I am pleased to endorse Sequoia Tenor Saxophones, by Roberto Buttus and Marcel Jansen
a- Why I decided to endorse it:
1- Mr. Buttus himself. Excellent repairer with a past as a professional musician: he knows his stuff.
2- I tried the instrument out of curiosity, and I fell in love with it immediately. When compared it with other horns, I decided I had to have it.
3- They don’t spend money in marketing: it means you pay for the saxophone, not for the ads.
4- It is exactly the instrument I need: flexible, professional, pretty affordable.
5- The guy is really funny and he comes from a peculiar area called Friuli (North-East Italy). Surprisingly they have to borrow the word “happy” from Italian since it does not exist in their local language. Their best culinary achievement is called “Brovada”: an imitation of sauerkraut (this is all true), but they generally have a quite strong working ethos.
6- Very little information about the brand on the internet. I am more than happy to help. They deserve to be seen on this side of the Channel.
b- About the brand:
1- Mr Buttus and Mr Jansen are the owners. They are both repairers. Mr Jansen lives in Belgium, Mr Buttus in Italy.
2- Instruments are made in Taiwan under original designs. They are not stencils. Parts of the keywork can be common to other brands, but the main body is exclusive and original. Staff at the factory is regularly trained by them in order to mantein the exceptional standards.
3- They do the tone hole drawing personally, in Taiwan, setting the main bodies for the whole production (a limited number of instruments are made every year).
4- Due to their passionate approach, they do not invest in marketing. Some German reviews can be found on the web.
5- In Britain, the brand’s name, it is difficult to pronounce. Being a Native American word, it might be easier across the pond.
c- About my specific horn:
As you can guess, it was like being in toyland. I could just pick up the one I liked more among a dozen tenors, but I have been good: I picked up the one that goes noticed.
1- I chose the unlacquered model, with lacquered keywork. I feel it plays better than the basic lacquered (that is the real bargain), but not such a huge difference. Lacquered keywork is actually a very smart choice to prevent wear.
2- It is sold with two necks, to be chosen among yellow brass, rose brass, silver plated. I have all three of them, will report later.
3- It has no high F#! He only had two specimens like this. They sound almost exactly like the ones with high F#, but they get noticed.
4- The unlacquered model has a name unsuitable for the English speaking market. An alternative needs to be found. Suggestions welcome.
5- It is a tenor, because there is a bigger market, but their soprano is truly incredible.
d- Where to buy:
This is the odd bit. The plan is to find some suitable UK shops or distributors for their products. They would like to keep a fixed price policy all over Europe.
His own online shop will be setup shortly, but to opportunity of trying them would boost the business.
Please, feel free to contact me to answer your questions and to receive reliable and practical advice, should you decide to travel to their workshop. I am also available to meet any potential distributor.
More in the offline shop…
Some audio clips recorded with my Sequoia tenor saxophone.