Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 27 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello, I have been playing alto saxophone for about 2 years, and I was wondering if anyone knows of any good cheap tenor saxophones. I would like a tenor that is good quality, good for a tenor beginner,and under $800. If you have any suggestions, it would really help!:whistle:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
The big choice becomes whether you wanna go contemporary or vintage. Pete Thomas mentions some new budget horns on his site which he feels are worthy; other folks would suggest the ol' default YTS 23, which you can pick up for that budget.

I personally feel that $600-750 can get you a hella lot more horn than a beginner horn such as those two options... should you open yourself to considering a pre-1980's horn. But some folks really insist on contemporary.

In the former, you can pick up a nice Conn Director, King Cleveland, Martin Indiana, Holton 241, or perhaps even a Buescher Aristocrat for that $orta dolla', if you are lookin' for that big ol' american Tenor sorta sound.

Or you can also consider a solid European-made horn such as an older Keilwerth-H. Couf, Kohlert, Malerne, Vito/Noblet/Beaugnier or Pierret stencil.

It's a pretty good budget to get better than a beginner horn, is basically what I'm sayin'.

Not trying to make a sale, but I do have a fair # of Tenors in that pricerange, so you can PM me if you'd like. Or also check what folks have up in the Marketplace....

Also, folks could make more focused suggestions if you mention what sorta music you play and what sorta sound you are looking for.....
 

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
48chevy, this has been discussed quite a bit in the past. I would urge you to search archives for longer past discussions, and avoid listening to any one person.

If you've been playing 2 years, I would advise you not to choose a bargain basement "vintage" instrument solely because, in an informed marketplace (which SOTW is, when it comes to pricing and values for makes and models), you will get what you pay for when you pay a bargain basement price.

I am not saying some people will not be completely happy with a $600 tenor that has voicing flaws and intonational weirdness, only that when it comes to vintage saxophones there are very few undiscovered gems, among the makes and models in existence, and that you will get what you pay for.

Really good (what used to be called) "step-up" vintage/used instruments will generally be between $800-$1200 at a minimum, and esteemed professional models in tiptop condition will usually be over $1200.

Good luck -- most likely all the info you are seeking is on this site, you will just have to weed through the archives to find the most useful stuff.

I am a vintage dealer since 2001, and have handled pretty much everything out there, and restored/overhauled pretty much everything out there. Some of the bargain-basement finds (e.g. Bundy Special) are well-known in part because I helped make them well-known, some years ago. I love vintage saxophones, but I would say if you can figure out which brands are safe bets the best dollar-for-dollar values at this time are in PRC-made brands.

There are bad ones, and good ones. There is not just one bad one, and not just one good one.

Preference and taste are particular, but in terms of materially quantifiable value, it's difficult to argue that a $800 vintage saxophone is going to compete very well with a $800 good PRC saxophone (in an informed marketplace). Again, I say that as a lover and dealer of vintage saxophones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
35 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Thank you for the imput. I have had a thread or two on this subject. JayeSF, I really don't know what style tone I would want, but I would like the older, bigger tone I think. And ptung, I have been looking on craigslist, and have seen a bunch of old bundys, and selmers. I think I might look more into the older bundys, and selmers. Don't worry they appear in nice shape though!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
Mmmmm.....Ptung is incorrect when he implies you cannot get a good, solid, vintage player all set up and poppin', for cheap.

...it's difficult to argue that a $800 vintage saxophone is going to compete very well with a $800 good PRC saxophone (in an informed marketplace). Again, I say that as a lover and dealer of vintage saxophones.
That's a very puzzling comment, to say the least...considering all the good vintage horns you could pick up in good playin' shape for 8 bill$. A bit outrageous really, to suggest a low-budget contemporary Taiwanese instrument could even compete with an instrument by a great old american or European maker at the height of their production quality. (I mean, if one takes tone and quality of craftsmanship out of the equation, I suppose an argument could be made. It might be an argument one would expect from someone trying to sell inexpensive Taiwanese horns, however) ...although I gotta agree with the part about it not being a good idea to listen to one person....

In the past month I have seen a few 10M's, Buescher 400's and Aristos, King Zephs, Beaugniers, and several nice older Yanigasawa stencils NOT sell for ridiculously low asking prices...and they were in good playing shape. These, as one example.

You have a great advantage at the moment...the market keeps going DOWN...race to the bottom, race to the bottom, folks. Horrible for guys like me who sells professionally refurbished horns...great for guys like YOU.

If you want NEW, nothing you can get for $800 in a Tenor is gonna be worth a hill o' beans. It really isn't...and it's certainly NOT gonna have a big, round tone.

However...if your budget is now around $700...hell, yeah, man...you can get a great horn....you start to get into professional vintage models, reputed stuff...big-name manufacturers. The ol' American Five (King, Buescher, Conn, Holton, Martin)....or the heavy-hittin' German horns (Kohlert, Keilwerth) as well as some really good French stuff (Beaugnier/Vito/Noblet, Pierret, Dolnet). And as Haywood pointed out, if your timing is right you could almost even luck out on a vintage-but-not-too-so Japanese horn.....which isn't a piece o' Yammy23 silliness...

That's a pretty good list of players there. All have withstood the test of time and all have solid reputations. And $700 as a budget will get you a good Tenor....hell, $500 will, too.

And if your intention is to buy new and TOP the quality of any of the aforementioned....get ready to pay over $2500 to do that.....and it still won't get you the vintage tone.

PM me if interested, I have a crapload of Tenors on the bench at the moment...I can think of at least 4 that might be up your alley....
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
7,504 Posts
There is a real sweet silver B & S tenor on ebay for $1200.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
7,504 Posts
There ya' go, that's what I mean...it's a buyer's market right now for good, reputed used horns.
You got that right! Don't get me wrong I love my newer tenor but there are some real schweet deals out there RIGHT NOW on classic work horses. Buffet Dynactions, B & S, Selmer SA80's. B
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
864 Posts
There is a real sweet silver B & S tenor on ebay for $1200.
The horn looks decent but the pads do not. After a repad you're looking upwards of a $2,000 investment.

That's the main thing to be careful when you're on a strict budget for a tenor. Does the horn need work to put it in playing condition and how much. Because a repad can run you $600 or more easily.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
Yes, there's another example....up until recently, old Bueschers were holding their market value better than most other vintage horns. They were still hovering around 2008 prices as far as into last Fall...but then started to drop just like everyone else.

A late-model one is gonna be pretty cheap, although IMHO I would tend to look for ones with serial #'s under 500,000 because they still retain more specs of the real Buescher company...as opposed to the redesigned ones done after the selmer buyout.

But one or the other, yes....a Buescher Tenor can be had - and worked up to play well - for that sorta dolla' we are talking about....
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
864 Posts
Yes, there's another example....up until recently, old Bueschers were holding their market value better than most other vintage horns. They were still hovering around 2008 prices as far as into last Fall...but then started to drop just like everyone else.

A late-model one is gonna be pretty cheap, although IMHO I would tend to look for ones with serial #'s under 500,000 because they still retain more specs of the real Buescher company...as opposed to the redesigned ones done after the selmer buyout.

But one or the other, yes....a Buescher Tenor can be had - and worked up to play well - for that sorta dolla' we are talking about....
According to Steve Goodson, the 400 (not to be confused with the Aristocrat) was not changed from its original design in a major way after the Selmer buyout:

FYI:

http://saxgourmet.com/buescher.htm

Plus the Selmer buyout occurred around 400,xxx, as opposed to 500,xxx.

But yes, I would look for one of these from the 1960s through the early '70s since I owned a ca. 1977 "Buescher" Selmer Aristocrat, and it was a far cry quality-wise from earlier "real" Bueschers I have known. So that would mean horns under roughly 600,xxx.
 

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
"Personally I think the "floral-engraved" Buescher 400s are the best deals out there--and always have been in a way."

The tenors are usually a good deal, but the altos can be shrill and horrible (even earlier ones with underslung octave key, closer to TH&C period) -- beyond the question of good for the money or not, because they're so shrill that no money could get me to buy one, no matter how desperate I might become (on a desert island, what have you).

OTOH, best bang for buck also includes keywork, ergonomics, etc.. The choice of value is more iffy as a comparison, there. A friend who is a legendary NOLA player plays a floral 400 tenor, and has loved it for decades, but I have worked on/played it extensively, and I'd never choose it over a good ROC tenor, at the same price, or even if the ROC was considerably more expensive.

"A bit outrageous really, to suggest a low-budget contemporary Taiwanese instrument could even compete with an instrument by a great old american or European maker at the height of their production quality."

Far better players than you or I will ever be in this lifetime have chosen modern ROC made saxophones for their own main axes. Imagine yourself going up to them and telling them how outrageously wrong they are in person.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
864 Posts
"Personally I think the "floral-engraved" Buescher 400s are the best deals out there--and always have been in a way."

The tenors are usually a good deal, but the altos can be shrill and horrible (even earlier ones with underslung octave key, closer to TH&C period) -- beyond the question of good for the money or not, because they're so shrill that no money could get me to buy one, no matter how desperate I might become (on a desert island, what have you).

OTOH, best bang for buck also includes keywork, ergonomics, etc.. The choice of value is more iffy as a comparison, there. A friend who is a legendary NOLA player plays a floral 400 tenor, and has loved it for decades, but I have worked on/played it extensively, and I'd never choose it over a good ROC tenor, at the same price, or even if the ROC was considerably more expensive.

"A bit outrageous really, to suggest a low-budget contemporary Taiwanese instrument could even compete with an instrument by a great old american or European maker at the height of their production quality."

Far better players than you or I will ever be in this lifetime have chosen modern ROC made saxophones for their own main axes. Imagine yourself going up to them and telling them how outrageously wrong they are in person.
Shrill? That's funny, I never thought Johnny Hodges sounded shrill on his:



If you think he sounded shrill, then maybe you have different taste than I and thousands of others who think he had one of the best alto sounds of all time.
 

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
Oh...wait...I see that you said "low budget" re ROC makes.

That's more supportable, but I'd still argue you will find a far greater number of professional players (if you actually pool all players who are paid to play saxophone) playing new ROC and PRC instruments than vintage student models, which is what you're talking about at best in the $800 and under range -- despite that the vintage/student models have been around several decades longer.

Repairers in NOLA (limiting comment to what I know personally) will run into more professional players playing "Stagg" tenors (I don't like the factory that makes that brand, personally) than King Cleveland -- and certainly more than playing used Italian tenors (all brands put together) -- this year. They will definitely work on more ROC and PROC saxophones owned by working professional players than vintage student level and offbrands.
 

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,446 Posts
whippet - they're not all shrill. Some are. This is something for a beginner to consider, because a beginner won't be able to tell for her/him-self.

That is a fairly crucial consideration here, especially in the "Beginners Forum." Position of the buyer's also relevant because state of repair is also something beginners can't discern for themselves, which is another significant consideration when buying used/vintage. It's a consideration when buying new, as well, but to a greater degree when buying used.
 
1 - 20 of 27 Posts
Top