Look at this saxophone?

26 06 2010

As I wandered through the aisles of the Hippie Market in Impanema Rio, I came upon a gentleman selling instruments of a type I had never seen before.

Roberto was playing what appeared to be some type of wooden saxophone. As he played a little Gershwin “Summer time” in a jazzy style, I was intrigued by the simplicity of the instrument and yet the range of possibilities.

It turns out that Roberto had designed this instrument that he made out of some type of hollowed out wood. Here you can see him working on one. Some of the wood looks like bamboo but other parts have a texture that I have not seen before.

He cuts them at mitered angles then glues them back together to the shape he desires (you can see several shapes and sizes here) and specific lengths.

He then uses a chromatic tuner as he cuts the holes in the appropriate places. The instrument has a mouthpiece fashioned out of the wood that is about the size of a clarinet mouthpiece. He also creates his own reeds from the cane material. The reed seems rather stiff and is also similar to a clarinet reed.

I was surprised to learn that those he had at the Hippie Market were tuned to a fundamental of G. I would think that B-flat or E-flat would make more sense or even the key of C. However, I could not resist. So after a wonderful conversation about his instruments, I purchased one to bring home to the States. I will have to do a little repair as it would seem the airlines were a little rough with my bag and one of the joints separated but it looks to be an easy repair and I hope to soon be making music with my new wooden saxophone. Now, since I am not a “reed man” (I am a trumpet player), I will have to let my son have a go at it as he is doing quite well on the clarinet and saxophone and may be able to make some sweet music. As for the key of G, I will just have to work around that with a little creative arranging and the other more flexible instruments will just have to deal with the resulting keys. Yes, real musicians can play in all keys so stop the griping <smile>.

Now off to see what I can do with this wooden saxophone- my name as Roberto did not give me a name for his instrument. If you are reading this Roberto, I would love to learn what you call your invention. Thanks for the chat and the fun my son Connor and I will have exploring your invention.

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