Thursday, January 22, 2009

Got My Xaphoon...

So my xaphoon came in the mail. It's actually pretty cool.

I can make it make sounds pretty easily, but it is a bit different than what I remember from my old alto saxophone days. For one, the mouthpiece needs to be quite a bit further into the mouth than the old sax did. It's also a bit larger, so it's taking a bit of getting used to in that aspect. Also, I've lost the ability to hold a not because the muscles in my cheeks and such aren't at all what they used to be. I have trouble getting the instrument to go from the higher notes to the lower notes. Not anything that I don't think I'll be able to get the hang of with a few practice sessions.

The finger chart is also VERY different. Different enough to the point where it doesn't seem to make any sense to me. There are notes that require completely different fingerings than what I would think would be normal. That's something that I can work around, as well. I just need to get "alto saxophone" out of my mind...for instance, I'm so used to scales with the saxophone going from mid G to a higher G, where as the xaphoon goes from a low C to a mid C. That's completely different than anything that I've ever known in music. So I just need to get past those things...basically, I need to realize that this thing is NOT an alto saxophone.

The last thing that might be a bit of an issue is the fact that my fingers seem almost too large for the instruments holes. Of course, it might just be they don't move the way that they used to...and I also need to get used to the different way of holding the instrument. I think, once again, it's something that I can get used to pretty quickly, just need to take some time to practice it a bit.

All in all, the thing is pretty cool. For $50 shipped, I can't really complain. It's a fun instrument to play, and I look forward to trying to learn to make it flow really well. I need to order myself a jazz background mix so that I can have something to play along with. A couple of other things of note, the thing is made of a really tough plastic, so it can be used to just bang on things. The manual actually suggests using it as a drum stick when you need some percussion. It also suggests using the reed protector as a tool for using the whole thing like a washboard instrument. The thing basically suggests just using the xaphoon however you deem necessary, because the instrument is so new that there aren't really any "accepted" ways to use it!!!

I think that I may try to get one of the nice bamboo xaphoons for Christmas next year. I like the plastic one, but the bamboo one has an element of "cool" that the plastic one could never have.

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