All Things Saxophone

Wellington Tenor sax

Last modified 09/12/08


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I recently received a Tenor sax from a major instrument dealer asking me to check it out.  This dealer told me NOTHING about this horn so I would have no specifics to bias my evaluation of it.  Of course I did some research but didn't find anything.  So, let me tell you all in advance that I have no idea where in the world this saxophone was made or who designed it.  The brand name is Wellington, there is no model number on it, and the serial number indicates that it is one of the first to be released by this manufacturer.


Aesthetically it is a good looking instrument. The general key layout, lacquering, and modest engraving makes for a pleasant appearance.  I wouldn't expect anything otherwise from a serious manufacturer -- they all seem to have the aesthetic thing down because they know that sells (even if it has little to do with how well a horn plays).

The construction is sound, with sturdy braces

and keys.  Just like its sister horn the Wellington Alto, they cut corners on the plug for the neck joint.  It is cheap plastic and doesn’t fit well — it probably won’t do a good job of protecting the body part of the neck joint.  The pads have good nickel resonators, except where they again cut some corners in the palm key pads which have no resonators at all, just like the Alto.  The possible pad mixup I pointed out on the Alto is not present here, but that just gives me concern about Wellington’s quality control.

This horn has a good touch & feel and a very good sound considering the low price ($1400—$1500).  Much less than other horns like the Cannonball Stone Series Tenor.  Here’s an audio clip of a diminished exercise (the setup is a metal Runyon 7 mouthpiece & ligature with a Zonda 3.5 Tenor reed):

Listen to the Wellington Tenor Sax

The weakness on this horn is the intonation (also true for its sister horn the Wellington Alto).  The lowest notes are a bit sharp and among the highest notes (inc. altissimo) some are flat and some are sharp.  An experienced player can deal with this and a beginning or intermediate player won’t have to deal with the notes that have the issue.  Since even the very best saxophones have intonation issues, the horn could serve a pro on a budget as well as a student.

This horn is another very good inexpensive saxophone amongst the many that are being made today, and will continue driving the changes being seen in the market (see SaxophoneMan’s blog).

Wellington Tenor Sax

The Wellington Tenor has good quality nickel resonators on most pads

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

Text Box:  3.5

Looking to try a Wellington saxophone?