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Hi All,

I'm once again seeking your enlightened advice. First, let me say you've given me great advice in the past, which I've tried to follow (made offers on a few saxes based on your recommendations) and I truly appreciate it.

Let me provide some background (I will try to summarize to minimize tl;dr). I had an old cannonball excalibar which wasn't the best but was great for me at the time. I had it stolen out of my car (along with my SR Technologies Legend grrr). In the meantime I had a bunch of gigs so I just needed any horn, thus I rented a Jupiter yadda yadda two years pass. Turns out the (great) shop I rent from will let me use my rental money towards the purchase of a new horn, which ends up being like $1300. They exclusively sell Cannonballs. I know there are mixed feelings here, but I like cannonballs. Here is my problem, yesterday I took my mouthpiece (dukoff d7) and tried out three of the new tenors - the Raven big bell stone, big bell stone brute and vintage pete chrisleb brute. I would love all of your advice on which you like.

For me the Raven really popped and I was amazed at how effortlessly it played. Next the vintage pete and didn't like the stone brute. I love the vintage brute look, its awesome but I feel like the raven really played better.

Anyone have advice recommendations? Maybe after some turning the vintage will be better? I play primarily ska/reggae and a little jazz. Of course people will say "get the one that played better for you" clearly I will take that into account.

Long story short; Cannonball big bell stone raven v. Cannonball vintage brute pete chrisleb.

Raven: $2800
Vintage brute: $3200

Of course minus the $1300 from each for my rental credit.

Thanks so much!

Hernan
 

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If you are going for sheer volume and a penetrating tone, the bore of the Raven Big Bell is more conducive to that style of playing. In addition it comes with two necks.

On the other hand if you are after a bit more focused sound without that top end "balls to the wall" power and volume, then the Vintage will be a more suitable choice.

On the third hand, they are both well made and you should go with the one that appeals to you the most both cosmetically and with regard to tone and response.

One of the advantages of buying from a dealer is the local support in terms of parts and warranty repair service that is included in the price, as opposed to paying shipping and insurance both ways when you get your "free" warranty service from a internet vendor. Another advantage as you know is the convenience of being able to try out different makes and models before you buy, and to negotiate a price and trade in for your old instrument. Sure you could probably get a bit more if you sold your old sax on eBay, but there is a hassle involved when you do that, and a person's time has a value as well.

In the interest of full disclosure and to ward off the innuendo of a "vested interest", I am no longer employed in the repair shop of a local music store having opened my own pro sax repair and overhaul business out of my home.
 

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I would also say to bring some friends who have good ears and know the kind of sound you are shooting for. If you get the big bell you can find a mouthpiece that will give it a little more core. The big bell I had was very bright with little core. Try to record yourself as you try them and see if you can hear any big differences in the two. I would also suggest play testing them all a lot more before you buy if the store will let you. Good luck.
 

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I bought a new Vintage (not the brute finish) last May - admittedly it had been sitting in the store for a while, but the price was under $2000. The prices you are being quoted seem quite high.
 

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...yesterday I took my mouthpiece (dukoff d7) and tried out three of the new tenors - the Raven big bell stone, big bell stone brute and vintage pete chrisleb brute....Long story short; Cannonball big bell stone raven v. Cannonball vintage brute pete chrisleb.
I would try the Vintage with a different mouthpiece; something more like a Link. When I tried one of these tenors, I didn't like it at all with a high baffled mouthpiece, but got a much better result with one with a rollover baffle. I also wouldn't be afraid to try to talk them down on price considering some of the other deals folks here on the forum have found for these horns. Cannonball protects their dealers by not allowing them to advertise their prices or sell their horns online, making it more difficult for folks to shop around. Such protection from competition gives a dealer more leeway in setting their profit margin, so chances are they might also have more flexibility in this regard when it comes to bargaining.
 

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You are right Grumps. Those prices seem a bit high, even for new Cannonballs. High volume Cannonball dealers as in most industries do get better rates on dealer costs from Cannonball, so that can have an effect upon the difference in pricing as well as each store's overhead. Another thing to consider is that the Vintage in the Brute Finish is still relatively new, and the effect upon prices of supply and demand may be at play here as well. Still it wouldn't hurt to try to negotiate the best deal possible. It sounds as if Hernan has a good relationship with the store already, which means they will do their best to try to keep him as a satisfied customer.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thank you all very much. As usual you've been very helpful. I'm going to try and negotiate a better price and play them again. All by best,

Hernan
 

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I don't know if you have made your choice yet but I play Cannonballs and as mentioned you will receive mixed emotions about them but I love my horns. I just recently tried all of the horns that you mentioned plus a few others and I ended up purchasing the Big Bell Stone Series Brute. It comes w/two necks just as the Raven but what I liked about the brute is that I found it to be a lot more flexible in range of tones that you can achieve. The regular neck will give you the more focused sound but with plenty projection and the fatneck gives you the wide open sound that you want to hear when playing funk or Reggae. The setup has more to do with your sound than the horn itself in most cases. I use a Jody Jazz DV 7* with JJ ring lig and Vandoren Java Red 3.5 when I want a full but brighter sound and a Jody Jazz HR* 7* for a darker vintage sound. I primarily play Contemporary Gospel, Smooth Jazz, and R&B but I'll play any genre without worrying about the right sound with this horn. Also as mentioned in some of the previous post, I only payed 2500.00 for my Brute brand new so negotiate. Hope that may help you or possibly someone else who may be thinking about a Cannonball.
 

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I recently purchased the big bell stone series brute tenor,and I have to tell you I am extremely pleased with every aspect of the horn.Response is terrific as well as the intonation.I am using a gardaula mbii laser trimmed mp laVoz med reeds.From top to bottom the horn sounds great.altissimo is outstanding.In my humble opinion it is one of the best horns I have ever played,and I have played on some really good horns.I owned a 65 markVI And played on the ref 54 for four years.I Know some people might not agree with me but I have to give cannonball thier props.The first gig I played on it I got so many compliments on my sound from other musicians and people listening to us.The horn was so comfortable and just seemed to respond to what ever idea I wanted to play,I got to be totally relaxed on stage and just enjoyed making music.I feel that the standard neck is more for playing a variety of styles.from jazz to rock and funk etc.Where as the fat neck I would use in a strictly jazz setting.Now this is just my opinion.I have been playing 19 years proffesionally,4 of them in the military.I felt compelled to write this because I to have read mixed reviews about cannonball.I cant tell you about thier other horns,but I cannot say enough about my bigbell stone series tenor "brute".i will say this though,the first night before that gig a stone fell out on my B key.It was no big deal,I just went to lowes and bought the propper adheasive and glued it back.That was the only negative.I was so pleased with the horn that I just laughed and fixed it.My friend Wanted to play my horn and he wanted me to try his yamaha custom.his horn was nice but I much preferred my cannonball.although he would never say I think he was a little enveous.I hope this helps anyone considering buying a cannonball.good luck
 

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I have a different aspect of this discussion seeing as I sell Cannonball instruments but I am not a woodwind player.

From the 5 years I've been selling Cannonball saxophones at my store, I've noticed the Big Bell Stone Series Raven models have been the hottest sellers. Players have always told me the tone is just right! However since the Brut came out this past year it's been the newest greatest thing.

I cannot say how the brut and raven compare to the Pete Christlieb model since I thought that was a limited edition only available 2 years ago (sold mine in under 2 months).

Hope you made a good decision and didn't overpay. Cannonball horns are my personal favorite saxophones, and love how hands on the owner Tevis is with his company.
 
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