NAMM 2016 Saxophone Gear Roundup

By Zach Sollitto / Saxophone Product Reviews, Special Feature / Music Equipment, Saxophone Parts

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This marks my 5th year attending NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and it keeps getting better and better every year. The 2016 NAMM show was yet another year filled with more exhibitors showcasing new and updated products ranging from saxophones, necks, ligatures, mouthpieces, reeds, and the list goes on. With only 4 days to see it all, I did my best to try as many products as possible but unfortunately, I was not able to get to everything. This year I saw more “vintage” saxophone offerings and noticed that although many brands seemed to look alike and use similar materials, the setup of the saxophone is what differentiated various brands at the show. I will be reviewing and revisiting some products I had a chance to try at the 2015 NAMM show as well as discussing some new products that have recently been launched for 2016. In addition to the reviewed products, I will list products at the show that I hope to test play at a later date as well as recommend you check out.

These products, in no particular order…

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Sahduoo XT series

While searching thru the NAMM app before the show, I noticed there was a new saxophone manufacturer from Taiwan called Sahduoo. When I stopped by Sahduoo’s booth, they had their student and professional model alto’s, tenor’s and soprano saxophones as well as their own line of mouthpieces. I tried a few of their hard rubber tenor mouthpieces which I thought played well overall. I played two of their professional model tenor saxophones known as the XT series. The XT series tenor came in an array of finishes from gold lacquer, black lacquer with gold keys, matte finish, and un-lacquered to name a few. I ended up liking one of their newer finishes which was a matte finish with black mother of pearl. From first looking at the XT series, the key-work and appearance reminded me of a Mark VI copy combined with various keys and features I see on other Taiwanese saxophones today. When I started playing this saxophone, I found the overall setup felt good and the sound leaned a bit on the brighter side. This saxophone played well from low Bb to High F# and was stable and consistent thru-ought. I did recommend a few changes that I think many players would like to see on the XT series but was impressed with the craftsmanship and Sahduoo’s team’s interest in getting players feedback on how they can better improve their saxophones. I would highly recommend checking out their website to find out more information and hope to in the future spend more time playing the XT series to gain a better understanding of what this saxophone has to offer.
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