune. I have my C pad screwed way out to tune my D. Cannonballs, i agree do not hold up though. But whoever said the sound wore out on a saxophone is crazy. The pads mght be worn and leaky.
This Just In: Recent Polls Confimed 90% of Saxophonists really are cerebrally challenged 00:13 on Sunday, May 01, 2005
I have googled and found this site. I really hope that kid finally bought himself the horn that HE sounded best on, no matter what it turned out to be.
Its OK to be ignorant but a lot of these posts are just plain stupid. I read all that were posted here on this thread. There are a very few sound, LOGICAL posts in here, with good advice, and for the sake of brevity and convenience the recent previous posting of the fellow from DC hits the nail on the head. Any brand has good and bad sounding instruments. Even the worst companys` may get even ONE right now and then...
When you go to audition CB`s (or any horn) it is important to be prepared and open to trying different mouthpieces with the horns. Different bores, finishes and other "accoutrements" (get a dictionary some of you especially illiterate opinionated morons) can greatly affect your tone.
Several years ago I first got a cannonball and later an alto through my instructor. The great thing about CB is that they will (or did then) replace the horns if they cant fix any (rare) problems. My alto lacquer peeled off the silverplated finish in a few areas and they replaced it no questions asked...That does not mean ALL horns peeled like that. In fact that is the only instance I`ve heard of it. The horn sounded great.
Later I upgraded to a Mk VI Tenor and Balanced Action Alto, both low numbers and more importantly PROVEN (by playing) players. These two horns sounded better than my original CB counterparts. Please NOTE: I am not saying ALL Mk VI`s and BA`s sound better than ALL CB`s...simply that these were two exceptional horns that sounded better than 90% of there Selmer Counterparts too.
My mouthpieces (what works for me and my chops) have evolved over time and these pieces can sound differently on other instruments of the same brand let alone cross-referencing on different brands. It is important that, if possible, find a reputable dealer that has many MODELS of the horns you want to compare and even tryout some of their mouthpieces (and recommendations) to see if indeed your piece is affecting or preventing the true sound of the horn you are listening to to sing properly.
My instructor`s current mentor, Pete Christlieb (premiere soloist of Steely Dan and a top sessions artist in LA) has two CB tenors (he too has retired his Mk VI`s with pleasure) and found that he achieved (for HIM..not necessarily for you) even greater tone that HE LIKES by using CB`s older necks from a few years back with an even slightly smaller bore. Paul, my mentor, has been working with CB for years and after the NAMM show this year he has not played his MK VI tenor after finding an incredible blowing Stone Series BB silver plated tenorand alto. The sound is incredible and he has never been happier...its amazing to watch a veteran player become really excited again about playing/shedding. Is every CB horn his favorite? No. Read the attached article by Jason Dumars for some ideas to this effect, he is likely much more credible to you than I anyway.
You need to try several horns, if possible. You might find 3-4 out of 6-7 that you are very pleased with...but that one might make you feel that you`ve found the Holy Grail...for next to nothing compared to Vintage and Newer more established (marketed) brands.
Whenever you buy ANYTHING in life...the more samples you perform the greater your knowledge and wisdom. You MORONS flaming each other....go complete your GED so you can at least spell....(and I emphasize the "Disrespectin" you prevously opinionated retarded Irish Moron).
As for the Opium Induced Vision of Enslaved Children and Prisoners....I did my own research. I beat and starved my 7 year old son for 30 days. I felt bad (more than a little) and eventually let him dig in the trash for some raw metal material (he wasnt finding too much good raw ore in the back yard) I then let him have full use of the gas Grill as a forge. His end results came nowhere near the awesome sound that I have heard from the New CB`s. He did however learn to whistle very nicely while he worked.
After I get out of jail (for child abuse and endangerment) I will proceed with the second part of my experiment to determine if a an ex-convict will have any greater success at creating a comparable horn as my son. It takes mature, happy mastercraftsmen, brimming with pride and satisfaction, to make this type of quality, at times (dare I suggest it?) Magicalsounding horn.
Check out these shortcuts for some other opinions and an indepth interview (a few years old now) from the Greedy Capitalist Leaders at CB....lol
in order to get to Jason`s Dumars article. IN my previous posting the URL to his review wouldnt go through because of the hypen between dumars-engraving...REMOVE THE HYPHON>
The post wouldn`t save cause without the hyphen you could potentially be spelling the slang for "butt" which is ar-se...so remove it and enjoy a great article. It will answer a lot of everyones questions....at least I found it informative for what it is worth.