Cannonball produces two lines of professional saxophones. The flagship line is the Big Bell Stone Series, which is what most people think of when they think Cannonball saxes. And then there’s the lesser-known Vintage Reborn Series.
In this post, we’ll go over both lines of saxes, figure out what’s different between them, and see which is a better fit for certain types of players.
Note: While most of the information here is universally true for altos and tenors, sopranos and baritones have different options. Some discrepancies will exist.
Modern vs. Vintage
Simply put: the Stone Series is a modern horn, and the Vintage Reborn is a throwback to vintage saxes.
If you hear the saxes side by side, you’ll notice that the Stone Series usually has a bigger, brighter sound than the Vintages.
The Stone Series saxes feature some modern design characteristics you won’t find on older horns. On the other hand, Vintage Reborn saxes sport a design inspired by vintage saxophones from the 60s and 70s.
Differences Between Stones Series & Vintage Reborn Saxes
Both series of saxes are professional-level horns, but are different in a few ways:
As the name suggests, the Big Bell Stone Series has an oversized bell and bow. This gives the saxophone a bigger, louder sound. Vintage Reborn saxes will have a more normal-sized bell.
Vintage Reborn saxes come with just one standard neck, which is as traditional as it gets.
The Stone Series saxes come with two necks – one traditional-style neck and one Fat Neck.
- The traditional neck is pretty much like most other saxophone necks. The octave mechanism reaches over the top.
- The Fat Neck has the octave hole on the underside. This makes it a bit more free-blowing. It also brings out mid and low frequencies, giving your saxophone a “fatter” sound.
Both necks on the Stone saxes have Cannonball’s signature resonance stones embedded in the front of the neck (more on those in a bit).
Bell Key Arms
Stone Series saxes have double-arms on the bell keys. The two arms give them extra stabilization and prevent them from falling out of adjustment.
Vintage Reborn series have single arms on the bell keys. Again, this is an intentional callback to older saxophone designs.
Rather than using mother of pearl, Cannonball uses resonance stones for the key touch pieces. Most of these are Jaspar stones mined out of central Utah.
Cannonball’s patented resonance stones are found on all their professional horns. Big Bell Stone Series saxes have a total of 16 embedded into the instrument:
- 7 on the main finger buttons
- 6 on the side keys and palm keys
- 1 on the bell keyguard
- 1 on each of the necks (2 total)
By comparison, the Vintage Reborn Series saxophones have 8 total – 7 on the finger buttons plus 1 on the F# key.
Alternate F# Key
This is just a little thing, but still worth pointing out. Both series of saxes have the alternate F# key, but are slightly different. The Stone Series F# key is longer and more narrow, similar to most modern saxes. The Vintage Reborn’s is more of a round button with a stone embedded in it.
Available Finishes & Options
Aside from the stones, Cannonball saxes are probably best known for all the crazy colors and finishes. The Big Bell Stone Series has the most options by far:
- Rich Gold lacquer
- Raw brass (aka “Mad Meg”)
- Aged raw brass patina (aka. “Brute”)
- Black nickel plated
- Black nickel w/ gold keys
- Black nickel w/ silver keys
- Iced black nickel (aka “The Raven”)
- Frosted silver bell w/ black nickel body tube (aka “Hotspur”)
- Ruby-red lacquer (aka “Black Ruby”)
And these are just the “Premium Pro” Stone Series saxes.
There are also the Standard Pro saxes (A4 and T4 models). These are essentially “lite” versions of the Stone Series saxes with some stripped-down features. They come in three finishes (lacquer, raw brass, and black nickel), bringing the total number of options to 13.
Vintage Reborn saxes only come in four finishes. These finishes evoke an old-timey look:
- Dark amber lacquer
- Raw brass (aka “Mad Meg”)
- Aged raw brass patina (aka “Brute”)
Almost every Cannonball saxophone comes in a wood shell case covered in black faux-gator skin leather. These cases are lined inside with black fabric.
The one exception is the Vintage Reborn saxes. These ones come in a tan-colored case lined with purple fabric. Once again, these cases are inspired by – you guessed it – vintage saxophone cases.
Similarities Between Stone Series & Vintage Reborn Saxes
Despite the different designs, several things are similar between these saxes:
All pro Cannonball saxes are made in Tawain, then go through a rigorous quality control process once they reach Cannonball HQ in Salt Lake City, UT.
After that, they’re acoustically customized and set up by one of their professional technicians. These are some of the top dogs at Cannonball who are serious performing musicians themselves. You can even listen to them play on their YouTube channel with the Cannonball Band.
Even though they have a different number, all Cannonball pro saxes still have this thing in common.
Every Cannonball sax comes with a limited 5-year warranty. This is a standard instrument warranty that covers manufacturing defects.
Things it won’t cover:
- Cosmetic issues
- Weather-related damage (high humidity, extreme heat, etc.)
- Damage from misuse or other repairs
You can get full details of the warranty on the Cannonball website.
Where can I get a Cannonball saxophone?
Cannonball works exclusively through its network of brick-and-mortar music shops around the world. If you know where your Cannonball dealer is, go check them out. Or you can reach out directly to Cannonball to find your dream sax.
Learn More About Cannonball
Want to know more about Cannonball saxophones? Check out these other articles:
- The Ultimate Guide to Cannonball Saxophones – This comprehensive guide covers everything there is to know about Cannonball saxophones and accessories.
- Cannonball Student Saxophones: Alcazar vs. Falcon – Learn about the similarities and differences between Cannonball’s two student saxophones.