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Xaphoon aka the bamboo sax

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#2
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.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#5
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 :).
 

saxismyaxe

Friends of the WF
Distinguished Member
#8
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:
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#10
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
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
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#12
Gandalfe said:
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#17
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
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.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#19
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.
 
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