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Hi, I am a new member to this forum. I've always loved the saxophone and recently bought a Continental Colonial at auction for $70. I know very little about saxophones, but I am fairly certain the pads have never been replaced. There is mold around the tone holes and a dent in the bottom. I'm learning on it and am unsure if it's me or the sax that is having trouble with some of the notes (most likely a combination of both). My question is, how much should I be willing to pay for the repair of this particular sax, the Continental Colonial? I don't know if this is a particularly good brand or not, but the man that is going to repair it hasn't sent me an estimate yet, and I want to be ready with an answer when he calls. Would it be in my best interest to sell it and buy another one? I'm concerned that it's going to need a lot of work.

Thanks!
 

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What you almost certainly have there is what is called a "stencil" sax. The large saxophone manufacturers especially before about 1940 offered the option, if you bought a certain number, to have your own engraving (often a music store would do this). So, for example, you can see "Wurlitzer" saxophones - Wurlitzer was a big music store and distributor. Also most of the big makers produced a "second line" instrument with its own name, that was less fancy than the one they put their own name on. So for example Conn made the "Pan American", King made the "Cleveland" and so on.

I have never heard of this particular name, so it's not one of the commonest ones. If you post pictures of it the forum members can probably figure out who made it. In most (but not all) cases, these stencil and second line saxes can be good serviceable instruments when put in good working order. These are the saxes that students played before there were Yamaha, etc. student instruments.

If it appears to be in reasonable condition (aside from pads and corks), without a bunch of rust on the steel parts, not too dented up, then it would probably be worth having it "put in playing condition". This would mean replacing the pads that really need it and making various minor adjustments.

If it's a C melody or High Pitch horn, then it probably isn't a good idea to spend any money on it. Again, post some pictures, people will tell you what else you need to show us. Make sure to show clearly the neck, the left and right sides, and the serial number (and the other information that's stamped in the vicinity of the serial number), and the engraving if you can get a reasonable picture of it.
 

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Welcome to the forum. turf3 posted while I was composing this, so sorry about any repetition.

Here's what I would do in your place.

If the Continental can be put into playing condition for relatively little cost, do that. If not take it back from the shop and hold off for awhile. In the meantime, rent a student horn from a shop that specializes in school band instrument rentals and learn to play on that.

My thinking is this will give you some time to learn without having to wonder "is it me or the horn?" As you develop as a player you'll be in a better position to judge if the Continental is right for you. Playing it side by side with a horn you know works can tell you a lot.
Also, take some time and do some Google searches. There's a few threads here about the Continental Colonial. Try to figure out if a vintage horn is really what you want. I love vintage horns, learned to play on one, but not everyone feels the same way.

Hope some of this is helpful. If not, feel free to ignore.
 

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