Saxophone Forum


by Jack Cici
(87 posts)
10 years ago

canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

i've heard info about cballs and some people say they're good and others say tghat they're junk. so what is the real deal with them? are tghey good or are they bad? can someone PLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSEEEE give me an answer. Thanks Jack

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  1. by YanagisawA-901
    (312 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

    get a yani..haha my yani with a v 16 sounds sooo nice..lol like a french horn or somthin.. peace!

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  2. by spottspidermunki
    (55 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

    here we go again..... the long and short of it- everyone has thier own opinions. some say the finish goes bad, others say it doesn't. some say sound is great, others disagree. this was a lengthy discussion a good while ago. maybe its still here somewhere. Joel

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

      Yeah, basically. Well, I won't hesitate to just jump right in, it's been a while sent this board has had a good grilling on this brand. Last time it got so bad a Cannonball rep came on and started defending herself(not very well might I add). Bottom line: If you want a sax that while last, sound good, and blend, don't even bother trying one out. I tried one a while ago, and it's probably the worst saxophone I've ever played in my life. I like the Yas-23 better, and it's about 600 dollars cheaper. t comes with this terrible grating jazz piece that doesn't blend at all; sticks out like a sore thumb, and it's uncontrollably bright. Also, within a few weeks, 100% of the finish was gone on all of the touch pieces that had finish. Palm keys, table keys, pinky keys, side keys...etc. So yeah, take it from someone who gave it a chance: Don't waste your time.

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      1. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

        since im tired of this subject, I will just say that everything he said is absolutely correct, plus a few other things.

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        1. by Cashsax
          (12 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

          The new ones are plenty good for the price ..I have three that I use for back ups and rough or dusty gigs..The tenor is well put together abeit a few rough edges..it's a '02 Big Bell and i'll whisper or scream without any complaint. It has a huge sound if you want it, and the scale is certainly acceptable (if you can play)..the action ain't bad and key placement is normal to my hands. I readily admit to a certain predjudice when I first heard of the CB horns, being a pro player most of my life I almost always played decent horns although I've played and inspected horns of every ilk. Anyway, after a brief honk in a local shop on a couple of newly arrived Big Bell Tenors a few yrs back... (one was silverplate and the other the Black stuff) ..I left the shop quickly without being particularly impressed at the time. My memory is jogged tho.. I do remember that first hint of massive power, I felt it, and the extremely bright almost out of tune palm keys..a little strange to me at the time. I also recall that I didn't look too closely but they were attractive for Asian horns and felt comfortable and reasonably solid. A year later: I needed a back-up Tenor in a hurry....in the meantime I'd heard better things about the CB, so I when I decided what the heck, I don't want to spend a ton of dough I'll take another look.. They had only one tenor hanging on the wall, a no lacquer job that had been well tested..well I didn't have time to fool around, and the guy said I could return it if I didn't like it..so $1300 and change later I was on my way to the gig.. Long story short I had the whole band and a bunch of the audience commenting on my tenor sound that night..well to be fair, I'd been playing my gorgeous workhorse silver VI tenor into the ground for months.. But man I was impressed right away with the horn in a real world onstage setting. And kinda blown away by the fact that a cheapo Asian deal could really nail it. I played the thing constantly for a year before a palm pad finally gave up the ghost...I figured these were decent back-up horns so I sprung for a matching unlac Big Bell Alto and then found a Silverplate RC Soprano for peanuts on Ebay that has actually proven to be a good-sounding,playable and worthwhile horn when I don't want to risk my beautiful series III soprano(can you say pool party).. Somebody named Rev/Bro (?) said it extremely well in a previous post ..he sounds very knowledgable about the construction aspects, the CB's do indeed have some rough edges but if you can play you'll probably dig the horn alot for what it is..And for a beginner or middleweight it's a lot of horn for the $$$ Just for the record, I ain't no Brecker, but I am a seasoned pro working full time in Vegas.. CBs have been maligned somewhat I think..I did encounter a very minor problem with the Brass neck on my Tenor.. I made one quick call and spoke directly with the Jefe..my problem was solved without hassle and they welcomed my feedback on the horns.

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      2. by Kitch22
        (98 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

        They aren't total junk, but on the other hand, they're nothing special. Underneath that fancy paint-job (which, in my opinion is almost cheap-looking) and a high f# sharp key, they're basically something like a Vito. From what I've heard, their durability sucks, but of all the people I know that own one, that's actually never been an issue. I played a CB alto for a week and didn't really like the tonal qualities, especially for legit. But who knows, the first chair tenor in my jazz band has one, and he sounds really good w/ it. You could do much better for the some-$2000 that they cost.

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

          you could buy the nicest new wonder II or true-tone or aristocrat you could imagine, then ahve at least 300 left over to spend on other stuff that you would have spent on the CB, and the sax would be exponentially better. dang, give me a 500 dollar conn anyday over the nicest playing cannonball - or 4 of them.

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          1. by Cashsax
            (12 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

            How true Saxman..i'm a vintage freak myself (I have plenty, mostly tenors)..but for a new modern no hassle horn for somene maybe not aware of the ups and downs of vintage axes, it ain't too bad..I certainly wouldn't spend my last $1300 on one either because of course I know better..My cherry and newly plated silver 10M tenor at $1600 was a steal and probably less than a new CB would cost.. but then the 10M doesn't come with customer service

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            1. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              It might, it depends on where you buy it from. A lot of shops will give customer service on vintage saxes.

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            2. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I want to say we sell them for around 2 grand. I asm no vintage freak, I dont have a problem buying a modern sax, causer there about heck, maybe 7 or 8 worth buying, but you pay a lot for that. And then the modern horns arent as versatile as the oldies, but the specialize in what they were designed for. But there is something that a vintage sax has that no modern horn has - all of us sax fanatics know what that is, but couldnt tell someone else what it is...heck, that quality as the best word I can think of to describe it right now is...ethereal. Heck, on most vintage saxes you wouldnt need customer service - the pads in them are either old, or perhaps the vacum pads, or snap in pads or marshmellow pads (some techs are doing restos with them now.) mostly pads that wont go out of adjustment.

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            3. by Jack Cici
              (87 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              you'll still have'nt answered my question, i just want to know the truth about them, are they good or bad?

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            4. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              VERY bad.

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            5. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Answered that in my first post, if you read it, pal.

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            6. by martysax
              (148 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Do the DC Pro Big bells have the same issues as the Cannonballs? They seem to have an identical line-up. I'm looking for a back-up to my bright-sounding '62 King Super 20. No section work, just cutting through the guitars and drums.

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            7. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              The CBs are great backup horns, as I said I play 3 of them..Last nite at the Strat in Vegas I peeled the paint with my BB tenor..the other tenor player after my first solo asked me what I was playing on, and commented on the full sound...As far as construction and durability go I've played the hell out of this tenor almost 2 yrs now and it's never seen a shop and still looks and plays like new. It's a very decent Jazz and section horn too ..For ref my main tenor is a silver VI with a Sterling neck usually Guardala mp..my other tenors for comparison to the CB are my '49 SBA tenor, a sterling bell super 20, a really fine Top Hat& Cane and of course I have a 10M..these give a good basis for a real world test of the CB sound compareds to these giants..so you be the judge..experience counts when judging any Sax, I often wonder the experience level the players are that make flat statements..are these guys depending on their horns for a living...week-end warriors..10th grade (??)..Hey no offense ,please!! but if you're really interested in a horn (CB) try a CB on your next gig.. if you don't dig it, hey that's cool too..total junk? IMHO they're certainly not.. ps I never met a yamaha I didn't hate (true story)

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            8. by mintyfreshjam
              (48 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              They're definatly not crap. Truth is, they play almost like a Selmer. There's a cat here where I'm at that's got one and it sounds good. If you're into the horn, get it. If you're not into the horn, don't get it. The idea is to find a sound that you like a stick with it. These guys that bash this horn bash it because they don't like it. If you take care of the horn though, the laquer won't come off. In fact, it'll last quite a long time. Don't take a lot of other people's opinions on them, just go and try one out. Before you buy any horn you should play test it to make sure that it's the right fit for you.

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            9. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Cashsax, wait about 6 years, whent eh yamaha starts to fall wear out, then wait another 14 when the damn thing is falling to pieces, then about another 5 when it is trash, see what you say then, or buy an 80 year old conn or buescher, and see what yout hink of those. And to mintyfreshjam, there are two possibilities here - one is that you ahve never played a selmer, and the second is that you have never play a cannonball. THe CB's, on sotw, (if you dont know, the dumb people factory.) are complimented from being so far from a selmer. And sound has very little to do with the horn - maybe 10 percent at best, the rest is the player pretty much - even mouthpieces contribute a rather miniscule amount when you cna consider what a respectalbe player can do on a m/p - though the m/p does have an effect no doubt, the player can control it to a fairly great degree. Me and golfer are both extremely critical of all saxes - hes critical of a few that I am not of, and I am critical on a few that he is not of. There are some things on my III that I can tell you right away I wish were different, but that doesnt change the fact that it is the best legit horn I have played yet. When in doubt, just remember - caveat emptor, anyone can talk as good as they want to about a piece of crap and it will still be a piece of crap - a German or french engineered whatever for example. Adn dont let the price interfere with your decision making - I would say, try a bunch of horns, find the one you liek best, see the price, if it is too much, go to the one you liked second best....

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            10. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I gotta buddy that plays a VII and it ain't crap. There's some things about the design that I wouldn't call improvements over the VI, but it's far from a crap horn. In fact, I think that the "VII is crap" crowd is just somehow sucked into the whole belief that if it aint a VI or an SBA that it sucks. Collectability and playability are only mildly connected. If it weren't for the hideous laser etching, I'd give Cannonball horns a fairly high rating for being a Taiwan horn. If only I could get one without etching and send it to Dumars for a custom engraving job... They play fine if they are set up well, I am finding. And as far as materials affecting sound, my feeling is that once you get past the mouthpiece, there's not much you can do to affect the character of the sound. Lacquered vs. no lacq might make a slight difference on a tenor or larger horn, but you wouldn't know it unless you played a horn then delacquered it and played it again before your reed dried off. Otherwise, it comes down to neck and body bore design.

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            11. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I tried to offer some solid info but it seems this discussion has dissolved into name calling.. VII crap...!!??..well IMHO that statement is pure crap. My VII Alto is a smokin horn with Sanborn or Desmond tone..mine is silverplate, an early engraved model. It's a work of art..My newer Selmers are also a Joy. I play Series II and III Sop and Bari. Incredible horns with no problems and tone and balls to spare. I know most saxes well and to answer the simple question are CB's junk?? I think not..no they're not a Selmer. Conn, King. JK etc or I suppose for those that love them, even the dreaded Yam**a's..For those players that really know (and can PLAY...) the CB seem to generally garner good reviews, fit finish and all.. I 've seen a "Monique" or two in my day and the CB definitely ain't one of those. Bottom line on the Cannonball ..? Bang for the buck yes..terrible horn... no.

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            12. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Maniac, I have neither a vi or a BA - so obviously I am completely unbiased and to cash - hmmm, the VII gives you a desmond tone? or perhaps a sanborn? hmm, interesting a sax isnt capable of giving you your own tone.

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            13. by johnsonfromwisconsin
              (767 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I played a VII tenor once, nice horn actually. It's ergos were a bit large for my hands, but it's action was nice and it was a nice, free blower. Didn't like it as much as the Series II or Ref 36, but it was right up there. Never tried a CB.

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            14. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Good point Saxman, but my sound certainly is my own, that was.just sort of a description about the horn's versatility of tone. It's a well rounded horn for sure the subtone is beautiful or you can really shout with the alt. I've never played a VII tenor.

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            15. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Yeah Cashsax, I do play for a living, and I do depend on my saxes, and I would NEVER depend on any cannonball and expect to get paid or stay in the band. To put it "flatly" as you put it, they stick out like a sore thumb, and are offensive in appearance and sound. They one thing I will give Cannonball though, is that They make one hell of a case. I think those must be American made, and they just import the saxes, because they are very protective and durable. There is NO WAY that I just heard someone compare a Cannonball to an SBA, a 10m, or a King Super 20 sterling bell(Adderly's sax!). I happen to have a Super 20 sterling bell that Cannonball used to play, and Cannonball Adderly would turn over in his grave if he saw these things being made in his name(wich I'm sure the have no permission to do, they probably just say it's name after an actual cannonball and get a away with it). So watch what you say or assume before you go saying something like that in a forum full of people you're never talked to.

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            16. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Also, saxmaniac never said the VII is crap, he said it wasn't, and defended it, apparently you read about half of that post. I actually like the VIIs, for the High F#s that are very hard to find original on a Mark VI. As for reminding me of Selmers, well the sound is nothing even close to a slight resemblenace, but I might see saying that a few construction characteristics may be reminiscent of the SeriesII; though the quality is not comparable. A Desmond or Sandborn tone? Typical of Vegas, I guess... Sorry for all the typos in the previous post, typing fast and not reading.

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            17. by Evola
              (3 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Well to answer your questions about the reliability, the sound, tone sturdiness, & the playability of the Canonball Horns. I am a professional musician & have been for 30 yrs. I own a Black Alto. I purchased it about 2 yrs ago. At first I had a hard time adjusting to the palm keys, now I love the horn. I have owned several horns & this is one of the best horns I have played. I play nightly & I guess you would call me a utility player. I play lead Alto & with the right combo. of mouthpiece you would believe the sound, the intonation of these horns. I think Tevis is really on to something when he created these horns.

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            18. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Golfer, as I recall saxman referred to the VII as "crap" not sax maniac..along with a dis of SOTW..very unfortunate as that's probably the best sax info site in the world.I myself have learned plenty on that site and met many fine and talented players wordwide. Far as your Vegas comment, I've been working here for a year now and met some great supportive cats and some real monster players.... BTW nice to meet eveyone.

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            19. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              YOu learn on sotw? no wonder you were wrong in such close succession.

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            20. by mintyfreshjam
              (48 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              It's a better way of learning than doing the exact opposite of what your teacher tells you to because you think you know everything.

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            21. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I know I know everything - at least when looking at someone who cant spell rousseau, thinks body material and finish on a sax is the main contributer to tone, thinks a mute is completely inneffective with a jazz piece cause "it just blows through." That makes the greater amount I know look almost like infinitum.

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            22. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              wrong about what?? tell me what you know..what is your experience level?

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            23. by Jack Cici
              (87 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              sop from everything i read im assunin that c.bs are bad. does everyone agree? if you dont agree, why do you think their good? thanks Jack

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            24. by Jack Cici
              (87 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              does anyone know if Borgani saxes are any good?

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            25. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              And yes Jack, that would be the general consensus. If you want to start a discussion of Borganis, do us a favor and make a new thread in the Equipment forum, because I'm tired of arguing over different brands. Everyone has the own informed(or unimformed) opinion, and it's a pointless battle to get the truth. You're just going to have to try them yourself.

              Reply To Post


            26. by spottspidermunki
              (55 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              everyone, might I make a suggestion? maybe we should take everyone's advice with a grain of salt. people that have been playing for as long as most of the posters in this thread all have valid opinions. maybe we don't agree, but putting people down doesn't help anything. in fact, it may scare away very legitimate and professional prospects, b/c they don't want to get flamed for voicing their opinions. so can we all play nice, agree or disagree, but don't flame in the posts. if somebody bothers you so bad, then email them. not everyone gets on a sax website to see the insult-trading. not pointing fingers, but i just think we've strayed from the original topic a bit to the individuals themselves. Joel

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            27. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Joel thanks for the fresh of breath air..if this thread is is read carefully and thoroughly it reveals the answer to CICI's Q. CB is not Junk.That being said. Golfers bitterness I now understand a little better..he let a guy steal his horn.

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            28. by golferguy675
              (600 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Cashsax, you just don't seem to get it. I strongly believe that cannonballs are "junk". They are bad horns. I would've given that horn away for 50 dollars. I wasn't worried about money. I knew it was probably worth more, I didn't care, because it was worth about 20 bucks to me. Are you just trying to stoke fires, or more bluntly put, people off and keep arguments going?

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            29. by Cashsax
              (12 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              No offense intended Golf, just my view of the subject..you know what opinions are like..sorry you had such a miserable experience with your horn..fortunately some of us have had success with the horns.

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            30. by PsuSax
              (25 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I'm with golfer, Cannonball horns are junk. They simply don't stack up to a professionally engineered saxophone. I have tried several since they hit the scene. I was waiting and waiting and waiting to be impressed. I still am not impressed by any Cannonball horn to this very moment in time. The only place they hold a niche is for people who are of the 'higher, faster, louder' mantra of thought. (aka, people who really should be playing lead trumpet not saxophone). The tone on these horns is worse than my old bundy II i got in 4th grade. The action is floppy and as nimble as pig in mud. The intonation.......well lets just leave this alone by saying I'd rather listen to 40 piccolos playing in unison. These horns hold no place among the professional grade horns of yesterday and today. It's like comparing a pinto to a lamborgini diablo; one has flawless engineering and workmanship......and the other will blow up if you get hit in the back.

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            31. by mintyfreshjam
              (48 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              OK, time to end this fued. Truth is, if you wanna know about the horns, go and play test it. Everyone has a different experience with every horn. If you don't like it when you play test it, then you don't like it. If you do like it when you play test it, then you like it. Just because your opinion differs from someone elses doesn't make you right or wrong. It's just your opinion.

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            32. by Evola
              (3 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I agree with you Minty. I believe everyone has thier own opion. I don't know where you are but I got my horns at Jim Scinimetti's Woodwind & Brass Repair. Jim highly reconmended canonball's. I don't know if you all heard of this shop but they were rated # 1 in america by several music magazines. They carry all the horns. Selmer, Yani, Yamaha, ect. Jim the owner has played them all & he believes as I do that Canonball's are the best. Not to knock the old standard the Mark VI, but if thats what you want & you have an extra couple of grand to lay down on a horn. Go ahead. Just my opion.

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            33. by SaxMan
              (559 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Mark vI is not a standard - people who want to play loud obnoxious, neo-jazz, dont say, hmm, I think I will get an early mark vI because it is just so loud, bright, lacking of tone body. They look for some jupiter or vespro - something rediculously bright - or cannonball to think of it. Any of the players that switched from a VI to a cannonball, are complete morons. Want to know why? They were only the mark VI before because it is the mark VI - no other reason, just because it has mark VI engraved on the bell. The sure as heck didnt play it for how it played, no, see if they liked the cannonball better than the mark VI, they obviously were NOT looking for anything remotely like a mark VI, and there were PLENTY horns out there before the CB came along that are, loud, hollow and bright, the cannonball just epitomizes those aspects is all. And im on some kind of medicine right now so I can't spell, or write or have proper syntax right now, so minty, nice try.

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            34. by Evola
              (3 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              Well Saxman I was just wondering why there is so much talk about one paticular horn. I know that there are plenty of load horns out there. I just have my own opinion about my horn. If you don't happen to like the way these saxes play or sound thats your opinion & in this country everyone has one. I just happen to think they've made great progress in the manufacture of saxophones. I know that most of them are now made over seas, atleast one of them though is assembled over here in Utah, & that is the Canonball.

              Reply To Post


            35. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: canonball saxes are they good or are they junk?

              I'm overlooking the diatribes here, but Cannonball saxophones do get a lot of love/hate postings when they get brought up. I think they are a good horn for the money if set up by a good tech. You don't have to spend too much more to get into a nice Yani or Yamaha, though. CB's don't have the refined Selmer sound, but they are bold on the order of some 10M's I've played. They are good horns if you can get past the fugly laser etching. They are not the bee's knees, and they are not junk.

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