Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

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    Default Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    matt stohrer

    Stohrer Music - saxophone repairs - vintage horns for sale
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    All of this is just like, my opinion, man.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Good article. Much of it summarizes views that have been cogently expressed here on SOTW in many discussions.

    I agree with the suggestion of being skeptical about any brand that is not completely forthright about its place of origin. The country of principal tube and keywork fabrication (not assembly) should be engraved on the saxophones, and identified on the company's website and in its marketing materials as well.

    I posted this Cannonball headquarters tour video in another thread, but here it is again. It's mildly interesting, but also a little disturbing because nowhere does it indicate that the instruments are actually manufactured in Taiwan, then shipped to Utah for engraving and final "acoustic customization." An uninformed viewer might think the Cannonball building is actually a saxophone factory, although none of the processes shown really amounts to even partially "making" a sax.



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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post

    I posted this Cannonball headquarters tour video in another thread, but here it is again. It's mildly interesting, but also a little disturbing because nowhere does it indicate that the instruments are actually manufactured in Taiwan, then shipped to Utah for engraving and final "acoustic customization." An uninformed viewer might think the Cannonball building is actually a saxophone factory, although none of the processes shown really amounts to even partially "making" a sax.
    I agree completely. I've always found it to be somewhat disingenuous by describing a product as "Made in the USA" when it's merely assembled here, or they make some adjustments to some things, etc, when every part of the horn is actually manufactured offshore, mainly because you know damn well that they are using that statement to get potential customers to feel good about what they're buying. I'm sure Cannonball employs a fair number of people in Utah, and that's great! You can still feel good about supporting a company who employs people in the US, without the false narrative, right?
    "Can't never could."

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    To be fair, if you dig for the information, you can find an account of Cannonball's international manufacturing operations on the company's website: http://www.cannonballmusic.com/aboutus.php#about. But they still have "Salt Lake City" inscribed in giant letters on the bells of the horns.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    I don't think it counts if it is only laser-etched.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    To be fair, if you dig for the information, you can find an account of Cannonball's international manufacturing operations on the company's website: http://www.cannonballmusic.com/aboutus.php#about. But they still have "Salt Lake City" inscribed in giant letters on the bells of the horns.
    "25 Employees in the Salt Lake City, Utah Facility and hundreds more commissioned in other countries, including 2 Cannonball factories in Taiwan."

    These are the people that DON'T dirty their hands with shaping, soldering, and general manufacturing.



    Thanks for sharing that, LC. If one is sufficiently skeptical, Cannonball is adequately transparent. But Matt's question remains: What of the naive parents of students looking for first instruments? Are they going to know to dig for information, or are they going to trust the local retailer, who is likely just as happy NOT to know the provenance of their goods?

    Gads, now you've got me chasing down the bunny hole. "Big Bell Stone Series® and Vintage Reborn® Series are both professional saxophone models. The Big Bell Stone Series® Saxophones have a Big Bell®. Cannonball is the originator of the Big Bell®, which we developed to create a big, full, resonant sound." How the heck can one own the concept of a big bell? Really? Does the Buescher Top Hat & Cane not exist in their revisionist take on saxophone history?

    <grrrrrrrrrrrrr> and <arggggggggghhhhhhhh>
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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    I am no fan of Cannonball (and their marketing), but their business-model makes me think of Selmer-Paris and their shipping of parts and completed saxophones to the U.S. and elsewhere for either assembly or engraving or lacquering, etc. I'm sure some can (and will) parse my thoughts about the similarities. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Forget the saxophones, who's the hottie in the back row, right??

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
    I am no fan of Cannonball (and their marketing), but their business-model makes me think of Selmer-Paris and their shipping of parts and completed saxophones to the U.S. and elsewhere for either assembly or engraving or lacquering, etc.
    I'd say the business model is closer to the opposite, in terms of the public perception sought.

    Selmer Paris saxophones always have been presented and perceived as French horns. For a while, it was also understood that your Selmer Paris Mark VI might have been fabricated in France and assembled in France, or fabricated in France but assembled and/or engraved in the United States. But either way, the instruments were crafted from raw brass in France, which fit the brand's image as a French company. No deception there, IMO.

    Cannonball tries to present itself in many respects as an American horn, despite the fact that the fabrication from raw brass occurs in Taiwan, not in the U.S. The Taiwanese contribution to the final product is greatly downplayed, while the much smaller American contribution is emphasized. See the video I posted above. Why is there no "Cannonball Taiwan sax factory" video?

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by Sacks Of Phones View Post
    Forget the saxophones, who's the hottie in the back row, right??
    That's Brad from accounting
    1936 Conn 10M tenor, 1941 Buescher "Big B" alto, 1917 Conn curved soprano

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    LostConn: Yes, that is all true. I've always viewed Cannonball as being somewhat deceitful in their model. But still, both instruments are made in one country, then assembled or finalized elsewhere (with CB, always; with Selmer, sometimes).

    Remove the adoration and the deception from the equation and you have similar models. Again, I am not criticizing Selmer (I own several), only pointing out a similarity in business practices. Yes, there are differences in the way each company presents its products to the public. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    "... Cannonball is the originator of the Big Bell®, which we developed to create a big, full, resonant sound." How the heck can one own the concept of a big bell? Really? Does the Buescher Top Hat & Cane not exist in their revisionist take on saxophone history?

    <grrrrrrrrrrrrr> and <arggggggggghhhhhhhh>
    They hadn't invented the "®" when Buescher invented theirs. Doesn't count.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Great article. The Rampone & Cazzani video really touched me. I'm all for small businesses that take pride in their work. Being handmade was the icing on the cake. Thanks for sharing!

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by dctwells View Post
    That's Brad from accounting
    You win the internet today..........

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Borgani - 100+ years of manufacture in Italy.

    http://borgani.com/en/gallery/history/





    Go for The Tone,

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    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Excellent article, lots of good info. I agree that the only problem with any of this is the lack of transparency.

    Not to pick on P. Mauriat, who by all accounts make some good instruments. But the name of the company and the French tricolor on the case seems designed to imply that the horns are made in France. I'm sure that anybody who really wants to know can find the correct info online pretty quickly, but I also feel like it's a clear example of a company trying to create an image that is different from the reality. And obviously, Cannonball and others have done similar things.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    I didn't know Joe Lovano worked there!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dr G View Post
    Borgani - 100+ years of manufacture in Italy.

    http://borgani.com/en/gallery/history/






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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by MLucky View Post
    I didn't know Joe Lovano worked there!
    That's Giuseppe Lovano, please.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    Quote Originally Posted by MLucky View Post
    I didn't know Joe Lovano worked there!
    If you call that "working".

    I think he was there to pick up some new horns.



    Go for The Tone,

    g



    "When you are doing well, don't forget to do good." - Sichan Siv.

    As a Veteran for Peace, I am already against the next war.

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    Default Re: Handmade in Wherever: who really makes the saxophones you buy? (article link)

    It's all a function of trade law and gullible consumers. Trade laws are likely to get a shake-up in the next few years. As to gullible consumers, there was one born every minute when P.T. Barnum said that over 100 years ago. Now, it's one born every second.

    Country of origin labeling (COOL) is also over 100 years old, beginning in the US with the McKinley Tariff of 1890. As with any regulation, there are ways to get around it, even if it entails nonsense. One of the ways to do an end run was by using "value added." The importer adds 50% more value after the item enters the US, and it is no longer considered a foreign product (and can avoid tariffs and COOL requirements). This went on with mouthpieces for years. A woodwind business, say Woodwind Co. N.Y. orders some blanks from France. Some have the COOL stamp on them and some don't. WWCo. could easily claim that the facing value is greater than the blank value. Probably true in some cases, but it would depend on the amount of finishing that was done abroad. Rene Dumont "Paris" was the brand name of a U.S. wholesaler that bought pre-finished mouthpieces from US producers. "Paris" was probably claimed to be a model designation, not COOL compliance. In that case, using the word "Paris" was also hiding the country of origin, but the reverse of most, in that a "French" mouthpiece could fetch a better price.

    Enter the gullible consumer. I watched part of the video posted above. First, I have to chuckle every time I hear about a Cannonball saxophone. Why that brand name? A cannonball doesn't seem particularly musical, in fact, it's just the opposite. Anybody? That's right, Julian Edward "Cannonball" Adderley. He died in 1975. He endorsed products for others but (I'm guessing here) probably didn't trademark his name or leave heirs willing to fight over the trade use of his name. The name "Cannonball" was up for grabs and exploitation.

    Try marketing a made-in-Taiwan "Jimi" model guitar and you'll have a cease and desist letter in your email tomorrow from the legion of attorneys on retainer for the heirs of James Marshal "Jimi" Hendrix. And it's not the made-in-Taiwan part that is the problem. That's why I thought that marketing LesterSpit cork grease was funny (and perfectly legal). The name is available and there are no troublesome heirs. All I need is gullible consumers and no sense of personal shame. Check and check.

    Which is the other funny part of the video. Maybe as part of adding U.S. manufacturing value to the Cannonball saxophone, the "pearls" are installed here? But they aren't really pearls. One of the options is "Spiderman Jasper pearls." Apparently they hadn't done the research to find out that their market demographic would pay more for "Hello Kitty pearls."

    I love all aspects of marketing. Especially musical accessory merchandising.

    Mark

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