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Discussion Starter #1
As the thread title indicates, I'm interested in getting a Keilwerth soprano and like to know whether/where I can find any modern horns (i.e., SX90, DL, or DLS) available to playtest in the Greater NY Metro area.

I've been playing an SX90R tenor for over 20 years, but I've never had a chance to play a Keilwerth soprano. I've heard a lot of good things about (and a few good clips of) the latest Leibman-influenced redesign of the horns and I'm at a place in my soprano playing where I'd like to upgrade (I currently play on an Antigua). But the horns are a bit too expensive to justify a purchase without a play testing first.

Has anyone seen one of these at a sax shop in the NYC/Jersey/Philly area?
 

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I'm sure you've read my JK soprano thread just below this one.

It seems that due to the low production numbers (only 2-3 per month worldwide, with a 3-6 month back order), that there aren't very many shops that keep the JK sopranos in stock. They are mostly a build to order item. There have been a few shops referenced in my thread from St. Louis and Chicago that have a couple listed on their website. I would hope that the NYC metro would have more availability, but maybe the greater demand also means that they won't be able to keep them in stock.

Good luck on your quest, as I am on the same one also. If you get to play test one or two, please post your thoughts.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Justice,

Thanks. I did read your thread, which obviously overlaps with my question, but I didn't want to hijack it. Also, I was hoping that, given the size of the NY Metro market, there would be at least one available to try somewhere nearby.

If I do get a chance to try and/or buy one, I'll be sure to post my thoughts.
 

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It?s not the same as playing it yourself, but in addition to Dave Liebman and Euge Groove, here is Vincent Jorde playing his SX90 DL.

https://youtu.be/rbr7vEQJ3_E

There are several other videos too.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
twocircles,

Thanks. I did see the ebay listing, but that's even more of a crapshoot (a used horn in unknown condition, with no warranty) and the owner isn't exactly asking a crapshoot price.

Regarding Vincent Jourde, I actually own the album (Flow) that's being advertised in that video. However, the problem with simply listening to examples played by professionals is that it only lets you know what the horn is capable of at its best. I'm sure that those three players would also sound great on a budget student soprano.

The most convincing thing that I've heard so far was Euge Groove's testimonial, because he bought the horn himself (and was impressed enough to buy it on the spot) and he is not a paid Keilwerth endorser.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
FWIW, I contacted Al Maniscalco, the Keilwerth rep, directly and asked him whether he knew of any dealers in NYC, Jersey, or Philly that had one in stock and he said no.

I'm pretty shocked that Keilwerth doesn't have any examples available in the NY Metro area (it seems like it must hurt their ability to move horns), but I'm looking into getting a trial horn shipped from elsewhere. I'll post my impressions if it works out.
 

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I'm sure that if Keilwerth could triple or quadruple their production output, they would sell every horn built as soon as it's available for sale. But I don't think they have the capacity. It seems like they never really recovered their production ability after the year or so in receivership and the sale to Buffet and the move to the Markneukirchen factory. 2 or 3 sopranos a month for the entire worldwide market just seems to be...really, really low. 36 horns per year. (I'm sure they build and sell a lot more altos and tenors per month, and probably fewer still baritones).

At the same time, there could be a way to leverage those low production numbers by marketing their horns as "very high end, bespoke saxophones, custom built for each individual buyer." But I don't see their marketing saying that at all. (In fact I don't see their marketing saying much of anything at all really).
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sure, I understand what you're saying. In principle, they could become something like Inderbinen (https://www.inderbinen.com/en/), where your target audience are the sorts of people who would think nothing of flying to Switzerland to try a horn. But that's a very different business model (i.e., direct sales, extremely low sales volume across the board, intensive customer service and web presence, etc.). Moreover, you can't just manufacture that cachet.

The really surprising thing is that they (the Buffet Group) have a showroom in NYC (http://showroom.buffetcrampon.com/en/home/new-york-city/). It's one of four in the world (the others are in Paris, Munich, & Beijing), and exactly the sort of place where you would expect examples of singular high-end instruments to be available to evaluate. Indeed, based on online pictures of the showroom, it seems that they have examples of almost all saxes available, including the MKX horns and the SX90 Bari, but no sopranos.
 

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Sure, I understand what you're saying. In principle, they could become something like Inderbinden (https://www.inderbinen.com/en/)
Holy God those are some expensive instruments!

I agree, the Buffet showroom should have a couple of examples of each instrument, maybe a regular SX90 and a DL or DLS for people to try.
 

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Good luck, guys.

What Buffet/Keilwerth does frequently does not make sense to me. I keep telling myself that I cannot see all the challenges Keilwerth and Buffet face. It is a really competitive, and probably shrinking, market, and I need to keep my marketing ideas to myself. I am sure they have considered everything that I, in my ignorance, could possibly think of. I sometimes fail and actually post something. I think having a sample soprano in the NY Buffet store, even a well setup base model, makes a lot of sense from my perspective.

I know it is possible to over-market and over-sell a company out of business, but under-marketing and under-production can be just as deadly. It’s a delicate balance that requires a deft hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
This is just a quick follow up.

After checking out all the major shops in NYC and NJ (as well as the Buffet Crampon Showroom in NYC) , I never managed to find any of the new SX90 sopranos available to try in the NY area. However, I did manage to play test a couple of older, previous generation SX90s. They were used and not in perfect playing condition, but they were sufficiently well set-up for me to realize that (1) I prefer their sound to that of any other available modern horns, and (2) I like the layout of the keywork.

I also looked into trying one of the DL or DLS versions of the that are available at a couple of sax shops in the Midwest, but I found that the shipping and restocking fees charged by these shops would make the effective cost of a trial more than $200.

Finally, while going around to the various local shops, I had a chance to try out a variety of different sopranos (including a Yanagisawa SW01; Yamaha 875 EX, 875, and 82z; Selmer S80 SII and a couple of Mark VIs; a Couf; an Eastman 52nd St.; a couple of Sax Dakotas, and a Roberto's Winds horn). I wasn't sufficiently wowed by the keywork & sound combination of any of these horns to buy one. The Mark VIs and the Couf sounded pretty good, but not good enough to justify the relatively high prices or the effort required to get used to the keywork. Of all the modern horns (besides the SX90), the Sax Dakota horns sounded best to me (surprisingly!), but I couldn't get over the gaudy finishes in which they were offered.

So, in the end, I decided to order a modern SX90 in gold lacquer. In doing so I'm taking a bit of a chance, but I know from trying the older SX90s that I like the keywork, and everyone I've heard from who has tried both the older and the modern horns has preferred the sound of the modern horns.

I was told to expect about a 3-4 month wait, so it will be a while until I get the horn, but I'll update this thread with my impressions (and some sound clips) as soon as possible after I receive it.
 

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Hello mmichel,

Thank you for the update and I am sorry for the difficulty to try more instruments as you were hoping to do. I promise I am doing all I can to improve this situation for our brand.

I'm glad you have still settled on having a JK soprano, and am sure you won't be disappointed. Please let me know what dealer you have ordered this through, and I will track the order to help expedite the process and get your instrument delivered as quickly as I can. You can respond here or to me directly at [email protected]

Thank you again for your support,
Al
 

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I'd like to just be able to try some necks either sterling silver or silver necks and I am having the hardest time trying to do that. Why did I have to choose a horn that is so difficult to obtain different necks and accessories for? lol
 

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Great to hear that you ordered a a JK soprano.

I'm still trying to get to the point of ordering mine. It might get delayed since I'm about to buy a mobile recording truck, and my daughter needs a piccolo.

Hopefully the wait isn't too bad.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Please let me know what dealer you have ordered this through, and I will track the order to help expedite the process and get your instrument delivered as quickly as I can. You can respond here or to me directly at [email protected]

Thank you again for your support,
Al
Al,

Thanks for the offer. I wound up ordering it through Matthew's Muziek in Holland.

If that seems unusual, it's because I first tried to go through a local shop (Dillon Music), and while I believe they inquired with a Buffet representative regarding the approximate timeline for acquiring a horn, they abruptly stopped communicating with me before we had a chance to work out a price or any other details.

After that experience I decided that the ordering process would probably go more smoothly if I ordered it through a shop that already had the soprano listed as a catalog item. After doing some research, I found only a handful of reputable shops that had it (the gold lacquer version) listed in their online catalogs, and they were all in Europe.
 

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I'd like to just be able to try some necks either sterling silver or silver necks and I am having the hardest time trying to do that. Why did I have to choose a horn that is so difficult to obtain different necks and accessories for? lol

Hello Funky Horn,

Please message me offline at [email protected] and I'll see what I can do to get you some necks to try.

thanks,
Al
 

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I'm sorry to hear that about Dillon Music - that's something I'll need to look into.

I understand your logic to order online, but keep in mind that just because a dealer may have the item listed on their web site it does not necessarily mean they have it in stock or would get it any quicker than someone who does not.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I understand your logic to order online, but keep in mind that just because a dealer may have the item listed on their web site it does not necessarily mean they have it in stock or would get it any quicker than someone who does not.
Right. I understand that in principle it shouldn't matter. However, I have found that in fact it does. In particular, I have found that whether or not an item is listed in the catalog tends to influence the salesperson's attitude and his/her willingness to be accommodating. For example, I find that when salespeople (at many specialty shops, not just music shops) are asked to obtain a non-standard item that is not sold in their shop, their attitude is that they are doing you a favor (even if most are still pleasant about it), and to adjust the item's price accordingly. In contrast, when they are asked to obtain an item listed in their catalog that they do not have in stock, their attitudes tend to be much more accommodating (e.g., they typically apologize for not having it in stock and often even offer a discount for my trouble).
 

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JK sopranos are great, but they are different from all the rest. I play a SX90II made in the late 90s, My soprano works best with a mouthpiece that have a large chamber.
 
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