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Hernan: Welcome aboard. You've made some interesting assumptions and conclusions, many of which are accurate. After all that you've written, I'd say go with Kessler's tenor. I have one and it works fine. You should call him and talk to him. You could probably get the whole deal (horn, case, good mouthpiece, and shipping) at your price point.

Most new horns require some set-up, but the selling dealer is the guy to do that. And, Kessler does it. Can something screw it up in shipping? Yes, but the fixes are easy. Heck, you could even drive to Las Vegas for any fixin' and eliminate shipping damage.

Vintage horns aren't the problems that you've made of them. I have several saxophones from the 1920's and they require nothing more than do my modern ones. Once they are in playing shape, they'll play just as good as the new ones (or better) - and for as long.

The problem is trying to buy a player from a private party (usually eBay). I ALWAYS figure in the price of an overhaul. There are reliable dealers who sell vintage horns, ready to go (Gayle Fredenburgh of vintagesax.com comes to mind) but your budget may not cover her costs. Check out her website, though.

But for your needs, the Kessler would be my answer. DAVE
 
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