Andreas Eastman ETS652RL Tenor Saxophone

Today, I am reviewing the Andreas Eastman ETS652RL unlacquered tenor saxophone.   This is another great saxophone that is manufactured in Taiwan.  I had never heard of Eastman saxophones until a couple of months ago when I received an email asking me if I would be willing to review them.

Andreas Eastman EAS640 Tenor Saxophone

Eastman Musical Instrument company started out with violins, then evolved into a full string line.  They next added brass instruments, bought the Haynes Flute Company, and are now expanding to include saxophones.  Here is a quote from Roger Greenberg who is helping to develop these saxophones:

“Our priority with these saxophones is to capture the best of some of the great vintage horns and combine these features with modern technology, etc. to make the finest horn possible in all aspects including response, sound, intonation, ergonomics and construction.  I’m feeling very good about these new horns.  We have two very different models, one more traditional in sound and response, and the other more adventurous with rolled tone holes and an amazing response combined with a huge sound.”

This Eastman tenor saxophone is a gorgeous unlacquered sax which gives it a vintage look. It has a high F# key on it and the key work is ergonomically smooth and efficient.  It has rolled tone holes which reminds me of my first tenor sax which was a H. Couf which also had rolled tone holes.  The metal on the sax and key work is thick and sturdy.  There’s nothing flimsy or weak about it.  It wasn’t too long ago that you would see a sax from Taiwan or China and the metal would be subpar.  I would always get frustrated when students came to their lesson every week and the horn had leaks because the metal bent so easily.  The saxophones I’ve seen from Taiwan in the last 2 years have all had excellent build quality though.

The key work was  great and I felt like I could get around the horn well.  I have a history of tendonitis so I prefer a pretty light spring tension on my saxophones.  I found the spring tension to be a bit too strong for me but that can be adjusted by any competent repair person.  The bottom Bb table of keys was a bit hard for me to get around but that is due to the stronger spring tension.  The placement of the keys and the mechanism looked fine.  It had resonators that were metal with rivets in the middle. I’ve heard a few repair techs say these aren’t the best resonators but I’ll leave that discussion for another day as everyone has different opinions on resonators.

The tone of this saxophone was fat and thick sounding.  Sometimes when a saxophone is too fat and spread sounding it loses the core to the sound.  I think of the core as a tight ball of sound within the tone.  This sax still had that core to the sound but it isn’t as focused and tight as my Selmer Super Balanced Action. I think it was more husky and thick sounding than the SBA though.

The first thing I check when I try a saxophone is the intonation. I tune the middle B and then see how the octave B tunes in comparison. If the high B is sharp or out of whack I usually just put the sax back in it’s case and move on. The octaves were great on this sax. The intonation was as good as I have seen on any modern tenor saxophone. The octaves were in tune and the high notes weren’t sharp at all. I really enjoyed playing this saxophone.

I played an Ishimori Woodstone hard rubber 7* mouthpiece on it with a Woodstone #2 1/2 reed. The sax played well with this setup although if I played this sax all the time I think I would go for a more modern sounding setup.   The great intonation made it very easy to play right from the beginning. The true test is to play the sax with music and this saxophone passed that test. I played it with a couple of recordings and it was easy to play in tune at louder and softer volumes. The tone was very flexible and felt like I could play with it while still staying in tune. When I played at 95% volume it still kept the same tone and I didn’t feel like I could out blow it.

I have provided a video clip below so you can see and hear the sax for yourself. Anyone can write great reviews about a sax but the true test is to see and hear it for yourself. The final test is for you to play it yourself.

If you are interested in a Andreas Eastman saxophone you can click on http://www.eastmanmusiccompany.com/ .   I am told that the saxophones aren’t on there yet but they are in the process of redesigning their site to include them.    Let me know what you think in the comments below.    Thanks, Steve

Andreas Eastman ETS652RL Tenor Saxophone

 

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Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 25 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.

Comments

  1. Roger Greenberg says:

    Just letting you know that Eastman has already made the decision to upgrade the resonators.

  2. I like it… any idea where it will be price wise? can’t find it on the website. (not that I can afford it anyway…lol) reminds me of my Buffet SDA tonewise.

  3. I’m not sure. I haven’t seen the retail price yet. Maybe Roger will come comment with the info.

  4. I got an Andreas Eastman ETS640-GL made in Taiwan I paid $2200. I am happy with it. (I would like to know your reaction to that)
    Now my story I wanted to learn to play saxophone. I was clueless; I went to a music store and was sold a Palm Wind no # made in China for $1100. Bad after about a week even I could tell. I took it to a tech and he confirmed my feelings that this was a bad buy. I went to a different music store purchased the above Andreas Eastman. Please let me know what you think (other them I am stupid.)

  5. I own this sax, and I have to say that I love it. I would consider myself an intermediate to advanced student and I wanted a professional tenor that didn’t break the bank. As steve said, it plays in tune, is well structured, very responsive, and can be very loud. I also had the issue of the cork being a little small, playing with an SRTech Europa. For me it can get a bit heavy after a few hours, but it’s not too bad.

  6. Steve, have you tried the P mauriat 76 UL if so how do you compare the two, I`m in the market for a UL tenor,
    Thanks Steve, as always great information

    R

  7. Hi Roger, I haven’t tried any of the Mauriat tenors so I can’t comment on those. Sorry. Steve

  8. Cool horn! Good to see some real choice in tonal concepts in moderately priced horns. Does this remind you of a Keilwerth SX-90R?

  9. Not really……but it has been many years since I tried a Keilwerth. I remember them having a fatter more spread sound to them.

  10. Hi… Good review And very explicative video.. Thank you. I
    personally own a curved soprano and a low a baritone saxes from
    Eastman music company, Both seem to be quite good for the price
    paid and with many features of very well known sax brands
    especially I found much inspiration from Yanagisawa. I would have
    added some footage with a more modern mpc as per your review. Great
    job thanks. Stefano

  11. Harley Petty says:

    Thanks for your review: although six years have passed since you reviewed the horn, I decided to purchase one, due to your review. I love the sound and ease of play. Although, my horn came with a weak spring on the low C# and on the middle A, I’ve personally adjusted some of it out and will continue to do so until I have it all out. I take my time adjusting because I’m concerned with breaking the needles. Anyway, I would not have purchased the horn without your stamp of approval. Thanks again: Saxman Harley

  12. Glad you like it Harley. I expect a new horn to have to be adjusted by my tech usually anyways. It sounds strange to have to adjust something new but the last horn I bought I had to have all the spring tension decreased as it was too strong for my tastes. Steve

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