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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

Hoping someone could give me their 3 cents. I was searching for a French Vito Alto with right hand bell keys that was not banged up for my son who plays tenor and wanted to add alto.

I found one in the 23K serial number range on ebay. The seller represented that the horn played and with a little tweeking by a tech it would play beautifully. I won the horn on ebay for around $400 based on the description that the horn did not need a major overhaul.

The horn arrived yesterday. Physically the horn is very nice. No major dings or bent keys. It took major effort to get it to play. So today I took it to a local tech for evaluation. The answer was $650 repad job. I told this to the ebay seller and his response was "that seems like a lot of work to me." He does not want to refund the shipping expense I paid $45 nor does he want to pay for return shipping. That would put me out about $90 for nothing.

I'm trying to negotiate a reduction the price. Considering that a repad is $650 and I paid $400 for the horn, that puts the horn over $1000.00

Wanted any advice or 3 cents if this horn is worth this expense.
 

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The Beaugnier Vito's have their fans. There are a few mechanical additions that make the mechanism a bit more fiddly for a tech to work on. If your local tech charges by the hour as opposed to a flat rate, I can understand where the $650 is coming from. In my opinion, the grand total is a bit much, but there are currently some Beaugnier Noblet altos, on eBay, that have Buy It Now prices that are even higher than $1,000. Everything that looks to need work seems to be around the $400 mark.

Guess it boils down to how well these things play when they're in good condition. I have not played one myself, so I can't comment, but I do know some players who really like these horns.
 

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I know that a lot of folks hear will only buy on eBay at a price that will allow for a full repad (though I doubt that high a cost).

But I must agree with the seller, $650 seems high for a complete repad when full OVERHAULS are just a bit more.

I would discuss with your tech what he means by a repad.
Is there another tech nearby?

Just my 3 cents.
 

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Welcome to SOTW. Almost every thread regarding Internet-purchased horns will include the risk of the horn needing major work, and the additional budgeting one should do when making such a purchase. This does not excuse the deceit on the part of the seller, assuming the seller knew the real needs of the horn. Some sellers really don't know (non-musician types) so that's why the buyer is usually the one left holding the bag.

The "French" Vitos were recently discussed here on SOTW and the consensus was that they are top-flight instruments - Johnny Hodges played one. So now that you are stuck with it, maybe the recommended re-pad will be worth it - at least the boy will have a saxophone not normally seen in school band programs (a bragging-right) and one that should play just fine. I'd bite the bullet and make the horn into a real player if it were me. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The $650 repad is an overhaul. The tech said that includes removing everything, bathing the body, new pads and reassembly.

I purchased this for my son as he wanted to add alto. I know these horns are much better than a new student horn and of course much less than a Selmer Mark 6. I Selmer is out of my budget.

Dave, thanks for your advice on an internet purchase. I did consider that the horn would need some work, but not a major overhaul.
 

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:treble:First... You got some real good advise here, looks to be a keeper, but in the future on E-Bay, make sure that the seller is willing to accept returns, and not just if it's not as a described policy. They try to get away with that little loop hole. You need to make sure you can return the horn with-in a number of days as by the seller...

Philo:bass:






Hi all,

Hoping someone could give me their 3 cents. I was searching for a French Vito Alto with right hand bell keys that was not banged up for my son who plays tenor and wanted to add alto.

I found one in the 23K serial number range on ebay. The seller represented that the horn played and with a little tweeking by a tech it would play beautifully. I won the horn on ebay for around $400 based on the description that the horn did not need a major overhaul.

The horn arrived yesterday. Physically the horn is very nice. No major dings or bent keys. It took major effort to get it to play. So today I took it to a local tech for evaluation. The answer was $650 repad job. I told this to the ebay seller and his response was "that seems like a lot of work to me." He does not want to refund the shipping expense I paid $45 nor does he want to pay for return shipping. That would put me out about $90 for nothing.

I'm trying to negotiate a reduction the price. Considering that a repad is $650 and I paid $400 for the horn, that puts the horn over $1000.00

Wanted any advice or 3 cents if this horn is worth this expense.
 

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I own a Beaugnier-Leblanc Vito alto and now it's even my main horn (competing with other very good altos: a Selmer super action 80, a Buffet superdynaction and a Buescher true tone !). I think it's certainly worth 1100$ -but if you plan to resell you will have to convince a buyer...
 

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The $650 repad is an overhaul. The tech said that includes removing everything, bathing the body, new pads and reassembly.

I purchased this for my son as he wanted to add alto. I know these horns are much better than a new student horn and of course much less than a Selmer Mark 6. I Selmer is out of my budget.

Dave, thanks for your advice on an internet purchase. I did consider that the horn would need some work, but not a major overhaul.
Actually, although we haven't seen the eBay auction, IF the seller described it as playable but needing some servicing...that really doesn't honestly translate into an Overhaul.

But here is the thing, 'Saurus...and I hate to say it because people take offense sometimes. You bring an eBay horn to a tech with whom you have no relationship, and ask him what it needs, and add to it that it is a sax which isn't a Yamaha or a Selmer or another asian contemporary brand, and (sorry to say again, but) there's over a 50% chance that tech is gonna throw an estimate back at you which is high, and which includes way more work than is required to make it play decently.

The potential reasons are multitudinous: he doesn't particularly wanna work on an old horn he isn't familiar with...he is busy....he doesn't know you so there's no reason to work with you to offer a reasonable deal...or, yes, it COULD need a complete overhaul. But in my experience...the likelihood of the latter is far less than the likelihood of any of the former.

Vito France or Vito Kenosha horns are great horns (IMHO no dropoff in the quality of the Kenosha models).....there's nothing lacking in these Vitos, nothing complicated about servicing them. As Alan said, once CAN argue that $1g invested total on a Vito put into perfect shape...ain't horrible (and it's really not, considering the crap you can buy out there for $1g). But, it IS significantly over market....

Send her my way, 'Saurus, I can likely get her purring for around $200.....I have a soft spot for these models, I like to see them brought back into the playing world, because they ARE that good.

[email protected]

If you don't want to, then at least get a second opinion from another tech. Then IMHO, when you have a pair of written estimates, approach the seller again and politely but firmly, ask for a partial refund to cover some of the cost of required repairs. See if that goes anywhere...it cannot hurt.

But if I were the seller, I would view the $650 estimate with a bit of a jaundiced eye, myself... while a lower estimate may make him more willing to at least give a partial refund, as opposed to eating the entire sale price on a return and having to relist it.

 

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Beaugnier altos sound really good, I played a few pretty early ones, the sound is not like a selmer, but honestly I like it more (very refined, yet still colourful, with a bit of edge)! Ergos are a bit tricky, but not uncomfortable at all for a vintage horn. 1100$ is a bit on the upper side (I've recently seen a playable one go for 600euros), but I think it's worth it compared to a new horn.
I second the guys who suggested a second opinion, if the pads aren't dead, there's probably a way to do it for way cheaper.
You can try to negociate with the seller, but I doubt it'll lead anywhere. Assuming he's honest, I can understand his position, he did the work, and will end up with a horn that traveled the world twice, with the risks it includes.. at least you didn't have to pay an import charge.
 

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Looks like this ebay ad fits the description: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vito-Alto-S...D&orig_cvip=true&rt=nc&_trksid=p2047675.l2557

I'd suggest, either:

1. Go back to the tech or seek a different one, and ask them how much to get it up to playing condition. Once in playing condition, play it, if it's everything you want, invest in having it overhauled down the road.

2. Send it back. You overpaid for a non-playing horn. Ebay has you covered. You'll be out ~$30 for shipping. Btw, if the above link is the horn you bought... the person you bought it from bought it on ebay about a month ago for $147.62... which the listing stated that it needed a complete overhaul.
 

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Both of the above suggestions are reasonable.

However, being fair here, if the seller purchased and flipped it, who is to say he didn't have it serviced a bit first ?

I do think you have a decent chance of getting her to play for less than $650...and also think you have a fair chance or getting some sort of partial refund to cover at least a % of repair costs.

And, as Meth says, if you just choose to return it, eFlay will back you up if necessary. For returns....does not eBay pay for the return ship fee nowadays ? Or am I mistaken ?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Meth thank you!!! I found the earlier listing and the serial number is given and matches up. Actually less than a month ago.

This guy just flipped it, misrepresenting the condition. The earlier seller clearly stated repad.

Paid $45 for shipping.

As to the techs, I took the horn to 2 shops just to make sure. One shop already services my son's tenor.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
JayePDX,

Yes this is a flipped sale as Meth tipped me off. The earlier seller disclosed the need for a repad.

I know one of the repair shops. I take all my kids instruments (flute, clarinet, sax) there for their annual checkups.

I'm interested if you really could get the horn to purr for $200, it would then be worth it to me to ship it your way.
 

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$200 would be a steal to get it into good working condition. The price of an overhaul varies from region to region. $450 would be the price of a full overhaul in my area while you would be spending over twice that for a signature overhaul.
 

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Beaugnier altos sound really good, I played a few pretty early ones, the sound is not like a selmer, but honestly I like it more (very refined, yet still colourful, with a bit of edge).
You can try to negociate with the seller, but I doubt it'll lead anywhere. Assuming he's honest, I can understand his position, he did the work, and will end up with a horn that traveled the world twice, with the risks it includes.. at least you didn't have to pay an import charge.
Hard to say what happened here precisely, maybe seller did just flip, maybe he had some minor servicing done so it IS actually in better shape than what he bought it for. We dunno. One cannot always assume just because a horn reappears on auction by a different seller, that second seller did nothing but just retake photos.

But, if the fact is the horn really doesn't play up and down, then it's not as described; so I don't necessarily agree that the seller's position is 'understandable'. The 'risks' to shipping a horn which already doesn't play isn't all that much, provided it's packed well.

OP has contacted me, so perhaps I can help her out here. Cannot do a repad for $200, but a partial yes; IMHO oftentimes tech shops will insist a horn needs a repad when in fact most of the existing pads still have some good life left in 'em. They might need some refloating is all, perhaps a shimming, perhaps some tonehole leveling. Usually, however, some do need replacing.

SA80 illustrates the variability of overhaul/repad costs nationwide. Around here, an overhaul is around $650-800. A repad around $450-600.

In the SF Bay Area, the average costs are $900-1200 overhaul (with the oldest and most established techs charging as much as $1400-1500), $750-900 repad.

(Then again, the $1600/mo. 2-bed rent-controlled SF flat I moved out of in 2011 now fetches $4500/month......)
 

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Actually for some reason I thought the guy was from france (probably because it's a french made horn, haha) which would complicate the problem. When I said I understood the guy, I assumed he was in good faith, that is, he shipped a horn that was in functional state and either the repair shopped pressed for a full repad, either it got knocked out during the transport (which happens a fair bit with intercontinental shipping).

I didn't know the guy had bought it for 100 and resold knowing it needed major work.. that's just despicable. I hope Saxsaurus manages to get a full refund including shipping or at least a substantial discount on the horn. I wouldn't hesitate to fill a complaint with ebay, we should discourage that behaviour
 

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Actually for some reason I thought...

When I said I understood the guy, I assumed...

I didn't know...
It's risky business to give so much advice when all you are sharing is conjecture.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Blublub,

The guy (flilpper) who I bought the horn from, had just purchased it from another ebayer for $125 on 7/15 and flipped it. Thank's to Meth pointing me in that direction to look up that info. I found the earlier listing.

The first seller stated in the listing a full repad was needed. The flipper then lists the horn as playable, knowing full well the condition of the horn. As to refund, I'm looking for reimbursement of shipping expense both ways plus my money back.

If I can't work it out I will work with JayePDX to get the horn playing. Perhaps a full repad is not necessary.
 

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The first seller stated in the listing a full repad was needed. The flipper then lists the horn as playable, knowing full well the condition of the horn. As to refund, I'm looking for reimbursement of shipping expense both ways plus my money back.
"Playable" is a very loose term. It might only mean "able to make a sound" to one person.
 

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Dr G. : france thing was just fatigue, what I said is
-this horn is good
-price is a bit high
-get a second opinion
-you probably won't get the shipping costs back
none of which is unreasonable.
Now that Saxsaurus has proof that the guy knowingly misrepresented the horn, that's a different story.
You can blame me for assuming the seller could be honest, but saying I understood his position isn't exactly giving advice, heh?

Anyway Saxsaurus, I hope it works out for you in the end! Real shame about that Beaugnier
 
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