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· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #41 ·
I agree. Saxophones made in the People's Republic of China are often defective, but horns made in the Republic of Taiwan have a much better reputation.
That was established as far back as I can remember but this is an overstated opinion based on all the cheap horns that come out of RPOC. That said RPOC does have factories that turn out saxophones and other instruments that are truly professional on every level. These horns are not marketed on eBay or reverb. You have to do the research and contact several companies to find them. Buffet 100 and 400 are made in mainland as is the Virtuoso. Both of these are top notch horns but they will set you back 2K and up. In my research I have found several that can produce horns at a very high standard but they are also manufacturing OEM parts for Taiwan and Europe.
 

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That bent neck shape looks quite odd. It looks more like a long arch as opposed to the usual angled bend you see on most saxes. I believe you normally want a sharper bend passed the last bit of the mechanism so not to interfere with them. I wonder what that arch does to the alignment of those top tone holes. Is this curvature comfortable to play?
 

· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
That bent neck shape looks quite odd. It looks more like a long arch as opposed to the usual angled bend you see on most saxes. I believe you normally want a sharper bend passed the last bit of the mechanism so not to interfere with them. I wonder what that arch does to the alignment of those top tone holes. Is this curvature comfortable to play?
I have no idea I sent it back for a refund
 

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I know this is an old thread. Very interesting what Brian did with Eastern Music (Arnold Fang), although I want to know the end of the story! It seems he was extremely happy with the custom horn but last post says "I sent it back for a refund" .. what happened in between?
 

· Forum Contributor 2017
“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #46 ·
I know this is an old thread. Very interesting what Brian did with Eastern Music (Arnold Fang), although I want to know the end of the story! It seems he was extremely happy with the custom horn but last post says "I sent it back for a refund" .. what happened in between?
I was real happy with horn until I performed with other people. Terribly out of tune in the upper register. Compared to the 20 or so sopranos of German, American, French, Czech, Taiwanese and China that I’ve owned the mainland horns had the worst intonation by a long shot. The design on these mainland horns have stayed the same for the last decade and there has been no real innovations or improvements in that time. Perhaps the metallurgy has improved but the design has not improved.
 
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Ok, I ended up getting a Curved Soprano from Arnold. I'm pretty happy with it, it arrived really good, sealing perfectly. I just did some adjustment to key heights to my liking, and spring tension. That's it. Still an ongoing project. Intonation is decent. Upper register a bit sketchy, but playable. I always struggle with intonation in the upper register and altissimo with sopranos, and I have a very early YSS62R, arguably the best of the best.

Anyways, I think I'll get a tenor from Arnold, we'll see...

I'm sharing a little video I've made today... Need to practice more and get to know the instrument but I think it's a good horn.


Btw, if you want to check it out, there are some other cool videos, specially sax quartet I've recorded during the lockdown.
 

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Ok, I ended up getting a Curved Soprano from Arnold. I'm pretty happy with it, it arrived really good, sealing perfectly. I just did some adjustment to key heights to my liking, and spring tension. That's it. Still an ongoing project. Intonation is decent. Upper register a bit sketchy, but playable. I always struggle with intonation in the upper register and altissimo with sopranos, and I have a very early YSS62R, arguably the best of the best.

Anyways, I think I'll get a tenor from Arnold, we'll see...

I'm sharing a little video I've made today... Need to practice more and get to know the instrument but I think it's a good horn.


Btw, if you want to check it out, there are some other cool videos, specially sax quartet I've recorded during the lockdown.
You sound really fantastic!
 

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“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #49 ·
Congratulations on your new horn. EM sells TIDE manufactured horns. Tide is the oldest continuously running Chinese mainland instruments and is managed by Mr. Wang. His spouse is the retailer behind the eBay brand Eastern Music.
I have thoroughly moved on from mainland horns but EM curved sopranos are decent enough.
 
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Congratulations on your new horn. EM sells TIDE manufactured horns. Tide is the oldest continuously running Chinese mainland instruments and is managed by Mr. Wang. His spouse is the retailer behind the eBay brand Eastern Music.
I have thoroughly moved on from mainland horns but EM curved sopranos are decent enough.
In fact, I have one for sale here on SOTW in the classifieds. Bought as an experiment to see how good good was with their horns. Great little horn. Just don’t need it.
 

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Selmer SII Tenor, Kessler Custom N.S. Tenor, 1950s Buescher Aristocrat
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I've been happy with my EM curvy as well (4 months). I'm still toying with reed choice and I'll eventually move on from the Yamaha 4C but so far it's been a decent little horn for the $.
 

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Discussion Starter · #54 ·
Seriously if I had to do it over again I would not have wasted my money in Chinese mainland horns. Sorry the truth hurts. Sure they play okay but put one up against a horn made anywhere else and there is no contest, unless you spend some money getting it regulated but they are still throw away horns with no history, lowest build quality, no resale value and no serial number that relates to anything.
No thanks! I rather play horns with a history and quality controls.
 

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Selmer SII Tenor, Kessler Custom N.S. Tenor, 1950s Buescher Aristocrat
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Seriously if I had to do it over again I would not have wasted my money in Chinese mainland horns. Sorry the truth hurts. Sure they play okay but put one up against a horn made anywhere else and there is no contest, unless you spend some money getting it regulated but they are still throw away horns with no history, lowest build quality, no resale value and no serial number that relates to anything.
No thanks! I rather play horns with a history and quality controls.
I don't disagree with any of your points. But for me it was about expectation. The bar was very low. For a player that rarely plays sop and was looking to spend less than $750 on a curvy the EM has fit the bill so far.

If I wanted a "real" pro curvy sop my budget would likely have had to triple.
 

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“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #56 ·
I don't disagree with any of your points. But for me it was about expectation. The bar was very low. For a player that rarely plays sop and was looking to spend less than $750 on a curvy the EM has fit the bill so far.

If I wanted a "real" pro curvy sop my budget would likely have had to triple.
I don’t care if you agree or not I played many and even sold a few but they may be cheap but then again they are cheap. There is a reason they are so cheap and it ain’t because they want to keep prices down either. Enjoy your generic toy and I will stick to my major manufactured instruments. Good luck with that.
 

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I don’t care if you agree or not I played many and even sold a few but they may be cheap but then again they are cheap. There is a reason they are so cheap and it ain’t because they want to keep prices down either. Enjoy your generic toy and I will stick to my major manufactured instruments. Good luck with that.
We've clearly touched a nerve here so I'll keep it short. Two questions though:

1. If they're so awful why did you try so many and keep going back? If mine had been awful out of the box I'd have returned it and called it a lesson learned.

2. What other option would you recommend for under $1000? You posted earlier that EM curveys were "decent enough" and "they play OK" but now you consider them toys. Serious question, because I couldn't find ANY options under $1000 that had any reliable reviews.
 

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“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #58 ·
If one can afford to save $700 for a generic Chinese horn, one can save a little bit longer and buy a really great horn. As far the horns being returned that I purchased is exactly what I did. The tenor had a tone only scratching on a chalkboard would surpass, sopranos all played out of tune especially in the upper register and the tone had no real core. Sure a $700 for cheap and quick solution but it absolutely has its limits. I guess we all have to make personal choices with our money. I chose to spend it on Chinese saxes to see if they were at all playable and found they are not well constructed nor did it have any core. It sounded like the generic plumbing it is. Yes it’s an about face to what I posted at the time. I stand by my position because I have at least compared to my B&S Medusa it was like a toy.
Also subsequent sopranos from Taiwan are so vastly better not to mention the major 4. Yes they are expensive but given the choice and the funds would you be buying it anyway?
 

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Will try to answer everyone so far.

@malteof thanks for kind words! I'm not a soprano player, and I actually had to spent more time with the EM soprano before making that video, but I guess you heard my excitement about the new toy.

@reedsburn62 sorry you had to return it, still a great thing they accept returns. I don't live in the US so everything related to post offices and customs, it's ALWAYS messy. I'm grateful this one arrived ok and had to pay little in customs as well. The good thing about living in a 3rd world country is it keeps my GAS controlled haha

@motteatoj good luck with your sale! Just to clarify, the one you have is a different model. I never liked that designs, tried a few SC-991 which is the "original" and intonation wasn't good at all, also preferred the sound of the SC-800. That is, I think the design with the bell holes on the left it's better. Also there's more for your right hand fingers, especially if you have big hands. I believe this has been discussed here in SOTW.

@BrianMitchellBrody this one will be the longest paragraph I guess. I'm very sorry that this experience with EM was not good for you, to the point it looks the wound still there as someone mentioned it. The good news is you seem happy with other horns, that's what matters in the end. So, where do I start... regarding resale value, IMHO the math is more complex. Let's say you buy a Yamaha 2k horn and sell it for 1500, you lost 25%, sounds fair... Now you want resale your 500dlls EM soprano, you sell it for 200, you lost 60% ouch... but in the end, when the horns are gone, you lost 500 with the Yamaha, and only 300 with the EM. So, there's that.

In my experience everytime I tried student and intermediate horns, there's not much difference to me, and most the pros I've talked about this, they feel the same. For us between a 400 and a 1800 horns there's not much difference, I know, are we ready for this conversation? haha... I'm talking about how they PLAY and SOUND. Usually the more expensive one has more bell and whistles, better engraving, most likely a better case, "premium" finishes, etc. There might be some exceptions.

In my opinion the China bashing topic is outdated already. I remember those horns from 20 yrs ago, those were terrible. Keep in mind most of the current boutique horns are outsourced from China. If you look close to those very trendy sax necks (the ones made for SBAs and Conns) that cost around 600dlls if not more, they're exactly as the "Power Neck" ones the Arnold Wang sells... change my mind. I've tried both (I wish I had all those necks in the same room to ABC). Have a look at Lupifaro horns, those still for sale ca. 5000 dlls, and made in Hebei, China (pretty well documented also here in SOTW), etc., etc. I don't want to turn this into name dropping, and their markup practices... the sun gets out for everyone :)

I don't have any affiliation with EM nor Arnold Wang, but I have to say this curved soprano feels really good quality. Leather pads (not sure if "Pisoni Pro", but they look better than average), synthetic cork on the keys, super silent, blue needle springs, and the regulation is really good. Even the case it's really good quality. This model is VERY close to the P. Mauriat 2400, which costs 2400 dlls, I tried that model for a while (a friend here has it, and the case is not that good for example. I'll try to borrow it again and do a side by side comparison if you guys like.

I'll address other topics later, gotta go now. :)
 

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“I play sax but mostly it plays me”
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Discussion Starter · #60 ·
Obviously you guys have a reason to buy Chinese horns and I wish you luck with what I will say again is generic. I can buy those same $700 sopranos to sell for less than $250 wholesale. If a retailer can buy a horn for $250 and what is considered a common business practice to double or triple price for retail sale, how much did these horns cost to make? I’ll tyou because I’ve asked the source of which EM get there horns and the answer is between $50 to $100 from the manufacturer.
There horns being manufactured for $50-100 are nowhere near the quality of actual horns with good quality and reputation for longevity.
In conclusion, I do apologize for my abrupt approach but after being fooled into thinking Chinese horns could at least sound decent if not well built but as soon as I put them to the test they failed miserably. I felt real stupid even buying the horns and immediately sent tenor and two sopranos back to EM. This was only 4 years ago and nothing has changed or improved.
I am done ranting.
 
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