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Customer Reviews

Based on 96 reviews
Ken Natco
I love my Mini Pocket Sax!

The Maui Mini Pocket Sax is one of the greatest things to come out of Hawaii. Originally made by Brian Wittman, strictly out of bamboo, these high quality ABS plastic ones, licensed by him, are the only official Mini Pocket Saxs, and much better instruments than competing "pocket saxophones". They are amazing instruments. They are said to have a two octave range, but I can play mine a full two and a half from a Bb below middle C to a high F (on a good day).

Sax Lover
I Play It Every Day

20 years ago I got my first bamboo Mini Pocket Sax; it had a warmer timbre than the current injection-mold pocket sax, but it was pitched a wee bit sharp, making it difficult to play with other musicians.

The current pocket sax is pitched more consistently (not being hand-made, as the bamboo Mini Pocket Sax was). Since tenor sax is my favorite horn, it is nice that such a small horn uses such a big, familiar, fairly easy-to-control tenor reed.

The ligature & reed that come with the horn are OK, but one may benefit from exploring different ligatures & reed-strengths. As some reviews have stated, the 2nd register is more difficult to control, pitch-wise, but there is an octave + a fourth of effective low-register range (that 'in-between-registers' sharp 11th requires embouchure tricks to blow correctly).

And, yes, the fingering is tough to master at first (any holes not completely closed will sink the ship), plus it seems best in the key of 'F' due to the 'Bb vs. B' fingering, but that is quite similar to the the manner in which East Indian 'bansuri' flutes are named in terms of tonic pitch. Or you could call it 'C mixolydian,' with an easy to hit flatted 7th.

But you do get 2 octaves, low C through mid C to high C, if you can adjust your embouchure enough for accurate pitch, especially as more holes are open (pocket sax creator Brian Wittman's 'Jungle Jazz' CD has some 'pitchy' moments too, while being a nice listen). And some semitones require 'half-holing,' sometimes less accurate at faster tempos, but there are easy enough alternate fingerings for most of them.

This horn is in my pocket every day at work. Over-worked employees often request songs, which I am happy to oblige, given such a versatile instrument. And it has been likened to the Armenian 'duduk' from some 'in-the-know' listeners, given the mellow tone I have found through reed/ligature/embouchure adjustments.

Work with it, and you may find that 'sweet spot' that works for you. A few moments of music each day is good medicine for the soul.

I play this horn every day! I love it.

Pauline Eva Maher
Really fun to play

Really fun instrument for a beginner. I caught on quickly and enjoy playing jazz on Friday nights along with the radio.

Not really a beginner's instrument...

This is a cute instrument for anyone with some experience playing a reed instrument, such as a clarinet (even if that experience was decades ago, as it was in my case). It sounds more like a clarinet than a sax, and in fact it is very much like the chalameau, the precursor of the clarinet. Basic fingerings are similar, but not identical, to those of the recorder. The first octave and a half are fairly easy to play (for those with reed experience), the higher few note are more troublesome. Practice, practice, practice.... One can find a lot of music on the web and elsewhere that fit its range, including some duets. It is really quite small, so will travel well in a backpack or carry-on.

All in all, a useful little instrument. But please be warned: This is not an instrument that is really easy to play. It is not like an ocarina. If you are not a reed player, learning to play the Mini Pocket Sax will take some time and dedication. I cannot see it as an instrument to give to a child, unless someone is available to help with learning to play.

Interesting sound in a small package!

As a clarinet and recorder player for years, I was intrigued by this little horn. It took about 3 minutes to get the feel of the larger mouthpiece and saxophone reed. The instructions are very well written and do not downplay the need to experiment a bit with mouthpiece position and lip pressure. For those who had difficulty producing sound, and for those who have questions about previous negative reviews, the instructions make a clear point to be sure the reed is allowed to vibrate when blowing into the instrument. You really do have to put quite a bit more mouthpiece into your mouth than is needed for a clarinet, pin whistle, or recorder. For me, I had to blow about 30% harder than I do on my tenor recorder, but much less than necessary to power my clarinet. A little patience and practice and anyone can make decent sound.

I may buy another if my son wants one! Once you get the feel of it, its a lot of fun to play and easy to learn. The Mini Pocket Sax maker in Hawaii has some great sheet music available, too.

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