As the cost of importing and manufacturing saxophones has increased, the prices of most saxophones have jumped up quite significantly. That can also be said of the Taiwanese professional horns, whose main advantage over Japanese and European horns has been their cost-effectiveness. Throughout all of this, however, the Cannonball T4 series has shone. Not only by being some of the most unique and fantastically fun horns to play but by keeping their costs down to a reasonable place.
Cannonballs are the quintessential all-American saxophone. They're bold, big, unashamedly loud and packed full of personality. Whichever finish you might prefer, from an elegant gold lacquer to the “Mad Meg” unlacquered right through to the striking black nickel plating, your Cannonball will feel responsive thanks to excellent key work, be plenty free-blowing allowing for a massive sound for less work, and project beautifully thanks to a flared bell and wide bore.
It’s not just in the finish that Cannonball’s stand out. Rather than using traditional mother-of-pearl key touches, Cannonball uses semi-precious stones. These “power stones” are said to imbue the horn with a little extra spirituality. Whether you believe in this is up for debate, but what it certainly does is add extra weight to give that little bit extra resonance, as well as compliment the overall look of the horn, creating a truly unique saxophone.
The Cannonball T4 series is not too dissimilar to the T5 series (the upper professional horns are exclusive to Sax.co.uk in-store purchases only). The only real difference in fact is the number of additional power stones and only having one neck in the box instead of the two found with T5s (the other neck, called the "fat neck" is an absolute monster FYI). Other than that, the saxophones are fundamentally the same. Both have a huge sound, are incredibly responsive and will be bundles of fun to play.
Above all, the Cannonball T4 series is affordable, costing between £2300 - £2600 at the time of writing depending on which finish you prefer. That is well over £1000 less than its contemporaries. When you consider that Cannonball has recently upgraded their cases from the incredibly impractical (if super cool) alligator skin-style wooden coffins to a more modern and slick backpack case, you would be hard-pushed to find a horn at this price point that gives you as much as the T4s do.