We first discovered Vibrato Saxophones and their amazing polycarbonate saxes at the 2013 NAMM show in Anaheim, California (you can read our initial thoughts here). Vibrato Saxophones currently has four models, the A1 (affiliate link), A1S (affiliate link), A1S Limited Edition and the A1SG. These saxophones are all altos, but they are currently developing tenor saxophones.

Their design permits players to easily adjust their own saxophones and even change the colors of the pads (available in multicolor sets or single color sets).

Piyapat Thanyakij, the founder of Vibrato Saxophones, granted us the time to do an interview on Teen Jazz where he discusses the inspiration behind Vibrato, new products and more. He offers advice his experienced advice to up and coming music entrepreneurs as well as some of the development his company has seen since it began. So thank you Piyapat for sharing your experience running your own musical enterprise with us at Teen Jazz!

Tell us about Vibrato. What kinds of products do you offer?

Vibrato offers a polycarbonate saxophone. It is lighter and easier to maintain in comparison to brass saxophones. It sounds as good as any student horn and costs significantly less than most well-known brands.

How long has your company been in business?

We started this project 8 years ago. The designing and developing took 6 years and we have only been in selling the saxophones for 2 years.

What gave you the inspiration to start the company?

In Thailand, we have a great King who is also a talented musician. Saxophone is his main instrument. At some point, everyone in Thailand has seen photos our King playing saxophone. Since I was quite young, I’ve seen photos of the King playing sax and it was inspiring. Many of us grow up wanting to play sax, but it’s not easy for us to get started due to the price, weight and maintenance of a saxophone. So, I began to imagine a version of the saxophone that would be lighter, less expensive and that children could start to play at an early age. It was from this that Vibrato saxophones were realized.

With Vibrato saxophones, we have just one goal “To inspire a new generation of saxophonists.” Our saxophone may not be the best option for every player, but we have a great product that’s easy to maintain and fun to play. We can only hope that one day, Vibrato will be the first saxophone of choice for many great saxophonists in the future.

What is some of the growth that your company has seen since it started?

As far as growth, one of the biggest things we’ve seen since we started is an increase in the awareness of our saxophone products. We’re happy with the increasing interest in our instruments. Another aspect of growth or change that we’ve seen is improvement in our R&D. Research, testing and development are really important for us at this stage as we are a fairly new company and the only company currently producing a polymer saxophone. So, we are really focused on constantly developing and improving our instruments.

What are some difficulties you’ve faced starting a music company?

Introducing something out of ordinary, like our polymer saxophones, isn’t easy, in some markets more than others. For us, as an example, we’ve had a hard time finding a place in schools. Our instruments are more flexible than their brass counterparts, and so pitch can be an issue for young performers who play our sax. This has made it difficult for teachers to approve of our product. At the same time, however, it’s flexibility has proven to be beneficials for younger players. Once they’ve learned to control their pitch on our instruments, they actually play with more control on brass horns.

Who are some of your key artists?

We have artists in each of the countries where we have representatives. Some of these various performers are endorsees and some are customers, but all of them share our dream to inspire the next generation of musicians. We look for performers that inspire young musicians to become quality performers so that they, in their turn, can do the same. Our artists’ feedback is also critical to us at Vibrato. They provide of with valuable insight for improving and developing our products.

What new products can we look forward to in the future?

New Product: The T1S (Tenor Sax) is our next product. With the tenor we will also change the way our saxophones are sold – innovation is an important part of the way Vibrato operates. Along with the T1S, we will introduce an assembly kit. The kit will enable players to “build their own sax.” We’re slowly transitioning from offering a “sax for all” to giving our customers greater customization options to make their saxophones uniquely theirs. So, we are now in the process of testing the T1S in every aspect. We still have a ways to go, but we will definitely get there.

New Project: We are also working on a new project in addition to new products. This year, with a goal to “create,” we will be putting together a Charity CD to support Her Royal Highness Princess Srindorn’s goal to help provide and improve the education of children who currently don’t have access to a good education. As part of this CD, we will feature our artists, those that endorse our saxophones. Each artist will play a piece composed by His Majesty. All of the income from the CD will be donated to Her Royal Highness’ Foundation.

What advice to you have for a musical entrepreneur (someone looking to start their own music company)?

My advice for a musical entrepreneur is to really know the features of the products in detail so you can give your customers and dealers all the information they need. It’s important to be well-informed. Know your company inside and out. It could also be worth finding a permanent office space for your company, or if you’d prefer to work from home, you may want to look for registered virtual office spaces from somewhere like Your Virtual Office London Ltd so you have the option of using space if you need it. This could happen when you need to have a forwarding mail address or if you need to meet some important clients that you otherwise don’t want to meet in your home. Whatever you decide to do though, make sure that all your decisions meet the needs of you and your business.

Where can we find/purchase Vibrato Saxophones?

More information is available at Vibrato Sax

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Published by Shannon Kennedy

Shannon Kennedy is a vocalist and saxophonist living in Southern California. She is author of "The Album Checklist" and the founder of Teen Jazz. She has been contributing articles to music magaizines and websites since 2004.