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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,

I know this forum must be filled with questions such as mine, and so I have spent all day looking at many topics, and doing quite a bit of research.

I want to buy my very first tenor sax. Althought I play many instruments, (Guitar, bass, piano, accordeon, drums etc. ) , it's always been a dream of mine to play the saxophone, and I feel tenor is the right way to go for me.

I don't have a lot of money to invest, and so , after researching carefully, I've decided to opt between one of the two following models;

Kessler Custom Performance Series :
http://cgi.ebay.com/New-Kessler-Custom-Performance-Series-Tenor-Sax-/230602860392?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item35b1006768

Conn-Selmer Prelude
http://cgi.ebay.com/New-PRELUDE-TS711-Tenor-Saxophone-Conn-Selmer-w-case-/130504919985?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item1e62b30bb1

I am leaning very much towards the Kessler, as many people seem to have had a favorable experience with the brand, the customer service etc. However it would be terrific to get some pros and cons of the two, seeing that the Conn-Selmer one is much cheaper to ship; 48$ as opposed to 276$ for the Kessler :|

If you had the choice, which one would you pick, or am I in the wrong track altogether for a beginner sax ?

Thanks ever so much
 

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Well,

Especially when talking about Asian sourced stuff, vendor reputation is very important. That said, I see no reason to entertain whatever is passing these days as a Conn over a Kessler horn directly from Kessler, given the consistent praise Kessler Music has gotten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I agree that they are gorgeous, however, I'm afraid I just can't climb up to that price range :/
I really need to stay below the 1,000$ mark, shipping and everything included, maybe I'm mistaken in assuming I can get a decent new sax for that price.

Since my knowledge of saxophones is fairly limited, I don't really want to go and purchase a used model, even thought I'm aware that I would probably able to get more value for money that way. I live in a very small town where the nearest person even remotely qualified to make any repairs or adjustments on a sax is 3 hours drive away, and so I'm afraid to buy a ''lemon'' , which is why I want to buy brand new.

Has anyone tried, or heard feedback about the Kessler custom performance tenor sax model I was referring to in my earlier post?
I've seen great reviews for some of the more expensive models of the Kessler line, but haven't managed to find one for this one.

Thanks
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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Where do you live? Have you double checked that Kessler shipping price, it doesn't sound right to me. I would contact Kessler direct and speak to them.

They have a very good reputation, and yes you can get a great horn for under $1000, I wouldn't listen to people who say otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm in New-Brunswick, Canada.
Dave Kessler will be out of the office from may 2nd to may 7th, and so I will wait until then, as I very much want to speak with the man himself before making a purchase.
The shipping price also seemed a bit high to me, this is the one auctionned on ebay, but I might be able to get a discount if I order straight from them
They do seem to have a stellar reputation :)
 

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Hey! It's okay to call & talk to Chuck Kessler (Dave's dad and Mr. Kessler of Kessler & Sons Music) if he's available, while Dave is out. He is the one, after all, who will set the horn up before it's shipped, not Dave. Besides, he's taught Dave everything Dave knows! Well, okay, maybe not everything. I'm sure Dave has picked up a few things on his own, over time! :bluewink:

Dave seems to get all the SoTW press but Chuck is just as friendly, patient, knowledgeable and chatty!

However, do not email Chuck! Dave is the website, internet and email admin. I don't even know if he's given his dad access to the Kessler Music email accounts!
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Lol,
I have no qualms whatsoever about calling Chuck (I first sent an email and thats when I was told that Dave would be out from the 2nd to the 7th, since I'd only heard of Dave, I never thought to call Chuck ;)

The Bauhaus models have quite the beautiful lineup, althought they seem to be out of any tenor model under 1000$

One can't be too hasty in making these decisions, althought I am beginning to get somewhat eager to get my hands on a sax :D
The more reasearch I do, the more it makes me want to play !
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
UPDATE: Ended up ordering the Kessler Custom Performance Sax, with an upgrade to their 50Ol7 mouthpiece.

Tremendous service on their part, both Dave and Chuck were very nice and knowledgeable,

can't wait to get my hands on the instrument

Thanks for all your help !
 

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Congrats! Now you owe us a first hand impression of the axe when it comes in, you get it together, and give it blow!

Then, six months later, an update. We'll be waiting.

Cheers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Oh Absolutely !

This forum seems like the best place on the internet for any sax player, so i'll definitely be checking back in
:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
UPDATE:

The instrument arrived yesterday. I was ecstatic- Took me a while to put everything together, mainly because my inexperienced hands felt this to be a fragile thing and so I was very careful for fear of breaking something. Fully inserting the neck part was rather touchy, since I needed to apply pressure, but again was afraid I might break something. :yikes!:

After much fiddling around, I had assembled the sax. I managed to get a half-decent sound out pretty much straight away. After about an hour of familiarizing myself with the sax, I was able to play the main riff from that Tequila song, part of the Godfather theme song as well as a good bit from Frank Sinatra's Strangers in the night

I feel that the learning curve will mostly come in getting the right tone/ embouchure etc. I had read a bit about embouchure before, and how some might find it was a strain on the teeth after a while, but I myself don't seem to use my teeth at all, so this shouldn't be a concern after all.

I learn all my instruments by ear, and my method is usually to just think of a song I like and basically sit there and figure out the notes. The sax had more buttons to press than I had initially imagined, so it will be fun to try and figure out all of the different sound combinations.

As far as the 3 ''buttons'' which are available on the back of the sax for my left hand (Geez- can you get any more amateur-ish in that description :) how is one supposed to go about playing those ? I find I can get interesting sounds by basically using the palm of my hand whilst my fingers remain on the buttons on the front...

Anyways, I'll get the hang of it pretty soon, can't wait to get home and practice again tonight.

I'm positively thrilled !
:blob:
 

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As far as the 3 ''buttons'' which are available on the back of the sax for my left hand (Geez- can you get any more amateur-ish in that description :) how is one supposed to go about playing those ? I find I can get interesting sounds by basically using the palm of my hand whilst my fingers remain on the buttons on the front...

Anyways, I'll get the hang of it pretty soon, can't wait to get home and practice again tonight.

I'm positively thrilled !
:blob:
Congrats on taking receipt of your new horn! Hope the thing brings you limitless pleasure and enjoyment. The frustrations will come eventually, just play through that.

The buttons you describe are the left hand palm keys. Usually played with tada! parts of the palms or perhaps pads between the joints on your fingers, depending on your hand size! They will be used to play the upper-keyed limit of the instrument, for the most part. Palm D, E, Eb, and F.

You can Google for tenor sax fingering charts to show you which fingering corresponds to which Bb tenor key. Wouldn't hurt to get a couple of formal lessons of course. Make sure you don't start out developing bad habits that can/will impede your progress.

Oh, btw, your six month update period has started counting! :thumbrig: Cheers!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The buttons you describe are the left hand palm keys. Usually played with tada! parts of the palms or perhaps pads between the joints on your fingers, depending on your hand size! They will be used to play the upper-keyed limit of the instrument, for the most part. Palm D, E, Eb, and F.

You can Google for tenor sax fingering charts to show you which fingering corresponds to which Bb tenor key. Wouldn't hurt to get a couple of formal lessons of course. Make sure you don't start out developing bad habits that can/will impede your progress.
Thanks - I did end up printing out a fingering chart so that I'd have a basic concept of what I was playing around with. Learned ''Mack the Knife'' yesterday and '' As time goes by'' and ''Moon river'' the day before that. My embouchure seems to be getting a little better, as I'm now able to transition between the lower and higher notes without the annoying squealing sound I was getting before. I've also learned to stop puffing my cheeks so much, which allows me to play a longer stream of notes without so much effort.

The main thing for me is going to be to learn to breathe properly and control the air that comes out.

As far as formal lessons, even if I had the money, which I don't, the closest teacher would be about 3 hours drive so... (This is a very small town surrounded by a bunch of other small towns). As far as bad habits, I'm sure I might pick up a few but I do have a thing about being ''self taught'', and thus have never been too partial to lessons.

Thanks again for the tips and help, I'm sure this forum will prove very handy for months to come
 

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I would go with neither of these. First off, Kesslers are made in Vietnam.

The best inexpensive horns made today are being sold by a firm called Macsax out of Austin, Texas. They're horns are stamped Made in Taiwain so you know the entire horn has been crafted by the "Wizards of Houli," as opposed to many of these mysterious far Eastern horns whose origin is unknown and which may be cobbled together from Chinese parts.

Plus they just hired master repair tech and crafsman Ken Beason, who's known for his key clamps sold with new JK's as well as his trademark "Beasonators," to oversee custom design modifications on their horns. So unlike some people who just import the horns and then slap their names on them, Macsax is heavily involved in the R&D of their product.

Last but not least, Macsax's founder and president, Mike Crouch, is a well-respected and long-time member of this forum.

Check out their stuff on their site:

http://www.macsax.com

And here you can read some very positive reviews of their horns--including one of their Magnum tenor model by top-selling smooth jazz artist Euge Groove:

http://www.sax-ccessories.com/page/4/MACSAX
 
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