I’ve talked a lot about how the saxophone you play is not that important compared to the work you put into your saxophone sound.
In my video listening test comparing my four professional tenor saxophones it is clear that I sound like me on each one even though they were made in different decades spanning 80 years, on different continents and using different materials.
There is so much talk about how one particular saxophone sounds bright or dark, and another is spread or focused, while another is more or less free blowing and on and on.
As time goes by, I am more and more of the opinion, that very little of that talk actually matters.
I Put My Money Where My Mouth Is
I bought the cheapest sax on Amazon I could find that was available in both North America and Europe. It cost $270 at the time I purchased it, but the seller on Amazon has bumped the price up by $20 two days after the release of the video review and unboxing.
It’s called Ammoon in the Amazon listing, but on the horn itself and the case it is called Lade.
Watch the video below to see my unboxing, assessment from a repair technician’s perspective and then the play test where I put this $270 Chinese saxophone bought on Amazon up against my $4500 Yanagisawa A991 Professional Alto Saxophone.
All in all, this saxophone really surprised me. I was a little shocked at how well it played right out of the box. With a good mouthpiece and reed, it’s tough to hear that much of a difference when compared to my professional saxophone. What did you think after listening? Leave your comment below.
Minor Adjustments Necessary
I did have to do some small adjustments on this sax but nothing anyone couldn’t do on their own. I made a video detailing these DIY saxophone repairs. First I sanded down the neck cork to allow my mouthpieces to fit more easily. It’s really too bad they don’t include cork grease with this saxophone though. There are several unnecessary accessories included, but one of the most important is left out.
I found the cheap Lade alto sax from Amazon to play quite well in tune. I checked the horn out with a tuner, and didn’t find any notes that played particularly out of tune. Certainly no more than any other typical saxophone. One criticism of Chinese saxophones in the past was that they played notoriously out of tune. That’s not the case with this instrument.
Here is one of the most noticeable aspects of this cheap alto sax. It does feel like a modern instrument and the key work is based on the classic Mark VI design that has become the standard for all saxophones over the last 50-60 years. But next to my professional Yanagisawa A991, there is no comparison.
After playing this horn for a little while and giving it a pretty thorough mechanical checking over, I have to say that this saxophone is well worth the money I paid for it. I will always recommend that if you can afford more, then this is not the right saxophone for you to choose. A more expensive horn should include a much better case, better quality control, and some sort of manufacturer’s guarantee. Theses things would make the price go up though.
For the price of $270 you can’t really go wrong though. I think that’s a great price for someone who may not have tons of extra cash to throw down for a new instrument. It makes the saxophone more accessible to so many more people all over the world.