All Things Saxophone

Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series Alto Sax

Last modified 09/12/08


Questions or comments?  Send us an email

Cannonball began manufacturing their instruments in 1996.  Based in Salt Lake City, they are truly preserving a classic approach to making saxophones.  One thing I can say for these horns is they are truly works of art.  They are tops in the industry today for making horns with aesthetic appeal.  Each saxophone is available in a variety of finishes.  See them all at

· Construction, look & feel

Because of the great finishes available this horn looks as good as they come, and it can look exactly how YOU want it to.  This saxophone is ornately engraved and inlaid with semi precious stone on the keys.  The horn has good action but I was disappointed with the layout of the spatula keys for low C#, B, & B flat.  They have a similar mechanism to the best construction today but it doesn’t feel as good as the Yamaha Custom Z or the Buffet 400.   The transitions between the spatula notes are klunkier than I would expect for a premium horn like this.  The optional necks are a nice feature — each horn comes with two and they fit well with the saxophone.  Pads are good construction with nickel resonators throughout.

· Sound

Man, this horn has a BIG sound when the Fat Neck is attached!  The other necks produce a good sound but not like the Fat Neck.  The big bell construction that these Cannonball’s are known for does indeed make for a fat sound.  It’s as big as a King Super 20 but not quite as solid as my current favorite, the Buffet 400 series Alto.  I played both of these horns and all of the neck combinations with my standard setup (Meyer 6M, Harrison ligature, Zonda 3.5 reed), and there was no difference in sound for the finishes; just with the Fat Neck.  Here’s a sample of my sound with the Fat Neck on the horn with the Raven finish:


Cannonboll Stone Series Raven with “Fat Neck”


· Intonation

The horn has some sharp & flat issues in the altissimo — nothing real serious but not as tight as the Yamaha Custom or the Buffet 400.  The scale is very solid in the standard range of the horn.

· Price

Cannonball engraves their saxophones with “Designed in USA”.  This comes across as a clever marketing maneuver to make the buyer think they are made domestically.  The horn is priced a little higher (about $1900) than the other good horns made overseas in China & Taiwan but is definitely less than a Yamaha Custom or the incredibly overpriced Selmer Reference.  Well priced but still not quite the best buy in a saxophone.  Also, it’s not available through the Internet — Cannonball has a noble objective for not allowing Internet sales (to support the local music stores and the service they provide to students), but I don’t know if that philosophy will survive in today’s e-commerce environment.


Overall, this is a damn good sax — I would even give it the nod over the classic King Super 20.  It’s the best looking, most ornate saxophone on the market today.  On the downside though, it just doesn’t play quite as well as the Buffet 400, and it costs a little more.

The Cannonball Fat Neck with under slung octave key

Keys on the Cannonball stone series are inlaid with semi-precious stone.  This photo is “Picasso Jasper” indigenous to the mountain ranges surrounding Salt Lake

Text Box: SaxophoneMan’s ratings:
(5 is best, 1 is worst)
Overall is not an average
Text Box: Sound

Text Box:  4.5

Cannonball Stone Series Alto Sax with B-ice B “Raven” finish

Cannonball Stone Series Alto Sax with black finish and silver plate keys

Cannonball's Web Site