P. Mauriat PMXA-67RUL Alto Sax

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This unlacquered Mauriat has to be the most stylish sax that I have ever laid eyes on – I’ve forgotten all about that 65 Mk6! The engraving on the body is tasteful and not overstated and the finishing is superb – you only have to look at the top post. Indeed, this alto has "class" written all over it, with an unlacquered surface that will tarnish with time, giving the instrument a rich golden brown vintage appearance, and that’s before you’ve even blown a note! The keywork is very similar to the Selmer Mk 2 series and is well sprung with no play in any of the mechanisms, while the action is very positive, with perfectly positioned palm keys and excellently balanced table keys. With a Rico Royal 3 securely fitted to the Mauriat mouthpiece, there is immediately plenty of character and body to the sound, and a gloriously wide dynamic range that comes with very little effort. The instrument is very responsive – the bottom end having the trademark Mauriat warm-centred tone, while the top has a slight edge and bite to it.

Harmonics are crystal clear and pop out using the Selmer fingering and with rolled tone holes (standard on Mauriats), the intonation on this instrument was spot on. The octave key had a great deal of travel on it, which surprised me, but I’m sure that’s something that the individual player could easily get used to. Coming in a shaped, plush lined, semi-hard Denier-covered zippered case, with two large zippered side pockets, nylon feet, rubberised "grab" handle, standard handle and adjustable shoulder strap, there is plenty of cushioned cover to keep it from getting biffed and banged in transit.

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