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I think a distinction should be made between a Chinese made horn and one manufactured in Taiwan. The latter (Taiwanese ) are better than the former because the Taiwanese manufacturers have more experience in making musical instruments than those from the mainland. Coming now to the issue of quality, why would a well known manufacturer commission a factory in Taiwan to produce horns and label them with his own known brand if he believes that the standard of production is not at par as that of his own?
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 · (Edited)
olhonker said:
Hi Cali, I think you ae putting the cart in front of the horse !! first you need lessonsor you'll be going around in circles
Well, I have to start somewhere... The basic requirement for lessons is a sax. I decided to take the gamble with a cheap Chinese one, because renting is not that attractive to me...
We'll see... I can't imagine that the horn is so bad that it won't play at all (after all, it does have 3 year warranty). It may be out of tune and it may leak, and it may fall apart in 6 months... but that doesn't matter, yet. First I'll have to learn to get some sound out of it. For that I only need the horn to be able to play one or two notes. Doesn't even have to be in tune. I'll probably be more out of tune than the horn for the first few months :)
Making music is the next step, once I'm there, I may need another horn. But then I should be able to know what I should look for.

olhonker said:
third, you nor an ecxpert can 'assume' what mouthpiece you need, only your embouchoure can dictate that
Currently I don't have any kind of embouchure at all. You have to start *somewhere*, and I was advised to get a good mouthpiece for a cheap horn, because it would improve intonation, tone and ease of playing.
The Yamaha 4C was recommended for beginners. It should be a good 'generic' mouthpiece, easy to get started on. Then when I have any kind of embouchure worth mentioning, I may upgrade to a specific mouthpiece.
But I can probably play on the Yamaha for a few years before it's worth upgrading.

olhonker said:
so get a working horn (You'll need help)
We'll see... I at least have a working mouthpiece now. The horn should arrive today if all is well. I'll just spend some time trying to get some sound out of it, get accustomed with the thing (I ordered a book, so with a bit of luck I can figure the basics out by myself). I like to know where I stand first. Then I'll get some lessons.
Then we'll see how good the horn is.
Perhaps it's pretty okay, and I can use it for a year or two, with some minor adjustments...
Perhaps it's crap... well then I'll just look for a Jupiter or something, but I'll be able to go to a store and blow some notes on it. And I already have the rest of the stuff... mouthpiece, bag, stand, reeds, strap etc.

I just think that this horn is so cheap that I'll actually save money by buying this horn first, rather than renting or buying a study sax from a wellknown brand... When I rent and don't buy the horn, I lose at least 200e in the process... If I do buy it, it will be the same wellknown study sax, else it'd be too expensive for me (you have to buy within 6 months, or lose money).
In which case I'd have to upgrade to a semi-pro model aswell, and lose more than 200e on resale value on the sax.
So basically I've assumed that the horn is discardable from the start. Any usefulness of the horn in 6 months time is pure profit for me. But I planned to have this horn and keep it, it'd be a good horn to practice some modifications/repairs on. And it can serve as decoration aswell :)
 

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Scali said:
(after all, it does have 3 year warranty)
Which you'll have to read carefully. It may require you to ship the horn back to China, which will certainly not be cost effective. Also, many techs in the states won't work on them. Usually because they're too fragile to withstand any meaningful repairs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #44 ·
Grumps said:
Which you'll have to read carefully. It may require you to ship the horn back to China, which will certainly not be cost effective. Also, many techs in the states won't work on them. Usually because they're too fragile to withstand any meaningful repairs.
The terms of warranty seem to be very good actually: http://www.thomann.de/de/helpdesk_warranty.html
I just ship it back to the store, they replace it with another horn, or refund the money, even after 3 years.

And on top of that they have a 30 day money back guarantee.
 

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Just curious - I note that no one has pointed out that he could get a nice "vintage" horn on ebay for a lot less, and be fairly confident that the thing will play well. I'm just a wannabe, intermediate at best, but picked up an very nice Buescher TT for under $300, put new pads in it and (except for minor intonation irregularities) it plays just fine. Am I missing something, or so the new horns offer som additional benefits?
 

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fred12 said:
Just curious - I note that no one has pointed out that he could get a nice "vintage" horn on ebay for a lot less, and be fairly confident that the thing will play well. I'm just a wannabe, intermediate at best, but picked up an very nice Buescher TT for under $300, put new pads in it and (except for minor intonation irregularities) it plays just fine. Am I missing something, or so the new horns offer som additional benefits?
So what was the total cost after a repad? $500? $700? $700 for a horn is more than many people want to pay, especially if its for a kid you dont know is going to stick with it.

The problem with ebay is that for every good deal, there are 10 junkers, and stone cold, "plays well out of the box" vintage horns at basement prices are few and far between.

New players in particular are not in a position to recognise when the problems they are experiencing are due to the horn, and when its their technique..or lack of it.

There are bargains to be had on ebay, but its a minefield and not a place for the unwary or inexperienced. Quite often the cost of fixing up a decent old horn can exceed the cost to buy a brand new ready to play "chinese" horn, and on a tight budget that might be the only thing that matters.

But if you have that extra bit of money, then a fixed up vintage model could well be a better deal than a new intermediate cost horn.
 

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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Yea, main reason for me to buy new is that I'll be reasonably sure that everything is included, and it will play out of the box, or at least I have warranty if it doesn't. I have absolutely no idea what a good or bad sax is at this point.

Anyway, I just received my Startone sax, and it looks fine. Nice detail is that it had white gloves in the case. So I wonder if it's the same type as the one that got a good review here: http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Alto/Chinese_alto.htm

Anyway, it feels quite heavy, nothing has fallen off yet, the keys don't feel wobbly, and everything seems to work, mechanically. I hear a reassuring *pop* sound when pads open or close, so it sounds like they are doing a pretty good job... Might need some small adjustments here and there, but from what I understood, that is pretty standard, even on expensive brand saxes.

I'm glad I looked online first though, and got another mouthpiece and reed.
I have a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece with Rico Royal 2 reed. I notice that it's easier for me to get a sound from it... Also it seems to have a slightly different pitch from the standard mouthpiece. The Yamaha is also finished better inside.
So this mouthpiece will probably give me an advantage in learning to play the instrument.

Other than that I can't really say how good or bad the sax is... I managed to sound a few notes on it, and it didn't even seem to be all that hard (okay, it still sounds like crap, but that's probably because of me, not because of the horn at this point).
I'll have to learn all the notes and see if I can sound them all. Only then can I say whether the horn is a good player or not.
I'll be taking some lessons soon, so perhaps the teacher can tell me what I have here.

So far it's looking good though... the impression I got so far is that this thing will play, perhaps with some minor tweaks, but at 198e, it's hard to be bad value for money if it plays at all :)
Even if it turns out to be junk, I still got a nice case, pad saver and all sorts of accessories that I don't have to buy for my next horn. Still a good deal at 198e :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #50 ·
I have one question about the mechanics...
The keys for the right hand... and then the ones for the pinky (I think you call those R5 and R6).
On my sax, I can only press R5 and R6 down AFTER I pressed down the right ringfinger key.
If I do it in the opposite order, then the right ringfinger pad will touch the other keys.

Is it normal to have it like this (in a way I can imagine, because if you'd clear the R5 and R6 keys, they might be too far out of reach)? Or should you normally be able to press the keys down in any order?
 

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Scali said:
I have one question about the mechanics...
The keys for the right hand... and then the ones for the pinky (I think you call those R5 and R6).
On my sax, I can only press R5 and R6 down AFTER I pressed down the right ringfinger key.
If I do it in the opposite order, then the right ringfinger pad will touch the other keys.
Yeah, POS horns work that way.
You're going to need someone experienced to give you more first hand advice... in person. I mean... from what it sounds like, yeah, you're generally going to have to hold down that right ring finger key before depressing the right hand pinkie keys in normal play, but the pad shouldn't be coming into contact with other keys. Something is bent or out of adjustment... and it's going to be real hard helping you along online to straighten it out.
 

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saxmanglen said:
Screw them to the wall

Use long screws so they don't fall off during an earthquake.
My point comes back again!
 

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But wether you like it or not, he is right. The things you are experiencing with the D# and C are not normal. Adjusting them will affect the tuning of the sax. But you have to be able to use these keys separatly to get e.g. low G in pitch. This should be your first visit to a technician, because I would not advice you to try it yourself IF you want to actually play on this horn. If you just bought this one to get it apart, see how it works and try to put it back together, I think it will be like fixing a plastic toy sax that is glued in all parts and cannot be fixed afterall.
I really believe saxmanglen gave you the best advice you have been getting. Worst of all, this sax is most likely not going to give you the pleasure saxplaying, or saxengineering, can give you.
The best advice I can give you: nail this one to the wall, rent a solid sax for a couple of month's and take lessons. Then save some money to buy a better one, and let you teacher advise you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #55 ·
The problem is not that I can't play the horn...
It's just that I have to press them down in the right order.
I just wanted to know if this is common or not. I haven't had trouble with it yet, because I apparently use the pinky after the ringfinger automatically anyway.
I just wanted to know whether this was a design flaw on this sax, or if it is common.
I don't think it can be bent in any way to avoid it.
But it works, as it is. You can either press down R5, or press down the ringfinger key and then R5.
It's just that they can collide if you press R5 before the ringfinger key.

Anyway, I didn't plan to use this sax for a long time. Just wanted to learn the basics. Playing the sax actually seems easier than I thought, so far. I can play most notes, just the high C and above are troublesome... but that should improve when I get more strength.
 

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I am not sure if i understand it right, but you have to be able to use all keys separatly. You have to be able to play low G and then at the same time press in the D# which you call R5, I believe? That may not affect any other key.

Playing saxophone may seem pretty easy at the beginning. It is not difficult letting all these tones sound, but keep in mind that it really is one of the most difficult windinstruments.
 

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Scali said:
Just a yes or no would suffice.
I don't need these responses, and I'm not going to take you seriously as long as you do. I'll just ignore you.
You've basically been ignoring everyone anyhow. I mean... you come here with your mind already made up looking for validation. You now run into a problem that was foreseen by just about every member looking in on this thread. Some guys are going to go the I told you so route... and not so much to make fun of you, but to serve as cautionary advice to others who might be in a similar boat, but willing to heed the voices of experience.

Now you could come back and say the horn is working great, all is fixed and oh what a great deal you made. But not coming from an experienced player, the value of any sort of review would be negligible. So it's really a lose-lose situation. That is, we'd all expect to hear about a cheap horn not working properly, but should we hear differently, it won't likely register coming from an inexperienced sax player. So we're left with the cautionary tale... and everyone's just playing their role accordingly.
 

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OUCH!

:yikes!:
 

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gary said:
OUCH!

:yikes!:
Is that because he told me I take myself seriously? :shock:

Naah, it has to be the wonderful directness of grumps.....
 
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