Every business day it is my pleasure and honor to speak with several potential saxophone buyers who have expressed an interest in our instruments and who have questions about them. Invariably, I am asked to compare and contrast our saxophones with other brands on the market, and I am always happy to do so. I’m a big believer in customers getting all the information the feel is necessary to make an informed purchase decision, and am always glad to help in any way I can. We have always tried to anticipate questions, and try to make our product descriptions as complete and accurate as possible, and more importantly, we have placed over 150 product demonstration videos on YouTube. We believe YouTube is a great way for the customer to see and hear the product.
Yesterday, I spent about half an hour on the telephone (yes, you can call me 504-324-3850, M – Th, 10AM – 3PM CST) with a buyer from Ohio, and he asked some detailed questions about our brand vs. some of the other brands. I was a little surprised at some of the things he seemed to believe, so when we finished our conversation, I visited the web sites of half a dozen of the “new” saxophone brands that he mentioned.
Now before I go any further, I want to remind you that I was doing business with Asian saxophone factories long before it was considered “cool” to do so. I have been a full time employee for several major manufacturers, always as director of design along with other duties, and have been a paid consultant for many more. I won’t say that I know everybody in the saxophone manufacturing business, but I will state categorically that I know almost everybody, and yes, I know pretty much who actually manufactures virtually every brand offered for sale. I think I do have the best and most complete address book in the saxophone business.
When I visited the sites of all of these new brands, I was really shocked at what was being claimed. There was lots and lots of use of the words “new and improved” without any specifics as to exactly what was new and improved. There was a lot of talk about “capturing the spirit of the great vintage horns of the past”, again without any specifics whatsoever as to exactly how this capture was accomplished. None of these brands gave any specifics as to the types of materials used…..maybe it’s just, me, but I like to know things like what kind of pads and resonators are being used, what the copper content of the alloy is, what’s the spring type…..you know, little details like that…….
Of course, there wasn’t a dimes worth of difference in the horns I looked at. They were all basically Selmer Super 80 Series II copies (granted, that’s not a bad place to start), but there was really no zero na na innovation or unique features……at least we do things like offer kangaroo leather pads, solid copper resonators, Never Stick G# keys, threaded necks, upper stack speaker keys, high G keys, four octave keys, dedicated altissimo keys, and other stuff……you know, things to make playing the saxophone easier and to make the horn play better…..
Honestly, most of the horns I looked at were coming out of the same factory (yes, I know the factory owner very well), and have no innovations or great improvements over other horns. They vary only in the name engraved on the bell. This, my friends, is fraud.