(c) 2005 Sax Reviews
Ameritage "Nouveau" Alto Sax Case
By Aaron Santee
Ameritage Design and Construction
I was very impressed with the quality of construction and the thoughtful design of this alto case. It's all about padding, and there's TONS of it here!!! The rich red velvet covered foam is firm and supportive, unless you apply a bit of pressure to it, then, in that spot alone, it becomes a little bit softer.
At first I was afraid that the foam in general was too dense, and that it wouldn't be practical for the really minor bumps that a sax case would get - but since the foam has this unique characteristic to it, where it becomes softer at points of regular contact, the foam used in this case is as perfect as you can get!
If the foam was too firm, the horn would constantly go out of alignment from the many minor bumps cases take, if it were too soft, it would damage the instrument seriously if there was any forceful impact - say, if you dropped your sax from your shoulder.
Ameritage HardwareThe brass hardware is very solid and looks great! There were four heavy-duty latches on this alto case, and three very solid hinges. One of the things that really impressed me were the shoulder strap hooks. They're HUGE and very solid, and there are three of them, so you can choose how you want to hook-up your shoulder strap. The handle is nicely padded and has the best feel of any instrument case I've ever seen.
This particular case is made with a tan colored Dupont Codura fabric, and has really cool leather (or leather-like) trim. I think the ultimate sax case would be a version of this case, but completely covered in leather.
Sax Case ImprovementsThere are two improvements I would like to see made to this case, however. The design doesn't allow for end cap usage - which could be a problem for players who's saxophone's neck key spur is not flush with the neck receiver. This can be fixed with a minor modification - simply compress the foam right where the neck spur would go - but don't compress the entire neck receiver area, then the horn will be more likely to move around on you! Or you could cut a small hole where your neck key spur would come in contact with the foam. The only other suggestion I have would be to include some form of neck sock with the case.
Nouveau Case ExtrasThere's a great mouthpiece storage compartment that actually has a special flap of crushed velvet that's attached to the case, to lay over the mouthpiece to prevent it from moving during more aggressive travels. Oh, last but certainly not least, this case has an AWESOME series of storage compartments on it's outside! It has a total of FOUR large compartments!!! So I believe you could fit a flute case, a bottle of water, your keys, a map to the gig, extra reeds, neck straps, a tuner, more mouthpieces, and maybe even more stuff, just on the case's OUTSIDE!!! I couldn't get over how thoughtfully designed these pockets were!
In ConclusionSo aside from the minor modification needed by maybe 50% of the alto saxophones out there regarding the neck key spur, this case is the Bentley of alto sax and tenor sax cases!!! I'll be working with Ameritage to develop their new soprano case and making improvements on their alto and tenor cases. So check www.Ameritage.com for news on future models!
For info on me, my music, and my book, please visit www.AaronSantee.com - God Bless. ><>
By Aaron Santee
Aaron Santee is a Saxophonist playing Jazz and Commercial Music Styles on Soprano Saxophone, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone and EWI. Aaron Santee is also an educator and now author, with 2 books on Saxophone Playing Now Available. Saxophone - Everything Sax Players Should Know is hot off the press and covers the bases just as the title suggests. Hot off the press is a new book by Aaron Santee, Jazz Saxophone - Everything Jazz Sax Players Should Know; Available August 2005 from Aaron's Website.
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