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Guardala DG 503ET Earth Tone Tenor Saxophone

No two horns play alike, including those made by the same manufacturer. In order to appreciate my review of the Guardala Earth Tone tenor saxophone (list price $5,565), I think it is appropriate to give a brief description of my current setup on tenor. I play a Selmer (circa 1951) with a Guardala gold-plated mouthpiece (model unknown, but it’s the darkest one I’ve ever played!), and Rico Jazz Select 4 medium reeds. I have played and recorded with this horn in smaller groups and mostly acoustic-oriented situations. At times I feel I could use something brighter when performing in bigger venues or with electric instrumentation, but ultimately it depends on the style of the music. I’m not of the opinion that one horn works for every performance situation.

The Earth Tone is very responsive, and I had no problems playing all over the horn, including altissimo. I experimented with various articulations and nuances to get a feel for its flexibility. Again, the horn responded well. The pitch was good, and I didn’t notice any major inconsistencies among the different octaves of the horn. I love the Earth Tone’s action. It feels very similar to the Mark VI in key positioning, and it’s built for speed. The position of the palm keys is very comfortable for my hands, and the spatula for the alternate high F is easy to roll up to.

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