Sax on the Web Forum banner

61 - 80 of 89 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
41 Posts
Discussion Starter #61
Also, I'd be reluctant to assume that a new-to-you $400 'used' vintage horn is going to be less expensive than your 1951 PanAm. I provided the first response on this thread. In that response I gave an example of one of my horns that actually needed a full repad. That was a reference to a brand new (to me) vintage horn that I purchased from a local, reputable shop. Bought it for a bit over $500. It came with a 1 year (useless) warranty. In my opinion, it should have been in perfect condition, but it wasn't. It needed a full overhaul, and it took me a long time to admit to myself that I got screwed by the the seller and the bogus 1 year warranty....That $500 horn ended up costing me about $1,200. I was livid. At the same time I am thrilled with its sound now that it has been fully overhauled........In short, trying your luck on another used horn, may not turn out the way you want. Your Elkhart built PanAm is a very well built horn.
Great insights. Bottom line is that I'm inexperienced with assessing sax problems. SInce sax is a hobby, I cannot personally justify a $1000+ horn with 2 sons in college. The. RH keys seem sluggish compared to the YAS 23 loaner I got. The Yamaha also seems to provide less resistance to air flow, if that is possible.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,874 Posts
I worked on a ship for about 4 years, probably played outside two hours a week on average. Ventilation is very poor inside so the horns stay fine, now I love by the beach and you see the effects of salt air very quickly (6 months to a year)
Thank you for sharing your experience.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
Great insights. Bottom line is that I'm inexperienced with assessing sax problems. SInce sax is a hobby, I cannot personally justify a $1000+ horn with 2 sons in college. The. RH keys seem sluggish compared to the YAS 23 loaner I got. The Yamaha also seems to provide less resistance to air flow, if that is possible.
No doubt that the right hand keys on a PanAm are going to seem sluggish compared to the Yamaha (or compared to anything manufactured in the last 40 years). 1) The springs might not be in great shape on your Pan Am. 2) The Conn 'ergonomics' are not great, so the fingering on them, especially the right hand, will never feel as quick as on a Yamaha YAS23. This problem will definitely not be solved by a repad. (It has to do with the awkward angle of your wrists when playing the Conn).

Regarding how free blowing it is, I can't assess as to whether a re-pad would fix the problem, as I don't have enough experience on the Yamaha to know how free-blowing it would be...though Yamahas are known as good instruments.....if you aren't having tuning problems, or issues with notes jumping octaves, or problems playing quietly......the pads likely aren't your key problem.....

.....sounds to me as if you have the wrong horn for your needs. Probably best to look for a new one. A lot of people on this forum would recommend a used YAS 23. There are lots of them out there.

.....if you want new, Kesslerandsons.com has a couple of Altos 'on-sale' for $800. They have a great reputation for quality, private label horns. A lot of participants on the forum recommend them. This might be your best option.....as it would be a new horn, and unlikely to give you significant problems for years to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
It's like anything... You go to five service providers (home improvement outfit, furnace repair, automotive service) and you get five assessments, five quotes... ranging from DIRE! $$$$$! to "Oh, I see the issue. I can have it up to snuff for (say, double digits...).

We were trying to sell our house and a furnace inspection "revealed" that we needed a secondary heat exchanger... $1,400!
Unfortunately, the buyer (offeror) got wind of this when our realtor somehow alluded to it (malpractice?)... We got (paid for) a second opinion... "I would LOVE to sell you a heat exchanger... we're slow right now. But if I did, it would never run you more than $1,200. I can't do that." He proceeded to take me all through the innards of the furnace and explain where the small amount of moisture came from... which was a small drip from the humidifier or something. Then he ran a CO test and a couple of other tests and showed me all the data. I'm an engineer. I worked in automotive emission controls and dealt with all kinds of heat exchangers... I understood exactly what was going on, namely, a major rip-off.
The buyer still wanted to bring in a "third-party" tiebreaker, which we also paid for.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,874 Posts
Great insights. Bottom line is that I'm inexperienced with assessing sax problems. SInce sax is a hobby, I cannot personally justify a $1000+ horn with 2 sons in college. The. RH keys seem sluggish compared to the YAS 23 loaner I got. The Yamaha also seems to provide less resistance to air flow, if that is possible.
Leaks in a horn are often perceived as stuffiness.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dirty

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,672 Posts
When I was out of town I took my H. Couf baritone to a major dealer of saxes, very highly regarded. They said it needed a complete overhaul/repad. When I said I didn't have the bread for that they said they could fix a few leaks and that it would "hold together for a while, but it's matter of time, as in short..."
Two weeks ago I had it in to my local tech who is also highly regarded (but only in his small geographic area)... like 30+ years experience... and who is also a great pro sax player... and who I know to do excellent work... I took it to him for a small ergonomic adjustment of the position of one of the pearl touches in the top stack. He said "Ooh. Hey... These three top stack pads are shot. I have to replace them... It'll be about $50."
I said "Oh, yeah. I was told that all the pads are shot."
He said "No! No way! It's in great shape, a great playing horn... Wow! But the top stack suffers more, from condensation, etc.... you know."
 

·
Registered
Cannonball Vintage Reborn Tenor Sax with Cannonball 5JHR
Joined
·
235 Posts
Great insights. Bottom line is that I'm inexperienced with assessing sax problems. SInce sax is a hobby, I cannot personally justify a $1000+ horn with 2 sons in college. The. RH keys seem sluggish compared to the YAS 23 loaner I got. The Yamaha also seems to provide less resistance to air flow, if that is possible.
While I hate to add to the intrigue, not all horns play the same with all mouth pieces. My cheapie tenor played well with my metal Link STMNY. But my new Vintage Reborn does not like it. It plays with more resistance and feels stuffy, but sounds fine. Go figure.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,497 Posts
.....sounds to me as if you have the wrong horn for your needs. Probably best to look for a new one. A lot of people on this forum would recommend a used YAS 23. There are lots of them out there.
This is the exact sort of 'conclusion' which oftentimes baffles me.

OP has a vintage horn which he knows needs work, and is not playing up to snuff.

Somehow, without even holding the horn in your hands or playtesting it...you suggest the horn is just wrong for the player ...and he should go buy a contemporary budget model which is a completely different animal...not as robustly constructed, lighter, not as responsive to embouchure/blowing nuances/changes...and brighter/thinner in tonality than his current horn.

(?)

Over and over it has been pointed out on this Forum..one cannot assess the worthiness/appropriateness of a vintage horn (any horn really)...if that horn is not in good playing tack - action adjusted, no leaks.

Period.

(fwiw it isn't the right hand ergos which vastly differ between a PA and a Yama - unless one buys into the very debatable premise that the offset lower stack is an egronomic improvement (something which long ago my osteopath in SF found laughable when I showed him the difference in hand position between a modern and vintage horn). It is rather the pinky table and LH palmkeys which differ more significantly. So if the right hand keys are sliggish...it is not a 'model' issue...it's a servicing issue).

So...without knowing how under-par the playing condition of the PA is right now and it sounds like it both has leaks and needs a key barrel and rod cleaning, plus spring adjustments at least....how can one suggest they dump the horn (same body and neck tube as the 6M's btw) and get a budget newer model ?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
394 Posts
One other comment, in my shade tree opinion. I've never been all that impressed with the Pan Americans. They always seemed a lesser horn in many ways, esp intonation, compared to a full blooded Conn. I'd much rather have a New Wonder. A Yamaha yas21 or 23 or Japanese Vito copy is a better horn than a Pan Am imo, or even a well kept Bundy II.
In low dollar pro horns, the best I've found are Martin handcraft stencils. I just sold two playing examples for under $300. Good ergos, excellent intonation, awesome sound and built like a tank. A pro horn, unlike the yas23 or bundy.
Speaking of bundy, if you can find a "Bundy Special", these are excellent more modern Keilwerth horns. They can go cheap because of the kiss of death Bundy name. Look for "Made in West Germany" and rolled tone holes.
Another modern sleeper horn (rare tho) is the Buffet Crampon Evette and Schaeffer "Master Model". This is actually a Dynaction/Super Dynaction hybrid, but the Evette name kills the resale..... most don't know its a pro horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,497 Posts
Well we are talking an alto with a $450-500 tops market value in good shape, here, remember.

A PA is a pretty good horn for that money. yeah, yeah, the good ol' default Toyota-Corolla-YAS23 always will be bandied about, but I can think of 2 or 3 aspects/attributes of a PA which absolutely kicks a 23's #ss from here to the moon....and a Bundy II's #ss to Mars.....

....so it depends on what the player is after.

The issue here, as I interpret it, is whether repads are as necessary as techs make them out to be (*especially when confronted with vintage horns)....

to which my answer still is: No.

Usually not.

Which leads us to:

"is it worth putting $200-300 into a PA in iffy shape...to see what it's really GOT under the hood ?"

to which my answer would be: Yes, Sure.

But when we get to the next question:

"is it worth springing for a repad (which BTW SHOULD include both a chem or sonic cleaning AND key swedging) costing $600 to get the PA up to excellent tack ?"

...that question becomes more debatable.

For an owner with a limited budget, I too would say 'probably not'. You could sell the horn for $150 as-is, now... and take the $750 and buy something....'better'.
Hard to argue that.

But for an owner who has mentioned in his other thread that he really does not have budgetary constraints which makes $200 vs. $600 a decision which will cause any hardship (beyond perhaps just not wanting to pay someone who insists the horn needs a repad when it doesn't - which, IMHO is understandable - I wouldn't be keen on lining the pockets of a tech like that, either)....

One can then offer the thought that:

IF you have that $ kicking around, why NOT give the PA the champagne treatment and really see how good it can be ?

...yeah, it will be a 'loser' investment if you are still unhappy with it after that work and resell it...but you will have seen how good it can get (something RARELY apparent on vintage second shelf horns) and you will be selling a sax which you can describe and confirm as being in top-notch playing condition.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
433 Posts
This is the exact sort of 'conclusion' which oftentimes baffles me.

OP has a vintage horn which he knows needs work, and is not playing up to snuff.

Somehow, without even holding the horn in your hands or playtesting it...you suggest the horn is just wrong for the player ...and he should go buy a contemporary budget model which is a completely different animal...not as robustly constructed, lighter, not as responsive to embouchure/blowing nuances/changes...and brighter/thinner in tonality than his current horn.

(?)

Over and over it has been pointed out on this Forum..one cannot assess the worthiness/appropriateness of a vintage horn (any horn really)...if that horn is not in good playing tack - action adjusted, no leaks.

Period.

(fwiw it isn't the right hand ergos which vastly differ between a PA and a Yama - unless one buys into the very debatable premise that the offset lower stack is an egronomic improvement (something which long ago my osteopath in SF found laughable when I showed him the difference in hand position between a modern and vintage horn). It is rather the pinky table and LH palmkeys which differ more significantly. So if the right hand keys are sliggish...it is not a 'model' issue...it's a servicing issue).

So...without knowing how under-par the playing condition of the PA is right now and it sounds like it both has leaks and needs a key barrel and rod cleaning, plus spring adjustments at least....how can one suggest they dump the horn (same body and neck tube as the 6M's btw) and get a budget newer model ?
Fair point. You are correct. It is best to test out the horns so see if something works well. Ideally, he would spend the money to get an overhaul on his horn to see if that fixes the problem....and you might be correct, the ergonomics might have nothing to do with what is going.

I can only speak from my experience playing on the old Conn designs, both Alto and Tenor. And my experience might not be relevant to his.

But there are no guarantees that an overhaul is going to get him where he wants to be either. That's the problem. None of us know as we aren't holding the horn.

OP is already reluctant to spend $600 on a $500 horn. It is a matter of him making an assessment of odds.
 

·
Registered
Cannonball Vintage Reborn Tenor Sax with Cannonball 5JHR
Joined
·
235 Posts
FWIW, I have a Bundy II alto that I played, and recently played an Indiana Martin Alto. The Indiana is bigger, creamier, and more solid in tone than the Bundy II. My opinion, of course. Indiana's run $300- $350.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,312 Posts
SInce sax is a hobby, I cannot personally justify a $1000+ horn with 2 sons in college.
Now I'm a bit confused; earlier in the thread I think you wrote that budgetary concern is not an issue. Yet here you say it is. In which case I agree with Jaye that you could ask to have a couple of the worst pads (probably upper stack) changed and at least get the horn in "ok" playing condition.

Still it's hard to advise without knowing the actual condition of the horn. If it's full of leaks and all the pads are indeed in terrible shape, that's another matter.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
929 Posts
Now I'm a bit confused; earlier in the thread I think you wrote that budgetary concern is not an issue. Yet here you say it is. In which case I agree with Jaye that you could ask to have a couple of the worst pads (probably upper stack) changed and at least get the horn in "ok" playing condition.
2 OP comments within different threads. The fundamental question is whether woodwind techs are taking the **** when proposing a full repad (a.k.a proper overhaul) versus swapping out a couple of shot pads, the odd spring and a bit of cork. $120 plays $600. Then the question is, what is the expectation that $120 will yield; followed by the conundrum, is the PamAm capable of Greatness or should it be sold or turned into a lampshade and replaced with a Yamaha YAS23. And I think what the community is saying is: those questions are unanswerable without the horn to hand.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
33,874 Posts
Now I'm a bit confused; earlier in the thread I think you wrote that budgetary concern is not an issue. Yet here you say it is. In which case I agree with Jaye that you could ask to have a couple of the worst pads (probably upper stack) changed and at least get the horn in "ok" playing condition.

Still it's hard to advise without knowing the actual condition of the horn. If it's full of leaks and all the pads are indeed in terrible shape, that's another matter.
You’re likely recalling this.

I am inexperienced about sax shopping. I have played, bought and sold many guitars. Guitar stores seem very accustomed to having random folks of all ages plug in a guitar and play. Are sax shops the same? Plus now add in the COVID factor. I'm a middle aged hobbyist with a 6 figure income. I can afford about any horn but am not gonna spend $4000 on a horn to play Louie, Louie at a neighborhood BBQ.

I know many/most on here were music majors. Don't flame me bro!
Yeah, it is hard to hit a moving target.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Enthusiast65

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,312 Posts
2 OP comments within different threads. The fundamental question is whether woodwind techs are taking the **** when proposing a full repad (a.k.a proper overhaul) versus swapping out a couple of shot pads, the odd spring and a bit of cork. $120 plays $600. Then the question is, what is the expectation that $120 will yield; followed by the conundrum, is the PamAm capable of Greatness or should it be sold or turned into a lampshade and replaced with a Yamaha YAS23. And I think what the community is saying is: those questions are unanswerable without the horn to hand.
Yeah, I was referring to the comment Dr G posted in his quote above (the "6 figure income" and being "able to afford about any horn" part).

Anyway, you're right about the fundamental question. We really can't answer that without either knowing the tech in question and/or the actual condition of the horn.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,031 Posts
In my experience, Yamahas (and just about every post-Mark VI instrument I've played) are going to have more resistance than just about every vintage American horn that I've played. The free-blowing (less resistant) nature of the American horns is one of the major factors that sets them apart from the Selmer-derived horns (which Yamaha is) and is one of the things that feels really freaky the first time you play one if you are used the more modern horns (for me, at least).

I say this to say that, if your vintage American horn is more resistant than a Yamaha in good shape, then it's probably got leaks in it that are making it so.

Have you considered a pad job?
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,312 Posts
In my experience, Yamahas (and just about every post-Mark VI instrument I've played) are going to have more resistance than just about every vintage American horn that I've played. The free-blowing (less resistant) nature of the American horns is one of the major factors that sets them apart from the Selmer-derived horns (which Yamaha is) and is one of the things that feels really freaky the first time you play one if you are used the more modern horns (for me, at least).
I sure haven't played all of the vintage American horns, but this sure applies to the ones have played or play-tested (Buescher, Conn, Martin, King).

My 2 Buescher Aristocrat tenors (series one and 156) are definitely more free-blowing than my MKVI. The 156 Aristo in particular is about the least resistant tenor I've ever played or tried out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
96 Posts
And for $600 I can buy an intact horn better than what I own.
Soooo your just now finding out that most horns are not worth fixing huh? :) This conversation often leads the term Wall Hanger. This could be why the more expensive horns are worth so much money. I just had a plumber come out and they work at $250 an hour which is crap! Repadding a Tenor here in DC is $600 and a Bari is $800. That does not include a tune up which is $250. I was shocked to hear that the costs in other areas are even more than this.

I do believe in the value of knowing a good tech or mechanic though and you do get what you pay for. If you create a relationship with a good tech then you should expect to see them once a year and only do the repairs that you need.

Not to be sexist or family biased but ....its like going to a car mechanic. If a female or parent walks in to a random shop I find that they will recommend a full repad and then shift to trying to rent or sell you something different. I keep hearing about people going in to a shop and the tech sticks a fingernail in the pad and pulls down. If the pad comes off they recommend full repadding. :-0
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,342 Posts
I keep hearing about people going in to a shop and the tech sticks a fingernail in the pad and pulls down. If the pad comes off they recommend full repadding. :-0
I do understand the principle behind this approach. If the adhesive holding a pad in a keycup is weak enough to allow the pad to be pulled out with a finger nail, there is a strong likelihood that most if not all the pads were installed that poorly. Something my mentor told me to do when doing "play conditions" was to try to make the corks and felts come off. I asked him why and he said that if they had a tendency to come off it is better for it to happen while the instrument is on the bench rather than after the customer takes it home. This not only saves the customer's time not having to bring it back, but it saves the shop's reputation as well.
 
61 - 80 of 89 Posts
Top