Altone Solar Alto Saxophone

Altone-Solar-Alto-SaxophoneThe market is still awash with cheap imported saxophones, mostly from mainland China. So much so, that you begin to wonder whether the saxophone hasn’t taken over from the ubiquitous guitar as the most popular instrument in the eyes of every budding young musician. Like the guitars, if you take the time to sort through the myriad of makes and models, every so often you can turn up a real peach of an instrument. The Altone Solar is one such surprise. At just a whisker over 200 quid you wouldn’t expect that much for your money – but you’d be wrong. The Solar’s keywork is excellent and I was particularly impressed by the positioning and fluidity of the palm keys. The nylon thumb rest is a nice touch, as are the recessed nylon touch pieces and the whole instrument comes with a very positive action.

Intonation is good and there is a greater dynamic range than we had expected. Amazingly the Solar carries metal reflectors, which at this price point must be a first. The overall sound is perhaps more orchestral than jazz. But hey, this is a starter instrument and there is nothing better than a tonal match for the school band. And just for the record, Altone also produce a soprano. There is no question in my mind that the Altone range is poised to give instruments retailing at twice the price a good run for their money. Particularly as it comes with a pre-formed, plush lined, nylon denier covered semi-hard case with a 3/4 zipper and full length zippered face pocket, together with top and side grab handles and a lightweight back harness. It all adds up to a real steal.

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