I went to Taiwan Luthier’s workshop on Saturday.
I had a hare-brained idea to make a PVC saxophone, based on this awesome video.
The design we used is actually more of a contrabass flute, or bassoon with a sax reed…
I bought a Sax mouthpiece and reed from Faith Bee, in Minquan W Road. It’s a clean and well kept store, down an alley, 5-7 minutes walk from the MRT. The manager was very helpful and knowledgeable. He sold me a C + T mouthpiece and a D’Addario 2 reed.
I went to TL Luthier’s workshop in South Taipei. Coming from Danshui, you can almost feel a different weather system in South Taipei. I felt it in Xindian too, more humid and tropical.
TL used a lathe to make a tight fit for the sax mouthpiece. If I had tried to do that with a drill, myself, it would’ve been an incompetent hipster nightmare. But he did it in 10 minutes. There was no air leakage whatsoever.
Then we used his drill to punch 6 holes in the PVC body.
I paid TL for the machine shop time. Well worth it, as I would’ve messed around for hours on my own, without his guidance and hardware knowledge.
When I tried to play the thing, however, I sounded godawful. My fault for being clueless about saxes. I put my mouth too far back, and made a geese-honk sound. then I put my mouth too far forward, and made a pig squeal noise. TL said I sounded like Lisa out of the Simpsons. We decided it must be the reed.
After watching a few videos, I took it home, and actually got a deep, sweet, bluesy sound out of it. I’m going to keep trying, as I think PVC instruments have a lot of potential. There are some really impressive videos on youtube.
TL’s shop is in South Taipei, on the far south of the Huilong line. Worth visiting if you need anything done. I’ve rarely met anyone that knows about both hardware and music.
More updates later… as I learn more about this art.