News

Marc Jean Fabric ligatures.

Following the fantastic success of the Marc Jean II ligatures, (which we have in stock,) we are pleased to offer his latest product, a fabric ligature, but featuring the same granadilla wood insert, providing a real vibrancy and presence to the sound of the mouthpiece, at a very affordable price. Supplied in box, with cap. Available for hard rubber tenor, (Otto Link etc,) and hard rubber alto (Meyer etc) and clarinet, all at the same price.

£60

Conn “Shooting Star” alto.

The Shooting Star model was so called because of the engraving on the bell. If you know about Conn saxes, you will see from the pictures that it’s a later model, (serial numbers seem to be inconclusive from this period). I believe it dates from the period after production was moved back to the USA, so not a “mexiconn”.

The sought after Conns are from an earlier period, and this is their student model, and not pretending to be anything  which it isn’t, but at this price point,

still a better buy IMO than a similarly priced modern cheap horn. It’s had a full repad, and all tone holes which needed it, have been made level. (Not rolled tone holes.) Comes in it’s original case, and I know from the previous owner that it hasn’t been played for 25 years. Cosmetically in excellent condition, and plays easily from top to bottom.

£399

Selmer Mk VII tenor saxophone.

We all know that when the mark VII saxes were introduced, they were not as popular as their famous predecessor. However, many players love them, due to the larger bore, which offers a big, unmistakable Selmer tone. Plus of course, they cost a heck of a lot less than a Mk VI, or a new Selmer. The ergonomics are different, with larger little finger spatula keys, but whatever horn you play feels natural and like your own in a short space of time.  

Here is something which occurred to me while playing it – Vintage Conns are more and more popular these days, due to the lovely fat yet focused  sound they , offer, but the ergonomics are more difficult, but can be got used to. Seems to me that we have a similar beast here, due to the larger bore, the sound is thick, and the bottom end is big, subtones work great without breaking up. For someone looking for this kind of sound, maybe a VII is worth checking out.

This sax dates from 1974, the year they were first manufactured, it has undergone a full overhaul, with all that entails, including a set of premium de luxe pads, and is in perfect playing order. This represents great value for money for the player looking for a classic professional tenor, on a tighter budget. It also has a top F# of course, which is important to many players.

£2300.

Seamus Blake Masterclass.

swwoodwind:

Excited to announce that South Wales Woodwind will be hosting a masterclass by one of the worlds foremost contemporary saxophone players, right here in Cardiff, on Wednesday 6th March. More details and tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/seaumus-blake-masterclass-tickets-56097463022?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Seamus Blake Masterclass.

Excited to announce that South Wales Woodwind will be hosting a masterclass by one of the worlds foremost contemporary saxophone players, right here in Cardiff, on Wednesday 6th March. More details and tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/seaumus-blake-masterclass-tickets-56097463022?aff=ebdssbdestsearch

Keeping up to Date!

I really should update this blog more often, I just realised the last one was about 8 months ago! (note to self-can do better!).  The site has been updated recently, and finally all the mouthpiece prices are correct, for now at least. If you don’t see what are looking for, give me a call, maybe I can get it.

On their way over the Atlantic very soon will be several of the new 10MFAN CLASSIC tenor mouthpieces, to add to the range they already produce. For the players looking for a huge, warm, classic sound, with lots of power without getting bright. There will only a few in this first order, in 7*, 8, 8*, so let me know if you want one, they might disappear quickly.

Some decent secondhand horns in, including 2 fantastic MkVI’s, one alto, one tenor, have a look at the listing, fair prices I think in today’s market. There is also a 1920′s Conn New Wonder II, beaded silver finish, in amazing condition, with no bumps or bruises, waiting for me to have time to service it.

I’ve taken the liberty of putting my CD’s on the website, jazz superstardom is now only a matter of time……well, I’ve waited this long, it must be happening soon surely. ;-)  The most recent is from July 2017, with special guest, great US altoist Greg Abate, whose recording with Phil Woods won a 4* downbeat review. It was a real pleasure to make. Hope it’s not too late to wish everyone a happy, healthy, musical 2018.

neck on the line......

So the latest thinking, supported  by numerous items which have appeared on the market seems to suggest that the area where the body meets the neck of the saxophone is somewhere that leaves room for improvement, in terms of stability of tone. So, we have had the emergence of the Klangbogen (translating as soundbow I believe) from Reedgeek, the Tone Tablet, from the Corry Brothers, and various replacement heavy mass neck screws.

I haven’t had the opportunity to try any of the replacement screws, but I’m now stocking the Klangbogen, and the Tone Tablet. These items are placed into the lyre holder, (you know, the other screw, opposite the neck screw, that nobody uses, unless you play in a marching band) and supposedly stabilise this area, which is where vibration/energy can be lost from the instrument.
I say supposedly, as this will no doubt be a discussion which allows both points of view, just like ligatures, where some say they make no difference, some say it makes the world of difference.
Me? I’m a “yes”, definitely. I bought just a couple of Klangbogens when I got the Reedgeeks in stock, just to see. When I tried them on my MKVI tenor and alto, I immediately had no doubt that they made the horn focus, and become more even. No doubt. I took it off and put it back, several times, and I was convinced of the difference. I tried it with a few colleagues, in case the difference was only in the ear of the player, but as a listener also, the difference was noticeable. The first 2 players/friends who tried them (skeptically) wouldn’t let me have them back, so bought them, consequently, I haven’t had one to use, until now, as I’ve taken delivery of some more.

Like the ligature (and mouthpiece I guess) argument, some people will always say that the player may feel the difference, the listener won’t hear it. Whether this is true or not, my point of view is, if the player can feel it, isn’t that enough reason? Our sound is everything, and what we constantly agonize over, so if it makes you feel it’s better, that’s good enough??
For me though, the sound of the instrument is certainly brought into focus. The Klangbogen fits on the sax quite unobtrusively, hardly noticeable.

The Tone Tablet makes a more subtle difference. It’s a small oblong piece of silver that fits in the lyre screw in the same way, but small enough not to be seen at all when it’s in. A more subtle difference than the kb, but it’s about one third of the price.
Don’t ask me about the science of these gadgets, don’t have a clue, although both makers have carried out tests using equipment Where you can see the wave forms of the sound, but my ear tells me that it’s worth checking this stuff out.
Just when you thought life was complicated enough with “which horn/mouthpiece/reed/ligature” etc. although I think it’s different in this case, any set up can be improved, I’d say.
Ultimately, it’s the players concept of sound that matters most of course, but a little help doesn’t ever hurt.
If you’re passing the shop, why not come in and try either/both? Klangbogen priced at £53, tone tablets at £15

Mouthpiece Prices.

Like all prices, going up - sorry. After Brexit, as we know, the pound has taken a hit, so any pieces I get from the USA now cost me a lot more. A lot of UK shops have hiked the prices immediately. I’m going to sell the stock I have at the old prices, then increase as necessary when I re-order. The website hasn’t been updated yet, (Nov 1st). I’ll try do it in one go to avoid confusion, so if you want to check the price of a mouthpiece you’re interested in, email or call, and I’ll give you the (good or bad!) news in person !

Another epic move!

Well, here I go again.

Literally- moving the workshop, again, this is getting to be hard work. As of Tuesday 6th Sept,SWW will be based at an actual music shop!

Namely, Pencerdd Music, located at:

4 Station Approach

Penarth

Vale of Glamorgan

CF64 3EE

Tel: 029 2070 9982

E-mail me on: info@woodwindsalesandrepairs.com

The shop is a general music shop, and has been taken over by my good friend Phil Jarvis, a tip-top trombone player, with huge experience in the music retail business. The location is great for Cardiff and surrounding areas, with easy parking, and practically next door to the train station, much simpler than going into Cardiff city centre.

As well as getting your instrument sorted out by yours truly, you can pick up all your musical needs in the shop.  Opening hours are Tues to Saturday, 10.00am till 6.00pm I won’t be there all day every day, so as usual, e-mail me for an appointment. Looking forward to seeing my regular clients, and new friends in the shop.

Following the recent post, just letting everyone know we will be closed from 11th - 22nd August, so accept my apologies if the phone and e mails don’t get answered till then.

August 2016.

Because of my mouthpiece trial policy, (which people seem to very happy with), naturally enough, some get returned. I have quite a lot of pieces which have been out on trial more than once, and consequently, they don’t really look new anymore. I guess this is one of the downsides of offering this service. So I’m selling them off as, well, call them “B stock” “ex demo” whatever. Basically, absolutely fine, maybe a teeny scratch mark, maybe a “shadow” where the ligature has been on a hard rubber piece, but perfectly fine in terms of facings, rails, playability etc. Just been tried out a few times for a few days, and nothing else. These are on a “no returns” basis, but priced so that if it doesn’t quite do it for you, you’d get your money back, or at least, really close! They are mostly tenor as it happens, but some alto an clarinet in there also. If you want a list of these mouthpieces, just e mail me. They include 10mfan, Phil Tone, Aaron Drake, Theo Wanne. 

June 2016 news

Hi all. Since my last musings here, a few bits of news about various items.
I’m eagerly awaiting e few tenor mouthpieces from the Corry Bros. if you haven’t heard of them, have a Google. Paul and Jim Corry are based in Yorkshire, and are making mouthpieces with traditional, truly hand made methods, everything on their website, and the communications I’ve had with them, says “integrity”, and a refreshing lack of bull. I’m sure they are going to be very successful, I’ll post more when they arrive, and I’ve had a blow.
There seems to be a new mouthpiece brand almost daily, and I’m sure they are all great. Stocking them all is an impossibility for me, but it’s great to offer another UK based quality product, along with Ed Pillinger and Morgan Fry.

I’ve had more Reed Geek products, adding the “black diamond” reed tool, and ordered a couple of Klangbogens to try out. “What the heck is that” I hear you cry. Well, it’s a little gadget that you attach to the neck area of the sax, by using the lyre screw. It stabilises and improves the tone over the instrument. “really ? Haven’t I got enough to worry about with horns, mouthpieces, reeds, necks, ligatures?” Well yes, we all have, but I can report that they REALLY work. The area around where the neck attaches to the body, is allowed to resonate more, and difference is noticeable, to the player AND the listener. It’s not the same difference that a mouthpiece would make, of course, in terms of brightness, resistance, etc, but it just seems to “even out” the tone quality that’s already there. A great product.

Another imminent arrival that I’m excited about, is the Sequoia saxophone, from Italy. The body is prepared in Taiwan, to the specifications of Roberto Buttus, of Sequoia, much of the keywork is exclusive to the company, and they are set up and checked in Italy. So, as we know, that are many excellent Taiwanese saxes on the market, the difference here, is the price! More details to follow.

We’ve just had a new shipment of the fantastic Marc Jean ligatures, just the gold plated ones, they seem to be the most popular, including the new size, to fit the new (slightly bigger bodied) Rafael Navarro Hard Rubber tenors.

1st ones in the UK??

Phil Tone Isotope mouthpieces have arrived, another collaboration between Phil and Theo Wanne, this time a high baffle model for those players who look for that sound. I haven’t had a chance to blow them yet, but they certainly look beautiful. Alto and Tenor models.

It was great to meet up with Rafael Navarro again recently, maker of some of the greatest mouthpieces, and a man with a warm and generous spirit. I learn ed a little about putting a facing curve on a mouthpiece, and other aspects of the craft. Mostly what I learned, is it takes years of study and practice, so I may just practice on some old cheap’n’nasties I have in the drawer, before touching anything of value - maybe I never will, we’ll see !

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