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Why arent there "true" custom saxophones?

2276 Views 18 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  saxjazz42
Pardon my obsession with the instruments themselves. I spent sometime learningto build guitars, so, i also am interested in the saxophone from a luthier's or a custom horn-maker's perspective.
Now, if you look at brass instrument, the trumpet,for example, you have the big manufacturers Like Bach, Getzen, Yamaha etc. But, there are a large number of custom trumpet makers, who build horns from scratch,and they seem to be quite successful, some selling custom built horns that cost upwards of $6000.00 apiece. Similarly with French Horns,tubas and euphoniums, clarinets, flutes etc.

Heck, there are even "custom-made' piccolos and even "Custom-made" triangles!!!:)

Anyone have any ideas as to why there isnt much by the way of fully "custom" saxophones made by independent sax makers?

Just wondering.................:) :)
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also mike manning ( he does hand make each horn (and mouthpieces too). a friend of mine owns one, and wess anderson has one that was designed/built for him by Mike. Rumor is he's making a tenor for Sonny Rollins currently. they are nice horns, very heavy, and the price is similar (or less) than what a new selmer goes for...i'd bet that more saxophone builders may pop up in the future, as more players get more picky about their horns...peace, mike
less than the street price. the one my buddy got about 6 months ago ran him under 4K. he (and I) are also wess's students, so that may have helped, i don't know. it did take a good while to get it though, i think it was 5-6 months or so. peace- mike
i'm not sure exactly how manning goes about building his horns, but my understanding is that he does it essentially from scratch. i've never talked to manning myself, so i can't say how he does the keywork, but from looking over/playing the horn my friend bought, it certainly could be all hand-done. Ik know he does customize key touches and ergonomics for each player, he likes to fit the horn to the player's hands. He also generally uses all metal touches instead of pearls, usually copper. i would say email manning to find out exactly what he does...he also provides a custom made case fitted to the specific horn he makes for you when you get it. they are similar to walt johnsons, with a very very good fit. hope that helps- mike
also as far as price- i was very surprised it wasn't more...besides wess, i don't know of any major endorsers regularly playing his stuff (he does list an assortment of players on his site, but i don't know that they play his horns, maybe mouthpieces/reeds or he's done some refacing or repair work for them etc). so maybe he's keeping the price low to encourage people to buy? you're right though, for the price people should be lined up...and i believe they are. and if i didn't mention that's an alto price, i have no idea what the tenor would be. both could be more by now, he ordered his last september/october. peace- mike
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