The xaphoon is a woodwind instrument developed in the 1970s by Brian Wittman. It has a straight cylindrical bore which when played sounds like the conical bore of a saxophone. This single reed instrument has a chromatic range of two octaves and is constructed from bamboo. Wittman claimed he created the instrument when a child asked him if he could make a saxophone for his size.
History of the Xaphoon
The xaphoon has a traceable history to the 1970s when Maui resident and saxophonist Brian Wittman was asked by a child if he had a saxophone that he could play. The question intrigued Wittman and he created the first xaphoon from the bamboo forest of Hawaii. Bamboo was cut to the exact size and inner bore dimensions required then dried out over a period of six months. Meticulous cutting and shaping then allowed Wittman to tune the xaphoon to a perfect “D”. The sound was so smooth and so popular that Wittman went into business and has now created over 40,000 xaphoons that ship worldwide. The demand was too great to keep up handmade manual production so cast models were also created in the early 2000s. The xaphoon can now range in alto, tenor and baritone with standard tunings as well as tunings in B and C. It is reportedly one of the easiest woodwind instruments to learn.
Inventor: Brian Wittman

Where to Buy

£30 - £100

Hear the Xaphoon

Audio of the Xaphoon is Coming Soon

How to Play

A small, pocket-sized instrument similar to a clarinet. It's played by blowing into the mouthpiece and covering or uncovering the holes on the body of the instrument to produce different notes. It's often used for solo performances or in small ensembles.

In Popular Music

As a recent creation, there are few examples of a xaphoon being used and credited in popular music as yet. However, the xaphoon may have been used in live performances of 'Riptide' by Vance Joy, Shawn Mendes' 'Lost In Japan' and by underground artists such as ANAE.

Famous Players

Brian Wittman, Clark Gayton

Close Relations

Clarinet, Saxophone
Video Credit: The Maui Xaphoon - Bamboo Sax and Pocket Sax
Understanding the Xaphoon


United States








Instruments of Music

Copyright © 2023 Instruments of Music. All Rights Reserved.