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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello, I am new to the forum and would appreciate any pointers to reasonably-priced repair shops and dealers in the San Francisco Bay Area. (And also some buying advice, see below.)

We moved into the area some years ago, but the local shops are still a mystery to me; not sure if any even exists. It's not that one can say "let's go to downtown Santa Clara to check the music shops" like in a normal city. There isn't even a downtown Santa Clara! I did some web searches, but if any forum member can share any direct experiences with local shops, that would be much more helpful.

Now about the buying advice. Let me describe my current situation in a little more detail:

  • I am looking to buy a tenor in the sub-$1000 range.
  • I have some minimal experience playing sax (3 months or so of classes 10 years ago, plus a couple years playing rock with my friends). Not a complete newbie, but no conservatory material either.
  • I play as a hobby
  • Unfortunately cannot commit to taking lessons at the moment

Now when I say sub-$1000 range my goal is to keep the whole package under $1000. Or, in other words, I want my sax budget to be $1000 for the next 12 months. To keep things simple, let's say that I have a separate mouthpiece/reeds budget.

If I understand correctly, after reading the forum archives, even if I buy a new instrument, a tune-up is always needed. Let's say a tune-up will cost $100 for a new instrument, is that a good ballpark figure?

And then there is shipping if I don't buy local ($50 or so?), so that leaves me with $850 for buying the horn itself.

From what I have read in the forum archives my options seem to be as follow, and please correct me if any of my assumptions is wrong:

1) Buy a new more-or-less-brand-name Chinese or Taiwanese student horn -- Kessler, Prelude ... Are Woodwind horns any good?

With this option, I assume the resale value will take a hit, but at least the probability of buying a complete lemon goes down. Also, the instrument will not be stellar, but then I'm not a stellar player either.

Let's say then that I buy a new Asian student horn, and get it tuned up. Then, if I don't rough up the horn too much I don't have any more sax expenses for the next year or so. Is that a correct assumption?

2) Option 2 would be to buy a vintage horn. I love the look of all those beat-up saxes, you look at some of them and they ooze mojo. And they may even play great today, but I never know if 6 months down the road they are going to need a complete re-padding.

Which costs, what, $500 or so? $700?

Or some other major repairs, cracked solder joints, broken springs, what have you.

So, if I decide to buy a vintage horn today, I don't know where that leaves my 12-month budget. Plan for $700 of repairs and spend $300 on the horn itself? And be prepared to never recoup those $700 if I decide to sell the instrument later on. You need to be an expert in game theory to get all these variables straight...

3) I'm not even sure if an Option 3 exists. There are those Internet sites that sell restored vintage horns, but they are out of my price range most of the time. Any other ideas?

Well I hope all this makes sense. Please feel free to send this way any clues you may have.

Thanks in advance

Hernan
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everybody for all the very useful replies!!!

Lots of options out there... I will get in contact with some of the shops mentioned in the thread, and will keep an eye on Craigslist for a while.

Not sure how to use the SOTW marketplace though... any pointers?
 
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