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Okay, here's the deal. I was going to buy a soprano sax, but luckily I posted on this site first, because many people explained to me why it's a bad idea for a high school student to buy a soprano. However, I now want to buy a tenor, because at the moment I'm playing the school's student model, and it's TERRIBLE. It's missing several screws, it often squeaks when moving to and from certain notes, and one time I actually cut myself trying to jam it together before a concert.

So what I'm asking is, should I go with a Kessler Custom Sax, or can someone suggest a similarly priced sax of greater quality?

BTW, I live in Minnesota, I was planning on ordering from Kessler for his ridiculously low prices.
 

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http://saxophone.com/
Like i posted in your soprano thread. They are great saxes and very responsive even for beginners. The prices are very well too. 700 - 2000 isn't bad. Trust me, my soprano is from this company. I have played all of their saxes about 4 years ago and they were awesome even back then
 

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Hey Zayrach - welcome to Sax on the Web forums! I'm a fellow Minnesotan -- I live in St Paul. From what I've heard from people on these forums is that what really sets Kessler saxes apart is the top notch service you get from Dave Kessler. I considered buying a Kessler Tenor, but they were a bit out of my price range.

Not to take anything away from Mr Kessler's fine saxophones, but you may be able to get a really great vintage tenor for the same money. In some ways, these could actually get even more bang for your buck.

There is a gentleman on these forums who goes by the name JayeSF. He sells saxes on his website, http://www.2ndending.com. He might have a horn or two for you to look at. I was looking at his beautiful 1962 Conn 10M, which was Conn's pro-model tenor in the early-60s when they were still great. Right now it's under $1,000. He's got a great reputation both here and on eBay.

You could also post in the "WTB" section of the Marketplace of the forums here. Otherwise, locally, I'd suggest checking Craigs List periodically. I recently bought a 1957 King Cleveland tenor for $160. I put about $60 worth of work into it, and it's probably just as good (better in some ways) than a$1500-2000 intermediate horn. That was lucky, but there are a lot of deals on Craigslist.

Also -- have you had a chance to check out Schmitt's Sax Shop in Brooklyn Center?
http://www.schmittmusic.com/band-orchestra/sax-shop.php
They're really overpriced, but it's so cool to be able to try out all these great saxes. I got to try a Selmer Ref 54, a Selmer Serie III Yamaha custom Z, YAS-62, King Super 20, some kind of Jupiter pro horn and a cheap chinese model with a copper finish. If I had brought some other moutpieces, I could have spent all day there. It's really cool. Any sax player within 200 miles needs to check it out (but then again, maybe you have already?)

Anyway -- good luck! Stepping up feels great!
 

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@Zayrach - I'm a proponent of Kessler's horns. I've been very satisfied with my Custom Deluxe tenor since Jan '07. Been in the shop once for some minor tweaks in those four years. It's a very good, quality horn that is flexible to the player and mouthpiece setup. Four years old and hasn't fallen apart yet and shows no imminent signs of any failure. That and the outstanding service of Kessler's is very hard to beat. You wouldn't be disappointed and will be hard pressed to out grow the horn.

That being said you do have a plethora of options. The vintage has just been mentioned. There are also other makes available to consider that are close to the price point you are considering: Phil Barone, CE Winds, TK Melody, Bauhaus Walstein - are four right off the top of my head, that get some pretty good reviews on SoTW. You'll get good service for all the distributors so it's really up to what you're looking for and what your budget is. Check out the reviews on SoTW. Give them a call and talk to them. I know Kessler's wont hard sell you. I haven't the personal experience with the others, but I don't believe I've read of any inordinate sales pressure from any of the others. Good luck!
 

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I agree with others that used is the best way to go. What exactly is your budget? What is the outermost you're willing to pay?
 

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I own a Kessler Custom Deluxe Tenor in Black Nickel & Silver. I purchased it as a backup. My main tenor is a Phil Barone Vintage in Bare Brass.

The Kessler is a very nice saxophone based on the Selmer Super Action 80 Series II w/ a Series III neck. It is quite different than my Barone: the ergos are different, the tone is brighter and more "centered" (the Barone is darker & more "spread"). Overall, it's a very nice playing tenor.

I would say the Kessler could serve you well for years. The only problem I have had with mine is that the neck tenon is extremely soft and has bent very much out of shape. It's been adjusted, but I will have to replace the tenon in order for it to fit correctly. For the record, the rest of the brass on the instrument (body & keywork) is not soft at all.

If you go w/ a Barone, I would most definitely recommend the Vintage over the Classic any day of the week. It is head and shoulders better, in my humble opinion.

Good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
@ Saxguy007 - I'm not quite sure yet. I'm hoping to get about $900 for my alto, plus $150 I already have. But, I have no way of knowing until I actually sell the thing.

@ robko626 - No, I haven't been to the showroom yet but I'll make a point of getting there sometime.

As far as used goes, there's a Yamaha YTS-52 for sale on Craigslist for $900. Is this a good deal, or should I stay with a Kessler Custom?

Also, I really like the look of the "Deluxe" Kessler tenor, but is the engraving and black nickel finish worth the extra $300 - $400?
 

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Also, I really like the look of the "Deluxe" Kessler tenor, but is the engraving and black nickel finish worth the extra $300 - $400?
Not necessarily. I only got a Deluxe b/c it was all they had in stock, as I needed the horn quickly.

The engraving is very elegant, though.
 

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That YTS-52 is at the Music-Go-Round in Woodbury. I actually took a look at it last time I was there -- seems pretty good, but I didn't play it. I have played other YTS-52s -- I hear that for most mortal sax players, it's as good as a pro model.

They're cool with letting people try their horns - just bring your mouthpiece and a reed!
 

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@ Saxguy007 - I'm not quite sure yet. I'm hoping to get about $900 for my alto, plus $150 I already have. But, I have no way of knowing until I actually sell the thing.

@ robko626 - No, I haven't been to the showroom yet but I'll make a point of getting there sometime.

As far as used goes, there's a Yamaha YTS-52 for sale on Craigslist for $900. Is this a good deal, or should I stay with a Kessler Custom?

Also, I really like the look of the "Deluxe" Kessler tenor, but is the engraving and black nickel finish worth the extra $300 - $400?
If I remember correctly, I've read or heard that the Kessler Customs were spec'd to compete against the Yamaha YTS-62 level of horn. (Need to look around a bit) Perhaps that will give you a frame of reference to compare a new Kessler against the used YTS-52.

For me, I'm not taken by the black nickel finish. My Custom Deluxe is the plain lacquer with the deluxe engraving. In that configuration the engraving doesn't look over done. In the black nickel though it really jumps out at you. Perhaps your cup of tea but not mine and not worth the extra $300-$400, to me.

While resale was not a factor in my decision four years ago, chances are good that if you buy something like the YTS-52 used, you will be able to sell it at a later time for very close to what you bought it. That's not going to happen with any new horn you buy. To buy new, once you drive it off the lot, it will depreciate any where from 25%-50%. So, if you ever think about another horn down the road, be forewarned and forearmed! Continue to ask questions and get educated! Cheers!
 

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Apparently no one has tried the saxophone.com saxes...They are truly amazing. Same pricing as kessler. Just as great as them too. Just try them out if possible.
 

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I've heard a few folks rave about them here, but like I said, the thing that sets Kessler apart is the service. That's why they've got the reputation they do.
 

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Ya Dave is pretty amazing. He is an awesome guy to just chat with too. So if you are worried about service then I would go with Kessler.
 
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