I fully admit that I am a skeptic, often to my detriment. But when I am wrong, I admit it. I used to think heavy mass products were a form of snake oil, created by companies to get a few more dollars out of us musicians. I was wrong, and I have to admit that I have learned a great deal about the customization of the saxophone through the expertise of Meridian Winds Music of Okemos, Michigan. Their heavy mass screws were the first product that showed me just how one could tailor the saxophone to the player. But it is another product of theirs, the Center Brace Resonance Weight, that has most impressed me. Eric Satterlee, the owner of Meridian Winds Music, was kind enough to send me a 4 oz and 5 oz Center Brace Resonance Weights to try on my new Yanagisawa alto saxophone.
If you are a skeptic like me, seeing something like the center brace weight is going to put you into orbit. It's a weight you bolt to your saxophone, and it promises amazing results. See where I am going here? The theory is that by adding weight (4-5 oz) and mass to the center bell brace, you can harness and increase the resonance of the low register. Well, I put the theory to the test and can say, without hesitation, that the promises made by Meridian Winds are most true
Where I could tell a change in response with the pyramid-style 4 oz weight, I gravitated to the more substantial 5 oz weight. It offered the most significant change on my Yanigasawa WO10 alto. I have never experienced a product that affects the response and projection of the low register like the Center Brace Resistance Weight. Not only was the response immediate, the core, and projection of the mid-low range of my saxophone was immediate, offering greater richness and focus. I never imagined that I could enjoy the tone of my WO10 more than in stock form. The weight made movement into the low register easy and an already elegant tone more vibrant and complex.
The Center Brace Resistance Weight comes in both 4 oz and 5 oz sizes with a variety of plating options including unlacquered brass, lacquered brass, German Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold plating. Also, you can choose a variety of engraving options including Yamaha and Selmer logos, as well as various decorative designs, including your monogram. Prices range from $60 for the 4 oz brass pyramid to $110 for a gold plated 5 oz weight. Assembly is easy. Simply place the plate through the center brace and attach using the screw and Allen wrench (included).
The only issue that I encountered, aside from diminished dexterity, was that the addition of the brace made for a tight fit in my stock Yanagisawa case. One might have to do a bit of case alteration to allow for the addition of the weight. Also, you will be adding 4-5 oz of weight to your instrument, so if you are sensitive to pressure on your neck, you will notice the added weight. Lastly, those people who play instruments with non-standard bell braces or braces with company logos, such as Cannonball or P. Mauriat, will not be able to take advantage of the product. To my knowledge, there is no option for these types of instruments.
Once again, Meridian Winds has quieted my inner skeptic and further proven that the saxophone can be tailored, like an elegant suit, to its owner. There are few products that I view as a “slam-dunk” purchase. The Center Brace Resistance Weight from Meridian Winds is one such product!