The joy of buying more “stuff”

(aka G.A.S. or gear acquisition syndrome)

Of course the saxophone body by itself can’t make much of a useful sound. Well maybe if you drop it down a flight of stairs it makes a sound that is useful in as much as it reinforces your desire to never do that again. Any saxophone requires some obvious accessories that are needed to make a sound: mouthpiece, ligature and reeds.

Then there are the not entirely necessary accessories (in that they don’t make a sound per se), but are nonetheless almost obligatory. Such as a case, cleaning items and a strap (unless it’s a straight soprano that doesn’t need, and an arguably shouldn’t have, a strap).

And finally, the luxury items. These range from useful and innovatory to purely cosmetic “bling” or just pure snake oil. Many manuftacturers and retailers have discovered that the real money is to be made from accessories. Think about it: the market for actual saxophones is highly competitive so it’s often necessary to discount heavily. Add to that the cost of insuring and the cost of warehousing. It’s no wonder you might find any canny salesperson talking you into also buying the latest gizmo – whether it’s an ultra expensive ligature that doesn’t actually perform any better than the one provided, or a supposedly sound-enhancing doodad that somehow Adolph Sax forgot to include with his invention.


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