Yamaha Sax Custom Necks – for Alto & Tenor

20th June 2019

The new range of Yamaha Custom necks for Alto & Tenor saxophones have proven to be very popular since their introduction. We’re often asked to explain the differences in model design, and in the finishes. So, with the help of top UK player Simon Bates, let’s take a listen to these models in action on Alto Sax…(The Tenor Sax demo is available here)



Straight Soprano Sax vs Curved Soprano Sax – Which is best?

26th April 2019

It’s a question we are commonly asked here in the shop. Whilst we understand these things can be subjective, we wanted to give you a good starting point and something to compare.

In this video and article, we discuss the differences in feel and sound. We also look at certain model options available to buy or rent.


Yamaha Custom Tenor Sax Comparisons

28th February 2019

It’s a question we commonly get asked: “What’s the difference between the 875 and 82Z?” There are some tech differences which we outline below in this blog. These difference go towards the feel and sound on each model.

In this blog we discuss the differences and also feature a video demo of these two models back-to-back, so you can hear the difference.


Jody Jazz DV Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

16th January 2019

Jody Jazz offer a great selection of mouthpieces to suit a number of needs. Known for their punchy projection, the mouthpieces include a variety of hard rubber and metal mouthpieces. But today, we’re going to take a closer look at one of their more intriguing pieces – the Jody Jazz DV. We asked one of our sax specialists to put it through its paces!


Are Saxophones Part of the Orchestra?

15th November 2018

It’s fair to say that the saxophone has long had a mixed relationship with the classical music world – such that you may be much more likely to hear one in a jazz recording than an orchestra. This is despite the saxophone somewhat filling an otherwise vacant gap between woodwind and brass instruments.

So, what are the factors in saxophone history that have contributed to the instrument’s slightly ‘outsider’ status among classical musicians – and what is the saxophone orchestra’s potential in the 21st century?


How to Choose a Jody Jazz Tenor Sax Mouthpiece

30th October 2018

You’ve heard your bandmates raving about their Jody Jazz mouthpieces – they all have their opinion, but how can you tell which one is best for you? This handy little guide will point you towards a new mouthpiece in the Jody Jazz range. We’ll look at what suits a wide range of needs and playing styles.


Selmer MKVII Alto Sax – 3rd Octave Key

23rd August 2018

Every now and then we get some nice ‘oddities’ in the workshop. Some are for customer repair and others for sale second. This early Selmer MKVII features the 3rd octave key that is a rare option on some Selmer Saxophones. Take a look at the set-up below. It features an added vent hole and key on the neck. With the additional thumb lever near the left hand thumb rest.

Selmer MKVII Alto with 3rd Octave Key Vent



G is for great – or is it? New G-Reeds for Saxophones…

12th March 2018

You may have noticed, if you were in the market for new reeds (or even your trusty usual ones!) that we have some new synthetic options. Now for sale on our site we have the new G-REEDS!


5% OFF – Top 10 Saxes Offer

6th March 2018

We’re delighted to be offering an extra 5% discount off our Top 10 Saxophone models until April 30th, 2018. There is limited stock available across a variety of brands including Yamaha, Selmer & Yanagisawa. So, don’t miss this chance to grab a bargain for either a beginner, upgrader or pro player – we’ve got something for everyone.



23rd February 2018

“I didn’t buy an instrument for the sake of the music…I wanted the instrument for what it represented. By watching musicians I saw that they drank, they smoked, they got all the broads and they didn’t get up early in the morning.  That attracted me.  My next move was to see who got the most attention, so it was between the tenor saxophonist and the drummer.  The drums looked like too much work, so I said I’ll get one of those tenor saxophones.  That’s the truth.”


The Fastest Tenor in the West

17th January 2018

He was a seventeen year-old alto saxophone player when he first joined Lionel Hampton’s band in 1945, but Gladys Hampton, Lionel’s wife, who also managed Lionel’s band, insisted that the teenager with the alto had been hired to play tenor saxophone, and no one argued with Gladys. So, Johnny Griffin started to play tenor. Before too long he was duetting with the band’s star tenor player, Arnett Cobb.  Eventually the routine of playing Hampton’s big hits night after night became tiresome.  Griffin left Hampton’s band, and, though he returned for a brief spell, he finally quit for good shortly after his nineteenth birthday.


‘Ronnie Peters’, ‘Buckshot La Funke’, Julian ‘Cannonball’…

8th September 2017

Join jazz aficionado Peter Gardner with his look back at the one and only Julian ‘Cannonball’ Adderley…

Some accounts of his arrival on the New York jazz scene read like an exaggerated piece of jazz folklore.  Aged twenty-six, already a successful high school music teacher, he was in New York with a view to starting graduate studies to add to his already impressive educational CV. On Saturday 19th June, 1955, he had his alto with him and rather than leave it in a car, which could be fraught with danger in New York, he took it with him into Café Bohemia to hear a group led by bassist Oscar Pettiford. Pettiford’s tenor player, Jerome Richardson, hadn’t shown up and neither had his dep.


NEW! Select Jazz Tenor Sax Mouthpiece…

16th May 2017

The new ‘Select Jazz’ Tenor Sax mouthpiece from D’Addario has just recently been released, it’s priced at just £155 (May 2017), is immaculately made and blows the house down, but is that enough? Shouldn’t it be more expensive? Why isn’t it hand finished on the eleventh moon of the solstice? You get the idea, it’s from a big multinational company, how can it possibly have the nuances we all desire? Well, read on to find out why we don’t give a monkeys about any of the above – blowing is believing and this thing rocks!


‘Bagpipe Lung’ – Cleaning Care Advice & Gear for Wind Instruments

23rd August 2016

Many of you will have seen the recent article and report warning players of so-called ‘bagpipe lung’ infections. So, what’s the truth behind the situation and what can you do to ensure you keep your instrument clean and safe…


The Making of a Masterpiece…

16th August 2016

Join Jazz aficionado Peter Gardner as this time he takes a look at the origins of ‘Body and Soul’…

It would become one of the world’s most recorded songs. One recorded performance would reach artistic heights rarely exceeded in the history of jazz. As the result of that performance, the tune would become something of a test piece for jazz musicians, particularly tenor saxophonists. Yet, some accounts of the song’s origins give little hint of the memorable things that were to follow.


When Johnny Hodges Doubled…

10th June 2016

Join Jazz aficionado Peter Gardner as he takes us back to 1938 & that famous Carnegie Hall Concert with many of the Jazz greats…

On the evening of 16th January, 1938, Benny Goodman and His Orchestra played before a packed house at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Billed as ‘The First Swing Concert in the History of Carnegie Hall’, it was not the first time jazz had been played in what Down Beat called the “sanctum of long-hairs”, but it was the first time an entire Carnegie concert had been devoted to such music.


Stan Getz: Delving back…

9th May 2016

Join Jazz aficionado Peter Gardner as he delves back into the family history of Stan Getz, one of the very greatest Jazz Saxophonists…

When The Observer’s jazz critic Benny Green heard Stan Getz playing at Ronnie Scott’s Club in March 1971 he spoke of Getz as “one of the greatest jazz masters of all time” and he added: “It is doubtful if Getz has ever played better in his life…Getz’s genius has flowered again”.


Grafton Alto Saxophone

3rd May 2016

The Grafton saxophone was an injection moulded, cream-coloured acrylic plastic alto saxophone with metal keys, manufactured in London, England by the Grafton company, and later by ‘John E. Dallas & Sons Ltd’. Only Grafton altos were ever made, due to the challenges in making larger models (i.e. the tenor) with 1950s plastic technology. Production commenced in 1950 and ended after approximately ten years. However, a few last examples were assembled from residual parts circa 1967. All tools, machinery and jigs required to manufacture the Grafton were sold for scrap and subsequently destroyed in 1968.


New Vandoren V21 Sax Reeds…

14th April 2016

Whilst it’s no surprise that Vandoren have just released the new V21 Sax reeds (hot on the heels of the Clarinet V21’s) what is more intriguing is quite who or what they are intended for, or at least getting this information out of them (as a UK Retailer or Customer) isn’t as easy as it could be.


Rico Jazz Select Reed Re-Branding & Reed Tips…

4th January 2016

It’s amazing to think that the D’Addario company bought out Rico back in 2004 yet the confusion of branding cropped up again recently and so we wanted to take this opportunity to update all Clarinet & Sax players of the most recent reed box packaging changes on Jazz Select & Reserve reeds in particular to avoid any confusion and to discuss what a re-brand can do to us single reed players minds!…


Have you tried D’Addario Reserve Reeds?

4th December 2015


Acclaimed for their unrivalled consistency and ease of response, D’Addario Reserve reeds are fast becoming a favourite amongst the UK’s top orchestral players.


The Summer of Vintage Saxes!

15th September 2015

This summer we have seen a multitude of beautiful vintage saxophones come into the workshop so we thought you might like to see what we have seen and what their issues were. Have a look through, there are some real beauties!


Simon Willescroft plays Cannonball Bari Sax at T in the Park with Paloma Faith

21st July 2015

It was great to see our friend, and Cannonball Musical Instruments artist, Simon Willescroft rocking it with Paloma Faith at T in the park this weekend on his B5-B Cannonball Bari Sax!


Selmer Paris release new reeds!

15th July 2015

We are excited to hear that Selmer Paris will be launching their own reed range for soprano, alto and tenor saxophone!


Replacing a Saxophone Crook Cork…

28th October 2014

Check out our video explaining how we would change the cork on any Saxophone neck. We offer this as an ‘on the spot’ service in store and it’s something you can drop in to be done at any time, just remember to bring your mouthpiece so we can size it up perfectly for you.


Sax Mouthpieces – How Dawkes can help…

8th October 2014

Whether you are a beginner, advanced amateur or a professional the choice of mouthpiece can make a huge difference.

Beginner Players

When you’re starting out the Sax mouthpiece you choose needs to be (a) easy to play (b) well made (c) help you make a decent tone. We see many poor quality mouthpieces on beginner Saxes and more often than not the player is struggling away trying to play something that really isn’t doing them any favours. Sadly the cheaper quality instruments often come with these inferior mouthpieces and players struggle accordingly. It needn’t be this way, with the right help and guidance we can get student players enjoying their Sax more with the correct mouthpiece choice.


Cannonball artist Gerald Albright in the UK…

31st January 2014

Gerald AlbrightI was lucky enough to meet Gerald Albright a couple of years ago at the NAMM show in the USA where the great and good of the music industry assemble (and me!). I had been  an admirer of his playing for some years, his CV is pretty impressive with 16 solo albums to his name and well over 1 million records sold…1 million! For an instrumentalist that is a pretty major output! He’s also recognised for his work as a touring live Saxophonist with great Pop stars such as Whitney Houston and most commonly Phil Collins. This work has propelled him onto a world stage and I’m pretty sure he must be one of the most ‘seen’ live Saxophonists because of this.


Cannonball Sax News – Cannonball Run (Gordon Goodwin) Video

22nd November 2013

The wonderfully creative and dedicated guys and girls at Cannonball are all players of some sort or another. They’ve got a few videos up online featuring their acoustic technicians playing various charts. This month we wanted to highlight a recent video they made playing a specially commissioned piece by Gordon Goodwin called ‘Cannonball Run’.


Sax DIY Repair Tip – #1

Here’s Abi from the workshop in the first in a series of DIY repair tips to help with emergency Sax issues. Of course these snippets are just helpful hints to get you out of a spot of bother, if unsure we always advise bringing your Sax in to see our qualified and highly skilled technicians. Stay posted to our newsletters and Facebook for more top tips.


Rare Selmer ‘Art Deco’ Tenor…


Engraving (click pic to enlarge)

This beautiful Selmer Tenor Sax was brought in recently for some Workshop TLC. It’s serial number 22540 puts it as a very early ‘Balanced Action’ model. This was the first time that a Selmer had both bell keys (low B & Bb) on the front side of the sax, as we are used to seeing today.


Live @ Dawkes III – Vive Le Saxophone!

23rd November 2012

The third ‘Live @ Dawkes’ on Nov 10th 2012 featured a fantastic Jazz quartet consisting of Selmer saxophone artist Greg Abate, and a crack hot rhythm section of Geoff Eales on Piano, Dave Richmond on Bass, and Clark Tracey on Drums. The chaps took to the stage at 2pm and let rip with a 1hr 20min tour de force of some classic jazz charts and a sprinkling of lesser known originals and new tunes. The Alto playing of Greg Abate was a joy to hear, with ample dexterity and a polished sound he thrilled all the crowd with some dazzling playing.


Trevor James SR Saxophones – Special Offer

4th February 2012

Launched last year the Trevor James (or TJ) range of SR saxes offer the intermediate or upgrading Sax player a really fruity sound and slick action for a great price. With the Alto model costing just £1299 inc.vat and the Tenor model costing just £1679  inc.vat the SR models come in a few hundred pounds less than the well known Yamaha 62 and Yanagisawa 901 models.


Selmer Reference 54 Alto – DragonBird Collector’s Edition

22nd October 2011

VIP Package…for a VIP Saxophone


We’re delighted to be selling one of these Selmer Ref 54 DragonBird Collector’s Edition Alto Saxophones. Only a select number (400) of these special reference 54’s have been made and they complete the final year of the ‘Tribute to Bird’ series that Selmer have been running. The series, which was launched in 2005 has seen a ‘bird’ reference for each continent; Hummingbird/America, Kookaburra/Australia, Flamingo/Africa, Firebird/Europe…and now the final DragonBird/Asia.


Beginner Saxophones…

3rd September 2011

To Rent or Buy?

Obtaining your first saxophone from Dawkes Music can be achieved in a simple and cost effective way. We offer various ways to get you your first saxophone, which we believe suits everyone.

As a woodwind and brass specialist shop, you will be guaranteed the best student model saxophones on the market, with the addition of ongoing workshop support from us to ensure the saxophone continues to play to its highest capabilities. Dawkes do not simply give you a saxophone out of the box; we add our personal touch to each instrument ensuring it is set up and easy to play suiting the players requirements.


LIVE @ Dawkes…Sunday June 19th – Big Band Gig

23rd June 2011

Sunday June 19th saw the birth of ‘LIVE @ Dawkes’…an ongoing commitment to live music in our community, here’s how we got there:


Selmer Paris – My French Love Affair…

14th February 2011


Selmer – Saxophones and Clarinets

So, Valentines Day 2011 comes around and arriving on our doorstep is a new delivery of Selmer Paris Saxophones and Clarinets. I’ve been selling Selmer personally for the last 13 years and it’s fair to say it’s been a bumpy time with various ups and downs…


NAMM – Final Day News…Bach 42B Trombone, Yamaha YSL897Z Trombone, Eric Marienthal & Gordon Goodwin…

17th January 2011

So the final day of our NAMM show experience for Dawkes was packed full of more new products and artists.

The day started with a pre-show performance by a High School Marching band. Not something we have many of in the UK, it was great to see 60 or so kids playing without any printed music, in formation and also bursting into dance routines halfway through! You have to say this style of band is quite inspirational, all are included and all play and practice regularly. You would imagine many skills are learnt in this environment, not just musical skills, perhaps a variant of this program would be a breath of fresh air for the UK education provision.


NAMM – Day 2 News…Yamaha Neo Euphonium, Mighty Bright Lights, iPad Holder & More…

15th January 2011

So here we are, Day 2 of the NAMM show and this is the Dawkes Music blog on what’s new and interesting from the biggest show on the planet.


NAMM – Day 1 News…Yamaha Soprano Saxophones, New Vandoren Products, New Mutes

14th January 2011

So the first day of NAMM 2011 is done and as usual it was a long but interesting day.

The NAMM show is probably the biggest trade show for the Music Industry and is usually the first place to find new products hitting the market. The NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) association is highly regarded in the US for improving the exposure for all music making and the importance to education. The show is the place for worldwide manufacturers and retailers to talk business, instruments and education.


Saxophone Ligatures…

9th December 2010

What A Difference A Lig Makes……….!

Now and then in life, you get one of those ‘Eureka’ moments. Occasionally you might discover one of the fundamental laws of the universe, other times may be a little more prosaic, but nevertheless, eventful in their own way. Let me tell about my recent experience.


Chris Potter @ Ronnie Scotts…

18th November 2010

Saturday 13th November was a great day – not only did England run Australia into the ground at the Rugby match at Twickenham, but a few of us had booked tickets to go see the phenomenal American tenor saxophonist Chris Potter at Ronnie Scotts. Having worked all day at the shop on Saturday, we were eager for a dose of jazz that night. Making it into London amongst the jolly rugby fans was something of a mission, but worth the battle as we finally entered one of the most prestigious jazz clubs in the world. Sat in our dimly lit rows, surrounded by pictures of jazz greats past and present, we settled down for an evening of sublime jazz performances.


Snake Davis DVD – “Make It Sing” Review

15th September 2010

“MAKE IT SING!” Snake Davis

“What good is a great finger technique if it is not supported by a fantastic sound? The notes won’t mean anything” (Snake Davis)


Want your first Sax?

4th September 2010

To Rent or Buy?

Obtaining your first saxophone from Dawkes Music can be achieved in a simple and cost effective way. We offer various ways to get you your first saxophone, which we believe suits everyone.

As a woodwind and brass specialist shop, you will be guaranteed the best student model saxophones on the market, with the addition of ongoing workshop support from us to ensure the saxophone continues to play to its highest capabilities. Dawkes do not simply give you a saxophone out of the box; we add our personal touch to each instrument ensuring it is set up and easy to play suiting the players requirements.


Selmer MkVI Alto Repair – Emergency!

5th May 2010

It’s Wednesday morning, the phone rang and I happened to pick it up to hear a somewhat distressed sounding musician friend, either he’d just missed out on the gig of a lifetime that paid huge £ (do they still exist?!)…OR, and as it turns out this was it, he had knackered his very expensive Selmer Saxophone! After suffering a tumble over some PA equipment he dusted himself off and took one look at his Selmer MarkVI Alto and doubtless had ‘kittens’…see for yourself:


Emergency Saxophone Repair

15th April 2010
Baritone Sax

The instrument at the weekend was not a Jupiter, but it could happen to any model!

Nice little story…We were displaying at the National Concert Band Festival last weekend in Birmingham. It was a great weekend and inspiring to see so many players, especially kids, enjoying playing in concert and big bands. We were by our stand when a rather distressed young lady came to us clutching a Baritone Sax and exclaimed that it has suddenly stopped working properly! She was due to play in 2 minutes and the Sax was not blowing any notes below a D, so my colleague pointed the girl in my direction as he knew I had some repair experience (albeit a few years ago!).  I asked the young lady to play for me so I could hear the problem, at this point your mind wishes you were at the work bench with your leak light and tools, it’s funny how being removed from a usual place of work can affect your ability.