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Discussion Starter #1
Hello All!

New member here. Been playing mostly alto sax for the past 13 yrs. I own an old King Cleveland 615, that needs some repairs in order to play. Having had our kids a few yrs back, my playing/gig time has been very limited.

Time is finally cooperating a bit and I'm ready to get back into playing more frequently again... mostly blues, funk and jazz in cafes and any other establishment that will take me.

My Question: I consider myself more of an intermediate player (not professional) and I know that I'm playing a student model tenor. In your experience, would it be best for me to just get the work done on my King for these gigs (probably a full re-pad) or would It be better for the money to invest in a better tenor? If the latter, any good recommendations under $2500?

Thanks in advance for your help.

- Saxswinger
 

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Probably not worth sinking full repad money into a King Cleveland to be honest, although its sad to say it. Modern Taiwanese or Chinese offerings are making fixing up old student horns less and less of an attractive option, unless you can do it yourself for the cost of the pads alone.

Good Condition Used is where the best value is, especially if you have a decent budget for a tech to run the rule over any purchase and iron out the kinks. For $2500 there are so many choices its not even funny. I never really understood the point of a new intermediate horn, just get a used pro level horn.

For $2000 you are within reach of used Yamaha, Yani, Vintage Conn or my personal favourite "bang for the buck" modern horn, B&S 2001/ medussa. Something to be said for all of them. Ultimately though its the player that makes the real difference.
 

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On the otherhand a quick perusal of the marketplace here throws up a Yani T901 for $1700, and thats likely just the tip of the iceberg:bluewink: No doubt in my mind which I would rather have, even if the Kesslers and Barones are among the better regarded "shop brand engraved" far east horns out there.
 

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Actually, I would go the other way, depending upon how much work your King needs, and how expensive tech work is where you are. Depending on when it was made, the King may be the equivalent of a current "intermediate" horn, but those designations are largely meaningless. The key question is whether you like how it plays and how it sounds, regardless of its theoretical reputation.

But the first step is to take the King in to a reputable local tech (if you have one nearby) and see how much it will cost to get it into basic playing condition. That might only be $100-300, and you have a decent horn.

If you don't like how the King plays/sounds, there are bunch of good horns for under $2500, and a plethora of opinions of what you should get - new or used, vintage or modern, etc. At that price, you should try a bunch to see what works best for you.
 

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Canadiain and BigMack, Thanks for the info! The cost for re-padding is quite daunting and after reading your suggestions, I'm seriously considering investing in a new sax.

Big Mack: I've play tested a Mauriat and some Yamahas, but I've never heard of Barone or Kessler and have not had the pleasure of playing one of their tenors. You've given me something to chew on here. I'll have to research these guys more and see if I can get my hands on one to try out.

Canadian: Good advice on keeping an eye out for a used pro horn in good condition. I'll continue to scour Craigslist and ebay, but I really just want to play some horns and feel what's out there BEFORE ordering online. Not much around me here other than a Sam Ash and a few Mom and Pop shops with student model horns.

Any of these guys let me have a trial period with these saxes if I pay for shipping?
 

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WWBW have a decent exchange policy (45 days), but you dont have to ship too many horns back and forth before the novelty wears off.

If you go with a used big name horn, if you dont like it you can sell it on for what you paid for it and try again. B&S may not be a big name, but it worked for me.

New Barones and Kesslers (and Antiguas and Jupiters etc etc, most brands really I guess) only have depreciation to look forward too. Which is a good thing if you are in the market for a used horn I guess...
 

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$2500 is enough to get you a top notch used vintage Selmer SAII tenor or a brand new Top Notch Taiwanese Tenor like T.K. Melody, Barone, Orpheo Signature, Kessler. That is a good amount of moola to give you many choices.

B
 

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But the first step is to take the King in to a reputable local tech (if you have one nearby) and see how much it will cost to get it into basic playing condition. That might only be $100-300, and you have a decent horn.
@Artstove: Good point, Sir! Although I'm fairly certain the struggles I'm having with it is due to the pads, I probably should take her in to get an estimate and a good look-over. Have to research to find a "reputable local tech" here in Richmond, VA. I do have a Sam Ash shop nearby but never had any recommended independent techs. Any of you from VA and know where I can go?
 

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Although I'm fairly certain the struggles I'm having with it is due to the pads, I probably should take her in to get an estimate and a good look-over. Have to research to find a "reputable local tech" here in Richmond, VA.
It is quite likely the pads, but you may not need all of them replaced. It may just need a few pads and some regulation/adjustment to get into playing shape - I have had several old horns like that. If no one responds re techs in VA, there are some threads on here about techs in various locales that you might be able to track down.
 

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I'm still puzzled by how Taiwan horns are singled out for depreciation as new horns go. I have a minty Reference 36 tenor, that sells for $6200 new, that I was not able to get anyone to bite at $3700, at least on DC-area Craigslist. People were offering me $3k, $3200 or so. Too nice a horn to sacrifice, so I keep it...

Anyways, while I love my Barone I bought new, a better value would be a used Cannonball Global Series or Stone series (since they are plentiful by this time), that could be had for as little as $1200 in nice shape. Let the previous owner take the hit...
 

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@Artstove: Good point, Sir! Although I'm fairly certain the struggles I'm having with it is due to the pads, I probably should take her in to get an estimate and a good look-over. Have to research to find a "reputable local tech" here in Richmond, VA. I do have a Sam Ash shop nearby but never had any recommended independent techs. Any of you from VA and know where I can go?

I've read on this forum that Sam Ash was OK. Someone mentioned that the tech's name was Alvin. I'm not sure how far Raleigh, NC is from Richmond but Marsh Music in Raleigh is always "the place" for sax repairs.
 

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Even if you put $2500 into your King, it's still just a King Cleveland 615. You should be able to find some good saxophones in the area, in your budget that are at the sharp end of performance, reliability and prestige -- Yanagisawa, Yamaha, even the Keilwerth SX90s at WWBW.

If you get around Charlottesville, you're welcome to try some of my horns, though only the Yanagisawa 990u is for sale at the moment. Or you can wait til the students get back and see what comes up.

Here is a nice saxophone (good price) in Leesburg:

http://washingtondc.craigslist.org/nva/msg/2533084579.html
 

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Even if you put $2500 into your King, it's still just a King Cleveland 615.
Yeah, but you shouldn't have to (and would not want to) put that much into it. Even around (expensive) here a full overhaul is only around $900, and it might only need $200 worth of work. Sure, there are plenty of "better" horns he can get for $2500 - the question is whether for this player, for his needs and budget, is it worthwhile to spend the extra coin. Only he can answer that, but the steps would seem to be: 1) figure out how much it will cost to fix the King ($800 or so? Go for a different horn. $150 or so? Get it fixed and see how it works. In between? Go to step 2.) 2) Play as many $2500 horns as you can (new, modern used, vintage) and see what you like best.
 

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I got a MacSax classic, and I thought I was getting a great sax for the money -- I ended up getting a great sax period.

Mike gave me a return policy if I didn't like it and if I returned it in the same condition I got it in. I assume that is his policy, but I'd check with him before taking my word for it.

Notes
 
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