Excerpts from real users' letters

(Have a story of your own?  We'd love to hear about it!  Send it to stories@xaphoon.com)


"This has got to be the best investment I have ever made in a musical instrument!!!I played first clarinet in high school band for six years and even in college. After college I purchased a tenor saxophone. Now I have the best of both worlds with my Maui Xaphoon and the best part is it is so versatile that can carry it in your pocket. And what a rich mellow sound for such a small instrument. In August my wife and I were in Maui for our fortieth anniversary so I got another one in green. Best purchases I have ever made and you cannot beat the price!!!!" - Gerry Peck


Your work, Mr. Wittman, has truly filled a void within my soul. I cannot describe to you what it is like to be able to play music again with confidence after all these years. I feel like a man in a wheelchair who suddenly learned to walk. The Xaphoon has changed my life, by giving me back a piece of myself. I look forward to being able to afford a low G in a couple of months, and cannot wait for the sound. 

Thank you, from the depth of my soul for your life's work. I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Aloha, Dave Eaton


Mr. Wittman, the Xaphoon is awesome. I have played the recorder and the Penny whistle but never a reed instrument. I saw the Xaphoon advertised in the Christmas flyer of a local music store and researched it online. I decided to buy it when I heard it played on YouTube. However, some of the comments on how difficult it is to get a sound gave me some pause.

 Got it five days ago, took it out of the box and couldn't get a single note out, read the booklet and accidentally got my first note about ten minutes later. It was flat but it still brought joy to my heart. Today, I have learnt my third song and the sound is getting better.

It is not an easy instrument to master even though the videos make it look very easy. Having said that, it isn't overly difficult to learn the basics. All anyone needs is to add practice. If I can do it, anyone can.

This is going to be my constant companion and I plan to get a bamboo sax once I start playing a lot better. Thank you for bringing the Xaphoon into my life.

Regards, Sharath   Somasundaram, Ontario, Canada


7 weeks ago I was playing at Symphony Hall as a duo with Paul Simon w/ Don Henley sitting in. It was for Don's charity supporting the wildlife preserve surrounding Walden Pond. All my life I have heard of the perfect acoustics of Symphony Hall in Boston & listened to countless recordings made there as well. So when I walked in it was with a deep respect for the place. 
It was all but completely silent and Paul walked across to stage right to speak with some of the crew that were waiting for us to do our "Simon & Stewart" soundcheck.

As I approached the lip of the stage I was aware of the phantom presence of all those performers that helped shape that remarkable room over the last 100+ years, and truly humbled by the fact that on this night it would be Paul & myself contributing our sounds to the remarkable collection of folks.

Without even thinking I placed my xaphoon to my lips, took a deep breath and played the theme from the last movement of Brahms' 1st Symphony. It was my way of paying respect to a hallowed room. It sounded so beautiful in that space & I rose to the occasion, playing that long perfect line better than I ever have before. As the last notes faded I was suddenly aware of a person standing quite close to me on my right. I turned and looked into the face of Don Henley, a man I had only seen on my Eagles album covers back in the 70's. Looking at the instrument I had just taken from my lips he simply said, "what the f*%! is that?" It was certainly the best introduction I could have had to a guy who is not known as the most approachable of folks, and we were immediately colleagues. The evening of music was beautiful & Don sat in with Paul & me on 3 songs. At the end of the night he made sure he got all the info about the xaphoon/pocket sax before saying so long. 

For me, my love of the thing never seems to fade.

- Mark Stewart


"I'm not really a reed guy, starting on brass then shifting to penny whistles and recorders, but this thing is a blast to play. I ordered the D and G because they jive better with the Celtic scene some friends are part of. It's a clever little thing, I never would have thought to look for a compact, portable sax, but after playing around a bit, I'm hooked. Thanks for helping make the world a more musical place." - Brian D. Strenko


Hello,   I just wanted to drop you a quick line to let you know I just received a Xaphoon I'd ordered on something of a whim. Honestly I didn't expect a whole lot out of it. I mean, it's inexpensive and made of plastic, how good could it possibly sound?

Well, as it turns out, really, really good! (but I'm sure that's no surprise to you)   I've never played woodwind before, so it's definitely going to take some work, but even at this early stage (about 90 minutes since I first picked it up) I can tell that when there's a problem with the sound it's my technique, and not the instrument, because I can always tell when I've nailed it and get the perfect sound.   This thing is just brilliant!

I can't believe what a great tone and range it has for it's tiny little size, and it's so sturdy and portable too! I love that you included a cap to keep the reed safe, that means I can just throw it in my backpack and take it with me, and even in a worst case scenario where it got lost or stolen it's not like it's a $4000 sax or something. I hope to get good enough to make it worth taking this on a few camping trips this summer, which isn't something I'd even consider doing with most instruments.  

It's also something of a blessing that it's not super loud, as that means I don't have to subject my neighbors to all the squeaking and honking while I get my technique down, and if I ever need more volume out of it, well, that's what mics and amps are for.  

Also, one last thing, the statement in the included booklet that "It's a brand new instrument, there are no rules" made me very happy. Personally, I think that's absolutely the right way to approach music!  

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got some Xaphoonin' around to do :)   Thanks, from a very happy customer :D  

- Richard in Seattle.


Just a quick note  to let you know I have recently acquired the Pocket Sax.  I was not really expecting that much.. but I have to say, I am KNOCKED OUT!  It seems nearly miraculous that SO much Sound could come out
of such a petite instrument!!  I am primarily a Guitarist and Bassist, but have always been intrigued by Woodwinds... There is such a unique connection  between the player and the instrument when one powers it w/ one's own breath.  Kudos to you for engineering and producing such a Cool instrument at such an amazingly reasonable price!!  -Tim Moran

Just yesterday, a long-lost friend came back into my life.  We have been separated now for well over 20 years�it�s been so long I cannot remember the last time we were together.   Of course, I speak of my Maui Xaphoon.

I purchased this from Brian when I was on Maui.  Hearing him play it enchanted me.  At the time I thought it would be a �toy� instrument, and would not last long being made from �bamboo�.  Once I started playing it, I realized that as life decisions go, this was one of my best.

To anyone contemplating getting a Xaphoon, I urge you not to hesitate.    It�s everything people say and more � because every owner creates unique experiences with it.   Thanks to Brian and all at Maui Xaphoon � your pursuit of your passion has kept the fires burning in many others.   -John Scalzo


Dear Xaphoon folks,

I've had my Xaphoon for about 3 weeks now, and I KNOW by far it's the most wonderful instrument I've ever played. I taught myself how to play clarinet about 2 years ago, and I've been an almost compulsive recorder player for about 3 years, so when at a dinner party a woman told me about a bamboo saxophone...well I had to find out what this was all about!

After looking through google.com using those keywords, I happened upon Xaphoon.com, and I knew I had found something remarkable. I remember calling EVERY music store in town asking them if they'd ever heard of a bamboo saxophone or a thing called a Xaphoon, but no one had ever heard of it. One store even advised me AGAINST buying something like that online since they had never heard of it. I resisted their advice, went with my intuition and decided to buy it.

I remember feeling a little angst afterwards, so I emailed the webmaster to find out how long this thing was going to take to get to my house. He replied the same day and was very friendly (told me about 3 to 5 business days with the standard postal rate you can choose).

In the last few weeks, I've become a lot like the guy in your testimonial who's been playing for 15 years. Wow! I play wherever I can get the chance, and I've already started getting gigs playing at local clubs. It's not a very hard instrument to learn, and even the higher register can be found with some practice.

As for the timbre...what can I say? You can make it sound like a saxophone...especially under bridges or anywhere else the acoustics are good, you can make it sound more like a clarinet, and guess what? If you really play with it, you can make it sound a LOT like a flute! Talk about opening entire worlds of music genres with one inexpensive instrument.

By the way, if you've never played in public, you'll be amazed how many people want to talk with you...want to meet you. It's truly a fantastic way to connect with other musicians, to meet new friends and dare I say have fun meeting ladies too? Sure! It makes people smile, and that's what I love about it.

Steven....Albuquerque, New Mexico USA


I recently bought from you serial number 8103 Signature Series Xaphoon. It is a truly magnificent instrument.  I initially bought it as a way of practicing for the regular saxophone which I have been playing for more than 20 years.  With its profoundly beautiful tone, expressive capability, portability and uniqueness, the Xaphoon has now replaced the saxophone as my primary instrument. It is an absolute joy to play, covering two full chromatic octaves and more. Thank you for your creation which brings such wonderfully sweet music out of a humble length of bamboo and a slither of cane!

Michael Ward


WOW!  This is such a cool and portable instrument that now goes everywhere with me.  I taught myself how to play a few instruments in the past (guitar, drums, clarinet, sax, harmonica, and keyboards) but this by far is the FASTEST to learn on!  Of course it helps having some experience with sax and clarinet but my own kids picked it up and played it after a few minutes of squeals. BRAVO!  This ROCKS!!  So now it goes everywhere with me (even to work where i played for my co-workers and shocked them.  They were expecting it to sound like a cheap recorder).  And all who ask will be sent to your website!

Thanks for making the Xaphoon and selling them at an affordable price.

Tracy Clinger


I am in rehearsals with Paul Simon & Art Garfunkel for the tour this summer in Australia, New Zealand & Japan. 2 Xaphoons are in use during the sets. One regular style in "C" & the big boy in "G". Both are really humming beautifully.  Paul, Art, the Band & Crew are all just knocked out every day by these humble giants. Just wanted to pass along thanks and respect to you Gary and the Maker (of these fine beasties).

- Mark Stewart


I have never played a wind instrument before.  I am a self taught Ukulele player just learned this past year.  I saw your Xaphoon online and had to have one.  Your instruction book is fantastic and in about 20 minutes I was able to get sweet sounds from it.  - Don L. McCoy (Emmy Winner)

I've grown accustomed to taking my xaphoon where ever I go, so of course it was with me when I was helping at a local event watching kids while parents shop. A couple of times a child would approch me and ask "Hey Mister, whats that?" after explaining what it was, they would ask me to play. Now generally only one would come up, and I would play a little tune for them, but a couple of times through out the day I would finish the song and look up to be surrounded by a small ocean of kids listening! After one such performance I recall the kid saying "That was really pretty mister." before running off to play with his friends. So to you kind gentlemen who have brought the xaphoon into everyones lives, thank you. You have certainly brought smiles to many, many faces!

-Max Dawson


I got my xaphoon last night. All I can say is wow! I know it's just plastic with some holes in it, but I'd swear that it speaks to me.

I used to play alto sax and was pretty good. I gave it up and sold it when my son was born because it was too loud. I took up harmonica and blues mandolin (because I have to play something) and while I love it, the smooth sound of a saxophone has always held a special place in my heart.

Now I have that sound back and more with my Xaphoon.  I do not think it sounds just like a saxophone, but it has that buttery smoothness that a sax has.  If you want to know the truth, I like the sound of the Xaphoon better. It's not as bright and seems more capable of producing subtle variations in tone.

I know the Xaphoon is often marketed as a stepping stone toward "a real reed instrument" or "great for beginners". For me, it's not a stepping stone. It is my real instrument.

Thank you for making it.

Regards, Mike McAtee


The Xaphoon is the ipod of reed instruments - portable, versatile and just plain awesome. I am playing it every day - I have to - in many ways the feeling is similar to starting smoking, I just have to stick something in my mouth several times a day for a few minutes, and it feels great.  Thank you for your work creating this instrument!  - William from Copenhagen

I want to spent a few of my time to say thanks a lot, because i bought a xaphoon only for play some melodies when i'm bored and now, a month after the bought, i can't live without it! I had never played a reed instrument before, but the xaphoon is really fascinating and with a few of practice and patience is easy to use! I hope that the world will appreciate more this fantastic instrument. Matteo from Italy!

What a GREAT INSTRUMENT!  I absolutely LOVE IT!  Thanks so much!  I've been a musician for 40 years now.  It will make a great addition to all of my other instruments.

-Frank Listner


Dear Xaphoon folks,

I bought my Xaphoon in Switzerland last July, and I have been playing it every day religiously.  I love its unique sound and the different colors it brings to music.

Anyways, I was in my hometown and there was a homeless man about to jump off a bridge, and there were cops every where and they could not convince him to step away from the ledge. I had my Xaphoon right there with me (because of its convenient size) and I began playing one of my favorite tunes, "What is Love" by Haddaway. He heard its beautiful tone and stepped away from the ledge and walked to the unemployment center and got in line.

That is the power of the Xaphoon.

- Henry Koperski, Grand Rapids, MI


Wow! Very interesting!  I'm a music teacher and just got mine for my birthday. My background is not in orchestral music, but it's been surprisingly easy to pick up. The reed takes a little getting used to; the only wind instrument I've played is the recorder with my students. 

- Allie McGuire


I just received my Xaphoon today and I must declare that I am extremely impressed.  I purchased the Bb Signature Bamboo Xaphoon and was immediately pleasantly surprised at the wonderful craftsmanship and beauty of the instrument.  The photographs on the Xaphoon website do not do justice to how handsome the instrument is in person.  My wife has been an alto saxophone player since middle school and she gave the Xaphoon a spin first.  Within a couple of blows she was getting a big full tone out of the thing that was as smooth as butter and resonant.  The sound clips on the web page do not translate how well the tone of the Xaphoon can fill a room without sounding shrill.  Honestly, I was concerned when I purchased the product that I had spent over a hundred dollars on a glorified kazoo.  Not at all.  Xaphoon is a legitimate instrument! In the right hands it sounds a lot like a saxophone in the middle and upper ranges and saxophone/bass clarinet like in the lower register.  The good news-it is all beef.

I have been a keyboard player and guitar player for years.  Xaphoon is my first reed instrument.  With some assistance from my wife and some loosening of the reed, I was able to blow some decent tones after about 15 minutes of practice.  In summary, I am totally shocked at the quality of the tone of this instrument.  It will take some time to learn to play songs well as this is a real instrument.  However, because the tone is so righteous, it will definitely find a home in future recording sessions in my home studio.  Moreover, I am excited to take this instrument with me when I travel.  Kudos to Brian for taking the bamboo sax to a new level beyond what you hear in traditional music like Mento.  His invention is truly a modern marvel!

Best regards, Guy A. Bryant


My wife accuses me of falling in love with my Xaphoon.  I play it almost every day.  I can't tell you how much pleasure I get having an instrument near me that I can play and practice on.

The Xaphoon paradox is that it makes you smile and it?s not possible to play and smile at the same time.  It usually results in the kids and me rolling on the floor in laughter.

We are very happy with the Xaphoon!  It really has enhanced our lives.

-Patrick Green


 

Hello.

I just got my Xaphoon today, and I must say that it's a truly amazing instrument that I'm already quite in love with.

I think I first heard of it half a year ago when I was doing some research into getting a new professional-grade recorder, but didn't think anything more of it until just over a week ago. I've been playing the recorder on and off again the last 9 years, and have started getting back into it again now after a long hiatus. Looking into what else is out there in the world of woodwinds, I again stumbled upon reviews on this little marvel referred to as the bamboo saxophone, and from some of the testiomonials I read, I was so intrigued that I almost immediately ordered one.

It's my first reed instrument, and although I have tried getting sound out of a soprano saxophone, I found the Xaphoon a lot easier to play - and amazingly rather similar in power of sound to what is an instrument many times its size and not to mention weight.

Getting the embouchure right for the lower register took me less than 15 minutes, and an hour later, I was playing improvised pieces from C to A. Being used to recorder fingering, the B will take some getting used to, and so will some of the semi-tones, but I'm sure that by the end of next week, I will be playing the same tunes that I love to play on my recorders, and they will sound even better.

Hearing someone say that the plastic version was easier to play than the bamboo one, I was a bit pensive about starting out with the bamboo, but I needn't have worried one bit, and as a piece of bamboo, it is so full of life and personality, one of the characteristics I also cherish about my wooden recorders.

The unique scent of wood smoke from the Xaphoon is also quite fascinating, and it's a smell that from this day onwards will always remind me of music and of playing the Xaphoon. I guess it will be difficult sitting in front of a fireplace or a campfire and not instantly be reminded of it and having to pick it up to play something. With its size, there is no excuse not to bring it along wherever I might be.

As an avid photographer, this reminds me a bit about my attitude towards my different cameras. I've got an excellent medium format camera, but I still keep taking more and often better pictures with my top-notch compact - simply because it is so portable I can bring it along anywhere anytime, in a small pocket or on my belt. My big one is more often than not left at home with its 3-pound-plus bulk.

Had I had a larger saxophone, the same thing would have happened. I'd have ended up leaving my big sax at home and always brought with me my Xaphoon, consequently getting the most enjoyment and fun out of that.

And now that my most portable soprano recorder is the same size as my Xaphoon (yes, it's that small), I know which one I'd pick to come with me when I think things might get musical somewhere down the road.

When it comes to sound and playing enjoyment compared to size, there is no contest: The Xaphoon is the greatest instrument out there. Keep making them, and keep making music come to life around the world!

Best regards

Hakon Soreide  Bergen, Norway 


Wow ! I bought mine in a market in Sydney in 1986 and remember spending 18 hours practicing at Hong Kong airport on the way back home to England, until two butch women with machine guns told me to stop.

17 years later and I'm amazed I haven't broken it yet...it came with me to Poland & Sweden for 4 years and has survived 7 Glastonbury Festivals....once got thrown on a fire for looking like a stick, but I rescued it with only minor burns to my hand.

The top notes are a bit squeaky and I had hoped to get one of the larger deeper toned ones that used to be available...but for now, I let my Akai sampler do the pitch adjustments in the studio and trust natural acoustics to tweak the reverb in the field...subway, wherever. From the shores of the Baltic, to the Indian Ocean, the Warsaw and Stockholm metro systems, Real World Studios and Cheddar Caves...I've blown half my life through this little brown friend !

Tim Bristol, England


Hello again,

I just wanted to say a great big 'THANKS' and 'WOW what a great service (and instrument)'.  I placed the order online quite tentatively as I'd never ordered from overseas online before, I imaged all kinds of nightmares - my card being debited weeks before the order arrived, the order going missing or taking forever to arrive. How wrong was I?  My account wasn't debited until the Xaphoon was dispatched and actually arrived about three or four days after we had ordered online!

Now onto the Xaphoon itself, what a cool instrument - and an amazing sound :) I can't believe how great it sounds - even though it is intended as a Christmas gift, Morgan wanted to try it before I wrapped it up 'just to make sure it works' :)  Even though I'm the least musically talented person I know, I'm actually tempted to buy a Xaphoon for myself.

Thank you so much for a great instrument and fantastic customer service - I have been recommending you to everyone I can :)

Kind regards, Tracy


Dear Gary,

A million thanks to you. I just received the parcel from the post office yesterday. When I took it back home after work, I was worried if I can start playing straight away. I have no experience in playing wind instrument except the harmonica.  My fears were realized.  I tried for 1 hour plus and I could not make any sound.

But when my daughter (Audrey Ooi Ignaswaran) came back from school, I passed the Xaphoon to her (she has been playing the clarinet and recorder in her school band).  At first she had difficulty too but within 5 minutes she was able to play the instrument. When she heard the sound she was taken aback that such small instrument can create a loud sound and she said it sound like a combination of Saxophone and a Clarinet. She was exocentric with the instrument. The sound is fantastic and what a music she created.....(continued playing for the next 2 hours-non stop) When she is happy I am happy too.  She will be my teacher for this wonderful musical instrument.

Once again thanks a million for the joy you are bringing to the world of music. You are 100% right with regards to all the remarks to the instrument on the web page.

Best regards,

Ignaswaran Kannusamy

Penang


I have just received the Xaphoon today, and I can safely say it is incredible!  After only a few minutes I have got it beefing out the notes with an amazing sound!  Thank you for delivering it reasonably quickly too.

I am currently in my last year at Canford School here in England, and I have recently achieved a Diploma in the Alto Sax.  Because I am leaving school and ceasing to take lessons, I was looking for a small alternative to my expensive Selmer and something with which to show off my talents and take with me when I go to University - this is undoubtedly the perfect thing!

I would also, having read that you lack advertising, be delighted to spread the good word about these amazing instruments to my fellow students and the music teachers here, either by just raving about them and telling everyone to visit the website or by playing it in concerts that are a regular occurrence. Hopefully in time you may hear more from the enthusiastic students here...

Thanks again, I know I will personally not let my Xaphoon leave my side on my upcoming gap year!

A new avid fan, Edward Walker


Hi!

I've been playing your instrument, mostly the B-flat, wherever I go for well over 15 years, now.  If I do say so, I've gotten quite good, which leads me to the left-handed part of my Thank you.

Do you ever get orders from Portland, mentioning this guy who plays the horn constantly wherever he goes?  If so, that's me.  People are always stopping me to ask what's that, and I always tell them, ALWAYS writing down your net site and the latest pricing information. Think of me as a Pied Piper advance man for your pipes.

Either and any way, Brian, your invention is still tops in my book. With it, I have just started exploring the complexities of more "modern" jazz melody lines such as "'Round Midnight" and "Take Five." Moreover, when I take midnight walks, I sometimes draw real sax players out of their apartments, whereupon we go down to basement parking lot driveways and blow duets together. For the first time, I find I'm able to spontaneously riff and ornament while the other guy is playing the melody line! What a rush!

And of course, the great joy of just communing with the NOW, be it at a bus stop, or before the crashing ocean waves, or in a forest, or on a mountain peak - this is a bliss uniquely and always afforded by your instrument.

Stay well and solvent and happy. Always know that your instrument has made my life a profoundly rich one on all levels.

Again, thank you,
Victor W. Chapman


Hey, I just sent you folks an order for another Maui Xaphoon. I have enjoyed my first one for the past few years but I recently lost it on a beach in South Carolina. 

I was sitting on the beach late at night, playing my bamboo sax and contemplating the nature of light. Even though the beach was mostly deserted, a young couple came and set up a blanket not ten feet away from me!  Maybe they wanted a serenade...I dunno.  Before I knew it, I could see out of the corner of my right eye that the couple next to me were planning on doing more than studying the configuration of stars. Not wanting to encourage them in my presence, I set my sax back in the box with my tin whistles (which was on my right hand side...the same side as the clinging couple). I studied the length of beach to my left so as not to intrude upon the privacy of the couple to my right even though I felt they had interrupted my personal musings on the sax. When the groans and moans became too much I abruptly stood up and trounced off to my hotel room, leaving my sax and tin whistles lying in the sand.

The next morning before heading to the beach I reached for my sax and realized what I had done. I combed the beach (why do people always "comb" a beach?) but found nothing. The life guards had nothing to offer me other than curious looks. My sax was gone.

I think the moral of the story is that the music one expresses through the Maui Xaphoon is meant to be shared. The next time I encounter star crossed lovers on a deserted beach I'll keep playing! 

Dan Meekins


To the good folks at Maui Xaphoon,

I can't believe I have found the Xaphoon again.  I first saw and heard the Xaphoon in Sydney, Australia, back in about 1993. I saw it in a market at Bondi and was in awe when I heard the sound that it produced. I got the information and was told that this person would still be there the following week, in which I was going to purchase a xaphoon. Unfortunately , for whatever reasons he was not there, thus I could not buy this instrument. I searched for this instrument in Australia but it was unknown, so I gave up any chance I would own a xaphoon. I was recently going through some old papers of mine and found the information on the xaphoon which I got at the markets all those years ago, and thought I would search on the internet to see if I could find out some information about the xaphoon. Now here I am!!!

Kind Regards,
Ross Burwood


Yesterday I got my Xaphoon from one of your dealers in Canada. My Dad came later to see us and I show it to him. Then I played a few notes. I should have had a camera to record the surprised , totally amazed look on his face. He could not believe the beautiful, rich sound coming out of such little instrument. I am very happy with my new musical instrument.  - Carlos Perrone

Fellow Xaphoon players and friends, I was in Maui when I got my Xaphoon and being a sax player my self I love the idea of a portable sax. The day I got it we were on our way to the airport to come home and I had just taught myself how to play "In The Jungle". Well I was bored waiting 2 hours for my plane to come so I whipped it out and started playing in the jungle in a cafe in the airport. When I finished playing it and got up to leave I noticed several people were humming "In The Jungle" and one lady looked at me in amazement! Probably because I was 12 going to be 13 in a few hours. Well I have had it a week and have almost mastered it its such a great instrument. I will keep you all posted on my band when I bring the Xaphoon in instead of my sax.

Mark Degges Jonesboro Arkansas


Hello, Brian,

I just discovered you web site and thought I'd drop you a line and tell you about my experience with your wonderful instrument.

I've been a musician since I took up the drums at the age of 10. Although mainly a singer, I can play several instruments - keyboards, guitar, harmonica, drums and other percussion, and even Sousaphone (in high school). The Xaphoon is the first and only true reed instrument I have ever played.

I bought one from you (I think actually from your own talented hands) at a flee market on Maui in November of 1985. My wife and I were there for out first anniversary and belated honeymoon. I drove my new wife completely batty the rest of the honeymoon trying to coax more that shrill squeaks out of that thing. By the time we were due to return to the mainland, I had begun to get some decent notes mastered. In honor of where the instrument was originated and made, the first piece I learned was "Blue Hawaii". I was in a 50's and 60's rock band called The Fairlanes at the time and we had to learn that one for a wedding.

When my daughter first heard and tried to play the Xaphoon it inspired her to take up the alto saxaphone which she still plays to this day.

The Zaphoon over the years has given me much enjoyment and although I don't get it out and play it as much as I should, when I do, I experience that same wonderful trance like feeling I first felt that day in Hawaii when I heard you playing on Maui.

I wish you all the success and happiness you can handle!

Dan Barnes


Hi there,

I love my Xaphoons. Yes, I bought two I loved the sound so much when I heard it played in the street here in Basel, Switzerland. I have the mass produced and the original bamboo type. I find the bamboo version easier to play as it takes less "puff" than the other. I also like the connection with a craftsman made instrument.

It took me about two weeks to get any sound out of it other than a shrill whistle or a lucky note here or there, but now I can play a scale from C upwards, and then go down again too. I have never played a musical instrument in my life before (except a harmonica, badly, when I was hitch hiking around Europe in 1981) and at 43 I thought I had better do it now or never.

After all the trouble I had getting the note out I wanted, I told my five year old daughter how hard it was, that it takes two weeks to get the note out, and that did it. Little Miss Determination took the challenge - and to my surprise blew a perfect note on the second try - and repeated it on demand!!! The only problem was her fingers are too small so she can't play different notes, but already it has given us so much pleasure.

I can't wait until I can play it properly. You really are a genius to have made such a thing of such beauty. In a world of chaos and frenzy, the xaphoon brings peace, calm and tranquility - well, at least when I get the notes right: I can't speak for the other times!

Thank you once again for your creation. It's great!


Nigel MacGeorge Basel, Switzerland

Let me say it is quite refreshing to deal with someone in today's times that still adhere to the honor principles of business. The fact that you personally took the time to follow up on the issue and not stand behind some remote customer service setup speaks very well of your business ethics.

Thanks to you, - Michael J. Hardaway, BS, FLMI, ACS


I was so pleased to find this instrument. I've made PVC saxes myself and decided that I loved the feel of that reed vibrating against my lip and all the expressiveness possible with a single reed horn that I decided I just had to have a real sax until I saw just how complex they are and learned that it's totally different fingering for each octave. I couldn't figure out a PVC design that would let me get more than one octave, so finding that you have a 2 octave sax that looks so super cool and is so affordable was a major thrill. Because of years of playing didge professionally I was able to play a PVC sax somewhat OK almost the first day. I plan to be using my little saxes at my next concert. I also expect that these little saxes will be a big hit at our next Joshua Tree International Didgeridoo Festival.

-Peter Spoecker


Hello, Xaphoon USA: Pls. tell Brian he invented a proverbial "kick-ass" instrument.  I have and play one of the original xaphoons that I bought in Tokyo in 1994 when I was one of the "gaijin" teaching English to the energetic Japanese youth. Back in the States, my xaphoon is the only one I've ever seen. Strange, maybe, but nice in some ways.  I remember it costing only about $45 back then.  I hope there is lots of Maui bamboo still available to go on making natural wood xaphoons.  The sound is truly beautiful (if played without undue screeching or honking, which I occasionally accidentally lapse into).  I've played the guitar (who hasn't?) for umpeen years and know how to read music, which comes in handy for some jazz tunes on the xaphoon (Ellington tunes sound pretty gosh-darned good).  Anyway, just a blurb to say it's a mighty fine product! Carry on, what!

Joel Storer

Arlington, VA


Hi, 

I purchased my Xaphoon (Pocket Sax) toay.  I play Tenor sax (by ear) for almost 55 years.  I saw the auction and it struck my interest when it said it had the sound of a sax/clarinet.  I also over the years played clarinet when I was in school.  

Well, let me tell you, that "Pocket Sax" is great.  I did change the reed to a fibercell (soft). That type reed seems to work better with me. You might want to recommend this to your customers, as they last longer and don't get soft.  As you know, you bite down harder and as the reed gets soft will lock up on the MP.  I did the experimenting and it does make a difference. I had fun with some Dixie land jazz CD's I found it easy to improvise (sounded great).  My wife thought I had taken out my clarinet.  I'm waiting till you come out with the Bb plastic version. 

Again, thanks for a great instrument. Also, I do believe that any body who picks it up and with a little practice will make music, and when you can make your own sounds, it's very gratifying. Take care, again GREAT little instrument. 

Vince

P.S. - Just an additional footnote I should have included in my first email. To all reed instrument players, another great feature of the "Pocket Sax" is the fact you don't have to worry about pads drying out or missing springs also the care that has to be exercised if you want your instrument to respond. This instrument takes all that worry away. To repeat what I'm sure has been stated by many, that this is no TOY!  It's a musical instrument, that when you master it, is as pleasing to all who wittiness it's performance. Again, I'm very happy and satisfied with it's great sound. 


I'm an elementary band teacher, so I love my Xaphoon on many levels. it's a challenging instrument, even to me, and I'm a woodwind player!  

My story is getting a student of mine revved up. He has only had a first year on alto sax and found it very frustrating. When I showed him the website and the instrument after I ordered it, he was so excited about it his dad agreed to buy him one! Hopefully this will get him excited about practicing an instrument. I told him if he gets good, we could play a duet at our next band concert!

AmberMesa, Arizona

The Xaphoon is great! I love showing it off to my students and people thought it was a hoot at the American Band College!  It is fun to mess around with and a get away from the norm!

Thanks!
Tom Seaton


Hi Xaphoonites

I am an Irish tinwhistle player, and have played professionally for several years now (including playing for Charles Sheehan, Northern Ireland's Consulate General, in March 2003). In late 2001 or early 2002, the Xaphoon was discussed on a couple of tinwhistle mailing lists I'm on. While most whistlers didn't seem that interested, my curiosity was piqued, and I bookmarked your site into my "stuff I want to buy some day" folder. I used to own a bamboo saxophone made by a guy who travels Renaissance festivals...his model was basically a saxophone mouthpiece epoxied onto a bamboo tube, and played vertically, like a sax. [You can find his instrument here: http://www.eriktheflutemaker.com/?pageid=7413 If you end up publishing my letter, feel free to chop this part out. I would hate to inadvertantly advertise a clearly inferior instrument.]  While his model sounded good for the first 6 notes, I couldn't get anything like a consistent out of it higher on the scale. And I tried...a lot. As a professional musician, it's easy to see the limits of only having a 6 note diatonic scale to work with, so that early bamboo sax eventually went up on Ebay. Needless to say, I was very interested when your page mentioned a full chromatic scale, and the Xaphoon sounded perfect: A great sax tone across two octaves, with the portability of a whistle.

After bookmarking the page, I would occasionally revisit it and drool, but I didn't expect to get one any time soon due to the current state of the economy. 4 days ago I was surprised with a Xaphoon for my birthday! My girlfriend said that you were very helpful via email while she had angsty fears about the instrument not arriving in time. She warned me that it might take me a few days before I could make a decent note out of the thing. Luckily, the work I'd done with that previous reeded instrument paid off and I got a good tone out of it immediately. The fingerings are very similar to a whistle, including the forked fingering on the 6th. Of course, the 3 extra holes will take getting used to, but I think I've got a jump on the learning curve. I was playing Down by the Sally Gardens within 15 minutes, an impossibility on that other 'instrument'.

I haven't put it down since! I usually carry a tinwhistle with me everywhere I go, so that I can practice and play whenever I have a spare moment. At least for now, my Xaphoon has taken that hallowed place in my jacket pocket. I've already gotten a softer reed (until I build up my lip strength), and re-learned 3 tunes using Xaphoon fingerings. I'll be carrying the Xaphoon with me to the Texas Renaissance Festival this weekend, with the full intention of working it into our act. Everyone who's heard it so far has loved it, myself included! Good job, and thanks!

Greg Mahan 

The Wandering Whistler 

http://www.tinwhistler.com/music


Just got my Xaphoon today in Tokyo.. INCREDIBLE.  I'm a great fan of small "carry along" type instruments. I've tried the chinese bamboo flute, Chinese sonar, Japanese hichiriki.. and man, does Xaphoon fit in well with the suite.  Actually, Xaphoon is very similar to the early Japanese hichiriki, which is a direct descendant of the Chinese sonar.  And I should also add that the Chinese sonar is the forefather of all saxophones.

I'm a composer so lemme give some specifics about the Xaphoon.  First of all, the difference between the plastic version and the bamboo verison seems to me, that the plastic one has a slightly brighter tone, while the bamboo one is more "warm" and "round" sounding.  Xaphoon's tone is, precisely a blend between a sax and a clarinet.  Or more specifically, it sounds clarinet in the lower notes, and starts sounding sax-ish half way up the scale.  Also, because the instrument is very short, the higher you go, the more embochure control you need for precise tuning. But this can be taken as a good thing, because it gives you about a full note range of pitch bend in the higher registers.  In terms of playing technique, you can do all that a sax does. It even GROWLS! (by singing a low tone in your throat while playing)

But man, I've only spent a couple of hours with Xaphoon and I'm just amazed at what it can do.  I'm pretty sure it will be features in my future tunes.

regards, Ken Suguro


I recently purchased a Xaphoon for my 12year old son who plays clarinet and saxophone. I must say that my wife was totally unimpressed as he is sitting for his clarinet and saxophone exams and didn't want him distracted with yet another instrument.

She became silent last night though. Guy was practicing 'Dixie' for his clarinet exams. Vicki came out to tell him he played the piece beautifully with a lot of feeling, she was stunned when she saw he was playing the Xaphoon. Guy loves it!  :-)

Greg Knopke

Pine Mountain

Queensland Australia


It's a bit difficult for me to explain the effect you xaphoon had on my girlfriend...because your instruments REALLY can bring joy to people and yes!! They are works of art !!

She loves hand made instruments, and this xaphoon is really original...the more beautiful in my opinion. It smells like a coalfire, because of its manufacture, and this is a so good home smell...because of her musical background she did not have any problem to play it...wow, what a sound!!  It really sounds like a saxophone : very warm, very in tune.

I can only be grateful to you and Brian because you helped me to offer her an unforgettable birthday. - Christan Nous


Hello, Brian,

I just discovered you web site and thought I'd drop you a line and tell you about my experience with your wonderful instrument.

I've been a musician since I took up the drums at the age of 10. Although mainly a singer, I can play several instruments - keyboards, guitar, harmonica, drums and other percussion, and even Sousaphone (in high school). The Xaphoon is the first and only true reed instrument I have ever played.

I bought one from you (I think actually from your own talented hands) at a flee market on Maui in November of 1985. My wife and I were there for out first anniversary and belated honeymoon. I drove my new wife completely batty the rest of the honeymoon trying to coax more that shrill squeaks out of that thing. By the time we were due to return to the mainland, I had begun to get some decent notes mastered. In honor of where the instrument was originated and made, the first piece I learned was "Blue Hawaii". I was in a 50's and 60's rock band called The Fairlanes at the time and we had to learn that one for a wedding.

When my daughter first heard and tried to play the Xaphoon it inspired her to take up the alto saxaphone which she still plays to this day.

The Zaphoon over the years has given me much enjoyment and although I don't get it out and play it as much as I should, when I do, I experience that same wonderful trance like feeling I first felt that day in Hawaii when I heard you playing on Maui.

I wish you all the success and happiness you can handle!

Dan Barnes


"Just opened the the box and played this tool for happiness and found hope. It is without any doubt the most wonderful thing to happen for me in the past 4 years!  What a joy!"

-Cheryl McIntyre


Do you have a Xaphoon story to share?  Send it to stories@xaphoon.com!