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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #1
Ok so as I mentioned before in another thread I'm looking at some modern tenors. Yesterday, I had some time to kill before a rehearsal and I went to the local Sam Ash music with my tenor mouthpiece in my pocket. Now I was expecting to try out a few Selmers, Yamahas and maybe a few vintage horns just to make a comparison. Thing was... The didn't have any pro level Selmers to try and only one Custom Z available. They did have a nice relac Conn 10M w/ RTH that was a screamer. To bad there was almost no engraving left.

Anyway, I knew I also would try out some Cannonballs since they seem to always have those in stock (hint maybe???). Now to be honest, I've always been somewhat biased against them. That's based on a tryout a few years ago. Plus, I always thought the marketing of the Cannonball name as if it's an American brand (Salt Lake City engraving???) and all the overdone IMO inside the bell lip engraving was/is kinda lame. But, that all was push aside once I honked on a Hot Spur. Woah... dang... holy ****! This sucker wails! The sound was a cross of a Keilwerth and a King S20. The sax felt solidly made and the key work felt much like a Yanagisawa. While it's not the most important thing to me, I have say the sax looked cool too. I also tried out a Raven and it was almost as tight as the Hot Spur. I'm sure if these horn had a good set up, they'd be hard to beat.

So today I'm doing my homework. I read the Jason Dumars review and the comments on SOTW. Am I missing something about these horns that a long term owner can tell me is a reason to stay away. Or maybe I should ask the same question from those who have bought and later sold their Stone Series Cannonball. I felt the price was a tad high at close to three grand. But it's got me thinking...

Comments are appreciated.

Disclaimer: I'm not a paid endorser. Just a GAS'ed out saxophonist looking for my next fix.
 

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They are great saxes but I wouldn't pay what they want one since it is a taiwanese made sax. We paid $1300 for my daughters big bell A1E alto. It had a hazy look to the lacquer on the bell and bell bow(at the part that hits your leg if you play alto to the side). We got it 1/2 off cause of this cosmetic flaw.Sax plays great. My 2 daughters private teacher likes the Cannonball over the Yanigisawa A-901 they younger daughter uses. My daughter wanted a Cannonball black nickel tenor w/ silver plated keys but at $2600 was too much for sax made in taiwan. We got her a Keilwerth SX-90 instead. Better resale value(not that we plan on selling but you never know{I hope she keeps playing})if she ever would give up playing.
 

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Hi,

I'm out here in the Salt Lake area. They are very popular horns. I think they play pretty well; they have some hand finishing on the neck to make it play better. That said, I still think if you go Yamaha route, you'll be a happier camper. The prices are similar too. What I find makes the difference for me is an after market neck for my Yamaha Z. I think Cannonball has a better neck, but a Z with a good neck is unstoppable.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #6
rispoli said:
Tim, you got to go the used way!
Since you tried one and you now know you like it, in the used market I regularly see them going for 1400-1600$ and that seems a good price for a sax you know you like...

Here's an example (I was bidding on this):
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dl...MEWA:IT&viewitem=&item=280119096152&rd=1&rd=1
Yeah, used makes more sense. I can only see the value of a new one dropping like a rock.

swid441 said:
Hi,

I'm out here in the Salt Lake area. They are very popular horns. I think they play pretty well; they have some hand finishing on the neck to make it play better. That said, I still think if you go Yamaha route, you'll be a happier camper. The prices are similar too. What I find makes the difference for me is an after market neck for my Yamaha Z. I think Cannonball has a better neck, but a Z with a good neck is unstoppable.
The Z I tried in the store was like vanilla ice cream. Good ice cream, but still just vanilla flavor. The Cannonball was more like chocolate fudge bar crunch.

I guess I'm interested in hearing from folks who have sold thier Cannonball and why?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Saxus Envious Curmudgeon
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TJ, by all means get one. I have been singing their praises for years and the new models are the best yet. I think CB really got the alto right.
 

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If you're going to listen to anyone, listen to Randall. No disrespect intended toward anyone else. Randall has probably owned and tried more horns that I'll see in my lifetime.
 

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I checked one of these out at TMEA last year and loved it. Huge sound, gorgeous horn. Expensive, yes - but maybe worth it. I would definitely check it out on the used market.
 

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I had a lacquer tenor for about a year or more not the current Stone Series - I teach at the store so i got a great deal. Bought brand new A/B against the older model BBGS. Tone was really good I liked everything except - the stone touches - when they got wet they were too slippery (but those can easily be replaced and only a couple got wet from condensation making it's way down). But the RG ergos were a bit off for me - but were better than the earlier BBGS.

the magic ingredient is their "roughening up" the inside of the necks. getting rid of the "smoothness" that you get with highly manufactured necks. Makes a big differnece. also the size of neck opening makes a big difference too.

keywork was super smooth and great. It was just missing "something" for me. I liked the 875 better but it costed much more. Since then I went to a Couf Superba 1 but the RH ergos were worse and i knew that coming from a superba 2, then a mk VII - ergos not the best but better in some regards and the tone was much more to my liking.

The CB was a great horn just something was missing for me. But I certainly wouldn't mind one for a backup tenor .. in other words nothing negative except for the Retail price !! and a few personal issues.
 

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TJ, for the record, mine is a 98 model and it is my pick over all the other altos I own, soundwise. A Yani 9937 is better sounding but only marginally. For the price difference, I can't see ever buying the Yani, no matter how much I lust after it.:D

The newer horns are better IMO, and the Hotspur is the best sounding of all them. The Raven a very close second.

I have played 10 different examples of the BBGS and Stone Series altos extensively....the Stone Series being my favorites.

Another SOTW'er, Bighunk, just got a Raven and he loves it.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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And the tenors, Randall? I know you play a bit of tenor too. ;)

I've not played the C'balls since the Global Big Bell series and found them adequate but dull after a while - serviceable but not a horn that I would use if my others were working.
 

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:) Yes G, I have been known to....

The Stone Series with the fat neck is just fantastic. The CB (BBGS and SS) tenors before the fat necks, always played great for me but left out that little something that made me want to put one in the rotation.

Can't say that anymore!

I have let some really hot players try my SS tenor with the fat neck and they all want it. And, they all prefer the fat neck, by far, to the regular shaped one.

One guy who has been pro for about 9 years and playing a very nice VI, played my SS, and immediately put his VI up for auction to get the funds to buy the CB.

This is not an isolated incident.;)
 

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Octave pip is under the tube rather than on top. Haven't done any measurements.

The sound is VERY different.

And.... I think in SLC they chant a special incantation to the stone on the fat neck that makes it resonate at a different psycho-positronic-harmonic level.;)
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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Can't speak for the tenors, but in a blind test with a friend she consistently preferred the fat neck on my alto.
I did try a regular neck tenor against a Series III and thought it smoked the Selmer.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Discussion Starter #17
Randall said:
TJ, by all means get one. I have been singing their praises for years and the new models are the best yet. I think CB really got the alto right.
Swingin' Cat said:
If you're going to listen to anyone, listen to Randall. No disrespect intended toward anyone else. Randall has probably owned and tried more horns that I'll see in my lifetime.
Well, I knew you, Randall, are a big fan of them. Have you played at some gigs one of newer ones? I've found that the honeymoon only last so long with some horns. So I'm wondering what the long term relationship will be. I'm getting tired of trading. I want to just get to playing more and more.

stevesklar said:
I had a lacquer tenor for about a year or more not the current Stone Series - I teach at the store so i got a great deal. Bought brand new A/B against the older model BBGS. Tone was really good I liked everything except - the stone touches - when they got wet they were too slippery (but those can easily be replaced and only a couple got wet from condensation making it's way down). But the RG ergos were a bit off for me - but were better than the earlier BBGS.

the magic ingredient is their "roughening up" the inside of the necks. getting rid of the "smoothness" that you get with highly manufactured necks. Makes a big differnece. also the size of neck opening makes a big difference too.

keywork was super smooth and great. It was just missing "something" for me. I liked the 875 better but it costed much more. Since then I went to a Couf Superba 1 but the RH ergos were worse and i knew that coming from a superba 2, then a mk VII - ergos not the best but better in some regards and the tone was much more to my liking.

The CB was a great horn just something was missing for me. But I certainly wouldn't mind one for a backup tenor .. in other words nothing negative except for the Retail price !! and a few personal issues.
The stone touches are take or leave it to me too. Likely adds more cost to the sax than they're worth. I'd buy a sax with them if I felt that one horn was better than another in terms of playability. Otherwise, it's not a big deal for me. The side keys in particular weren't exactly what I felt the best placement. Just slightly too far down the tube for what I'm use to. Plus the stones just made the side keys harder to use.

The retail price would need some negotiation for me to jump.

Randall said:
TJ, for the record, mine is a 98 model and it is my pick over all the other altos I own, soundwise. A Yani 9937 is better sounding but only marginally. For the price difference, I can't see ever buying the Yani, no matter how much I lust after it.:D

The newer horns are better IMO, and the Hotspur is the best sounding of all them. The Raven a very close second.

I have played 10 different examples of the BBGS and Stone Series altos extensively....the Stone Series being my favorites.

Another SOTW'er, Bighunk, just got a Raven and he loves it.
Yani's are my next test target. Although, I'd expect a Yani to be very different than the Hot Spur I played. Is there anything other than finish that makes the Hot Spur unique?

The Raven was nearly as good. Not as vibrant sounding by a hair. Less responsive too but that could of been just a set up issue. As far as the whole "black is beautiful" thing goes... well, i don't know about all that. On a dark stage you might not be able to find the thing ;)
 

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Gigged on a Raven bari and a Raven alto and Hot Spur alto.
Your observation on the Hot Spur being a smidge better than the Raven is right on the mark. It is a small difference indeed, but I preferred the Hot Spur.

There is a difference in horn body metal composition of the black nickle plated horns according to Cannonball. They couldn't get the black nickle to adhere well to the normal brass composition they usually use, so they changed to a higher copper (I believe it was copper) content. The sound difference is pretty noticeable.
 

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TJ,,
I just got a new Raven alto and just in the few hours i have on it i really like it,i have been playing a yas-875 for the last year or so and it was the first alto i owned since Jr High.The keywork and everthing was fine but it was just too "vanilla" for me.Now the Raven on the other hand has the "edge" i was looking for,im playing R&R/R&B now so its definatly alot better than the 875.
I bought mine from scimonetti's in Calif,Jim's a great guy and the horn came set up just awesome.I still just have just afew hours on the Raven but so far im really glad i went for it.....
 

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I'd make a low ball offer on the 10M screamer. Also, with three K you could wind up with a heck of a vintage tenor; tried and true. I've only play tested a new Canonball tenor, but to me, they're student horns at best.
 
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