Is there any person who hasn’t heard of Kenny G’s soothing music? He is famous for playing one instrument. The instrument looks like a clarinet but it isn’t. What instrument does Kenny G play?
Kenny G plays a Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone. He also plays the alto and tenor saxophones. He has even created his own line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones.
In an interview, Kenny G revealed that the saxophone he used in all the songs he has ever recorded is his high school saxophone. He added that he also used this saxophone in every show that he has performed. He’s been using it for his three hours of practice every day too.
Read on to learn more about the famous Kenny G instrument, the soprano saxophone, along with some interesting highlights of his life and the saxophones he created.
What Instrument Does Kenny G Play?
Kenny G plays the Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone. Aside from this instrument, he also plays alto and tenor saxophones. His success as a recording and concert artist playing this musical instrument has led him to create and market his own line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones.
Not too many people know that Kenny G is still using his high school saxophone up to this day. He revealed in an interview that he uses his saxophone in high school in his recordings and concerts. Kenny also disclosed that he still uses this instrument during practice, which takes around three hours a day.
Aside from the soprano sax, Kenny G also plays the alto sax, tenor sax, bari sax, and bass sax. In an interview, Kenny G revealed that his soprano saxophone is his high school saxophone. He admitted that all the songs he has ever recorded and all the shows he has performed have been on that saxophone.
He uses his high school sax every day in his daily 3-hour practices. Kenny G also said that he’s the kind of guy who does not need to experiment with something new to see if it’s better than what he has been using. To him, better is a subjective word in the world of music.
How and Why Kenny G Plays the Saxophone
He was introduced to the saxophone at the age of 10. Kenny G saw a guy playing the sax on a TV show and thought he would like to play that instrument. He admitted that it must be how the guy played the saxophone that attracted him to the instrument. It was as if the instrument was speaking to him, he added.
Many people in the music industry believe that the term smooth jazz started with Kenny G. This music genre didn’t exist before he came into the music scene. He said that others coined the term, not him – and that he was just playing his music the way he wanted to play it. Apparently, many people liked it, and the genre took off.
Kenny is hesitant in taking all the credits for the creation of the smooth jazz genre. He said that he might be a big part of it initially, but he is not entirely responsible for it. Also, he refuses to claim that he is the originator of the genre.
Kenny G admitted that his style came from listening to other sax players, such as Sonny Rollins and Charlie Parker. Lastly, he commented that other people called it smooth jazz, not him. He was just doing his own thing.
Kenny G’s Own Brand of Saxophones
Today, Kenny G has his own brand of saxophones. He builds and sells these instruments. There are at least 10 of these saxophones available in the market today. Here is a list of these saxophones:
- ‘Concert Series’ Saxophones
- Black and Silver Original Kenny G Alto Sax
- EIII Lacquered Soprano Sax
- ES-Series Saxophones
- G-Series IV Saxophones
- GVI 85% Copper Saxophones
- Original Dark Lacquered Tenor Saxophones
- Original G-Series B-Flat Soprano Sax
- Original Gold Lacquer Tenor Sax
- Original Lacquered Alto (Closeout)
The Concert Series Saxophones of Kenny G is exclusively crafted for use at his concerts; that is why they are called ‘Concert Series.’ These saxophones have silver-plated bodies and gold lacquered keys with the ‘Concert Series’ logo on them.
Kenny G personally designed them to match the modern keyboards of saxophones. These saxophones make it easier for players to switch between the soprano, the alto, and the tenor saxes.
The Black & Silver Kenny G Original Alto Saxophones come with Kenny G mouthpieces. It also comes with a mouthpiece cap and ligature, cork, and a hard case. Unfortunately, there is only one left of it. Kenny G does not produce these saxophones anymore. It is only available in the United States too.
If you want to know the descriptions of other Kenny G Saxophones, you can visit their official website.
Kenny G saxophones are made in Taiwen. Unfortunately, Chinese companies produce and sell fake Kenny G saxophones without Kenny G’s permission. He advises buyers to ask sellers if the saxophones are made in Taiwan or mainland China to ensure that they are getting the original and not the fake ones.
Kenny G History
Kenny G’s full name is Kenneth Bruce Gorelick. He was born in Seattle, Washington, on June 5, 1956. His album Duotones, recorded in 1986, made him a commercial success. Since then, Kenny G became one of the best-selling recording and concert artists of all time.
His interest in saxophone began when he heard a saxophonist play on The Ed Sullivan Show. In 1966, the 10-year-old Kenny began playing a Buffet Crampon alto sax. He attended Whitworth Elementary School and the University of Washington.
He started his musical career playing with the famous Barry White and his band when he was 17 and still in high school. While Kenny was studying accounting at the University of Washington, he also played sax professionally. He graduated magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa at the University of Washington. Soon after, he started his solo career as a saxophonist.
In 1982, Kenny G signed with Arista Records after Clive Davis, its president, heard him playing his own version of Dancing Queen popularized by Abba. It was his fourth album, Duotones, that he achieved commercial success.
In the United States alone, this album sold more than five million copies and reached No. 4 in the Billboard Top 100. Since then, Kenny G kept on rising to stardom. In 1997, Kenny G got his place in the Guinness Book of World Records for his amazing long breath.
What instrument does Kenny G play? The instrument Kenny G plays is the Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone. Kenny G also plays alto and tenor saxophones. He also created his own line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones.
Kenny G Facts
There are certain things about Kenny G that you may not know about. Here are some interesting things about him:
1. Kenny G Flies His Own Plane
Kenny G is a fully certified pilot. He has one of the most attractive jobs in the world too. This virtuoso saxophonist flies out his de Havilland Beaver for one to two hours almost every day. When he is on tour, he co-pilots a leased Learjet to get to where he and his concert team need to perform.
2. Kenny G Shot Tommy Guns with the US Secret Service
There was a story going around that Kenny G was invited to perform at Bill Clinton’s inauguration at the White House. Bill is a friend of Kenny G, and they occasionally jammed together.
And while waiting for his time to perform, he was invited by US Secret Service members to go to the FBI gun range to do some shooting. Apparently, Kenny G picked a Tommy gun with a 50-round drum magazine and started shooting away.
3. Kenny G Is a Friend of Dave Mustaine of Megadeth
The Megadeth member Dave Mustaine is a fan of Kenny G. He likes Kenny G’s music, although he is not a real lover of smooth jazz. In an interview, Mustaine called Kenny G the Yngwie Malmsteen of his instrument. Mustaine and Kenny G are fairly close friends.
4. Kenny G Is the Best Golfing Saxophonist in the World
Before he mastered the saxophone, Kenny G already plays golf. But in just two decades, the time he spent between his two loves evened out. Eventually, as his musical career took off, he had to give priority to his musical career.
When he picked up the sport, it became apparent that he was gifted in music and sports. As proof of this, Golf Digest ranked Kenny G number one out of all professional musicians active in this sport.
5. Kenny G Can Hold His Breath Longer Than an Episode of a TV Series
Pick whatever TV show you like. Most TV shows run for approximately 40 minutes. Now, imagine that you’re playing one note on a wind instrument throughout an entire episode of that TV show without stopping. Maybe you can’t do it, but Kenny G can.
Kenny G can do this amazing feat because of his circular breathing technique. By intensive concentration, he breathes in his nose while exhaling through his mouth simultaneously. Let’s take a look at this video to see him accomplish this feat.
Conclusion – What is the Kenny G Instrument?
The instrument Kenny G plays is the soprano saxophone, specifically, the Selmer Mark VI soprano saxophone. He also plays the alto and tenor saxophones. He has also created his own line of saxophones called Kenny G Saxophones.
Now when you see or hear Kenny G playing his famous, soothing music, you will know the instrument that he is playing.