All Things Saxophone

Cannonball Vintage Tenor Sax

Last modified 09/12/08


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The rumor about the Cannonball Vintage series is that the tooling used to make the Selmer Mark VI saxophones was purchased by Cannonball or one of its subcontractors and is being used to make this line of saxes.   I have attempted to independently confirm this with no success so at this point it I can only call it part of the buzz about these horns that has Cannonball’s marketing department congratulating themselves.  And, I must admit that they have made a horn that is a lot like the classic Selmer Mark VI.  This line is so new Cannonball hasn’t got much to say about them on their website.  Here’s the link since updates will surely be coming soon.

· Construction, look & feel

First I must give some kudos to Cannonball’s marketing department again.  The horn comes in a case that, although new, looks like it transported through a time warp from 1963 (case pictured at left).  The case exterior even seems to be leather — if it’s a simulated leather it’s very good.   The model I reviewed is a “Lady Godiva” edition with hand engraving and a signed certificate from the technician.  Another great marketing ploy—has nothing to do with the performance of the sax but a lot of buyers won’t care.  The saxophone is inlaid with semi precious stone on the keys, although not as much as the Cannonball Stone Series Tenor.   Like its sister horn the Cannonball Vintage Alto, the action is very good — reminiscent of the Selmer Mark VI, better than the Stone Series, and a little better than the classic King Super 20 Tenor.   Pads are good construction with nickel resonators throughout.

· Sound

This horn has a good solid sound again reminiscent of the Mark VI.  However, I’m a sound guy and the sound isn’t quite like that produced by the classic King Super 20.  I played the horn with my standard setup (Runyon 7, Rico 2.5 reed).  Here’s a sample of my sound on the horn:


Listen to the Cannonball Vintage Tenor


Now listen to the same motif played on my classic King Super 20 (same mouthpiece and reed setup)


Listen to the King Super 20 Tenor


And the Cannonball Stone Series Tenor:


Listen to the Cannonball Stone Series Tenor


· Intonation

The horn has some sharp & flat issues in the altissimo — nothing real serious and similar to the Cannonball Stone Series or the Buffet 400.  The scale is very solid in the standard range of the horn, particularly the side C — that happens to be a little flat on my King Super 20.

· 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 about $3000 — comparable to the other good horns made overseas in China & Taiwan — just a little more than the Buffet 400.  Reasonably priced and a good buy in a new saxophone for the money.  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.


The Vintage is another good line of saxes from the folks at Cannonball.  It very much lives up to the legacy it is claiming a relationship to.  If I was going to buy a new horn, this might be it.  However, I own a classic King Super 20, and I would still give the nod to that sax.

The Cannonball Vintage case

Keys on the Cannonball  vintage are inlaid with semi-precious stone. 

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Cannonball Vintage Tenor “Lady Godiva”

Cannonball's Web Site

The “Lady Godiva” artwork Hand engraved on the bell