The Wilmington Alto Saxophone Review
The Wilmington Alto Saxophone
This Review was published on 11/15/2020
The Wilmington alto saxophone was created and is sold by Curt Altarac and the Music Medic company based in Wilmington, North Carolina USA. The Saxophones are imported from outside of the United States and according to Curt Altarac the saxophones are fully setup by the Music Medic team previous to shipment to the customer. As of 11/15/2020 when this review is written the saxophone is priced at $1,335.00
The Saxophone has many unique features which are nice improvements to the "stock" new saxophone’s usually manufactured in one of many different countries of Asia.
Selling points of this saxophone:
· Body is made of Nickel versus Brass which is advertised as more dent resistant (time will tell if this is true)
· The right palm Bb key touch has a stop under the key to prevent the key from bending down and out of adjustment (very nice touch Music Medic)
· Music Medic leather pads with metal resonators (versus the ultra-cheap pads that are standard with some other saxes sold)
As of the date of this review our company Musician Gear Garage LLC & MusicianGearGarage.com is a seller of The Wilmington Alto Saxophones, Flutes, & Clarinets. We are proud to sell these Wilmington instruments because of their solid design and construction.
Initially, The Wilmington saxophone which we reviewed was inspected and immediately we found that the key touch on the Low F key cup was loose. This was a quick fix with a few drops of “super glue”. We then moved on to using a very bright LED leak light to determine that this saxophone has zero pad leaks. Regulation of the bottom and top stacks was very good and all keys had zero lost key motion.
The body and neck are made of Nickle versus Brass and they have a very unique media blasted finish. The inside of the bell is polished to a shiny gold finish. Music Medic has confirmed to us that the whole body, including inside the bell are all sprayed with clear lacquer at the factory. The keys are made of brass and also have a very shiny gold appearance.
The fit of each key was tight with no side to side movement including the bottom and top stack keys. I see no indication that the keys were tightened up by Music Medic. I am very pleased to see this as perhaps it suggests that the saxophone keywork is tight when it leaves the factory and not heavily swedged by Curt Altaracs’ team in North Carolina.
The left palm keys for D, D#, & F have a very natural position and height which allow a very comfortable playing hand position. I do not feel the need to add key risers. The adjustable Low C# to Low B mechanism is of the standard variety found on most saxophones coming out of Asia now. The low B & Bb notes were adjusted perfectly and sub toning and playing with a hyper volume on these bottom bell notes was very easy achieve on both notes. I was also able to play Low C#, Low B, and Low Bb over and over in both directions without missing a single note. I can’t think of a new saxophone in this price range that I have been able to subtone the bell notes this easily with how the sax was delivered right out of the box. Good job Music Medic with properly adjusting and regulated the bottom bell notes.
The stock Soft case is made of a fairly rigid foam type of material with the main zipper feeling very solid and not prone to skipping off the teeth. The saxophone comes with a neck tenon plug and when used the saxophone shows no sided to side movement in the case. The saxophone in the fully zipped up case also reveals no movement of the horn in the case when carrying the instrument. This is a very good case for a saxophone in this price range and should protect this saxophone very well if the case is used properly.
We play tested this saxophone with the following 3 mouthpieces: Yamaha 4c, JJ Babbitt, & a Meyer 7m. The JJ Babbitt was a little larger chamber and did need to be pushed in slightly more than the Yamaha 4c and Meyer 7m mouthpieces. However, Intonation was respectable with all 3 mouthpieces.
The Stock mouthpiece plays well and would be fine for a Middle or High School student. Intonation on the stock mouthpiece is also very good across all notes. My embouchure required very little lip up and down to get this saxophone to play in tune with a tuner. This includes all notes from Low Bb up to Altisimo G. The mouthpiece played not overly bright and also not extremely dark, more in the middle of the tone spectrum. I will say that I preferred playing this saxophone with the JJ Babbitt hard rubber mouthpiece as it gave the sax a slightly dark and warmer tone and really gave me the ideal sound I was looking for. However, sound is very subjective so your results may differ.
In summary, I am very pleased with the construction and setup on this Wilmington Alto Saxophone. I am told that Music Medic is working on some additional features for this saxophone. I would like to see them add a slightly better stock mouthpiece. The existing mouthpiece plays fine. But I think a stock mouthpiece that is closer in design to the Meyer 6 or 7 M was included, I think it would allow players to add a lot more color to the sound this saxophone produces. I understand that Music Medic is constantly trying to balance features of this instrument with the price point. At this $1335.00 price point it has a lot more features that what is standard on the majority of the other big name-brand saxophones many of which are sold for much higher prices.
For this price point I feel that Music Medic did an excellent job of balancing quality, features, and playability.
owner Musician Gear Garage LLC