Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Powell Silver Eagle Saxophone

For me this is rather exciting news and perhaps for anyone who is a fan of the classic American saxophones.  For the first time in over 20 years, a new premium grade professional saxophone is being made in the USA.  This new saxophone is designed by Mike Smith, who by the way had a hand in the design of the Buffet 400 line, with parts manufactured by Powell, the eminent flute maker, and the the body, bell and neck manufactured and the assembly to be done at the E.K. Blessing factory in Elkhart, Indiana, the center of brass and woodwind manufacturing in the US, and the original home of the great companies like Conn, Buescher and Martin. 

The Silver Eagle resembles the classic King Super 20 Silversonic in appearance.  Like the King and also The Martin, the tone holes, rather than being drawn from the existing metal of the body as most saxophones, are soldered onto the body and bell from holes cut into it.  Both King and Martin did this.  This adds weight to the body and increases its resonance, and it is also what Powell does with their flutes.  However, The Martin used soft solder, and the drawback is that over time, moisture can cause what is called galvanic corrosion, which eats away at the soft solder and forms cracks where the tone hole meets the body, which cannot be detected with the eye and often even with a leak light.  Quite often, all the keys of The Martin must be removed and the body put in a bath in order to see where the air bubbles are escaping in order to detect the leak, a costly and lengthy procedure.  When this happens, the tone hole must be removed, the tone hole cleaned before it can be re-soldered onto the body.  The Powell Silver Eagle, like the King Super 20 and Powell flutes, braze the tone hole onto the body, or in other words, hard or silver soldered, which prevents galvanic corrosion from occurring.

Like the classic King Super 20, the neck utilizes an underslung octave key, which means that when the neck is put on and removed, there is no contact,or should be no contact with the octave key, preventing any damage or misalignment.  Yanigasawa also employs this type of octave key.

The Powell Silver Eagle, like the King Super 20 Silversonic, has a Sterling Silver bell and neck.  The inner bell is a gold wash, like many of the classic American horns of the 20's-50's.  There is also an all gold lacquer model that is available.
It comes with a high quality hard case, and high quality accessories such as key retainers, Rico reed case, a box of Rico Jazz Select reeds, Rico neck strap, Rico cork grease, and a Meyer 6M mouthpiece, which has been the mouthpiece I've been using for nearly 30 years.
There is more I could say, but you can get more detailed information from the links below.  What I will say is that it's about time that a first class saxophone is once again being made in the USA.  I am itching to play one of these, and I can't wait to.  If I get the chance, I will do a complete review.

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