The Ultimate Guide to Cannonball Saxophones in 2024

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Cannonball is an incredibly beloved saxophone brand today. With flashy looks and bold sound, it’s no wonder they’re so popular.

As a music industry veteran, I’ve had loads of experience working with Cannonball saxophones. This comprehensive guide will go over all of the current models and answer some common questions about Cannonball saxes.

What Makes Cannonball Stand Out?

Cannonball goes to great lengths to ensure the best products possible. Each saxophone goes through an extensive acoustic customization and quality control process before leaving the warehouse, including student models.

Unlike other music brands, Cannonball isn’t a faceless corporation. The founders (Sheryl and Tevis Laukat) and other top-level employees are sax players themselves. Each of them is heavily involved in designing, playtesting, and promoting their instruments. You’ll also see the founders and top-level employees in many of their YouTube videos and social media content.

Student Saxophones

Three Cannonball student saxophones

Cannonball has two series of student saxes: the Falcon and the Alcazar. Both are well-regarded among sax players and band teachers. You can find them in select music stores as rentals. 

Falcon Standard Series

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: A90-L

No Falcon around about it! The Falcon is Cannonball’s more budget-friendly student sax. Like many starter horns, it features a post-to-body construction. This makes it relatively lightweight and helps it resonate more freely. These traits make it ideal for young beginners.

Other features include a high F# key, which many players and teachers prefer, and a rich gold lacquer that gives this sax a more premium look. 

This student sax comes in a durable ABS plastic case, which will protect the horn in a busy junior high band room.

As of this writing, the Falcon series only features an alto saxophone (Model A90-L). There’s no tenor sax.

Alcazar Series

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: AA-L
  • Tenor Sax: TA-L

Alcazar saxes are what Cannonball calls their “premium” student saxes. Price-wise, they directly compete with horns like the Yamaha YAS-26.

The most significant difference between the Alcazar and Falcon is the ribbed construction. Alcazars have ribs, meaning the extra mass helps give the sax a warmer tone. The trade-off is that it’s slightly more resistant. 

The Alcazar also comes in a wood shell case with faux-gator skin leather covering. It’s a highly sturdy case that’s identical to the one that come with their pro saxes.

Intermediate Saxophones

Available Models:

Blue abalone keys on a Cannonball Sceptyr Sax

Cannonball’s intermediate line is the Sceptyr Semi-Pro Series. These horns actually have a lot in common with the Big Bell saxes, like the same body tube and key layout.

Instead of Cannonball’s trademark semi-precious stones, Sceptyr saxes feature blue abalone key touches. These are like mother of pearl, but come in distinct shades of blue.

The Sceptyr series horns are available as alto and tenor saxes. Each one comes in three finishes:

  • Rich gold lacquer (ASCEP-L, TSCEP-L)
  • Black nickel-plated body with gold lacquer keys (ASCEP-BL, TSCEP-BL)
  • Black nickel-plated body with silver-plated keys (ASCEP-BS, TSCEP-BS)

Sceptyrs are a great option if you don’t need a high-end horn, but want something that’s still really good.

Professional Saxophones

Cannonball currently has six different lines of pro-level saxophones. Most of them are variations of the Big Bell Stone Series, but there are a few others as well.

Big Bell Stone Series (Premium Pro Models)

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: A5 (multiple finishes)
  • Tenor Sax: T5 (multiple finishes)
  • Bari Sax: B5, B8 (multiple finishes)
  • Soprano Sax: S5, SA5, SC5 (multiple finishes)

These are the flagship horns that put Cannonball on the map. Big Bell Stone Series saxes have an edgy tone, powerful projection, and flashy looks.

Stone Series saxes are famous (or infamous) for their namesake semi-precious stones, which Cannonball claims affect the horn’s resonance. All of them have these stone finger buttons instead of pearls or plastic. You can also find them on the neck, side keys, palm keys, and bell key guard (16 total).

The other defining feature is the titular Big Bell. This oversized bell, along with an enlarged bore taper, enhances the sax’s projection and volume. In other words, its loud.

Other features include a high F# key, double-arm bell keys, and two necks — one traditional neck and one Fat Neck. It’s like having two saxes in one!

Stone Series saxes are available as alto, tenor, baritone, and soprano saxophones. They also come in over 10 different finishes (See “Customization Options” below).

Big Bell Stone Series (A4 and T4 Models)

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: A4, A4-L, A4-B
  • Tenor Sax: T4, T4-L, T4-B

These are “Lite” versions of the Big Bell Stone Series. The A4 altos and T4 tenors are identical to the Premium Pro Models in every way except for three things:

  • These saxophones don’t have stones on the side keys, palm keys, and key guard.
  • They only come with one traditional neck. No Fat Neck.
  • A4 and T4 saxes are only available in three finishes (gold lacquer, raw brass, and black nickel).

These differences cut down the cost, making them more affordable than the mainline Stone Series. Otherwise, they’re the same horns.

Gerald Albright Signature Series

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: GA5-B, GA5-SB
  • Tenor Sax: GT5-B, GT5-SB
  • Soprano Sax: GS5-B (straight), GSC5-SB (curved)

These are special edition saxophones designed for sax artist Gerald Albright. They’re identical to the Stone Series, and the differences are mostly cosmetic. 

For starters, Albright horns come with black leather pads and multi-colored Picasso Jasper stones. Gerald is also an avid golfer, so each one features two golf clubs a unique engraving showcasing two golf clubs, one of Gerald’s favorite pastimes. 

Gerald Albright saxes come in one of two finishes:

  • Polished black nickel
  • Silver-plated body and keys with black nickel bell

The Signature Series horns are available as alto, tenor, and soprano saxes.

25th Anniversary Special Edition Models

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: A5-25
  • Tenor Sax: T5-25
Cannonball 25th Anniversary Saxophone

In 2021, Cannonball celebrated its 25th anniversary. To celebrate, they released the 25th Anniversary Special Edition alto and tenor saxes.

On the surface, these look identical to the Stone Series. But there are a few key differences that make these saxes truly special:

  • Nickel-silver neck, bell, and bow. This alloy makes the sax a lot more responsive and amplifies a lot of its tonal characteristics.
  • Red “Snakeskin Jasper” stones mined from Australia.
  • Titanium neck screws which slightly affect resonance and sound transfer between the neck and body.
  • Premium White Tiger engraving as opposed to the standard engraving.

If you get a chance to try these side-by-side with regular Stone Series horns, do it. The differences might surprise you.

Vintage Reborn Series

Available Models:

  • Alto Sax: AVR (multiple finishes)
  • Tenor Sax: TVR (multiple finishes)
  • Soprano Sax: SVR (multiple finishes)
Vintage Reborn saxophone with amber lacquer finish

As the name suggests, Vintage Reborn saxophones are a throwback to vintage horns from the 1960s and ’70s, down to the finishes and case.

In other words, it’s Cannonball’s take on the Selmer Mark VI design with some modifications.

Compared to the Stone Series, these are much more mellow-sounding horns. They have a traditional-sized bell, single-arm bell keys, and other small touches that lend to the vintage tone and feel.

Vintage Reborn saxes come in vintage-inspired finishes, including an amber-colored lacquer and aged raw brass. 

Artist Series

Available Models:

  • Baritone Sax: B7-L, B7-B
An Artist Series bari sax in its case

These are the newest members of the Cannonball saxophone family. Designed with classical players in mind, these saxes produce a rich tone with plenty of warmth and complex harmonics.

As of this writing, only the Artist Series bari is available. The alto sax has been teased, but was ultimately delayed due to setbacks from the pandemic. Last I spoke to Cannonball, they’re still working on it.

To me, the Artist bari has a beautiful warm sound that takes away the edge from the Stone Series bari. It’s highly versatile, making it a great choice for both jazz and classical settings. 

Discontinued Models

A discontinued Cannonball sax with frosted silver and gold finish

Cannonball produced several other models over its 25+ year history. I won’t go over everything here, but there are two lines of horns worth mentioning. If you run into them online or in person, they’re worth checking out.

Key Artist Series

The Key Series was a line of alto and tenor saxes targeting more “classical” players. They’re incredible horns, but Cannonball couldn’t seem to find an audience for them.

Key saxophones have a traditional-styled bell and bore taper. But the most distinguishing feature is the cocobolo wood bell-to-body bracing. They also used cocobolo wood key touches instead of the usual stones or pearls.

Compared to the Stone Series, they have a warmer and darker tone. But unlike Cannonball’s other horns, Key saxophones only came in a gold lacquer finish.

They were discontinued sometime around 2020.

Big Bell Global Series

Cannonball had a lot of growing pains when developing their saxes. But the Global Series were the first horns that really clicked with people.

These were the immediate predecessors to the Stone Series — the designs themselves are nearly identical. There were only two major differences:

  • No semi-precious stones
  • No Fat Neck.

Customization Options

Cannonball saxes are widely known for their flashy looks and unique aesthetics. Many of the pro saxes are readily available in several finishes. You can also special-order a Cannonball horn with customized stones and engraving.


Here’s a complete list of finish options for Cannonball saxes, along with the model number suffix:

  • Rich gold lacquer (-L)
  • Silver plating (-S)
  • “Mad Meg” (unlacquered raw brass) (no suffix)
  • “The Brute” (aged patina raw brass) (-BR)
  • Polished black nickel plating (-B)
  • Black nickel plating with gold-lacquer keys (-BL)
  • Black nickel plating with silver-plated keys (-BS)
  • “The Raven” (textured black nickel) (-B ICE B)
  • “Hotspur” (textured black nickel body tube with textured silver bell) (-HS)
  • Silver-plated body with black nickel bell (available only for Gerald Albright models) (-SB)
  • Dark amber lacquer (available only for Vintage Reborn models) (-L)

Discontinued Finishes

  • “Black Ruby” (dark red/purple colored lacquer) (-BR)
  • “MidKnight” (dark, matte-black nickel) (-M)

Semi-Precious Stones

Most of the stones Cannonball uses come from mines located in Central Utah. Other stones, like the red stones on the 25th Anniversary saxophones, are mined elsewhere around the world.

They use a variety of stone types like Jasper, Tiger Eye, and others. Each finish has a default stone color. But if you order a custom sax, you could pick stones that match your own style and personality. Check out Cannonball’s website for a complete list of stone types with images.


You can special order your sax with a deluxe engraving. All the engraving is done by hand at Cannonball HQ in Salt Lake City.

There are dozens of engravings to choose from. Some are more intricate than others. So naturally, you’ll pay more for them.

How to Order a Custom Cannonball Sax

Talk with your local Cannonball dealer to special-order a customized sax. If you don’t know where that is, you can contact Cannonball directly.

Cannonball Saxophone Accessories

Cannonball offers additional accessories for their saxophones. You can purchase them from your local dealer. 

The Fat Neck

Normal sax necks place the octave key on top. The Fat Neck has it on the underside. This makes it more free-blowing and helps bring out middle and low frequencies. The result is a bigger, “fatter” sound, hence the name.

Fat Necks comes standard with all Big Bell Stone Series, Gerald Albright Signature, and 25th Anniversary alto and tenor saxophones. They’re also compatible with any other pro Cannonball alto or tenor. They won’t fit saxes from most other brands.

Titanium Neck and Lyre Screws

These were introduced during Cannonball’s 25th Anniversary. They’re substitutes for the standard neck screws, and slightly alter the resonance of the horn. It’s a similar concept to other aftermarket screws. The titanium screws come standard on the 25th Anniversary saxes.

Compact Cases

These are an alternative to cases like the Protec Pro Pac or other compact saxophone cases. There’s plenty of space for your sax, plus an inside compartment and external pouch for accessories. It all comes together with backpack straps for easy transportation. Compact Cases are available for alto, tenor, and baritone saxes.

Drag’n Swab

This is a unique swab with several sheets of fabric lining the pull chord. But rather than pulling the whole swab through the sax, you grab hold of both ends and “floss” it back and forth. This absorbs more moisture from inside the body tube and tone holes. Drag’n Swabs are available for alto, tenor, and soprano saxes.

Cannonball Saxophone FAQs

These are some of the most common questions about Cannonball saxophones.

Are Cannonball Saxophones Any Good, or Nah?

As someone who played on one for over 15 years, I can absolutely say yes!

I worked in a music store that carried Cannonball instruments, and they were easily the highest-selling sax brand we carried. Several pro players in my area use them, and the student models were highly recommended among local band directors.

It’s not just me and my local community. Players all around the world appreciate their sound quality and unique aesthetics. Take a look at the growing number of Cannonball artists and endorsers.

Where are Cannonball Saxophones Made?

The Cannonball factory in Tawain

Cannonball saxes are made in Taiwan. Their factory only makes Cannonball saxophones — no other brand manufactures their saxophones here.

Once made, they’re shipped to Cannonball HQ in Salt Lake City, Utah where they undergo all the finishing touches. This includes all the hand engraving, embedding the stones, and acoustic treatment.

Where to Buy Cannonball Saxophones

Cannonball works exclusively through their dealer network and doesn’t allow them to sell their products online. If you see one listed online, chances are it’s used, or it’s not from an authorized dealer (which would void any warranty).

If you’re not sure who your local Cannonball dealer is, you can find one by reaching out to Cannonball directly on their website.

How Much Do Cannonball Saxophones Cost?

Since Cannonball doesn’t sell online, there’s no definitive answer. The company allows its dealers to set prices. As a result, they’ll vary from store to store. 

With that in mind, Cannonball prices are usually competitive with other brands like Yamaha, Eastman, P. Mauriat, and others. These price ranges should give you a rough idea of what to expect:

Alto & Tenor Saxophones:

  • Student: $1000–2500
  • Intermediate: $2500–3500
  • Professional: $3500–5000

Baritone Saxophones:

  • Professional: $7000–$8000

Soprano Saxophones:

  • Professional: $3000–$4500

Keep in mind, these are ballpark estimates. Actual prices will vary.

Why Doesn’t Cannonball Sell Instruments Online?

Cannonball strongly supports brick-and-mortar stores. They offer personalized services that most online stores can’t, like playtesting, repairs, lessons, and other community programs. As such, their vendors can provide pre-sale and post-sale customer service for your Cannonball sax.

In other words, Cannonball thinks it’ll make the customer happier.

There are also some business reasons behind it. For one, it protects customers from fraudulent online sales and the PR headaches that follow.

It’s also highly beneficial to dealers. Cannonball only partners with one music store in a given area. That way, they don’t have any local or online competition for those instruments. This also gives them some incentive to promote Cannonball over other brands.

You could argue that Cannonball leaves money on the table by not selling online. But it’s a strategy that’s clearly working for them.

Are Cannonball Saxophones Durable?

Cannonballs are very reliable horns. Mine served me well for over 15 years.

The keys are fluid and mechanically sound. Plus, their thicker brass walls help prevent major dents.

Parts are readily available should you ever need a repair. The saxes also boast a detachable bell, which makes it easier for repair techs to work with.

Do Cannonball Saxophones Come With a Warranty?

Every Cannonball sax comes with a limited 5-year warranty. It covers manufacturing defects, but won’t cover cosmetic issues, weather-related damage, or damage from misuse and botched repairs.

You can get full details of Cannonball’s warranty policy over on their website. 

Do the Different Finishes Affect Sound?

The differences are extremely subtle, but present. Each material has unique properties and vibrates differently. As such, the finish might change how the instrument feels to the player.

That said, the differences are imperceptible from the audience’s perspective.

Do the Stones Really Make a Difference in the Sound?

Cannonball has several patents related to the stones. So at the very least, they think they make a difference. 

It’s a bold claim to make. But then again, there’s a lot of hearsay and mythology in the saxophone world. Many players swear by heavy mass screws and other tone boosters. Other players fuss over magic serial numbers on vintage saxes. So the stones’ impact on sound isn’t as outlandish as it sounds.

But regardless of where you stand on the topic, it’s hard to deny that pro Cannonballs all have a characteristic sound. 

Learn More About Cannonball Saxophones

Want to know more about Cannonball saxes? Check out these other guides:

About the Author
Jack Barton
Jack's been playing saxophone, clarinet, and other instruments for over 20 years. He spent most of his professional career working in music retail, where he's had hands-on experience with countless wind instruments and other music products.