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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My 12 yr old son has been playing my old King 615 (circa 1975) for the past two years. The horn was gone over and re padded about 25 yrs ago. I got the Music Medic kit last year and fixed a couple leaks and tuned it up a bit. Unfortunately, I think it really needs another overhaul. It seems like every few weeks, something needs repair. Most of the time, my son doesn't realize something is wrong, he just finds if more difficult to play. It's not until I have a chance to sit down and practice with him that we can identify the problem. Needless to say, I'm feeling "guilty" that he does not have the equipment he needs to excel at playing.

Having said that, I do not believe my son will choose a career in music (but, who knows?). I don't even know if he will want to commit to it throughout the rest of his school years. Therefore, I don't want to spend anymore than I have to so that he can have a totally functional instrument, that would not hinder him in any way. To me, the logical choices seem to be 1) total refurbishment of the King, or 2) replacement with a new Chinese horn. I don't know what the "total refurbishment" would run. I assume between $300-600. Similarly, I have seen Chinese horns for as little as $300 on Ebay for a "no-name" horn, up to $600 for a Conn-Selmer Prelude.

My inclination is to lean toward a new student horn, e.g., the Prelude. The advantages being that, a) its new, so your starting with a fresh baseline, b) most retailers do have a return policy, so if we got it and it was an absolute piece of junk, we could return it, and c) a 12 yr old will probably not appreciate playing a refurbished horn, no matter how much better it may be than a new horn. On the other hand, the only saxes I have ever played are the King and my Mk VI. I have no perspective on the quality or performance of any modern horns, including all the Chinese models. Maybe all of these horns are junk, and I would be doing my son an incredible disservice my not keeping the King in his hands.

I know there are an awful lot of people on this forum with a lot more knowledge than me. I welcome your comments/suggestions.

Thanks.
Roger
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I was leaning towards the Chinese option until a couple hours ago. I spoke with a local sax repairman (Garry Hane @ Chicago Sax Repair). I described the King to him and he felt it may be as little as $100-150, given that it is generally playable right now. I realize this is always contingent on actually seeing the instrument, but that is still encouraging. Just as important, he said it would only take 2-3 days...and he's only 20 min from my house.

I think we may try to get it to him this week to see what he thinks. If anyone out there has any experience with Chicago Sax Repair, feel free to share.

Thanks.
Roger
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Roger..... you already answered your own question.

You have sussed out the positives and negatives of both possibilities. Either is valid, really....

$500 to fix up a good, solid ol' player....or $500 to buy an asian budget horn. It's the classic conundrum.

IMHO, put the $ into the better quality instrument; the one that can take your kid further and the one which, upon resale, will maintain some sorta market value down the road. That's gonna be the 615....
I just checked the serial #, it is 525XXX. Based on some of the information on this site, I think that is a decent series, isn't it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I thought I'd revisit this thread with a little update. I think I may pull the trigger on a Venus tenor for Christmas. This will allow my son to leave the King at school and keep the Venus at home. Right now he's hauling the King back and forth to school every day (I know what pain that is). I offered to let him use my MkVI at home, but he said he'd rather have his "own" (well, he is only 12!). If all he want's is somthing new that he feels is "his", I think the Venus will probably be just fine. If he's still playing seriously 3-4 years from now, the MkVI may be more appealing at that time.
 
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