Glissonic Glissotar



Major innovation in wind instrument design has been absent for over a century, but the Glissotar now addresses that, thanks to this genius, but simple, concept brought to us by Hungarian designer Dániel Váczi.  Fusing elements of the Hungarian tárogáto and the soprano saxophone while introducing a unique system for producing glissando throughout its range, the Glissotar is born.   

Supplied without mouthpiece and basic bag 

Even though the designers consider this as a completely new instrument, it feels relevant to us sax players for three reasons; firstly, it's designed with a conical bore and therefore overblows by an octave; secondly, it shares the same playing range as a soprano sax; and thirdly, it is played with a soprano sax mouthpiece!  All these factors combine to allow the skill and intuition of the sax player to adapt to Glissotar more easily.  

The key innovation of the Glissotar is its glissando mechanism, and this is where the new learning challenges come into play!  The pitch of the instrument's notes is determined by the use of a foil-covered vertical slot which in turn has a magnetized ribbon sitting just above it, and this can be closed against the slot at any point up and down its length.  Unlike slide saxophones of old, the Glissotar can be played with 8 fingers, allowing melodies to be played with much greater technical proficiency, but further to this, the expressive possibilities open massively - with the ability to slide any finger along the ribbon we are now able to slide from one note to another as a vocalist or string player might.  Additionally, there are a whole host of interesting sounds and effects that can be produced by manipulating the ribbon, and even unclipping it entirely from its lower fixing point altogether!


To give the Glissotar its proper context we should say that this is the first instrument in an entirely new range of instruments, known as the Glissonic family.  All based on the same principal of continuous pitch, the other Glissonic instruments will include flute, whistle, clarinet, saxophone and cornett!  It should therefore be said that the Glissotar is based more on the Hungarian tárogáto than the saxophone, although it shares many common aspects as described.  The main designer, Dániel Váczi, alongside collaborator Tóbiás Terebessy, has much experience in instrument design and innovation, including the development of a gigantic music box called Hangjáték, the production of programmable mechanical music box called Skatuya and research in the field of computerized MIDI control in organs! 

The Glissotar is available in two materials; the premium level model is made from Amaranth or 'Purpleheart' which is a kind of Latin American tropical hardwood, known for its velvety warmth and beauty of sound; the more affordable version, known as the Glissotar Jam, is constructed from a robust 3D-printed material, and has a very similar tone to the wooden version, but with a little more brightness and upper overtones on hand.  It is also completely resistant to any moisture or temperature anomalies.  Otherwise, both models have exactly the same design - identical bore dimensions, a brass neck on to which a soprano sax mouthpiece is fitted, the magnetized ribbon mechanism and metal octave keys/right-hand thumb rest.


While clearly it will be a challenge to anyone starting out on the Glissotar, an entirely new fingering system from the conventional wind instruments needs to be learned.  The playing range is conceived in concert pitch and runs from Low Ab to high Db (almost two and a half octaves, and virtually the same range as the soprano sax).  There is a right-hand thumb rest and two octave keys to assist with the higher range, and these fixed points help to give the player guidance as to where to start with the finger positioning.  The natural position of the fingers gives us a set of chromatic notes, and the player can move the hands up and down the instrument to produce different sets of chromatics, therefore moving one or two fingers at a time to give us diatonic scales.

Staff Review

Having just completed a video review of this intriguing new instrument, I have a fresh enthusiasm for it.  I have never been in a position where I've tested, or reviewed, an instrument with a completely new fingering system, and from this point of view it is fascinating.  In some ways, I wish I'd had a little more time to get to grips with it so that I could get into the technical and musical possibilities more - but if you wish to have some insight into this you only need to check out Dániel Váczi's videos online to see what the Glissotar can do.  Having reviewed the 3D printed version I would love to try the Purpleheart version just to see what extra tonal warmth I could produce, but that said, the Glissotar Jam still has a great sound, and in many ways, you just feel like you are playing the soprano sax.  The obvious challenge is learning the fingering system.  Expect to be out of tune at first, but if you have a musical ear, and you work alongside a piano, you can soon start to find your bearings - then the fun begins!  When you get beyond the basics, you realise that you can really 'folk' up any melody, making the Glissotar an obvious contender for any folk band scenario.  But at the same time, you can play contemporary music, or even jazz.  At the time of writing, it's very early days to predict where this instrument could go.  It's not cheap, and I think this could put off people who just wish to 'have a go' but I believe that it is so innovative that it could interest a lot of people who wish to be involved in a chapter in wind instrument design.

Jim Cheek 

Delivery & Returns



If you're based overseas and would like more information, please read our overseas guide located here


Orders in stock and received before 2pm are normally shipped the same day. International orders are generally received in under 7 days.


Goods purchased online from can be returned within 14 days of receipt. This does not apply to custom ordered goods, products where hygiene is concerned and product seals have been broken (reeds, mouthpieces etc), digital download codes or software licences. Goods purchased through our website cannot be returned to our retail stores.

Jim Reviews the Glissotar

Join Jim as he checks out the facinating Glissonic Glissotar