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canarywood sax

A saxophone is likely low on the priority list of any hiker or occupant of a tiny house. But Ron Marr invented a solution—a portable, player-friendly version of the woodwind-section favorite. It’s called the Backpacker Sax.

Marr, a journalist and entrepreneur, hollows and burns out pieces of red oak for the sound chambers. They’re sanded and smoothed. He drills and tunes six holes for each instrument, affixes a copper plumbing elbow and a bamboo reed as a 4C alto
sax mouthpiece.

The result is a travel-ready wooden instrument with a saxophone-clarinet sound. It joins the family of instruments Marr has created in the past 40 years—dulcimers to guitars, bowed psalteries to wooden flutes. The inventor says of the sax: “It plays one full octave, and with a bit of practice, sharps and flats are a breeze.” 

Handmade in Missouri, each saxophone comes with a cap, extra bamboo reed, fingering chart, instruction sheet and ligature. Its assembled dimensions are 16” L x 4” W x 1.5” H. 

$90 at ronmarr.com

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