Is this even important? Not sure, but here goes:

Present set-up (April 2019)


SML Gold Medal II : Vandoren V16 A7S+ mouthpiece : Hemke 2.5 reeds : Vandoren cuir ligature

King Zephyr Special : Vandoren V16 A7M mouthpiece : Hemke 2.5 reeds : BG standard ligature


Yanagisawa S991 : Otto Link ebonite 6 mouthpiece: Hemke 3.5 reeds : Vandoren flexible ligature


Buffet R13 Privilege : Vandoren M30-13 mouthpiece : Vandoren V12 3.5 reeds : Vandoren cuir ligature

The equipment minefield. You can’t ignore it, but it can distract you from getting on and playing, if you’re not careful. I can’t stop looking at saxophones, particularly altos. I have a non functioning Pierret Competition alto that I will get overhauled at some point. I have my eye on a Leblanc System alto.. having played one before and finding it fantastic.. previously a Selmer Balanced Action fan, but these horns are getting ridiculously priced.. My third alto (circa 1990) was a Yamaha 62 purple logo, and I may try and seek one out again.. the trouble wtih saxes is that you need to try them with a number of mouthpieces in order to hear what they can do. The SML Gold Medal seemed a little subdued with the Vandoren V16 A7M mouthpiece, but on the suggestion of Tom at Howarth’s in Baker Street, I tried a V16 A7S+ and hello… cheque book out straight away.. body and cut, miene herr.

Just out of interest: past altos:: Conn Pan American, Conn 6M, Yamaha YAS62, Selmer Series III, Selmer Balanced Action (silver plated and lacquer), Selmer Mark VI, Yanagisawa A992, Yamaha 82Z, Yanagisawa 901, Yanagisawa 990, King Zephyr III… that’s about it.

Update: have now got a Leblanc System 100 alto which is fantastic. So, goodbye to one of the other altos..