Where are all of the bass saxophones going?
If you haven’t been watching ebay for the last few years then you’ve missed out on the influx of Chinese made horns. These horns have taken the beginner market by storm. So much so much so that the traditional manufacturers have been priced out of the marketplace. Big producers like Yamaha, Yanigasawa, and Keilwerth still produce student horns but I am sure they sell them at a much lower rate than before. Whereas Selmer has chosen to take advantage of the Asian production capacity and have a line of student horns made by Taiwanese manufacturer under the brand La Voix.
With Asian manufacturers improving the quality of their builds it was only a matter of time before they would produce a bass saxophone, and boy did they. Asian manufacturers choose to copy the “French wrap” a la Selmer and the more classic Buescher/Conn style. Regardless of which style you prefer the fact that new production of these behemoths and at a price which is “affordable” is the best news of all.
If you hop to ebay and search you will find an average of 2 to 3 new Asian made bass saxes available and usually a single vintage Conn or Buescher. Now I don’t assume they are all sold but if we average 2 to 4 a month there should be a large pool of these beasts sitting in peoples homes. To that end, how is it that they are not showing up in recordings either. Colin Stetson, James Carter, and Bert Bandsma are some of the best known bass players currently playing these horns but they can’t be the only ones.
With that in mind, if you have and/or play bass saxophone please let us know what you do with yours. Please share the type of music you play with it and how it is received by your audience if you play in front of others. Let’s do what we can to bring this beast to the forefront and make it less of a gimmick and more of a valued member of the saxophone family.