We live in a world full of customization possibilities. Customizable shoes, customizable engagement rings, customizable iPhone cases... So it's not surprising that saxophones are no exception. Aside from aspects like the high F# key, different finishes, and different models, there are countless small accessories that can make a big difference in the way saxophones respond, feel, articulate, and play. At Tenor Madness, we love to experiment with these items to learn what the possibilities are. Below, we'll cover some items that we feel are worth exploring!
Changing the neck on your saxophone will give you the most bang for your buck when it comes to a different sound, feel, and response. There are a LOT of options out there that will work for almost any saxophone, but we are partial to our TM necks as well as Tino Schucht and KB necks. Neck prices range from $400 - $1200 and have the potential to drastically change everything about the saxophone.
While it's obvious that a neck is going to change much about the way a saxophone feels and plays, it's surprising that a thumb hook can do the same. There's a lot of lore on the web about snake oil products and what's possible or not possible. We can assure you that the type of thumb hook on a saxophone WILL most certainly impact the sound, feel, and response of the instrument. Our favorite thumb hooks include the Ishimori, Tino Schucht and the Oleg. Each have their own vibe and are definitely worth exploring!
Another hotly debated subject among saxophone players on the internet is this little piece of metal. Neck screws are similar to the thumb hook in regards to response, and feel, but seem to affect the upper register more for most players. Options include different types of heavy mass screws as well as the silver Ishimori neck & lyre screws. Once again, definitely worth exploring to experience changes in resistance / feel and the core sound.
Speaking of changing the sound of the saxophone, the Cosmos Palm Key Risers give you such a Brecker vibe when installed that it's completely worth the $50 price tag! Just kidding :) They have absolutely NO affect on the feel, response, or sound of the saxophone, BUT they are hands down the best functioning risers on the market. They have locking screws that keep them in place and 3 different sizes depending on hand size and saxophone model. Combine this with their textured feel, and it's definitely worth adding this to the arsenal for a more ergonomic saxophone.
A new experiment here at TM includes custom making inserts that fit into specific tone holes. Without getting into all the details of the why and how on this blog (we'll do a video and more info later), it's an easy way to add improved intonation and more focus to the core of your saxophone. Right now, it's specific to our TM Custom Tenor Saxophones, but we are working on developing this idea further and are excited about future possibilities!!!
While nothing above is necessary to play the saxophone, there are a LOT of options that can improve, inspire or help individual players to be better saxophonists! The benefit of working at TM is that we don't sell anything that everyone in the shop doesn't really dig or think would be a help to someone. So feel free to reach out to us with questions or even to discuss in further detail something listed above!