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 Post subject: Considering xaphoon...
PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:32 pm 
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Looking at the fingering chart, it seems to be pretty intuitive. I have a saxophone, whistle and ocarina background, and don't really want to cataloge a new fingering system, but this looks pretty similar.
Anyone have one? Thoughts?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:55 pm 
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I have one. It's very difficult and not enjoyable to play. Reviews say that it plays like a very bad clarinet. I don't play the clarinet but I can see where they get that from.

See this thread for more opinions: viewtopic.php?f=20&t=66545


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2013 7:56 pm 
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dspmusik wrote:
Looking at the fingering chart, it seems to be pretty intuitive. I have a saxophone, whistle and ocarina background, and don't really want to cataloge a new fingering system, but this looks pretty similar.
Anyone have one? Thoughts?


I have one of the polymer ones. You do have to overblow for the full range of notes. Nice deep tone for such a short instrument. I played clarinet (sometimes sax) back in middle school, so could set up and use a reed. You have to figure out which hardness is best for you, and whether tenor or baritone reed. However, you not only need to be comfortable with a single reed, but use it often (daily?) enough to stay on top of your embouchure, which I could not do. Otherwise, you'll be spending all your time moistening and adjusting, rather than practicing. I did not enjoy the transition from whistle or flute to something buzzing against my lip. You're welcome to buy mine at a good discount, should you wish to give it a try.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:03 am 
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The xaphoon is chromatic but has a "non-intuitive" fingering system, i.e. you can play D E G A B on the whistle, sax, really most woodwinds (probably ocarina), with the same fingers, but not on the xaphoon.
A similar instrument is the "Highland Hornpipe". I have one, and I can't comment on whether it sounds like a bad clarinet or not, but it is also a small folk clarinet, but with the "intuitive" fingering. However, it is diatonic like the whistle.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:12 am 
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I had one, but traded it to Ian Turnbull for an Impempe whistle, (which I'll rave on about for anyone who's interested).

The Xaphoon is pretty cool as a diversion. It's sort of sax-like, pocket-sized, and able to produce a full chromatic scale. With some practice, it can be fairly musical. I kind of liked it.

But I can get there better with the keyed flute, chromatic harmonica, clarinet, saxophone, etc..., and sound a whole lot better. At the end of the day, the xaphoon became a time-waster for me.

My advice is to pick one up (they're cheap) and decide if it's a keeper for you or not.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2013 12:19 pm 
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i appreciate the feedback. i guess it's probably more work to make it sound great than i want to put in right now. for a $60 investment, i could get a mid-level whistle in a key i don't have (and there aren't too many left!)

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 24, 2013 4:17 pm 
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I bought one about 20 years ago, one of the original bamboo ones. I found that the secret to making it work well is to forget how small it is! In other words, you have to take as much mouthpiece into your mouth as if you were playing a tenor saxophone or bass clarinet, or it won't sound properly.

Once you do that, it is enjoyable to play. I admit that I find the upper register difficult to reach, though I assume it's possible with more practice... I haven't taken the time to do that. The fingerings are different from other keyless winds, but aren't too outlandish to learn.

Also, it responds very well to using a shoestring wrap for the reed instead of the brass ligature that's provided (as do all single-reed wind instruments) -- the improvement in tone and response is very noticeable.


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