I’m looking for the best tenor saxophone on the market right now. This time I’m testing a rare, OW Lineage Tenor.
I’m testing a bunch of tenor saxophones, looking at different points and playing styles to help me choose. I wanted to test this OW Lineage Tenor because it’s something really innovative.
I’ve never seen a saxophone like this one. There are only a few of these saxophones in the world right now. It’s made a British company Geneva, and designed by a well known sax maker and repairer, Dave Walker.
Dave has been developing this saxophone for ten years. Many of the new, heavy-weight sax players in the UK play Dave’s saxophones. He’s distilled everything he’s learned from making these saxophones into this instrument – the Oldroyd Walker Lineage Tenor.
The OW Lineage Tenor
This model is silver plated with a copper neck. There’s also a red brass and yellow brass model, each with a unlacquered finish which gives a cool, vintage look.
The copper neck doesn’t just look cool. It gives the saxophone a warm, fat sound too.
This is the only saxophone in the world with a single piece bell, which helps with the resonance of the horn.
In this review I’m looking at:
as well as playing it in 4 different styles, and comparing it to the other saxophones I’ve been testing.
Again, the mechanism on this sax is different from anything I’ve seen before. As well as being really smooth and well set up, there are also lots of innovations such as the free-floating next system, and the shape of the palm and side keys.
Some of these changes took a little getting used to , but after a couple of minutes they felt great.
The horns are made in Geneva’s factory in the Czech Republic, best known for making brass band instruments. They are then sent to the UK for fine-tuning and set-up.
I like that these saxophones come from a designer who is making their own choices about materials, manufacture, and finishing. It feels personal.
The sound from this horn is lovely and warm and resonant. What first struck me was the big fat sound in the middle register.
It has a vintage quality but I can also push it to get a contemporary sound. It reminded me of the Yanagisawa Silver and Bronze, but the sound is very different. There’s more variation here, you can do more with it.
I feel like I will grow into this saxophone. It surprises me each time I pick it up to play.
Both the altissimo and the overtones series pop out easily. They are in tune and I can get a big fat sound when I push it.
The copper neck heats up and cools down pretty fast, so that’s something to think about when warming up. Overall the intonation is great, even down to the low notes.
This saxophone is something special, and if you can get hold of one its going to cost you £7000 ($9000 US).
This means it’s not the most expensive saxophone I’ve tested, but it costs more than most. So what are you getting for the extra money?
You’re getting something that looks and sounds different. Mechanically it’s significantly different, and maybe we’ll start to see some of these innovation in other saxophones in years to come.
If you’re looking for something that sets you apart as a sax player, this horn could be the one for you. It’s the sound – but it’s more than that.
As a sax player, I get inspired by what comes from my saxophone. If a sax inspires me as a player, then that is worth any price.
I’m playing 4 different pieces from our Sax School lesson library.
- Ben Webster – I Got it Bad
- Wilton Felder Street Life solo
- Sam Butera – Buona Sera solo
- Rimsky-Korsakov – Flight of the Bumblebee
I’m using the same mouthpiece throughout – a Theo Wanne Slant Sig Size 8 Hard Rubber and a Légère Signature 2.5 Reed. I’m using the Rode RT1A mic and I’m not using any effects on the recording either.
What did you think of this saxophone? How did it compare?
What surprised me about this sax is I can get a vintage sound out it, and also a contemporary, funk fusion sound, a classical sound, and I can push it to get a bluesy sound too. And I think I could get more out it the more I play it. It’s exciting to play.
I also did some tests using my AKG C414 microphone and this sax sounds incredible to with wider spectrum of response. There’s actually quite a lot that you’re not hearing on this recording.
This sax has got something special compared to the others I have tested. If you get the opportunity to play one, you should definitely take it, and experience it for yourself.
However, it’s a super-expensive saxophone. It’s the most exciting sax I’ve tested yet – but will it be the one? I’m not sure.
Let me know what you think.