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I have played tenor for 7 years now and I'm in store for a cheap soprano. I've seen the Kessler's and I was wondering if there's any other great sopranos in the 300-700 dollar range.

Thanks!
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Kessler's Asian horns are a cut above the average ones. I like the 'tipped-bell' (so called 'saxello-style) sopranos but he doesn't handle those. I bought one from Woodwind and Brasswind in 1998 and played it to death. Then I bought a new one direct from the manufacturer in China (he sells on ebay, 'Eastern Music'). The key to these is either tweaking it yourself or running it through your local shop to get any bugs out. if you buy Kessler, he runs every new sax through his shop before shipping, which is a tremendous benefit. Also, most of these sopranos are capable of being played with the right mouthpiece and as a rule they tend to have a more 'raucous' sound then the sweet sound of a MK VI for example. But considering the price, if you just play soprano now and then and you find the right mouthpiece (cough, cough, 'Missing Link', cough, cough):) you might just be very surprised at what you can do with one of them.

 

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I'll throw in a word for Schagerl, a Austrian brasswind company that started selling woodwinds (not sure how long ago). They have straight and curved sopranos. The sopranos come out of Taiwan, built to Schagerl specs. Not in your $300-700 price range, but they can be purchased new for less than $2K. Schagerl is not well-traveled in the States, but one of the local shops in the DC area (Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center) sells them.
 

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I'll throw in a word for Schagerl, a Austrian brasswind company that started selling woodwinds (not sure how long ago). They have straight and curved sopranos. The sopranos come out of Taiwan, built to Schagerl specs. Not in your $300-700 price range, but they can be purchased new for less than $2K. Schagerl is not well-traveled in the States, but one of the local shops in the DC area (Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center) sells them.
As someone who owns a schagerl tenor I tried at chucks, it was great for the price and i would assume its the same with sopranos
 

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I have played tenor for 7 years now and I'm in store for a cheap soprano. I've seen the Kessler's and I was wondering if there's any other great sopranos in the 300-700 dollar range.

Thanks!
Spring around $200 bucks more and pick up a used Kessler Handmade or a Jupiter 847-849SG with their solid sterling silver necks. Either of those will carry a doubler for life.

Another is the E.M.Winston Pro Series (model 375GN, if I remember correctly). A used one would be well under $700. Not their models 340-350, which are only average beginner saxes.
 

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Most players will not make mention of Antigua Winds. These are the earlier versions that do not have the newer logo. I bought one about 4 years ago slightly used and just love it for jazz, funk and recording.

The early Antigua's were modeled after the Yanigasawa S-900 which in my opinion is the best soprano ever made. Unfortunately I couldn't afford a Yani I found this one on eBay for $400.

Is it a Yanigasawa NO but does it have the same ergonomics YES.

They play in tune and have a very nice low and middle register and the upper register is easily played in tune.
 

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Most players will not make mention of Antigua Winds. These are the earlier versions that do not have the newer logo. I bought one about 4 years ago slightly used and just love it for jazz, funk and recording.

The early Antigua's were modeled after the Yanigasawa S-900 which in my opinion is the best soprano ever made. Unfortunately I couldn't afford a Yani I found this one on eBay for $400.

Is it a Yanigasawa NO but does it have the same ergonomics YES.

They play in tune and have a very nice low and middle register and the upper register is easily played in tune.
I had one of these until last year. Purchased it from Kessler, but I don't believe they carry Antigua any longer. It was a good sax, and the ergos were fine, aside from the tiny high F# and G keys. I sold it to someone here on SOTW recently after I purchased a Chateau soprano from Wichita band, on the basis of the quality of the Chateau alto I had purchased a year earlier. While the Antigua was a good horn, the Chateau is simply better built. For example, the keys are all centered on the tone holes, unlike the Antigua, which had several off-center keys. And, the keys for those top notes are substantially better.

As far as a purchase in your price range, I would recommend looking for a used Kessler "Handmade" soprano. These are identical to the Chateau that I have. (Chateau is the OEM brand for Tenon Industries in Taiwan, whose instruments are stenciled under a variety of brands, including Kessler. In fact, I was listening to an interview with Steve Goodson on the "Everything Saxophone" podcast, and he mentioned that the saxes he is currently selling are made by Tenon. I wish I knew which other names were built by Tenon, as they would probably be good values as well.)
 
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