The holes an these saxes are on the bigger side so a wider hand will be more comfortable than a player with very thin fingers. All my saxes play in one octave. We use an alto sax mouthpiece and a tenor 1 1/2 reed, which makes it much easier to play. Approximately 17 inch long.
This Alto Sax is finished in natural bamboo and comes with an alto sax mouthpiece, cap, ligature, two protective bindings, 2 tenor 1 1/2 reeds, a protective bag, free lessons and FREE shipping inside the USA!
I love an instrument with a story and this sax captures that heart.
A few years ago I was granted permission to cut a few choice pieces of bamboo from a historical garden west of Orlando. My sax was made from this bamboo and this is...
The Story:When Henry Nehrling was a boy in Wisconsin during the American Civil War, he walked through a first growth forest to get to school. During his walks he fell in love with trees, plants and birds and later wrote books about the subject. One of the plants he later fell in love with, was bamboo. In 2014 our paths crossed.
Henry Nehrling was a plant genius. He bought land in Florida in 1884 and planted an amazing tropical garden. It was so incredible that thousands came to see it. Some of the visitors were Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Firestone, Teddy Roosevelt and the plant explorer David Fairchild. In 1895 he planted Taiho Chiku; the bamboo we use for flute making. Today called Bambusa Multiplex Silver-stripe.
I was given permission to come to the old garden and cut some choice pieces of this historical bamboo. Your sax is made from this adventure.
This has been an amazing honor and pilgrimage for me because it was Henry Nehrling and his botanical friends in Florida that were responsible for planting the early bamboos that moved about the state giving me a career in flute making.
This bamboo traveled from its original home in southern China to southern Japan where it grew for hundreds of years. After 1882 it settled into the largest European nursery run by Louis Bohmer in Yokohama Japan and then it came by steam ship to San Francisco to Helen Berger to H. H. Berger & Co.
In May 1895 it arrived at Henry's home in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Then it traveled by train to Florida in November when it was placed in the ground.
GOTHA - Dr. Henry Nehrling, the “patron saint of Florida gardens,” perhaps never imagined that some of the bamboo he planted long ago would one day produce beautiful music.
But Erik Sampson, aka “Erik the Flutemaker,” is busy doing just that, while also paying homage to Nehrling and other pioneering horticulturists. And soon, he plans to release a new CD of bamboo-instrument music to honor Nehrling and benefit the nonprofit Nehrling Gardens.
The South Florida musician visited the gardens, 2267 Hempel Ave., Gotha, in August. Sampson fell in love with its stands of bamboo, including those that Nehrling planted more than 100 years ago next to Lake Nally.
“I’ve enjoyed finding these old gardens and historic bamboo clumps from satellite images,” Sampson said from his home in Davie.
With the blessing of Nehrling Gardens President Angela Withers, Sampson took home sections of the lakeside bamboo called Bambusa Multiplex. It is commonly known as “Silverstripe” bamboo and originates from southern China.
He first learned about Nehrling Gardens, its famous namesake and other historic bamboo sites while delving into historical records at Rollins College in Winter Park.
“I wanted to start visiting these places, cut the bamboo and make the flutes so people can hear the music,” Sampson said. “One of the deepest things in my heart is to give back to this fellowship of early horticulturists who brought bamboo into the United States.”
MAKING A CONNECTION
His inaugural trip to Nehrling Gardens was on a garden workday, during which volunteers remove invasive plants and perform other cleanups. Sampson quickly pitched in, as well.
“Coming through the door was such an honor,” he said. “It was a wonderful joy to connect with them.”
Withers said she was thrilled to meet Sampson, and she praised his musical talents.
“Although (his music) is varied — some of is jazzy, some is oriental and some Renaissance — it has a beautiful sense of tranquility about it,” she said.
Sampson said he has made 33 instruments and 11 bird flutes from the bamboo he collected in Gotha. The instruments include bamboo saxophones and flutes.
Sampson has made bamboo flutes for 50 years. And overall, he has handmade more than 150,000 wind instruments. In his yard grow various stands of bamboo, much of which he uses to make his instruments.
Sampson works on a new set of bamboo flutes
“I have an acre of bamboo (at home), but I felt honored to use the bamboo from Nehrling Gardens,” Sampson said.
The process of making a bamboo flute can be quite extensive. For example, it sometimes takes a year to cure the bamboo, Sampson said. The overall process also involves washing, scrubbing and oiling the bamboo, drilling holes in it and using an electronic tuner to tune it.
During his career, Sampson has made flutes in various countries, including many in Central and South America. He said one of his biggest joys was the time he played his bamboo flutes for the president of Fiji.
“(Flute making) not only provides me with a wonderful career, but also with a great retirement,” Sampson said. “That’s why I’m so grateful to these (bamboo pioneers like Nehrling).”
He also has a huge heart for the less fortunate. In 2006, Sampson started his nonprofit Flutemaker Ministries after he performed for 18 kids rescued from a garbage dump in Nicaragua.
Through the help of many customers, family and friends, Sampson and Flutemaker Ministries were able to buy land, build the kids a home, start a farm, sow into micro businesses and support efforts to feed children throughout Nicaragua, according to his website, eriktheflutemaker.com.
ABOUT THE GARDENS
Nehrling Gardens is owned and operated by a local, all-volunteer non-profit that is rehabilitating Dr. Henry Nehrling’s historic home and gardens, creating new teaching gardens and providing a historical, horticultural and environmental enrichment center for the community.
Henry Nehrling was an internationally renowned horticulturalist, naturalist, botanist, ornithologist and writer. He introduced and tested more than 3,000 new and rare species of plants and trees, as well as Florida native plants. More than 300 of these became essential to Florida’s horticulture industry, including caladiums, palms, bamboos, magnolias and amaryllis.
The Gardens became a mecca for plant lovers and a tourist destination in the early 1900s. It was visited by prominent people, such as Theodore Roosevelt and Thomas Edison, and renowned horticulturists like David Fairchild and Liberty Hyde Baily. Nehrling’s most notable works include “Our Native Birds of Song and Beauty” and “The Plant World in Florida.” Nehrling Gardens is on the National Register of Historic Places.
In this video I play the Tenor and the Alto and take you on a tour of my place.
The Tenor 1 1/2 reeds makes it much easier to play). I also encourage my customers to review in "Learn To Play" on my website which can help with this instrument.
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