Cool Stuff Being Made: How Saxophones Are Made

By September 16, 2006Cool Stuff Being Made

In the past, the Blogger in Chief has written about his musical instrument, the guitar, and why it is cool. I think he was wrong and so today, I’ve decided to talk about my musical instrument, the saxophone, and why it represents the height of cool and the peek of passion; along the way I’ll also show you how its made.

We would be remiss if we didn’t publically thank Rich Kleinfeldt of the Washington Saxophone Quartet, who is my sax instructor. Rich’s quartet is, without a doubt, the most famous quartet in the nation heard each and every day on NPR’s All Things Considered.

So, today’s video is actually broken up into two parts: how saxophones are made, and a bonus feature on the history of saxophones.

In this fifteen minute video it becomes obvious that saxophones are a work of art that combines experience, concentration, patience and manual dexterity. Some 500 parts go into the saxophone with 3000 separate operations. You’ll see how the parts get cut out and stamped from a brass sheet, how the bell takes shape, how a drill press creates the tone holes and how their placement results in a proper aerodynamic flow of air for more dynamic sound. Then, we watch how the keys are made from the stamping of a huge hydraulic press. Later, we learn how learn the important role of screws and how they get placed followed by much quality checking. Our tour concludes with each sax getting hand tested.

You’ll also want to watch the short video on how the saxophone was invented. In this video you’ll see why the saxophone is the product of inspiration, genius, jealousy, political intrigue, perseverance, and success-all in one. You’ll learn how it was an immediate success, owing in part to its unique sound based on the single reed, tapered conical bore. You’ll also learn when it was invented and why it didn’t take long for a million saxophones to be in use in the United States.

So, click here to watch this week’s video on How Saxophones Are Made.