Review of the Sax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone

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Review of the Sax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone

  • Originally Posted by Christopher Mickel on

    Introduction & Appearance

    Sax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone Upper Stack

    Pete LaPlaca and his staff at Sax Dakota have been producing excellent instruments for some time now and this is quite apparent with the new SDT-XR-92 tenor saxophone. I was made aware of Sax Dakota by Melvin Llord He put me in contact with Pete who, after hearing me play, asked me if I would be interested in trying out a Sax Dakota horn and possibly endorsing them. I tried the horn and I was really happy with it. So, I purchased my SDT-XG-606 and I have been playing it ever since, that was in May of 2012. The SDT-XR-92 is Sax Dakota’s newest addition to their already excellent line of professional saxophones; it is unlike any of their previous models. The standard for Sax Dakota has been plated brass horns. However, this new model is comprised of a completely unlacquered bronze brass alloy. The hand engraving and the unlacquered bronze brass of the SDT-XR-92 give it an attractive “vintage” look. It is a really cool looking horn. I received the SDT-XR-92 on trial from Pete in order to spend some time playing it, and to give my thoughts on the horn. After playing it, I can say that this new model is an excellent instrument. I spent time on longtones, overtones, scales, technique exercises, tunes, improvisation, transcribed solos, everything I could think of in order to put the horn through the paces so to speak. I really wanted to see what it could do.

    Sound, Response & Intonation

    First of all, I found it to be very free blowing (a trait I prefer) which made it very comfortable to play. The intonation is very good throughout the range of the horn from low B - flat through the altissimo register and the tone was consistant as well. One of the best chararacteristics I have noticed with Sax Dakota horns is that the sound is very focused and centered and this horn was no exception. Another great aspect of this horn is the response. As I played it, I found that it did exactly what I wanted when I wanted it to happen. I did not have to make drastic adjustments or “fight” with the horn in order to get everything to sound clearly. In addition, I was able to play very soft subtones all the way down to low B - flat. Everything spoke very well.

    Keywork & Ergonomics

    As is the case with everything Sax Dakota makes, the keywork and action are excellent. For starters, the key work is very ergonomic. This provides for comfortable hand placment and efficency of motion which makes it easier for the player reduce tension. Furthermore, the action is amazing. There is no play or wasted motion in the mechanism.

    Comparison with Other Professional Model Horns

    I spent some time recording myself playing it side by side with my Sax Dakota SDT-XG-606, my Selmer Mark VI, my Keilwerth SX90-R, and my friend’s Selmer Reference 54. To keep things consistant, I used the set up I always use: a #9 facing Drake Tenor Contemporary I mouthpiece with Rigotti Gold #3 medium reeds. After comparing these horns I can say that they are all excellent horns and, for the most part, the differences in tone were quite subtle. The brightest and most focused was the Sax Dakota SDT-XG-606 while the Reference 54 was the darkest and most spread. I did notice that there was quite a large amount of resistance with the Reference 54; all of the other horns were very free blowing. The SDT-XR-92 was very similar to the Mark VI and the Keilwerth. All three of them had a very balanced and well rounded tone.

    Sax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone Upper Stack 2Sax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor SaxophoneSax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone BowSax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone BellSax Dakota SDT-XR-92 Tenor Saxophone Neck

  • Conclusion

I can say without a doubt that Sax Dakota’s new SDT-XR-92 model tenor saxophone is an excellent horn. It has every characteristic the professional player is looking for: the tone is great, the response in impeccable, the action is excellent, and overall it is very comfortable to play. In addition to all of that, the hand engraving and raw bronze brass give it a unique look. This is a high quality professional horn that can easily hold its own with any horn on the market.

This horn is an exemplary example of the very high level of quality and craftsmanship Pete and his staff at Sax Dakota put into all of their horns which are why I not only recommend them without hesitation but I also play and endorse them.

Christopher D. Mickel, D.M.A.

Sax Dakota performing artist

Teacher and Senior Forum Moderator as

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