The Bamboo Saxophone (Xaphoon)

Let's take a look at the Xaphoon or bamboo saxophone.

Back in the 1970s, American musical instrument designer and producer, Brian Whittman, hand-crafted an amazing wind instrument out of bamboo that he called a xaphoon (pronounced "za-foon"). The instrument sounded extremely close to what a normal brass saxophone could offer, thus even today, it is often referred to as a bamboo sax.

This saxophone is undoubtedly a sight to see for all sax lovers. Usually around 12-13 inches in length, the bamboo sax can dish out keys C, B or D almost like a real sax. Of course, no one will take you seriously if you replace your brass tenor sax with a bamboo one in an orchestra, but there are several advantages that recommend the latter to anyone who wants to learn playing a sax.


bamboo saxophone (xaphoon)Bamboo Saxophone (Xaphoon)

First of all, the xaphoon is cheap. If you are a parent that wants to give your child some musical education or even if you want to start learning yourself, but don’t have that much money to invest in that, a bamboo saxophone will prove a good choice. If you get the hang of it, you might want to try a real saxophone out (although you should be warned that it’s a lot harder playing a brass one).

Most bamboo models have one full octave range and they can play both flats and sharps quite elegantly. A noteworthy fact is that because of it being reeded, it will dish out about 1 octave lower than what you would probably have expected from an instrument of those dimensions.

Brian Wittman (the Xaphoon's inventor) jams with Mark Stewart in a studio session. Listen below.

Besides these factors, the bamboo saxophone has a few more advantages for the average musical enthusiast. Its small size is great for travelers who want to take a singing instrument with them, for those nights around the fire, or for some road singing. A few years ago, a plastic version was introduced to the market, called the pocket sax. This is even smaller than its bamboo counterpart, thus even more suited for that role (however the tonality is quite different).

Go here to buy a bamboo saxophone. A Xaphoon XAPH Maui black pocket saxophone. There are other options available.

bamboo saxophones (xaphoons)

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