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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello SOTW!
This is my first post on this forum, but I've been lurking for some time :)

I have been playing for a year, and am not claiming to know anything (although I hope I've picked up a thing or two). I rented a Jupiter...model (can't remember which, but maybe the 578? 787? Retail price was around 1200€), but returned it since I was about to start a sixmonthtravel (still ongoing, half way through). I play an Otto Link True Tone Rubber 6 (or 9!!) with a medium reed.

I play in a jazz band, at least, we attempt to play. We play things ranging from traditional up to 40's stuff. The band is doing gigs without me, but I will join them in Vilnius in May for a gig, and will therefor need a sax.

I would prefer something vintage since I'm a vintage person: vintage clothes, vintage dance, vintage...music. However, I understand that saxophones have evolved and older is not automatically better.

My main concern is the sound and playability. Looks and age comes second, although I will express my thoughts on those too.
I am looking for a tenor with an in-the-middle-on-the-mellow-scale sound: not too boomy or rocky, but not Mel Tormé creamy.
I might have the opportunity to pick up a PanAm Conn for 290€, serial is 47xxx. How does that sound? Towards the bigger sound if I understand things correctly?
Playability wise: well, the easier the better since I'm not that experienced. How much harder is it to play the old horns? Pinky cluster and such? What is split bell keys? What's a nailfile G#?

I haven't tried a big range of Tenors. I found a very nice one in Singapore, new made, Korean, with a very nice action and pinky cluster, in that coppery finish. Didn't have the money, 1000€.

I am travelling through Europe atm, and will have the opportunity to try horns, just need to know where. The travel plan is: Köln (where I am atm), Prague, Munich, Vienna, London, Vilnius (more stops after that but I plan to have a sax by then:))

Budget wise: preferrably under 400€, but could stretch it to 500€. I'm in Europe, so I'd be happier to spend less money on freight, buying the horn here, rather than from overseas.

Looks! I like an old look. Anything is better than gold laquer: silver/nickle, that copper look is nice. Oh, not a blue/red/red/flowers one.

In short: looking for a sax, preferrably vintage, with a mellow sound. Tell me what to get, or rather, what NOT to get! Up to 400€+

What did I forget?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for the welcome!
I should add that I'm not advocating wide experimentation with mouthpieces yet.. That can be a slippery slope. Keep playing and playing that Link until you're convinced that it's holding you back. Then borrow some other pieces to try.
I will, I know I'm the weakest link. I don't know how big the placebo effect was part of it, but I felt a difference switching from the Jupiter MPC that came with the sax to the Otto Link I bought from a friend. But I like it, and will stay with it.

As stated earlier, I'm in Cologne. Today I went to 2 horn shops. At the first, they had a Keilwerth for 650€. I tried it with my OL MPC: I couldn't get a proper tone! I haven't played for 2 months, but nothing worked! I'm glad I was alone in the test room. After a while, I could play it a little, but it jumped all over the place, and needed alot of air. I went to the next shop.
He had many saxes and clarinets, quite the original fellow. I tried a Selmer Bundy in really bad shape, I could only play it from D (palm key) down to A, the G pad was cracked. But! I really liked the sound from those few tones :) I'll keep Bundy in mind :)
Then he had a Roy...Ogson? Benson! for 450€. Didn't like it, felt flimsy, and the tone was honky. I also tried a Weltklang, from the 60s i think. Good, but not great. The search goes on :)

So with that said....a Conn PanAm ain't a bad choice at all for the sorta sound you describe. Matter of fact, it's a pretty good choice. Matter of fact...if it plays up and down and is in good shape...and you like it...I would be inclined to suggest you just end all of this NOW, & grab it. Those are good, solid players with a nice old-skool Tenor tone.
My caveat is that I will not be able to play it before the gig in May. Well a few days before, but if I could choose I'd rather pick up a horn whilst travelling. Sorry for not stating this, the PanAm was on a Swedish (where I'm from) auction site. Although, I could buy it, and have it shipped to London or such. Hm...

That video was really great. I don't know many (living) players, I listen to old jazz, but I can tell when someone is good. Don Menza is :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Ok, for all you interested :)

I've been looking all over Prague, here's the results:

Many Keilwert's and Amatis. No real surprise I gess. I've tried about 5 Amati's, didn't like any of them. They weren't bad, per se, but we didn't hit it off. I'm faaaar from experienced, but all (not only Amatis) needed more or less techlove.
I have serial numbers/info/prices written down if anyone should be interested.

I found one tenor that I really liked. A Tone King, serial 19XXX. Marked JKG, the best in the world. Rolled toneholes, nickle (I think) plating, nice patina. It had two types of pads, 1 red type I haven't seen, and the "normal" brown (I know the color isn't the only difference :) ) But pads seemed ok. I really liked the sound, mellow and soft. I couldn't get a good sound in the top register, the LH palm keys. Might be me of course. Price was €300. I am going to London soon, and could get it looked at there.

Ball park figure for a check up, replace a few pads, trim the action and such and such?
 
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