The Plastic Fantastic Sax

This odd little thing is perhaps one of the most primitive saxophones on the planet. This particular one measures 19.5" from the tip of the mouthpiece to the end of the "bell" and plays exactly one octave in the key of C. Rather than a conical bore, it has a stepped bore starting with 1/2" CPVC mouthpiece expanding to 1/2" PVC to 3/4" PVC finally to 1" PVC. I thought I was very clever when I concieved of this instrument. However, soon enough I realized somebody had beaten me to the punch. It turns out that this design is nearly identical to the beautiful Bamboo Saxophones of Ángel y Mariana Sampedro del Rio. Only mine has that real Home Depot vibe going for it (like all my stuff).

Here you can see some detail. The pipe segments are friction fit together using the boiling water method as on the $5.00 Clarinet. The tape covers up test finger holes.


This is a project I'm throwing out to you all. The mechanics of how a stepped bore sax works has me truly perplexed. Overblowing the tonic note, in this case C, gives a C one octave higher as expected. However, every other note absolutely will not overblow. Some things I've tried are register holes in different positions, finger holes in different sizes and positions. My goal here was to make a six hole sax that was fingered exactly like a pennywhistle. Thus far, my goal has eluded me. The sound is quite pleasant, even authentic. But with a range of only one octave, even someone of my limited skills can make very little use of it.

Back to FolkUrban Music

Any questions?