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129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I bought a Haynes Schwelm Mexiconn alto and I overhauled it levelling the toneholes, tightening the action etc.

The low B flat plays beautifully and with the right mouthpiece its sound is acceptable as a ‘marching band, practice or beginner’s horn’, as one ebay seller describes this general class of bottom line instruments.

The action is toylike under the fingers, but the construction is strong and it plays in tune enough for practical purposes.

In my mind this is an inexpensive playable saxophone of interest to somebody with a tight budget.

My question is:What other saxophones are there which fall into this category?

Or said differently which other saxophones fall below this category i.e. are lemons to be avoided?

Of course there is a large subjective element.

Take the Bundy for example. Some consider it to be excremental, while others have fond memories of it as a loyal student instrument.

Please check Keith Ridenhour’s post-sound clip Here’s a 115 Bundy vs my 2700 mk6

I hear the influence of a very good mouthpiece…

This brings in the whole question of whether is the player than the instrument.

But the return to my query:

I present a list of inexpensive horns plentiful on ebay.

Please tell me which ones would be substandard for a beginner.

Please understand that

a- The instrument would be overhauled
b- It would be played with a suitable mouthpiece

My list comprises mostly non recent, non Asian horns as I assume the prices will be lower and the quality possible higher.

I understand that some names may exist in several reincarnations with a Chinese version being the last.

The list includes some models which some would consider intermediate level horns or else student horns with a touch of magic such as the Clevleand 615 I am presently playing!

If I may digress for a moment:I love this tenor for its ample sound even if the high notes are a little hard to get and even if it doesn’t play quite in tune.

The Clevland is a horn with personality and decent strong keywork preferable to the Haynes Schelm in probably the opinion of anybody who has tried the two.

Here is a list members might expand upon.

Conn 20m
Bundy 2
Aristocrat 200
Selmer Prelude
Clevland 613
Clevland ,615
Andre Bardot
Eldorado Evolution (I tried the tenor, The neck and thumb rest were uncomfortably positioned and the metal was soft. I’d call this a lemon!)

Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
5,183 Posts
zagzig said:
In my mind this is an inexpensive playable saxophone of interest to somebody with a tight budget.

My question is:What other saxophones are there which fall into this category?

Or said differently which other saxophones fall below this category i.e. are lemons to be avoided?
I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you looking for horns to avoid or inexpensive horns that are good? Your list doesn't really make sense from either perspective. What do you define as inexpensive. When I look at a new YAS 23 for $1700.00, a thousand dollar Buescher 140 looks like a steal.

129 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree I was not clear.

My question is the following: which horns on this list are lemons and also which horns not on this list are also lemons.

I would like to know which horns to avoid in my ebay shopping.

In my mind the Yamaha 23 is the standard by which modern student horns should be measured i.e. it is A1 for the beginner, though I prefer the Vito 7131 version because it is less expensive.

However at the moment I am looking for even less expensive horns that may not have the quality of the Yamaha 23-Vito7131 but which are still playable

Where is the bottom line in terms of quality as far as student horns are concerned and which horns are below the bottom line i.e. could be considered lemons?

Inexpensive means about 100 dollars on ebay regardless of the condition as I will overhaul it myself.

Please forgive me; I wasn’t clear on this point either.

Said differently inexpensive is a horn which might cost the non- technician- after a student rate overhaul about 450 dollars or less if they are lucky.

139 Posts

For what it's worth here are my two cents on two horns on your list. Understand though that I've only been playing for less than a year so this is not a critique by someone with extensive experience with many horns. Also understand that I am not in a band nor do I ever expect to be in one. I play solely for my own enjoyment in my own living room. That being said my opinions on what is / is not acceptable may not be as descriminating as the more experienced people who make a living with their horn. But in my short time playing I have owned an Alpine and a Buescher Aristocrat.

I started out with an Alpine tenor earlier this year. Judging by my chromatic tuner it seemed to play in tune but really just did not sound that good. Maybe it was all me, after all I was just starting out. But back in July I traded it in for a post -Selmer buy out Buescher Aristocrat (same horn as 1970's era Bundy). I immediately noticed that my tone was much more pleasant. Playing side by side the Aristocrat sounded much better than the Alpine. But more on the Aristocrat later. My other concern on the Alpine was the construction itself. It felt kind of thin and fragile. I was concerned about how durable it was and how easy it was to get it repaired. I started calling local technicians to get some input on the horn. All advised to sell it before it breaks because in their opinions the horn was easy to break and they said they could not get parts. Additionally I am told the keys are made of pot metal which makes them difficult to bend or adjust. Overall I would not recommend it. There is better out there in the price range. Might not be as pretty as a brand spanking new Alpine but who cares what it looks like anyway.

Which brings me to my Buescher Aristocrat. First off, yes it is a post Selmer buy out horn, so I fully acknowledge that this horn is not to be construed as a Buescher from the 1950's or earlier. Still in all, while I am not a expert by any stretch of the imagination, I like the way it sounds. And that's really all that matters in the end anyway. Is it pretty? Nope! It was pretty scratched and banged up when it came into the shop. The bell was actually crushed. Fortunately the body tube was in good shape or the horn might have been a loss. They are supposed to be built like tanks so whoever the previous owner was he must have put a lot of effort into kicking this particular horn around. But the tech got most of the bangs out. I didn't get it re-laquered. What I got was an ugly but playable and pleasant sounding horn which if it lives up to it's reputation should provide me with many years of pleasure and service until such time that I can work a Big B or TH&C into the family budget. For a person starting out on a limited budget like myself, who just plays for his own enjoyment, I would rank this horn in the keeper pile. Again just understand this is NOT the Buescher from the golden age.

Sorry this ran on so long.
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