Xaphoon aka the bamboo sax

Discussion in '... And Others' started by Gandalfe, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Has anyone every played a Xaphoon? Looks like fun actually. Pretty pricy though for the buy and forget types.

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  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    These are somewhat nicer than the ones I've seen. They used to have a clarinet mouthpiece, IIRC. It's now integral.

    Sound samples. FWIW, I don't really care for the tone. Sounds like an out-of-tune clarinet trying to be an out-of-tune saxophone.
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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  4. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Apparently they won a best in show category at the 2007 NAMM conference. It's all about making music any where, any time. :D
     
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I can make music anywhere, anytime, too. It's called "singing".

    Hey, pennywhistle folks might also have something to say about the "anywhere, anytime", too :).
     
  6. Saxagenarian

    Saxagenarian

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    They're great for recycling old tenor reeds!
     
  7. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Really, now that'd be very cool. I tend to use synthetic reeds on my rarely played instruments as they are always ready to go. :ugeek:
     
  8. saxismyaxe

    saxismyaxe Friends of the WF Distinguished Member

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    I had one, and as I have mentioned before (and yes I'm recycling the same joke), they are really a novelty sort of instrument, good primely for annoying the bejeebers out of one's cat more than anything. :cool:
     
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  9. zagor

    zagor

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    I own a xaphoon... it’s fun to look, hear, but quite strange to play. my children love it!
     
  10. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    The Xaphoon certainly isn't something that you just pick up on the fly, it will take some time. Like the recorder the special fingerings disappoint me. Because it means that I will have spend a lot of time gaining fluidity. Like the QWERTY keyboard in typewriters, wouldn't it be nice to have the same fingerings on all instruments? Then you could spend your time on voicing and embellishments.
     
  11. zagor

    zagor

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    yes, fingering really sucks... but it’s quite easy to reach the tune you want even if fingering is not perfect by bending your lips. the xaphoon feels really free in that way
     
  12. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    You already have that ability with a wind controller. When confronted with the same dilemma while playing a bassoon (something that has occurred with alarming regularity during the spring musical season these last few years) I often think of that wind controller "option". But, why spend a thousand dollars when you can instead spend many more and deal with double reed problems in the bargain, right?
     
  13. PrincessJ

    PrincessJ

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    That is what I love about instruments like this!
    I just ordered one for myself out of curiosity and am excited to play it as it's right up my alley. It's a nice break from the fancy modern "mechanical" instruments, nothing takes me back to my roots in hand made tube-with-reed-and-holes instruments more than things like these. :D
     
  14. Gheorghe

    Gheorghe

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    I bought one of the plastic ones for fifty bucks, maybe 2 years ago. It was not hard for me to play the first octave or so. I needed one in the lower range, so I made me one in G out of a piece of bamboo.

    Funny thing: I always wanted a taragot, and about a year ago I was playing at a local dance house event (Transylvanian music), and when we took a break, I put down the viola and started playing my pocket sax. A Hungarian lady came over and told me "that kinda sounds like a tárogató. My son used to play, ten years ago, but gave it up". Long story short, they happened to live about half an hour from my house, so I went over one evening with a checkbook, and drove home with my first tárogató:)

    George
     
  15. wanabe

    wanabe

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    I just ordered one last night. It is inexpensive, something that I really like, and unusual to say the least. I kind of like that too. I got one pitched in C. They are pretty limited in range with only two full chromatic octaves going up from middle C. I believe the secret to making it sound anything close to a sax is to play it in a shower stall or on in the subway. I did a little Googling and found out that these were invented and patented by a fellow named Brian Wittman. He lives in Hawaii and makes them out of locally grown Bamboo. I am very anxious to get my embouchure around this beast.
    The spiel on Brian is that he is/was a sax player and he made his first one for a child that really loved the sound of the sax, but was just too small to be able to manipulate the horn. Maybe we are overlooking a good chance to get kids interested in music.
     
  16. Tony Fairbridge

    Tony Fairbridge Tony F

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    I have one, and also a similar instrument called a wood clarinet which I picked up at a Chinese trade show a few years back. The Xaphoon is black plastic and has an integral mouthpiece, the wood clarinet is, as the name suggests, wood. Looks like birch and is very elegantly turned. It uses a mouthpiece which is a bit bigger than an Eb and a bit smaller than an old-style C. Fingering is not the same and the sound is different, but the principle is pretty much the same. They work well when doing shows for kids.
     
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I did some looking around. One of the nice things about the Xaphoon is that reed mouthpiece. I'd recommend something like a pennywhistle or recorder, otherwise, because those are instruments that actually have music written for them. The Xaphoon is also cheaper than a good recorder or pennywhistle. However, for me, I don't see a good reason to buy one. If I wanted to practice, I'd just pull out my regular horn. If I needed something small, because I wanted to play while I'm traveling (if I traveled), I'd buy an old Bundy Eb clarinet off eBay. They sell for around the $200-$250 mark. That's not bad for a "real" reed instrument. Hey, you can still get metal Bb clarinets off eBay for under $50. The real problem is to find a saxophone that'd be cheap enough that you don't really care about damaging that works well enough to be considered an instrument, rather than an instrument-shaped object.
     
  18. wanabe

    wanabe

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    Actually I was thinking about kids and how to make and keep them interested in music. So their tone is miserable, so what? If I can get my grandkids to play an instrument, any instrument, and they have fun at it and don't view it as punishment or a task that they do because Mom says that I have to, then it'll be worth the $60.00 that I put into it. I bought this one for me. I'll noodle on it for a while and if I determine that it isn't too difficult to learn, you know, if I can do it, then surely he can do it, then I'll get one for my grandson. Who knows, maybe, just maybe, it will turn into something that we can do together.
    I think that some of the more proficient players here and elsewhere forget that for some of us, music is a pastime, not a job. It's fun, not work.
     
  19. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    It can be work that's fun :).

    You're absolutely right regarding that it makes a difference in what your purpose in having a Xaphoon is. If it's just to fool around, that's fine -- although an OK recorder or pennywhistle is probably a cheaper route. I'd also like to see a study on how many people play the Xaphoon and go on to play "real" instruments. Hey, I want people to play instruments for life.
     
  20. tictactux

    tictactux Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    if you're interested about making kids interested in music, have a look at Hanson's chalumeau...

    Here's the link.
     

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