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In an erstwhile Chinese language restaurant in Sandy, extremely educated craftsmen put the ending touches on the bells of saxophones, carving in swirling traces and shapes within the curved metallic. Across the room, particulars are added and checked on clarinets and flutes.
When every instrument is completed, they’ll be shipped off to music shops throughout the globe comparable to guitars for sale,—the latest members of the Cannonball Musical Devices household—and acquired and performed by musicians from college students in class bands to professionals.
Cannonball, a well known title within the worldwide musical instrument market, is as home-grown an organization as they arrive: Its co-founders got here up with the thought within the kitchen of their Utah dwelling and proceed to be based mostly right here even because it has expanded overseas. And it’s not alone—a small however sturdy assortment of instrument-makers have discovered that the Beehive State is the place to develop their craft and enterprise.
The saxophone-making large had humble beginnings, recollects co-founder Sheryl Laukat. Whereas tinkering with a saxophone that wasn’t producing a great sound, Sheryl’s co-founder and husband, Tevis, an expert saxophone participant who had additionally educated with a grasp flute craftsman, and Sheryl, a saxophone-playing music educator, experimented with making adjustments contained in the instrument to enhance its sound.
The 2 have been so impressed with the advance in sound that they determined to place all of it on the road to begin a enterprise making and promoting devices that sounded pretty much as good straight from the case as that first saxophone did after intensive tinkering.
“We wished to take an instrument that’s high-quality and make it into one thing you don’t need to put down,” Sheryl says. “That’s all the time our objective.”
They thought-about shifting the enterprise to California, the place Tevis grew up, however in the end determined to remain in Utah due to the sturdy musical group, business-friendly financial insurance policies and the family-friendly tradition. Utah can also be shut sufficient to the West Coast so transport is handy, Sheryl says, and the encompassing panorama makes an enormous impression on guests to the corporate.
“It’s a singular place and it’s a clear metropolis. We’re all the time proud to have the ability to boast of our metropolis being so clear,” she says. “Individuals come right here they usually have a look at the mountains and are simply in awe.”
The saxophones themselves are actually manufactured in two vegetation in Taiwan, with trumpets, flutes and clarinets produced elsewhere utilizing Cannonball’s designs, however all devices return to the corporate’s Sandy headquarters for the ending touches and high quality testing. These ending touches embrace including the polished stone keys, ensuring there are not any leaks across the keyholes, and the scrollwork that’s hand-done within the outdated Chinese language restaurant close to the corporate’s predominant constructing.
Sheryl says, to her data, Cannonball is the one firm within the nation that carves the gildings by hand—a craft that takes greater than a yr of research earlier than a craftsman is allowed to even contact an actual instrument.
For a few years, she says, the corporate was far more widespread with musicians across the nation or world than with these nearer to dwelling.
“Perhaps there was some doubt as a result of folks knew who we have been,” she says. “You need to begin someplace. You’ll be able to’t begin out with all of the years of expertise and perfection that we’ve labored on all this time.”
The corporate’s success during the last 20 years is due not solely to its high quality of instrument, Sheryl says, but additionally to its precedence on customer support and standing behind every instrument. A part of that technique means Cannonball (named for the projectile, not famed saxophonist Julian “Cannonball” Adderley) doesn’t promote merchandise on-line, that means would-be patrons must go to music shops that carry Cannonball devices. Cannonball does have a robust on-line presence, nevertheless it’s constructed up of recordings, footage, movies and specs, not retail.
The explanation for that more and more uncommon apply is due to the character of the connection between a musician and an instrument, with a musician discovering the instrument that has simply the precise sound and really feel for her or him. At a music retailer, a musician can check out an instrument earlier than buying it, which interprets to fewer returned devices. As well as, if one thing minor occurred to an instrument in transit, the salesperson may diagnose and repair the issue on the time. If one thing extra extreme is amiss with an instrument, a purchaser can work with the music retailer, as properly, as an alternative of contacting Cannonball instantly.
“The saxophone is much more sophisticated than a hammer or a chair … it’s obtained plenty of shifting components and it wants somebody that may deal with them. We discover the client is happier once they go to a music retailer and have somebody to deal with them,” she says.
And if and when somebody does contact Cannonball for a problem, Sheryl says, they attempt to right it as promptly as potential. The identical goes for any points that undergo music shops, she says.
“If I argue with you about $10 or $100, you’re going to have a horrible style in your mouth for me, even when we finally work it out,” she says. “If you recognize you’re going to name me with an issue and I’m going to say ‘sure, completely, what do you want?’ then you definately’re going to return again repeatedly and improve your orders.”