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Hello! I have always to play the saxophone but just didn't really have the time. Within the last few weeks i dug my kid's student alto sax and finally jumped in. I am kicking myself in the butt because i now do regret not getting started earlier.

In my research into learning about saxophones, i am pretty set on wanting to pick up a tenor.
The ones that really called my attention were:

Trevor James Signature Custom Raw
P. Mauriat PMXT 66Rul
Cannonball Big Bell Stone Brute

I really liked how these sounded. I was thinking of staying at around $1700 for a used sax and i think that is obtainable. As i research further, are there other saxophones that sound similar to the ones i've mentioned. if I start looking at older saxophones, Like a Buescher 400, are there concerns that i should watch out for with regards to ergonomics that may make a newer saxophone a better option than an older horn?
 

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The Debate-Discussion on "Old vs New" has a history on this forum that could fill the New York City Library. Not sure where you live, but finding a good shop that can lay out a number of quality horns for testing is SO valuable. When I first expanded from alto to tenor, I went to Junk Dude near Columbus Ohio. Dave laid out multiple horns from MKVI to Yamaha to Bueschner to Mauriat... I wound up with a Conn 10M.

Where are you located? It would be worth making a long overnight trip to get your hands on a wide sample of these horns.
 

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Make sure you budget cash for a solid mouthpiece. It makes more difference to your sound than the horn.
 

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...It would be worth making a long overnight trip to get your hands on a wide sample of these horns.
Would someone who's been pottering with an alto for a few weeks really be able to make much use of that?

People's approaches vary, even more so for mature learners. My feeling is that a lot of horn/MP/reeds etc questions need - for me - a pile of hands-on experience to understand and make a personal decisions on. So I recon, get a reasonably modern reliable sax thet won't require maintenance etc but which you love in your guts (so that you'll be drawn to it) and get stuck in. Maybe vary reeds and mp as your start to settle in...
 

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Junk Dude looks like a cool place. I am in Southern Calif. I have yet to run into a place that seems to have a huge selection of used horns aside from the large national chains like Sam Ash and Guitar Center. I definitely would want to try and make a local purchase if possible. A used gear dealer would be great and i certainly would not be opposed to making an online purchase.
With me gravitating to an used unlacquered horn I want to make sure that there are't hidden problems that are deal breakers.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Would someone who's been pottering with an alto for a few weeks really be able to make much use of that?

People's approaches vary, even more so for mature learners. My feeling is that a lot of horn/MP/reeds etc questions need - for me - a pile of hands-on experience to understand and make a personal decisions on. So I recon, get a reasonably modern reliable sax thet won't require maintenance etc but which you love in your guts (so that you'll be drawn to it) and get stuck in. Maybe vary reeds and mp as your start to settle in...
When you say a "a reasonably modern reliable sax", what years are you thinking for a modern sax?
 

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When you say a "a reasonably modern reliable sax", what years are you thinking for a modern sax?
There are folks (teachers, repair techs, traders etc) - and many threads - here with more of a clue about the market then me. But I'd bet if you buy locally and not cheep/ eBay you won't go wrong.
Thing is; the big surprise to me, anyway, is just how much the sound is under control of the embouchure etc. Folks who fuss about sound from the horn, mp etc. already have years of personal technique built up.
 

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First of all, welcome to the site. Second of all, if you have never played before, how do you know how those brands you listed sound? I ask because most saxophones sound the way the guy playing them sounds - it ain't the horn, it is the player. Most saxophones in good nick will sound fairly good.

So, where to go for help? Try Baxter-Northup on Ventura Blvd. in Sherman Oaks; The Horn Connection in Hollywood, and the various Nick Rail stores around SoCal - for starters. Their selections are not huge (say like the saxophone stores we see in the UK and in NYC). Or, take a drive to Las Vegas and visit Kessler's shop (a site sponsor). Buy a horn with a good reputation - spend the money, and enjoy the ride. DAVE
 

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2 recommendations.

1). Don’t spend too much money on your first horn
2). Don’t overthink your first tenor.

I really didn’t know what I needed in a horn (ergonomics, sound, mouthpiece) until I played the tenor for 6 - 8 months. Fortunately I only spent $575 on my first horn from a local shop. You might consider walking into a local music store or repair shop to see if they might do a 6 month or 1 year rental for you......then spend the bigger money after you have been exploring the tenor for a bit.

I agree that most of the sound is in the embouchure/mouthpiece for modern horns (1970s and later). For vintage horns (before 1960) it is completely different - the horn you select has a major impact on the type of sound you get....changing mouthpieces is less important. So if you want flexibility don’t do vintage.

That trip to Kessler in Vegas sounds interesting. I have seen some great reviews of their knock-off, private label horns.
 

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I did what Bjroosevelt recommended in Post 9 . . . I wanted to explore tenor (after over 55 years of soprano, alto and clarinet), so I bought a new Kessler-brand tenor from Kessler and gave it a whirl. For the price of the horn (not TOO much - maybe $900? - can't recall the exact price). I soon learned that tenor was not my voice.

For me, it was a solution to my dilemma. But, I could afford it. I ended up gifting the horn to my adult daughter who still plays saxophone and occasionally uses the horn.

However, I will disagree about the comparisons between vintage and modern. I own (and have owned) many vintage and modern saxophones. They all sound like me playing them. They are all more similar than dissimilar.

As the player, I hear subtle differences but that is because my mouth is on each horn as I play it. From a listener's perspective, mox nix. I can "shape" my sound on either era without difficulty. I could play my modern Yanagisawa or my 1926 Martin and you'd be lucky if you selected the right age of each horn.

I recently played with a guy who was using a modern Yamaha 82z who sounded just like Rudy Weidoeft. It is not the horn, it is the player. DAVE
 

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Just wanted to add, it's never too late to start. I started sax at 50, never regretted it. Like they say, best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. Second best time is now:) Good luck!
 

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Find a teacher and have him/her play test whatever you settle on. There's no way a beginner can make a good assessment. As others have said, don't get whatever you think is your dream horn right off the bat. Save that decision for when you get a couple years of experience under your belt and have formed an idea of how you want the horn to sound and feel, realizing that your mouthpiece will actually be the biggest influencing factor. IMO, it's better to get a $250 Bundy from craigslist in good playing condition to cut your teeth on than to drop a bundle on a horn that looks great on paper buy may not be what the player you grow into would need/want. I sound pretty much the same on a clunky old student Bundy as I do on the MK VI I've been playing the past 35 years. You'll know when your starter horn is holding you back and its time to upgrade, but that's a few years off, unless your some kind of prodigy.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for all the advice. I guess that how i came about forming the list of the tenors that I was looking into started with this Sax.co.uk video. The player goes through the set of saxophones in a pretty controlled environment...or at least it seemed that way to me. I gotta admit that the MK VI caught my attention. I had no idea what a MK VI was at the time and it soon became obvious that those were just out of reach. The P. Mauriat PMXT66Rul was a close 2nd in a sound that i found appealing so that's why i was leaning in that direction.

I have started to scour craigslist and looking into a possible rental. I guess that would be safest with regards to avoid buying something that has problems.
 

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Digest the good advice already offered. Someone above mentioned Kessler. Visit their site and read Kessler's straight advice about pro vs. intermediate and the effect of a horn.'s finish. Then jump over to Reverb.com and find the like new Kessler Handmade in dark lacquer for sale there at 1/2 price by a seller with a good reputation.

I played one a short time ago - very good quality instrument. I'd say easily on a par with Eastman and Cannonball, which are also from Taiwan as you know. Resale of that one at $850 to $1,000 three years from now shouldn't be too hard. What would that be like, five or ten bucks a month?


***. Checked today, 7/18, and it's gone. No surprise. ***
 

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There are lots of good suggestions here from experience players. If you’re set on buying a new horn also check out Barone.
 

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There are folks (teachers, repair techs, traders etc) - and many threads - here with more of a clue about the market then me. But I'd bet if you buy locally and not cheep/ eBay you won't go wrong.
Thing is; the big surprise to me, anyway, is just how much the sound is under control of the embouchure etc. Folks who fuss about sound from the horn, mp etc. already have years of personal technique built up.
Agree you should go to a store where you can pick them up and get the feel of them. I bought a Conn 10M vintage 1959 tenor about 10 years ago for $800. It was almost unplayable when I got it. It cost me $900 to have a for real refurbishment job done on it. Not just pads and corks but going through the springs and movements to make sure there's no excessive play. You don't want to go "cheep" only to pay a lot more later. Get a decent student or pro horn depending on budget and make sure it's easy to play especially on the bottom notes.
 
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