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I'll put in another positive note on vintage horns. Many of them play better than modern horns and IMO are built better. The biggest disadvantage to them is that the keywork design (the action) may not feel quite as smooth as a modern horn.

I've actually recommended this shop several times in the past couple days, but he seems to stock what a lot of people are looking for "low-cost quality instruments." Check out the Yamaha ( and the Vito ( tenors he has. I've played both in the shop and I would be happy with either of them as solid "all around" tenors. The Vito, especially, may not look like much, but is a killer horn.

The website may not be the most impressive, but the quality of workmanship that Kim Slava ("Dr. Sax") does is very high, and he's a reasonable individual to work with. Best part is, both of those horns are well under your budget.

Most of the horns at are unfortunately over your budget. is also a reputable dealer, but once again, I don't see much in your budget there.

If you want to go new, I've heard that Kessler Custom horns can't be beat for the price. I've never played one however.

I would avoid eBay. An instrument shop can safely bid on eBay because if a horn is missing parts, they quite likely will have replacements in stock, or at the least can break a horn down into parts to use for other activities. Consumer buyers, who may not know what to properly look for in an eBay horn are hurt much more when the instrument requires a lot of work. Stick with the dealers if you can.
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