Having started on a B&H 400 alto my take on them is that they are a consistent, decent quality student instrument which trace their lineage back to Amati and Eastern Europe and which unlike the cheaper Asian offerings will hold their value reasonably well and whose name will give them a re-sale value.
These are Amati stencils and the later ones with modern pinky's are very decent when set-up well. Cheap to buy on e-bay, original pads are squishy and tone holes may need levelling in places but ok saxes.
I always raise a wry smile when I read these student/intermediate debates. During the 70's I was lucky enough to work as a pro sax player, and both my alto and tenor were far from what was regarded as 'pro' level horns at the time (ie Mk VI, King Super 20 etc.)
They were just good old solid East/West European workhorses, but with the mandatory addition of a decent mouthpiece, they were very usable. Most may have been labelled 'suitable for students', but an awful lot of pro and semi-pro touring sax players used them for their robustness and usable playability. They were relatively quite basic, and therefore usually easily fixed when far away from a tech, and if the worst happened - you get the odd mishap on the road - replacement was easier and not so painful...
OK, there were occasional horrible ones, as there are now occasional horrible Oriental offerings. Interesting that the same thing is now being said about decent Chinese saxes, i.e. "very usable when you don't want to risk a cherished horn". And they last (usually...), I played one again a few years back, a Weltklang Solist tenor, and, apart from a bit of action wear, almost certainly from lack of lubrication over the years (it was very 'dry'), I was quite surprised - maybe not so slick or sophisticated, but bloody good workhorses, in the main.
But you really need to test-play them individually, your personal reaction (good or bad) can be quite instantaneous. So yes, tbelbin44, the B&H 400 is 'suitable for students', but also might just stay around for a much longer time, if set-up properly and given a decent mouthpiece.
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