Howarth's Chiltern Black Lacquer Alto Saxophone

HOWARTHS-CHILTERN-BLACK-LACQUER-ALTO-SAXOPHONEHowarth's of London have recently decided to source their own range of saxophones from Taiwan and if our sample from the first batch is anything to go by, they seem to have made all the right moves. The Chiltern is an extremely elegant alto horn, with pearloid buttons to the keys and plenty of decorative engraving that even runs on to the lip of the bell. The overall balance is excellent and the black lacquer on our sample was flawless. With very similar keywork to a Selmer series 2 and a really positive action together with double action bars on the bottom C, it’s a really comfortable player, particularly in the lower register.

Further up the stack, I liked the positioning of the palm keys and the table is super smooth and particularly easy to manipulate. With the house Rousseau mouthpiece fitted with a 2 1/2 Vandoren reed, the Chiltern produces a good, solid, edgy sound, with a big, powerful bottom end. Articulation and separation is excellent and the harmonics pop out effortlessly. There is a good dynamic range with exceptional clarity in the top register and when played softly, this instrument produces a beautiful sweet and smooth tone. The Chiltern would fit easily into most musical situations, be it a big band, small combo or a full classical orchestra. It ships in a snazzy, zippered hard shell, moulded, plush lined case with ‘D’ rings for a shoulder strap and a solid nylon grab handle. Highly recommended.

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