John Packer Blog

Welcome to the John Packer blog. Here we’ll keep you updated on all the latest happenings at John Packer Ltd, all the latest music news, musical instruments and competitions.

Month List

JP instruments mix with the A-listers

by Administrator 14. August 2013 16:30

Already the brand of choice for many great names in the music industry, several JP instruments were recently selected by members of none other than Van Morrison’s Band at a recent gig. The JP144 Cadence Baritone Saxophone has already been in the spotlight having been played by session musician Ben Somers during Seal’s 2012 Tour. Alongside the JP144 Cadence, the band also selected the JP374 Sterling Euphonium to reinforce the fact that JP instruments are capable of playing at the highest level and are trusted by pro’s to deliver the goods in the most demanding situations.

Why not come and try the JP144 or the JP374 at the John Packer store?

Pictured: Ben Somers, session musician, with the JP144 on tour with Seal 2012

Win a JP245 alto saxophone

by Administrator 24. October 2012 09:03

JP245 alto saxophone

JAZZWISE Magazine has joined forces with JP Musical Instruments, to bring musicians the chance of winning a fantastic JP245 alto saxophone which featured in the Jazzwise Instrument Review section of the May issue.

The JP245, which sells for £763, is a beautifully finished instrument in yellow brass with some tasteful floral engraving that not only adorns the bell, but also the body. Qualiy is the keyword, with blue springs, solid screws, metal reflectors and calf pads. In the playability stakes Jazzwise gave it the thumbs, describing it as being a free and easy blower with crisp keywork, clear altissimo and a full-bodied, well defined lower register. Jazzwise were also mightily impressed by its extraordinary dynamic range. 'This is some sax!', they said. Road ready, it comes in a lightweight, denier covered semi-solid, plush lined zippered case.

How to win!

To win this great instrument, just answer the following question. Who played the alto saxophone on the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Time Out album? What it: Bud Shank, Art Pepper, or Paul Desmond.

Send the answer together with your name and address and an email contact to Alto Sax Competition, Jazzwise magazine, Streatham Business Centre, 1 Empire Mews, Stanthorpe Road, London SW16 2BF or email your answer to and market the subject line 'alto sax competition'.

The first correct answer out of the hat wins the saxophone. Strictly one entry per person. Multiple entries will be disqualified.

To see the saxophone in action, click here to see a video...


JP245 Continues to Push Boundaries says New Review

by Administrator 1. October 2012 13:39

Our JP245 alto saxophone has just received its second rave review, this time from CASS magazine!

The following review went to press in the Autumn edition of CASS 2012. Review by William Upton

"Saxophones such as John Packer’s middle of the range JP245 alto are pushing the likes of Selmer, Yamaha and Yanigasawa to justify the extra expense at the top end of the market.

From the moment one picks up the JP245 it is clear that it is a quality instrument, banishing the expectation previously endemic among lower budget saxophones of lazily designed key work. The bottom left hand cluster is fluid and light and the palm keys and top F spatula are in the right places for navigating this awkward area of the instrument. The transition from the standard range to the altissimo is smooth and the extended register is a pleasure to play. Indeed, the entire range of the horn is well balanced and, saxophone snobbery aside, should not make you feel out of place in any style of music. The use of blue steel springs, Italian leather pads and metal resonators indicate a high attention to detail. The mother of pearl inlays and tastefully minimal engraving on the bell and upper body add a touch of sophistication. Most importantly, the tuning on these instruments is good, excepting the usual saxophonic minefield at the bottom of the range where they have clearly made an effort to correct the ubiquitous sharp low Bb. The zippered case is compact and light with a large front pocket, a well thought out backpack facility and a shoulder strap.

The availability of reliable information on saxophone construction means that customers are more knowledgeable, demanding more from manufacturers, and the only major element separating this horn from those at the top of the range is malleability of timbre; the sound is thick and rich but lacking in pliancy – not a bad starting point for anyone looking to upgrade their instrument. Perhaps its highest endorsement is that professional players have been happy to take these instruments on tour in preference to submitting their precious Mark VIs to the rigours of the road. Packers have also lent me a Soprano which shows similar qualities and would be a good buy for the discerning player who is not bothered by brand snobbery. With their regular attendance at Trade Fairs and their lovely shop in Somerset this company are certainly committed to the British sax and clarinet scene."

To see a video of the JP245 in action, to read more about it, or purchase, click here!

PHOTO: The JP245 alto saxophone.

Yamaha Calls Change on Selected Student Instruments

by Administrator 8. March 2012 11:44

YAMAHA have just launched some new models/variations on some of their student lines. This is part of a review of their position in the market place, so some instruments have been discontinued while others have revised specifications. We're all going to have to learn some new model numbers as, for example, old favourites like the 275 saxes and 250 clarinets are now the 280 and 255. Groups affected are all in student/step up areas of trumpets, cornets, clarinets and alto/tenor saxes. We've new models in stock. Keep reading to find out about all the changes.



The Yamaha YTR1335 & 2335 trumpets have been replaced by the YTR2330 trumpet. This instrument features new caps and buttons on the valves, Monel alloy pistons, an adjustable 3rd ring, thumb hook, 3rd slide water key and yellow brass two piece bell. It also comes in a lightweight gig style case.

There now is a YTR3335 trumpet, with many shared features of the 2230, along with a brace and reversed tuning slide. It comes in a lightweight hard case, two carry handles and an external pocket for music.

The YTR4335G has become the YTR4335GII It has a fixed 3rd ring unlike the earlier student models, which helps the tone of the instrument. The case is also upgraded from the 3335 model and includes an additional shoulder strap.



The YCR2330III has a new round shaped leadpipe which makes the instrument much more free-blowing and easier to produce a good sound for students. It also now has an adjustable 3rd ring which wasn't found on the previous incarnation of this model. It is supplied in a standard cornet case.

The 4000 series cornet has also undergone the same treatment as the 2000 series. This model already had monel alloy pistons and as with the 4000 series trumpet, has a fixed ring. The case is also slightly upgraded.

Yamaha's Soprano cornet - the YCR2610S has also been upgraded.



Both the alto and tenor saxophone has changed model numbers from the 275 to the 280. The standard spec on this model includes things like a gold lacquered body and keys, high F#. Changes include a new neck receiver which makes the crook more stable. The low B-C# connection has been mechanically improved which has a positive effect on the tone. The case remains the same as previous.

The 475 models have moved to 480 models in alto and tenor. They feature new octave keys - which are now compatible to take Custom necks - easily upgraded. The engraving on the bell is also new.



One final instrument that has been reviewed is the JP250 - now the YCL255S. Still made from ABS resin there are two major changes. The thumbrest is now bigger and stronger (and still adjustable) and the bell is now lightweight making it easier to hold and play. It also comes with a newly designed case.

JP243 Soprano Saxophone a "remarkable instrument" says RCM Prof!

by Administrator 20. February 2012 14:20

We do love receiving feedback from musicians, and we were delighted with this glowing review on the new JP243 soprano saxophone from David Burnand -a music professor at the Royal College of Music...

JP243 soprano saxophone

"I received this saxophone last week and have had great pleasure playing it.

"The sax feels light, which for me is good, as I play without a sling and am now developing arthritis in my wrists. In fact it's 200gm heavier than my 1926 Buescher True-Tone, but so nicely balanced that it feels lighter on the right hand. Good news for us oldies and for younger/smaller players, too. I like the integrated neck and (therefore) absence of a curved alternative crook, thought his might not suit everyone. Overall construction and appearance are of a high quality.

 "Against expectations, I stuck with the mouthpiece provided, which plays very well. In fact, on this instrument, I prefer it to my (presumably more expensive) Vandoren, Barone and Link m/pieces. The square cross-section of the chamber arch reminds me of the Selmer S-80. It speaks clearly throughout the entire range of the instrument from low Bb to high G. Intonation is excellent. The usual variations at tops and bottoms of registers lie within a very narrow range on this instrument. Tone is even throughout the instrument. Inevitable differences of tone for overlapping notes either side of the break are useful, therefore, rather than sounding like different instruments, one too thin and one to thick.

"The keys are smooth, even, fast and well positioned. My relatively short little fingers can be problematic with low Bb on some instruments. No problem at all with the JP243, which has a well-designed plate for the left-hand cluster. On some instruments altissimo keys are often difficult to find or too easily opened inadvertently, especially for players with smaller hands. Not so with the JP243. Fingering is intuitive and comfortable on this sax.

 "In conclusion, this is a remarkable instrument for its price range, and I would recommend it to beginners and professionals alike."

Professor David Burnand
Royal College of Music

Click here to buy the JP243!


Four New Saxes Raise The JP Bar

by Administrator 23. January 2012 14:59

JP Rosestone alto saxophone

OVER our years of saxophone production we've seen just how many budding musicians have started on our JP041s who are now happily advancing onto more advanced saxes. We're always looking at ways we can improve our instruments and uncover new musical areas. We like to feel that we are part of a musican's life from the tentative B-A-G, to a much higher level of musicianship. Understanding our players has helped us understand our instruments; what players want from the instruments and - just as importantly - how much they want to spend.

As a woodwind musician, John Packer has taken a personal interest in bringing a new class of instruments into the market. The 2 series offer a level of performance that would normally only be found in 'step up' or middle range instruments, yet still priced to fit into the student market. Despite their modest price, the 2-series instruments have a performace capability which has impressed a number of well known professional players in the UK who now use them in their day to day work at the highest level.

2012 sees four new saxophones onto the scene, each a perfect specimen for the advancing player heading to the upper grades.

The JP243 Soprano saxophone and JP245 Alto saxophone are both all new designs. Specific features include the following:

•    High grade 80:20 brass   
•    Underslung 8ve mechanism           
•    Floating plate design for little finger (LH) cluster   
•    Full ribbed construction               
•    ‘Abalone’ pearls                   
•    Italian leather pads               
•    Blue steel springs               
•    Double spine on B & C               
•    Resonator pads                   
•    Adjustable thumb rest               
•    Adjustable back stops               
•    G#/Bb & F/F# independent adjustment       
•    Lyre box                   
•    Mechanism includes: High F#, Front F, High G (on soprano model only

The JP243 soprano saxophone also features a straight neck.

The glorious new Rosestone saxophones (alto pictured left) are an even higher example of JP manufacturing. The alto (£1495) and tenor saxophone models are designed to slot comfortably into the upper student/semi-professional performance area.

This instrument exhibits a very high standard of workmanship and a matching level of excitement for the player. It looks gorgeous in its gold lacquer finish and is capable of both great power and subtlety. It also has a superb tuning scale. This is a multi-faceted instrument and is ready to support players in whatever musical environment they find themselves

The comprehensive package includes Selmer C* mouthpiece, Rovner (Dark) ligature and essential cleaning materials all in a high quality lightweight case.


Blaze Concert featuring new music from Iain Ballamy

by Administrator 20. September 2011 15:26


Saxophonist Edward Leaker will be performing with his ground breaking classical crossover group ‘Blaze’ at The Bishops Palace, Wells on 16th October 2011. The group, consisting of soprano saxophone and string quartet, draws influences from classical, popular, jazz and world music and has been hailed by the media as “..serene and instantly appealing.”

The group have recently been awarded funding from ‘PRS for Music Foundation’ to commission a new piece by internationally acclaimed composer and saxophonist Iain Ballamy. The new piece will receive its world premiere at the concert and will be the first date in a national tour.

'Blaze' features the following young professional musicians, all music college graduates and respected performers in their own right:
Edward Leaker - Saxophones
Lucy-Anne Allen - Violin
Naomi Rump - Violin
Iona Hassan - Viola
Alison Gillies - Cello

This will be an exciting concert featuring the saxophone in a unique setting. Please come along and support quality live music.

"Blaze blurs the boundaries between classical and jazz sensibilities to create genuinely contemporary music...”
(Quote from Iain Ballamy)

Tickets are priced at £12 adults / £10 concessions and are available in advance from:
Edward Leaker on 07773 350973 OR visit to buy online.

CASS Single Reed Day at Liverpool Hope University

by Administrator 8. August 2011 09:27

JOHN Packer Ltd will be attending the CASS Single Reed Day at Liverpool Hope University on November 27th with some fantastic new products to display.

As part of the Cornerstone Festival, the day will consist of workshops, masterclasses and performances from top class practitioners and artists. The final of the 2011 CASS Clarinet Soloist Competition and Saxophone Quartet Competition will also be taking place in the afternoon in the Capstone Theatre.

Musicians have the opportunity to do some playing on the day with choirs to suit all standards.

The John Packer stand will be showcasing the NEW JP221 Bb Clarinet and the NEW JP243 soprano saxophone. We will also be taking Aizen saxophone mouthpieces, along with the Vandoren CL4 and CL5 mouthpieces, the new Vandoren MO ligature, and a myriad of other accessories that may tickle your fancy!

Look out for the new RedStrap ultimate necksaving saxophone strap.

Feel free to come along and see our friendly staff, who can help with any musical enquiry – beginner, professional, or school queries welcome. Special CASS promotions will also be available - for members or otherwise.

If you would like us to take anything in particular to the shop – your favourite brand of reed, or instrument – we will do our best to accommodate. Please contact or call 01823 282386 to arrange beforehand.

Look forward to seeing lots of customers there!

Click here for more information

Who is the real John Packer Ltd?

by Administrator 3. May 2011 11:33

FOR almost 10 years John Packer Ltd has been busily developing and expanding a JP range of woodwind and brass products. This has been very successful and the range now extends to over 100 different models with more in the pipeline.

Inevitably, all this activity and our pride in what we have been doing has meant that our promotional efforts have become dominated by the JP product brand. It has occurred to us that maybe we have created the impression that things have changed here at John Packer's.

Let us reassure you that (with the exception of our own range) nothing has changed. We still carry a huge breadth of stock from student to professional including all the latest models from a broad range of manufacturers. Even where we have our own products, we still carry all the usual alternatives from other makers because we know that all players are different and you need a real choice!

The latest additions to our stock include: the exciting intermediate range of Schagerl trumpets, the new Neo euphonium and YPC62R piccolo from Yamaha, Fossati oboes, Azumi flutes, Trevor James Signature saxophones, Michael Rath handmade trombones, not to mention an abundance of new accessories; Stock mouthpieces, Aizen saxophone mouthpieces, Voros bassoon reeds and Kernow oboe reeds.

Bottom line? We are everything that we used to be and a little more besides!

That includes: Adler, Altus, Azumi, Besson, Buffet, Bach, Conn Holton, Howarth, James, Jupiter, King, Leblanc, Mateki, Miyazawa, Muramatsu, Patricola, Paxman, Pearl, Powell, Rath, Sankyo, Schagerl, Schreiber, Schilke, Selmer, Smith-Watkins, Stomvi, Yanagisawa, Yamaha and more! All in stock, all ready to try in the shop (or on approval), all can be checked/set up by our workshop, all with the personal specialised service that helped to give us our reputation.

John Packer Ltd Support Rising Star

by Administrator 7. September 2010 10:22

John Packer Ltd are proud to present Sarah Louise Ings a rising star using JP instruments.

Set to be a pop sensation, Sarah performs on the JP043S soprano saxophone, and JP045S alto saxophone. Sarah is already very familiar with the gigging scene, having performed with her all girl group Sahara at The London Stock Exchange, Tate Britain, and numerous concerts while studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Sarah has a sense of joie de vivre and vibrancy that is rare and beguiling. Her love of music, dance and dramatic performance promise memorable gigs and a career at the highest level. Sarah aims to revolutionise the concert platform, with audience participation, suspense and excitement, citing influences from West End show Stomp, Jan Garbareck and Courtney Pine. All this culminates into a show even Cheryl Cole would be proud of!

While the basis of Sarah's training was classical, this is clearly not a girl you can type-cast. Sarah writes and produces her own music fusing classical, rock and hip hop to create her own unique sound world. Her music has been described as being like a female version of Mark Ronson, producing a cool fusion of memorable riffs, soaring lines and some raps thrown in for good measure - her stage performances even feature backing dancers, MC and backing singers along with electric guitars, piano, bass, drums and strings.

Watch this space, you will be hearing a lot more of Sarah Louise Ings!

You can listen to Sarah on MySpace, view videos on YouTube and follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

PHOTO: Sarah Ings with her beloved JP045S alto saxophone.

PHOTO: Sarah at her launch party.