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Discussion Starter #1
I'm working full-time, have a family, and I've been thinking about getting back into a tenor sax (more economical than a baritone..which I played in high school). As I'll be doing good to find maybe one afternoon or evening per week to play it (will have to work around the kids sleep schedule), I can't see spending more than a few hundred bucks on an instrument.

My current thought is to pick up a used Bundy II (~$300)...and if I get into it and find the time to play...trade up to something else. I know that I could get a better instrument for just a couple hundred more... i.e. a used Yamaha, but as I said..it won't get enough use for me to justify spending more than ~$300.

My main question. Is there somewhere online...other than ebay...to pick up a used instrument? i.e. A company that checks out the instruments to make sure that the pads properly seal, etc. From the crappy description of the instruments on ebay (i.e. "I'm not a musician...I don't know instruments."), I'm assuming that it's a crap shoot as to whether or not you're going to get a good playing instrument for $300 or a $300 instrument that you're going to have to turn around and put a few hundred into. I would appreciate any input that you might have.
 

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Give Dave at Junkdude a call. I think he has a lot of student horns in his shop that are not listed. You may be able to get one that has been gone through. Its worth a phone call and Dave is a great guy.
 

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VERY hard to find a reasonable used tenor for under $500. At $500, you get the YTS-23 options (sometimes), the Yamaha-made Vitos in decent shape, some old stencil horns in playable condition, etc. I worked HARD to find a friend's kid a horn for under $450, and ended up doing a lot of work myself on an old Martin Indiana to get it in at that budget.

Before you spend any money on a mouthpiece, start with a Rico Graftonite. That'll get you going for $30.

I'm not disagreeing with Phil to call Dave at Junkdude. But just fair warning -- $300 for a tenor is HARD.

Now if you want an alto, $300 becomes conceivable....
 

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Phil can't read.

I was thinking alto which is a little easier to get near that mark. A challenge but not impossible.

Tenor is a different animal indeed and a different price.
 

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Also check out 2ndending. My 'son-in-law' purchased a very nice, playable out of the box, Conn tenor from them.
I think it was in the $450 range.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Give Dave at Junkdude a call. I think he has a lot of student horns in his shop that are not listed. You may be able to get one that has been gone through. Its worth a phone call and Dave is a great guy.
I'll do that. Thank you.

VERY hard to find a reasonable used tenor for under $500. At $500, you get the YTS-23 options (sometimes), the Yamaha-made Vitos in decent shape, some old stencil horns in playable condition, etc. I worked HARD to find a friend's kid a horn for under $450, and ended up doing a lot of work myself on an old Martin Indiana to get it in at that budget.

Before you spend any money on a mouthpiece, start with a Rico Graftonite. That'll get you going for $30.


I'm not disagreeing with Phil to call Dave at Junkdude. But just fair warning -- $300 for a tenor is HARD.

Now if you want an alto, $300 becomes conceivable....
Yup. There were two of those listed in my area. One for $500...the other for $550. Both of them appeared to sell quickly (the add was down in no time).


Thanks. That's something that I know nothing about. I just used the mouthpiece that came with my bari sax (a Selmer U.S.A.). I never had the need to upgrade or replace it.

Also check out 2ndending. My 'son-in-law' purchased a very nice, playable out of the box, Conn tenor from them.
I think it was in the $450 range.
Thank you. I was originally thinking more in the $500 range. I didn't lower the price ceiling to $300 until I started seeing a bunch of the lower end Bundy's floating around in that range. I know that's what my school issued tenor and bari sax were, so I figured they'd be good enough for me...at the moment.
 

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"Before you spend any money on a mouthpiece, start with a Rico Graftonite. That'll get you going for $30."

This is very good advice. Another option would be a Brilhart Ebolin in a 3 or a 4. Either of these can be ordered on line along with a box of, say, 2 or 2.5 reeds to get started. The Rico Graftonite 3 has a .85 tip opening and the Brilhart Ebolin 4 would have a .77 opening, which might prove a bit easier. When I got back into it after a 30 year gap, I used an Ebolin 3, which is about .74 and I found that pretty easy.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
On the mouthpiece issue...can someone point out which would be a good option (a link to the Rico Graftonite's is below)? Rico's website wasn't much help and didn't even say how the letter (i.e. 'B') corresponded to a chamber width. I called the local music shop, but the lowest priced mouthpiece they have is $100.

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dmi&field-keywords=rico+graftonite+tenor&x=0&y=0

I'll go ahead and get a mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds ordered. I kinda need that if I'm going to check out any of the local instruments.:mrgreen:

Does anyone have an opinion on Empire King (or King by Empire) tenors? One place in town has two Bundy II's ($299 and $399) and a King ($400). It sounded like the Bundy's will need new pads though.

Edit: I may have answered my own question on the mouthpiece. Does B5 sound good?

http://www.encoremusic.com/saxophone/6110030.html

Rico Royal Tenor Saxophone Mouthpiece

High end mouthpieces come in a huge variety of sizes, shapes and materials, all of which have a huge impact on how the instrument sounds. Even a small change in the mouthpiece will make large changes in how the instrument needs to be played (Tip: Don't change mouthpieces the night before a performance - allow at least a few weeks to become accustomed to the new mouthpiece).

The Rico Royal mouthpieces come in a variety of tone chamber styles and facings. If you don't know which one to get, try the B5.

Tone Chamber Style (A, B, or C): The tone chamber of a mouthpiece is the inside area of the mouthpiece. The size and shape of the tone chamber will change the tone quality of the instrument. With the Rico Royal mouthpieces, an "A" tone chamber will give a dark sound which is best suited for concert work, a "B" tone chamber will give a little more brilliance (better for using with most bands), and a "C" tone chamber will give a lot more brilliance and edge which is great for rock and jazz bands.

Facing (3, 5, or 7): The facing is determined by the distance from the tip of the reed to where it first touches the mouthpiece. The bigger the facing number, the farther back the reed goes before actually touching the mouthpiece. Changing the facing of the mouthpiece will generally change the volume of the instrument. With a shorter facing (3), less of the reed is vibrating, so the instrument will tend to be quieter, with a longer facing (7), more of the reed is vibrating, so the instrument will tend to be louder.

In general, we recommend the B5 for most situations. If you are looking for a little edgier sound try the C5, and if you are looking for a darker sound (primarily for classical style music) try the A5. We typically don't suggest the other facings without the recommendation of a band director or private instructor.

Mouthpieces are not returnable.
 

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You want an "A" (large) or a "B" (medium) chamber, in a "3" (small) or "5" (medium-small) facing. Personally, I'd suggest an A3 if you like to use less wind and have more control, or an A5 if you want to use a little more wind and have a little bit less starting control. Either should be fine.

Don't buy any horn if it needs new pads. That's expensive ($400 minimum), and leaky pads will interfere seriously with your ability to get going again.

Get your mouthpiece and reeds, then go try the King. If you have a friend who plays competently, take them with you. You can probably even hire a local private teacher for a 1/2 hour session to go test drive a couple of horns and give some opinions.

* Oh, I see you removed the post I was responding to. Either way, same advice. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
You want an "A" (large) or a "B" (medium) chamber, in a "3" (small) or "5" (medium-small) facing. Personally, I'd suggest an A3 if you like to use less wind and have more control, or an A5 if you want to use a little more wind and have a little bit less starting control. Either should be fine.

Don't buy any horn if it needs new pads. That's expensive ($400 minimum), and leaky pads will interfere seriously with your ability to get going again.

Get your mouthpiece and reeds, then go try the King. If you have a friend who plays competently, take them with you. You can probably even hire a local private teacher for a 1/2 hour session to go test drive a couple of horns and give some opinions.

* Oh, I see you removed the post I was responding to. Either way, same advice. Good luck!
Yup...Sorry about that. Operator error. The controls in this forum are different than I'm used to.

Thanks for answering both of my questions. I'll have to order a mouthpiece, as the cheapest one that the local shop has is $100.

Edit: I went ahead and ordered an A3. $20 for the mouthpiece...that's cheap. The mouthpiece, reeds, cap, and ligature should arrive by the end of the week. I'll just have to contain my enthusiasm until they arrive. Thanks again.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I upped my budget and picked out a horn from a SOTW member. A Oscar Adler & Co tenor (vintage / German). He had it checked out by a tech, so it should be good to go when it arrives (hopefully sometimes late next week). He's assured me that it plays as good as it looks, so I'm sure I'll be happy with it.

These are the sellers photos...hopefully he won't mind.:popcorn:
 

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Here's a different idea. Why don't you try renting?

I teach and just the other day my 11 year old students brought in a rental horn -- a modern (Taiwan?) Buffet. He was able to play all the way down to lo Bb with little effort. And mind you, I don't think he weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet. Hard to find a used horn like that.

By renting you will have minimal equipment struggles while getting your feet back in the water. Your local store will most likely have a teacher on staff to help you get going again. Once you have some decent chops, shopping for a horn will be MUCH easier.

Best of luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Here's a different idea. Why don't you try renting?

I teach and just the other day my 11 year old students brought in a rental horn -- a modern (Taiwan?) Buffet. He was able to play all the way down to lo Bb with little effort. And mind you, I don't think he weighs a hundred pounds soaking wet. Hard to find a used horn like that.

By renting you will have minimal equipment struggles while getting your feet back in the water. Your local store will most likely have a teacher on staff to help you get going again. Once you have some decent chops, shopping for a horn will be MUCH easier.

Best of luck!
Or I could just try out the horn that I already bought and I'm waiting on. :D I toyed with the idea of renting. However, the local music store wants to run a credit check to rent a tenor sax (and their other upper "tier" instruments). They weren't satisfied with just using a credit card to pay for it (as they do with their lower tier instruments). I'm not letting a music store pull my SSN and run a credit check to rent a damn Bundy. lol

I don't have the time to go driving all over checking out instruments. Let's put it this way...I called one pawn shop (15 minutes down the road) and they had "three tenor saxophones in stock." I get there and they have three alto saxophones in stock (they didn't know the difference). I don't have time to deal with that.

The only reason that I happened to have the time to go check out that one shop is that I happened to get an afternoon to myself (sans-kids). I can't take the kids instrument shopping. They're a two person demolition squad. lol.
 
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