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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
[see message #13, for a new issue with my GAS]

Hey ya'll. I've been lurking here for about 5 months now. What a great resource.
I have been getting the itch for a Tenor lately (currently have Alto, Sop, C Mel). I would like a Martin HC CommII, or a Magna tenor, but coming up with the cash will be tough.

However, I have a Selmer SA80 II from '89 (I'm the original owner, it's immaculate and plays great), and it just occured to me that I might be able to sell it, and get both a Martin Alto and Tenor with the money...
Is that nuts?

Should I just look to (and work on) my C Mel to fill the tenor void until I can scrape together the cash, or find a bargin tenor?

I'm also very interested in Steve's new C Tenor (Aquilasax)...

What to do? Recommendations?:? :?

Thanks for the help!
 

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I would avoid trying to use a C melody as a Tenor substitute, they do sound very different from a tenor. I would save up the cash and look for a Comm I, Comm II, The Martin or even an Imperial model tenor. Any of these tenros will play fantastically when they have been set-up properly and when they are rebuilt, they will last you for years.

You could sell your SA80II tenor and sink the money into a good Martin tenor or as the rest of us do, buy one that needs work, rebuild it or get it rebuilt by a good tech and then you will have a tenor for years. Any exceptional vitnage sax you see being played has usually been fully overhauled, stripped down completely and built again from the ground up. Think about it the same way as restoring a vintage car. Do the job once properly and you will be far happier than living with make do repairs. Make do repairs to save money actually cost you more in the long run than overhauling the sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Clarification

After re-reading this, perhaps some clarification is necessary...

My Selmer is an Alto, as is evident from my signature.
I used to loathe tenor, because everyone played tenor. As I've gotten older, I appreciate the tenor tone more. Now I'd like to own one of my own.
I'm definately a Martin fan, and I love my Soprano (recently overhauled)!:D
For those of you who have played both the SA80 IIs and other Martin Altos, are they comparable? Which has the better key work? My C Mel feels very "open" in my fingers, and I'm sure it needs adjustments.

Anyway, comments, suggestions, etc. are all appreciated!

Thanks,
 

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Discussion Starter #5
LampLight, Thanks for the tease. Now I have a another choice to consider! That PB horn seems like a stellar deal...

Bootman, thanks for the recommendations. I think I'd most like to "stumble" across someone who doesn't know what they have, buy it cheap and take it to my crack dealer (my tech down the street).
I don't really want to sell the SA80 II Alto, so I think I'll try selling other things first...sports cards, my alto gig bag, and other strangeness I have lying around.
My repair guy recently bought 25 tenors and is in the process of cataloging/researching/overhauling them. He's teased me with a near mint 1952 10M, a beautiful silver King, Buescher TT and some others. He's confident that he has one or two Martins.
I'm a Mechanical Engineer for cash and I absolutely LOVE the idea of buying old saxes and bringing them back to life for someone to love. That's actually my long range plan.

I do technically have a tenor, but it's a Bundy II that I was given for free. She said it had some damage from her son's marching band fall, but she didn't tell me that the entire marching band AND the football team also fell on it.
I figure that will be my horn for repair practice...

Thanks again!
 

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Hey, we aim to tease. Or is that, we tease to please? Or whatever. Anyway, it sounds like you have a pretty good plan. Good luck.
 

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I have played both Selmer SA80 and Martin altos, and the keywork is better on the selmers, but the tone of the Martin is probably better.
 

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MartinHandCraft said:
I'm also very interested in Steve's new C Tenor (Aquilasax)...
I've pulled the trigger on Steve's Aquilasax Bb Tenor. It's in transit right now. I should see it by the end of next week. I'll post a novice's review when it gets here.
$581 delivered.
 

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Martinman said:
I have played both Selmer SA80 and Martin altos, and the keywork is better on the selmers, but the tone of the Martin is probably better.
AMEN!

I was really happy to have swapped my SA 80 II alto for my King Super 20 tenor (I consider it a stroke of luck), even though this last one was just a Eastlake and not a silverneck, it is more valuable and by far a better sax than the Selmer super action was. I found the Selmer having an ordinary sound, although the keywork and intonation were superb, but it had a truly boring voice.

I doubt that you could sell your Selmer and get enough money for both a quality tenor and a alto Martin (not the top models you won't) but if it is sound you are after please capitalize on the monetary value differential to acquire a better horn and have some money to spare to buy (adding some money of your own) another quality horn.

Martins are great but they have their quirks. How about two King Zephyrs?
They are expensive but they are great horns and cheaper than Super 20 which, these days are very expensive (leave all pearls to fetish seekers :) I'd love to have the works but can't afford it....)

The PB tenor and Aquilasax (tenor) are nice horns but I am not sure of how they will keep their value in time, with all due respect , they are just a selection of Chinese or Taiwanese horns made by good and competent people but they are bound to loose part of their value in time.

The Aquilasax C melody Tenor is going to be a nice thing to have, probably will appreciate in time because it is, and will stay, an unique curiosity. I've been wodering about it myself.

Good luck!
 

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milandro said:
The PB tenor and Aquilasax (tenor) are nice horns but I am not sure of how they will keep their value in time, with all due respect , they are just a selection of Chinese or Taiwanese horns made by good and competent people but they are bound to loose part of their value in time.
I agree. My motive for going for the Aquilasax Bb tenor was three-fold.
The price.
Alan's review of the Aquilasax alto.
Support of a SOTW member's business.

Could I have found a playable YTS-23 for the same price? Sure.
Will I lose money if I decide to sell it? Sure.
It is unlikely that I will sell it, though.
 

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it is a very commendable thing to do supporting someone's business and especially one like Aquilasax because of his almost heroic support of the C Melody re-birth, nothing wrong with that!

In general though, I always say that buying vintage as opposed to new ones, gives you better value for money (if you can stand the slings and arrows associated with the vintage horns quirks) because if you want or need to sell you will always get a large portion of your money back.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Additional choices

Thanks for the advice everyone.
I'm still struggling with my decision. Which is OK, since I'm not cash ready yet anyway. I'm selling a bunch of old collectable stuff on eBay to add to the cash pile for swaps or new purchase.

I know by the time I'm ready my sax tech will have cataloged his other 25 tenors and I'll have a big decision on my hands.

Since they will all be pre-overhaul, I'll be mostly guessing. But I'm sure if I decided I didn't like it, he'd keep it and sell it, and start on a different one for me. It will just take another 3 months...

Oh well. I'll keep you posted.

Rowka, I'm eagerly awaiting your tenor review.

Thanks, All.
-MHC
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Ok, here is a new wrinkle...

Friday I found a Craig's list posting for a The Martin Alto ('59) for $500.:shock::twisted:
Prior to this discovery, I'd convinced myself that I didn't want to sell the SA80 II.
My tech also has a Martin Committee Tenor which is ready for a buyer (before he commits himself to the needed overhaul).

My thought is that I should be able to buy the Alto and cut a deal with my tech to swap the SA80 II Alto to get any necessary work done on the '59 Alto and also bring home the freshly overhaulled Committee Tenor.

My SA80 II alto is in great shape. There are some small oxidation spots in some of the corners of the bell engraving and on the back. Otherwise, it's near mint. On eBay, I'd give it $2,000+.

I'm hoping to see the The Martin Alto in about 6 hours. Anything I should look for particular to this sax?

And back to the title of this thread...Am I crazy?

Thanks for your help!
 

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When looking at the Martin Alto, check for corrosion around the tone holes - lacquer on these horns is weak, and so this is a vulnerable spot over time. If it's a relacquer, don't worry - these are heavy horns that can take some buffing.

$2000 for an overhauled Martin Alto and Tenor is a pretty good deal, provided your tech will get them in top playing shape. I'll say separately that $500 for a Martin Alto is quite low - either this seller is selling a beater or they don't know the value of their horn, so be careful - it could turn out to be a real "project" horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks, PC!
I'll watch for that.
This was apparently his Father-in-law's sax, and he's passed away so they are selling his old saxophone. My guess, until I get to look at it, is that they don't know what they have.;)
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, I didn't get a call back until it was too late today:(, but we've made plans to check out the The Martin Alto tomorrow.:D

Anyone want to chime in on the "The Martin" models have more intonation issues than the Committee or Committee II? This this eliminated with the proper set up, is this a design issue, or is this just bunk?:?

Thanks everyone.
 

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The intonation issues are largely due to incorrect set-up and wrong mpc choice. I have never found Martin saxes of the Committee models and the Martin models to have any glaring intonation issues. If you want excellent intonation then buy a Buescher sax, Aristocrat series I is the best of the Beuschers I have played or owned.
 

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Don't sell your Selmer. The early SA80IIs are better built and have the full engraving in contrast to the newer ones. Yet they don't fetch more than the later horns. At some point people will start paying interest to the changes that have occurred over time but presently they are all lumped together.
 

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The early SA80 altos are amongst the best altos Selmer produced. On the Conn, they will need to have a more open action than a Selmer, this will give you more volume, better intonation and it doesn't take that long to adjust to the keywork feel of these horns.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Well, I pulled the trigger.
I now own a The Martin Alto.:D
Nice horn. Needs a small bit of attention, but it played well for me with my 50's selmer scroll shank C*. It's not as free blowing as my SA80 II, nor was it as loud. I'm expecting to talk to my tech later this week, but I'm sure some of these things are easily fixed.

Comparatively, the SA80 II has a pretty dark tone, not quite as dark as the TMA, but I guess it was darker than I realized. I think above the staff, the SA80 II is a bit brighter.

I'm going to give myself some time on it and see how things progress before I decide to part with the Selmer or the Martin.

It came in a Martin tray-pack case, which I have not seen before.
 
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