review

John Packer JP245 Alto Saxophone Review: John Packer JP245 Alto Saxophone

This review was published on: July 1st 2014
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Saxophones such as John Packer’s middle of the range JP245 alto are pushing the likes of Selmer, Yamaha and Yanigasawa to justify the extra expense at the top end of the market.

From the moment one picks up the JP245 it is clear that it is a quality instrument, banishing the expectation previously endemic among lower budget saxophones of lazily designed key work. The bottom left hand cluster is fluid and light and the palm keys and top F spatula are in the right places for navigating this awkward area of the instrument. The transition from the standard range to the altissimo is smooth and the extended register is a pleasure to play. Indeed, the entire range of the horn is well balanced and, saxophone snobbery aside, should not make you feel out of place in any style of music. The use of blue steel springs, Italian leather pads and metal resonators indicate a high attention to detail. The mother of pearl inlays and tastefully minimal engraving on the bell and upper body add a touch of sophistication. Most importantly, the tuning on these instruments is good, excepting the usual saxophonic minefield at the bottom of the range where they have clearly made an effort to correct the ubiquitous sharp low Bb. The zippered case is compact and light with a large front pocket, a well thought out backpack facility and a shoulder strap.

The availability of reliable information on saxophone construction means that customers are more knowledgeable, demanding more from manufacturers, and the only major element separating this horn from those at the top of the range is malleability of timbre; the sound is thick and rich but lacking in pliancy – not a bad starting point for anyone looking to upgrade their instrument. Perhaps its highest endorsement is that professional players have been happy to take these instruments on tour in preference to submitting their precious Mark VIs to the rigours of the road. Packers have also lent me a Soprano which shows similar qualities and would be a good buy for the discerning player who is not bothered by brand snobbery. With their regular attendance at Trade Fairs and their lovely shop in Yeovil this company are certainly committed to the British sax and clarinet scene.

 

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The Clarinet and Saxophone Society of Great Britain is a company limited by guarantee registered in England No. 3010228, whose registered office is at 48 Henniker Point, Leytonstone Road, London, E15 1LQ. Email: finance (@) cassgb.org. Tel: 0845 644 0187

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