Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 48 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,264 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Curious whether any of the latest Taiwan horns are approaching "pro" levels especially in terms of build quality.

I'm curious because as a kid I lived in Taiwan in '60-'61 and I'd consider, at least out of a sentimental sort of curiosity, buying a horn from Taiwan if they might rival other modern pro horns (whether that thought makes any sense at all or matters to anyone, but in anticipation of the question "why").

I know there are a lot of threads mentioning Taiwanese horns but I'd like to accumulate opinions here about the best horns being made in Taiwan, and how they compare to the general state of the art. Make sense?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Picked up a sax in 2002 and here I am.
Joined
·
2,113 Posts
I'd say they are there already with many professional level horns coming out of Taiwan for quite a while now. Brands include Barone, P. Mauriet, Cannonball, etc...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
I'd say Phil Barone as well if you're looking at Taiwanese horns. They are the best I've found. I used to be a big fan of cannonball in the early 2000's (still my favorite soprano I had) but much prefer Phil Barone horns for quality and more of a professional look and feel. I have 3 now (two tenors and an alto) and much prefer this alto to the cannonball I let go in 2004. I also got rid of a set of Mark VI's when I got these horns (I kinda got over the vintage horn thing) to make some cash and don't regret my decision if that says anything there.

Thanks!
Kristy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,868 Posts
I think it depends a great deal on how you define "pro-level" and what you consider to be "the general state of the art".

IMHO, Yani and Yamaha still have the best build quality and out-of-the-box setup in the industry. I have a Tenor Madness Custom tenor that I feel is in that same class but while strictly speaking it's origin is mostly Taiwan the folks at TM do so much work on these that it wouldn't be fair to suggest this is what would be typical of what is coming out Taiwan. In addition to the TM I have two Yamaha tenors, a Yani B992 bari, two Barones (tenor & Low Bb bari), and a P. Mauriat 67R alto as well as a couple of vintage Bueschers. I play the two Barones far more than any of the others with the tenor being my main gigging horn for the last 10 years mostly because they help me produce the sound I want to make the best.

Of course, it is always going to depend upon the individual player as to what they feel is best for them. In terms of objective measures like build quality, reliability, dependability, longevity, etc., I'd say, once well setup, the better Taiwanese horns can be as good as anything out there. Sound and other playing characteristics are more subjective but there are lots of really good players playing Taiwanese horns. In the end you have nothing to loose by trying a few for yourself and reaching your own conclusion. If you just want to take a flier and buy something I'd look for a pre-owned Barone, Viking, TK Melody, P. Mauriat, or maybe a few others that folks might recommend. They often can be had lightly used for very reasonable prices because they don't hold their value as well as the more accepted pro brand horns.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
I have 5 Taiwan tenors. I think some are very good. The P. Mauriat 66r is my favorite that I have played so far. I have had most brands of tenors at one time or another. The Barone has a following that only seems to exist on this forum. I don't doubt that it is good, but after having so many Taiwan horns I think its probably very similar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,338 Posts
I have tried many of the Taiwan Pro tenors and owned some of them too. My favourite so far is the Trevor James RAW that time after time beat my SBA in sound comparisons on this forum. I prefer the SBA for the brighter more centered tone.

Sent from my POCOPHONE F1 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,359 Posts
I like my Bauhaus Walstein tenor and alto (the pro m2 model is made in taiwan).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,946 Posts
The KHS Jupiter line is very good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
411 Posts
!Great reason to select a Taiwan sax! I’ve tried the P. Mauriat and thought it was a very good, free blowing horn, with a bit of a vintage sound.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
29,334 Posts
I am again doing a lot of research into saxophone manufacturing and am getting some fascinating information that I would love to mention but due to "gentlemen's agreements" is not going to happen. What I am realising is the huge amount of misinformation and modern legends that are spreading around.

e.g.

  • All Taiwan saxophones are the same
  • All Taiwan saxophones are better than Chinese (mainland)


This may have been almost true a few years back, but times are changing. For example, we know that since many years P.Mauriat now have their own factory at least for most models (before that I could have bought an exact same horn for a wholesale price that many people would not believe).

What many people don't realise though is that although it's true that the majority of Chinese instruments do not hold a candle to most Taiwan instruments, there is now a small minority that have a bigger candle. But they aren't the same thing as our normal perception of Chinese factories in that there is a huge majority of Chinese factories paying a pittance to the workers (including management and QC), while there are a few that are paying much better wages. Yes, things are changing very quickly there and I believe we will soon no longer be able to generalise so much that "Chinese horns are crap, Taiwan are good." It may take a while for the more prejudiced people, but that's what happen with "Made in Japan."

My own thoughts are that Taiwan instruments are nearly all very good, but no better than "very good." Chinese instruments are possibly 80% very bad, 10% OK, 5% very good and 5% have the real quality "wow factor" that exceeds the run of the mill Taiwan horns that, quite frankly, make me yawn these days.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,338 Posts
I agree but you can still buy the P. Mauriat 66r with a different name (Cadeson). You may not be able to put your own name on the blank though. Also the TM customs share the same tube.

Sent from my POCOPHONE F1 using Tapatalk
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
721 Posts
My own thoughts are that Taiwan instruments are nearly all very good, but no better than "very good." Chinese instruments are possibly 80% very bad, 10% OK, 5% very good and 5% have the real quality "wow factor" that exceeds the run of the mill Taiwan horns that, quite frankly, make me yawn these days.
How do I find the best 5%?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
721 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
I wrote a long thread on Taiwanese horns last year after the 2017 Music China trade show. I had my hands on a lot of brands that we don't typically see here in the US except as OEM labels. The Taiwanese instrument industry is very mature at this stage, and the product quality is generally consistent with a high level of overall quality.

Based on that experience, I am currently distributing four Taiwanese brands: TK Melody, GTsax, Rare Saxes, and Soar HiQ. The TK Melody horns are the best looking and best finished. They also have the best factory setup. The Soar instruments are also beautifully crafted. They are pricy, but popular because they look great and play wonderfully. I have had some issues with the factory setup as delivered, though. The GTsax instruments are good, solid working horns. The all need some minor adjustments on delivery, but once setup, they play like butter. Rare Saxes are just a different animal. They are made by a guy who is an enthusiast. They all need a good setup, but my tech loves working on and playing them.
If you are in NC feel free to come try some for yourself.
Some sax porn here https://www.instagram.com/saxyjackstrading
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
564 Posts
How do I find the best 5%?
You can contact me.
I went through the same Pete is doing a year ago. I checked the displays at the Shanghai trade show, visited the factories, got sample products that I had checked out by my techs, working pros and sax instructors. I have four mainland China factories I use. Two produce absolutely outstanding pro level instruments. The other two make decent affordable starter/non-pro horns.
I don't distribute in Europe, but if you PM me and let me know what you are looking for I'll check with my factory reps about what might be available there.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
846 Posts
I am again doing a lot of research into saxophone manufacturing and am getting some fascinating information that I would love to mention but due to "gentlemen's agreements" is not going to happen. What I am realising is the huge amount of misinformation and modern legends that are spreading around.
...
...Chinese instruments are possibly 80% very bad, 10% OK, 5% very good and 5% have the real quality "wow factor" that exceeds the run of the mill Taiwan horns that, quite frankly, make me yawn these days.
Sounds like you're getting ready to start selling a Chinese horn.
 
1 - 20 of 48 Posts
Top