review by Ryan Saranich
It is not all that often that I find so many things that I like in a saxophone, but it has arrived and proven itself to me, already. The Influence Tenor to me is the conglomeration of many things I’ve been looking for in a saxophone: Ease of play, low resistance, great construction, a keyboard that fits my fingers well, a massive amount of resonation and a classy look that turns heads.
Things that really fascinate me
The keyboard. It seems like an extremely simple idea to put flute keys on a keyboard. In fact, I wonder why no one ever thought of this earlier? The concept of having audio waves traveling through less medium (metal only, instead of metal, glue and abalone) has profound results to it not found in other horns I’ve played. You can literally feel the horn resonating more, through your fingers and into your body. As well for me, they seem to grip my fingers a lot better than abalone keys, which tend to get slick if they are polished (and wet). I’m excited about the idea of not losing my fingering when the keys are in a situation where they would normally lose grip. For me, this issue has come up often. Also, it is a testament to this horn to see the beautiful and ornate engravings on each of the flute keys on this saxophone. Fine and intricate detail was put into the horn by a master craftsman, who must have spent hours carving out the engravings on this horn. Incredible!
The bore. I feel like I can put a lot more air through this horn without getting “feedback” and resistance. You can tell a great amount of care was put into designing this horn for airflow. There is far less resistance because of it, and the horn opens up to a full-bodied sound instantly. To me, it actually feels like it blows like an older Selmer Mark VI, except with more stability and an even more solid tone. If this horn were to become the #1 choice on the saxophone market, it would be easy to understand why by playing it for a single minute. I am however, extremely interested in trying the other P. Mauriat neck on my horn (the Magnum) just to see what other interesting tonal nuances come out in this horn. With the current neck, I feel like the construction and materials really even-out my sound, to the point where I’ve taken the tone that I had and made it more full and controlled- and by doing less work on my part! This is any player’s dream.
The construction. I know that some of the parts of the horn are hand-hammered, but I feel that there has been great detail in making sure that the metal is even, all the way around. As a gear head who is always testing new gear, it is easy to look at the construction of something and see how well it was made and how evenly it is made- it is the attention to detail that sometimes separates a product from all of the rest. You can tell that even the bracing was carefully designed to make sure that it would support everything. I love the little touches like the treble clef body/bell bracing and even the placement of felts and plastic spacers. This horn was constructed beautifully and then setup to be completely playable with no modifications, right out of the case on the first day. It was apparent to me how much care was put into these horns as I was testing them. I had three horns in front of me to choose from, and I tested them all to find out that they were nearly identical in every way. It took me two complete days of playing before I found which one that I liked the most and it seriously came down to me being so picky about each horn, and trying to draw out every quality I could out of them. They were nearly identical! A hard choice- but isn’t that what you want when you’re choosing a horn that you will be performing on for a lifetime? I’m incredibly glad to finally find a horn that conforms to the way that -I- play- not a horn that I have to learn to play. A few weeks in now, I’ve had absolutely no problems getting accustomed to the new horn. I’ve recently done all of the recording for my new record on the horn and it was an instant hit. My engineer and producer, Young Kim says, “The difference is remarkable. The sound is so solid! I don’t have to do anything to make this horn sound great on a recording.” Since then, I’ve been involved in recording on someone else’s record and they’ve said nearly the same thing. My ‘new’ sound is light years beyond where it was previously, thanks to P. Mauriat. I’m looking forward to testing it out on the road, with some new dates coming up for the end of the summer and the fall. It will get the ultimate test! As well, at some point in the very near future I would like to upgrade my soprano, alto and baritone to similar models of P. Mauriat horns, to my new Influence Tenor. I’d love to see that build in my other three horns, and at that point I will know that I will never need another piece of gear again- unless it is another Influence to add to my collection!
Things that could use improvement:
A heavier-duty case. I’ve traveled with these ProTec cases before. Although I love them for going around town, they can still be a little too thick (which is annoying at times) and could use more padding. I’ve had issues a few times with my horns needing repairs after something like a simple plane ride in the overhead compartment. A molded contoured case is always my first choice, and has proven itself to me a little better.
As you can tell by my response, if the case is the only thing I’m not a fan of- this horn is a complete winner. For years I have been looking forward to the purchase of a P. Mauriat horn, and now that I have one, it proves itself worthy in every light. I will have absolutely no issues with anything with this horn! It continues to prove itself each and every day.
“When I played my P.Mauriat for the first time, it not only reminded me of the response and ease I feel playing my clarinet, for the whole range of the saxophone, but it also had a powerful sound that was sweet and full.”