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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a bari player most of the time. But I just got a job as a tenor player in a new jazz restaurant. So I need to purchase a quality tenor sax. I have never gotten the opportunity to try out a cannonball tenor, but I've tried a Gerald Albright and a Vintage Reborn alto sax. I love the way both of them play. I've been told that the tenors are the same if not better than the altos. And the price is incredible. Of course I'm going to try several horns before I purchase, but I just wanted to know some opinions. What is the difference in the playing of the Big Bell, Albright, and VR models? And what does the finish do to the sound? I really like the Raven and Hotspur for the Stone series, and the unlacquered and brute for the VR. I was under the impression that there is only one finish available for the Albright tenor. I'm looking for the best sounding jazz horn. One that has the versatility for belting out rock and singing a quiet ballad. Thanks for the help!
 

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http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?40249-Lacquer-impact

I also play a Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series tenor. Mine has a dark, spread sound. While I like my tenor a lot, I've now had it 3 years and I'm beginning to wonder if it's not going to be the quality I need for gigging and college. Just my opinion, and it might be exactly what your looking for.

Oh... And it's black nickel, by the way.

-Bubba-
 

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There is a considerable difference of opinion on this site about the merits of Cannonball and other Taiwan-made saxes. I happen to think Cannonballs are very solid, especially Stone Series and newer. Mechanically, mine have held up like TANKS despite frequent gigging. The notion that they somehow won't hold up mechanically for college or gigging strikes me as absurd. The issue really boils down to TONE, and whether you find one you really like. Some CBs really didn't do it for me tone-wise, but others (as in the ones I actually bought) really impressed me, and replaced my Selmers.

If you're going to try horns before you buy (which is wise), you shouldn't really be paying attention to us anyway. As for finishes, I think the inner dimensions of the neck, especially at the point of the cork, affect the sound more than finish. Finish-effects are folklore IMO, and may be coincidental to freak individual differences in geometry of the neck used. Good luck!
 

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Why not do the gig on bari?

Much I love to play the tenor, I'd rather hear someone on their native instrument - not doubling on a horn that they bought just for the gig. Bari can be a beautiful solo instrument. It doesn't have to honk or blat if you have a modicum of control.
 

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Why not do the gig on bari?

Much I love to play the tenor, I'd rather hear someone on their native instrument - not doubling on a horn that they bought just for the gig. Bari can be a beautiful solo instrument. It doesn't have to honk or blat if you have a modicum of control.
+1 Good advice!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I would definitely love to do the gig on bari, and some nights, I will. Most of the time, however, I will have to play tenor. That is the sound that my boss is looking for.
 

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Not that I can offer much advice, but the guy here in hollywood that sells them says there's a pretty good amount of variance among cannonballs, all being good, but some of course, sounding better than others. I'd play a few. I'm not a very accomplished player yet, but I could easily feel the difference action and ergonomics wise between my horn, and the 62's and vi's they had to compare it against. And the price was a lot less...I'm pretty happy with my stone series tenor. Only issues I've had to take it in for adjustments to the A key a few times, and the felts around the G# mech were ****, had that replaced with cork. But keeping it well maintained and tip top hasn't cost me much, it's served me really well as a student. Having heard my teacher blow it, it sounds incredible. He likes it better than his mkvi, but he sounds incredible on that too. All that said, don't get me wrong, I've been lusting after 10m's just the same. But cannonball makes a lot of freaking horn for the relative dollar. I'd say definitely give them a serious look.
 

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I've had my CB tenor black nickel for 6 years, and It has a great tone. The difference between the gold laquer and the blacknickel in my opinion is huge. The nickel has a much fuller tone, and if not a little deeper. As for durability, mine has been dropped before (not by me--long story), and I didn't even have to take it to a tech. One thing I have noticed between my CB, and other horns, is the CB in the nickel finish is about a pound heavier than the laquer finish. They are great playing horns, I tried the yanigisawa mentioned above, while it is still a good horn, the CBs play just that little bit better. Also, you were saying how you need to be able to blast, and be quiet at times. I've noticed the stock CB 5* mpc seems to be pretty good for quieter, non blasted music, but I bought a Rico Metallite, and that mouthpiece can really scream!
 

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If you want a good playing horn, try as many different ones in your price range that you can find. Some horns just play better than they should (good deal) and some play worse than they should (bad deal). Odds are going to be much better in your favor if you stick to a Japanese or European made horn. Taiwan and China have been producing some good horns for a while now, but there are still a lot of bad horns coming from those locales as well. You really need to do your homework if you venture in these waters. Incidentally, Cannonball is one of the better horns sourced from Taiwan.

For me, what strikes the right balance, on a second horn is a second hand Yamaha 62/Yanagisawa 901/990/880. These can be had for almost the same price as the better known Taiwan horns and have a bit of refinement in feel that I appreciate.

Even if tenor were your main horn (as it is mine), you can really only do better than these suggestions in the way of features, finishes, and condition -- which you will pay a bit more for, and it really won't affect appreciably the way the horn plays and sounds. Functionally, these suggestions are as good as is available today.

Hope this helps.

Haywood
 

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I would recommend a Yamaha 62 or 875 or the one of the Yanagisawas (880, 901,990), used, of course. I know alot of members like and play Cannonball. I don't care for the sound. To me they seem to have a thin top end and a "boomy" bottom end. As far as the horns build, they seem well built and the few guys that I play with that use them have had few problems and they seem sturdy. The finish issue has been debated endlessly here, but there is no evidence that it makes any difference in sound, while there is plenty that it doesn't. Pick what you like to look at and are willing to maintain. Horns of the same make and model will seem different based on manufacturing and adjustment differences (minor bore and neck difference, pad height adjustment, etc.) so try before you buy, if possible. In my limited experience, Yamaha seems to to be the most consistent, horn to horn.
 

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From personal experience on purchasing a horn off of eBay, be sure to factor in money for your tech to give it a good once over maybe even a complete overhaul. I recently purchased a clean Selmer T100 and the seller stated it played from top to bottom. Not true. Palm key pads were completely shredded. I spent $500 getting it completely overhauled. Plays great now! I factored in a complete overhaul though when I purchased it so I now have a great horn setup the way I wanted for a very reasonable price.
 

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One thing I have noticed between my CB, and other horns, is the CB in the nickel finish is about a pound heavier than the laquer finish.
Can somebody help me reset my B.S. meter? It just pegged out-of-range.
 

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Can somebody help me reset my B.S. meter? It just pegged out-of-range.
I also have a black nickel finish cannonball stone series. It is heavier than most tenors I have owned and as well as the others I tried out, when searching. That does not make it better or worse in quality, just the quality I was looking for. I don't understand what was the B.S. ?
 

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I don't understand what was the B.S. ?
The "fact" that the black nickel finish adds one pound mass vs the lacquer finish.

I thought my initial response was adequately specific.
 

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Well it was not.
"About " indicates an estimate. Even if you have the weights of all tenor makes to compare the person was making a statement not B.S.
 

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I played 4 different CB tenors this weekend, all new, at a local store. They all sounded very different from one another and I'm pretty sure they were all comparable models to each other. Definitely try before you buy...
 
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