Tevis and Sheryl Laukat
Tevis and I both played on valued vintage saxophones. But in 1995 a newer saxophone came into our hands. The trouble was, it didn't play or sound very good. Tevis regulated it and it improved, but the sound and pitch were still lacking. For fun, we began to experiment with the horn, altering the air flow and changing the acoustical properties of the instrument. We were amazed at what happened! Through divine inspiration we soon became very good at altering the pitch of any note we wanted, and changing the tone quality of the instrument. If we wanted clearer altissimo we could do it. If we wanted more lows, or focus we could do it. For months, we spent day after day in our kitchen just experimenting and playing with the acoustics. Before long, it was nearly impossible to tell the difference in sound between our valued vintage horns and this new horn. The pitch surpassed our vintage horns. We were jumping up and down with excitement! We knew we really had something! We were so excited that eventually we risked everything and mortgaged our home to pursue our new adventure!
Our research about manufacturers led us to Taiwan in 1995, where we visited every manufacturer we could find. There were many! We finally settled on a young manufacturer that we could see had great talent, capability, and who was also willing to do whatever we asked him. This was very important to us as we wanted to have our own instrument made from scratch. From nearly nothing we built the factory up together and formed "Cannonball". Since then we have expanded and moved to our now 2 Cannonball factories. We decided to have fun with this name by using ideas and motifs from the Medieval Period. You will notice that a lot of our names, ideas, and motifs originate from the Medieval Period, a fun play on the “Cannonball” name.
After several years of manufacturing saxophones we expanded our acoustical experience with additional instruments.
Cannonball Factory in Taiwan
Cannonball Facility in Sandy, Utah
After our horns are assembled and finished, they are shipped to Cannonball's 12,000 square foot facility in Sandy, Utah - 15 miles outside of Salt Lake City. It is in Utah that the most important part of Cannonball happens. It is here that we hand customize each instrument. Each woodwind is re-regulated and checked for a perfect seal, among other technical duties. Each trumpet and trombone is checked for perfect working order. Finally, one of our professional musicians/master acoustical technicians plays the horn and customizes it using our trade secret procedure to ensure its sound has great body, resonance, and focus. This is why Cannonballs sing! We ensure a high level of quality control and it is the reason that Cannonballs are so consistent in playability and workmanship. You really can say that every Cannonball is a "Custom Instrument" as they have all truly been hand customized. A Cannonball never leaves Salt Lake City until it surpasses all expectations and is so fun to play it is hard to put down. Our professional players / acoustical adjusters often comment, "I wish we didn't have to sell this one! I want to take it home for myself!"
In 2012 we purchased an adjacent building, “The Villa”, where we finish flutes and clarinets. This is also where all of our hand-engraving is done on professional saxophones, trumpets, and trombones. In addition, “The Cannonball Band™” records videos here on the Cannonball Stage.