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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm looking to get back into playing the tenor again after about a decade's hiatus. I played throughout high school and college and really enjoyed myself, but then life got in the way until just now. I finally have some breathing room again (I think, as much as the middle years of grad school will allow), and I plan to join my university's symphonic band this April, and maybe later this year, one of the jazz ensembles.

My problem is I don't have a horn and have never needed to figure out differences between horns because they were always provided when I played back in high school/college. I'd started out with a dinged up Bundy alto, but then graduated to a new Selmer Paris tenor in my sophomore year in high school when the band director refreshed our instrument inventory. The Selmer was really a pleasure to play but getting a similar one's definitely out of my price range right now!

I've been going around town to try out the saxes in Guitar Center/Sam Ash, but I'm wondering if I should rent a horn to start, while I learn more about the type of horn I want and save towards an intermediate level horn? The only thing then is that I'm afraid there doesn't seem to be any kind of selection at these instrument rental places... My grad student paycheck doesn't allow me to splurge, so I'm definitely also open to getting something used that's in decent condition.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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If you were to buy, what would your budget be?
 

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Even though you aren't a music major (I'm guessing, since you're just getting back to playing), you might want to check with the University you're attending and see if it's possible to use one of their instruments. Depending on what they have, you might be able to borrow a school horn until you have the chance to buy your own.

Renting can be a great way to go. It definitely would give you time to search around for the right tenor for you, and this route gives you a good playing tenor right away without having to worry about taking it in to a tech first. But of course, some places rent better saxes than others...so it would be worth checking to see what saxes are available near you and what kind of shape they're in.

With a budget of $700 you might be able to find a either a solid stencil, or a used intermediate level tenor (something along the lines of a 16M).

But that budget does restrict you quite a bit. If you opened it up to the $1,000-$1,500 range you would have quite a few more options.

You might also want to check out this site: http://www.2ndending.com/saxes.html

He has a few tenors that aren't too far from your ideal budget, and he's a member here (JayeSF).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah, I'm not a music major. Almost, but then life took a different turn. Good suggestion on checking with my Uni band! I was of the belief that folks had to get their own instrument to be part of a band. Few more questions: given my background, do you think it's appropriate that I start out looking at the intermediate level horns? Or should I be aiming a little lower with a student horn?

I saw a Cannonball Alcazar go for about $600 on eBay today. I don't have any experience with the brand. I've only really played on Selmer and more recently tested some Yamahas. So I'm going to continue testing other brands, but does anyone have any thoughts about the Cannonball?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Oh, and thanks for the link! I just looked at it, and I'm definitely bookmarking that site... I also just emailed the Uni band to see if they have instruments to loan until I can get my own.
 

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Just a guy who plays saxophone.
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I have heard of some companies that will let you rent a horn with the option to use some/ all of the rental fees you have paid toward buying either that horn or a more advanced model sometime down the road.

Be leery of "intermediate" models though...for the price difference, you can get a real nice horn (new or used) that you will likely never grow out of.
 

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I would suggest that you look for used pro horns. You will not be sorry and the resale will be much closer to what you paid. Stay with the traditional Conn, Selmer, King, etc. I would avoid a Bundy or any other student horn like the plague, more potential sax players have been turned away because of some of the student junk.

Your budget is very slim. Keep in mind that you will have to get a good mouthpiece also. I do not know what one costs now. Mouthpieces have to mate with the horn as well as you.

I would suggest that in the interim that you go to a school music servicing company and rent one for a few months. Understand that it will probably be an inferior horn with intonation problems etc but it is ok to get back in the game.

The new Yamaha students are not to bad though. I uses their digital pianos and really like them.

Have fun.
 

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If you are going to play in a University Ensemble you may want to look into a better quality instrument. Local music stores in addition to renting also finance their instrument sales. You end up paying more due to the interest charges, but you have the advantage of getting a quality instrument to use right away without having to come up with the entire purchase price like you would buying from an internet vendor. There are several good brands of Taiwanese made saxophones currently available that give the Yamaha's and Selmers a run for their money, but don't cost an arm and a leg to buy.
 

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The downside of the rent-to-own plans is that you end up paying full retail unless you make an agreement for a set lower price. I would check for a school loaner first, next would be to find a used Yamaha or similar OR get a nice vintage Conn or Martin but that may cost you i the $1,000 for one in good condition.
 

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I would definitely check with the university first - if they have something you can use, you are ahead of the game, and you can take your time figuring out what you want. If not, I would buy a good-quality used horn, as if you don't like it you can probably resell it for about what you paid. (I did that a few times. And you can't do that with a new student or intermediate horn.) And check with JayeSF directly - he often has more horns around that he hasn't got to posting on www.2ndending.com. You can find decent stuff for $700, although as VintageSaxGuy pointed out, going up to $1000-1500 will give you a lot more choices. Make sure whatever you get is in good playing shape, as you don't want to have to drop another bunch of $$$ on repairing or overhauling your horn. There may be shops in LA with a decent selection of used horns, too.
 
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