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Jupiter 847SG Soprano Saxophone

With the introduction of its Artist Series, Jupiter has added four new stars to the saxophone universe. The series includes an alto, tenor, baritone and, most recently, a soprano (model number 847SG). The new horn features a silver-plated brass body with gold lacquered keys and comes with two sterling silver necks: straight and curved. It also features an adjustable thumb rest, metal tone boosters, a forked high F and both high F-sharp and G keys.

With top-of-the-line professional horns costing about $3,500, the 847SG is a bargain at a suggested retail price of $2,150. In fact, the price is a key point in Jupiter’s marketing strategy for the entire 800 series. According to Derek Craig, Jupiter’s advertising director, the company is looking to find its niche in the market by offering “pro-level features and performance to advanced high school, college and professional players at a tremendous value.”

While creating the 800 series, Jupiter was clearly mindful of the need for good ergonomics. The palm keys are large and fit comfortably in the left hand, making the technically challenging high notes easily accessible. The high F sharp key for the left hand is easy to reach, although getting to the high G key, located just above the high F-sharp, requires moving the index finger to an awkward position. The Jupiter’s keys are designed for comfort and facility, especially the slightly oversized low E-flat, C, C-sharp, B and B-flat spatulas. A slightly rounded pearl on the bis B-flat key aids rolling between B and B flat with the left index finger.

The slightly bigger bell and silver-plating probably account for the Jupiter’s more mellow sound. Even with the brighter straight neck, the horn’s timbre, although full and flexible throughout its range, is not as focused and lacks the punch that is present in other, although more expensive, instruments. Jupiter has done an admirable job addressing the notoriously difficult intonation of the soprano. Although not perfect, it plays as well in tune as most other professional horns. The palm keys are especially easy to tune without sacrificing tone quality.

The Jupiter soprano is a professional level instrument that requires some concessions in sound to deliver the perks of a top-of-the-line saxophone at half the price.

Tom Christensen is a New York City-based saxophonist. His latest CD is Gualala (Naxos).

Originally Published