Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 41 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

Newbie here looking to get back into tenor sax after 12+ years away from it (played as a kid in junior high & high school.) I'm trying to find a sax on a pretty tight budget (ideally around $300 with maybe needing $100 or so worth of work maybe.) I'm not expecting anything fancy at this price - just something to see if I like it and get me started. I can always upgrade later if it does because something I really get back into.

I found one locally selling for $300 and from the picture I notice two issues with it right away - missing a couple of the "keypads" (side note: what is the proper term for those because I don't even know! The pearly looking piece you actually press.) and the neck appears to be straighter than what I would normally expect to see on a tenor so that makes me think the neck is bent a bit.

He says it is a Beuscher brand but didn't not provide details on model or anything. I don't think the person selling it is honestly too knowledgeable on saxes because I asked what kind of shape the pads are in and he said "you can see from the picture that it's missing a couple" (so I'm assuming he thought I meant the keypads.) At any rate, I know it's not a high end vintage Buescher or it'd obviously be selling for a lot more. Someone on Reddit mentioned it maybe being a BU-5 student horn? Seems like it might be a good starter? Better than an Amazon cheapie anyways?

Unfortunately I won't be able to play it first just look at it so any advice is appreciated! Picture of it attached. Thanks!
108540
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
I would advise you avoid this purchase. If you can save a little and get your budget into the $400-500 range, you can find a used Yamaha in decent condition, without need of repair. Buying online is always risky, and the seller has demonstrated they don't know what they're looking at, so you run the risk of buying a horn that needs a complete overhaul ($1000 range).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I would advise you avoid this purchase. If you can save a little and get your budget into the $400-500 range, you can find a used Yamaha in decent condition, without need of repair. Buying online is always risky, and the seller has demonstrated they don't know what they're looking at, so you run the risk of buying a horn that needs a complete overhaul ($1000 range).
Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it! I do have two others I'm considering maybe I could get your input on?

There's a Vito locally for $450 that was new in 1997, one owner, and had a professional cleaning and repadding in 2018. It has sat since but he said he does get it out occasionally to make sure it is okay and to move the keys, etc. He says it's nothing fancy. He called it "a step up from a student model but definitely not a pro." It is clearly well taken care of which is worth something in itself.

Then there's also a beautiful one that admittedly I'm more leaning to because I just adore the look of it! It's a non-namebrand which initially I thought I would avoid but it's from Saxophone.com and they do seem to have some fairly solid reviews. It's a TS-42BG model and is a beautiful black color with gold keys. Seems to be great used condition and the seller said the pads are good and have no leaks. That one is closer to $500 with shipping but hoping I could talk him down to around that $450 mark.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
That does not look like a USA made Buescher and is best avoided.
USA made isn't really in my budget unfortunately but the neck on it does concern me, and the fact that guy has no info on it, and seems a little standoffish to be honest. I think I will avoid it yes and keep on looking. I did post a couple of the other options I'm looking at above if you'd like to weigh in :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,534 Posts
My opinion - go for the Vito and avoid the no-name brand. The Vito is likely a Yamaha horn and will hold up over time. Nothing fancy, but nothing wrong either.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,736 Posts
That is not a real Buescher, it's a Chinese (probably) made el cheapo engraved "Buescher". I can't even imagine what kind of normal use would result in pearls falling out. It may have been cannibalized by someone who needed pearls for a better horn. Run away; run away fast; run far away.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
222 Posts
Thanks for the advice I really appreciate it! I do have two others I'm considering maybe I could get your input on?

There's a Vito locally for $450 that was new in 1997, one owner, and had a professional cleaning and repadding in 2018. It has sat since but he said he does get it out occasionally to make sure it is okay and to move the keys, etc. He says it's nothing fancy. He called it "a step up from a student model but definitely not a pro." It is clearly well taken care of which is worth something in itself.

Then there's also a beautiful one that admittedly I'm more leaning to because I just adore the look of it! It's a non-namebrand which initially I thought I would avoid but it's from Saxophone.com and they do seem to have some fairly solid reviews. It's a TS-42BG model and is a beautiful black color with gold keys. Seems to be great used condition and the seller said the pads are good and have no leaks. That one is closer to $500 with shipping but hoping I could talk him down to around that $450 mark.
Between the two of those, I would go for the Vito. They're solid. Assuming the horn was stored in a dry, clean location, the pads should be fine. As for the other one, I'd avoid it. The problem with reviews on off-brand horns is that they get written immediately, when the horn is first received. I'm sure it plays great for about a year. The problems arise when they need constant maintenance, and/or technicians don't want to touch them.

But as someone else suggested, you could check out 2ndending.com. They do fantastic work on older/beatup horns, bringing them back to life for extremely reasonable prices. I myself have a bari from 2ndending and I love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
The Vito is likely a Yamaha-made sax (should say Japan on it). I have an alto...solid sax, from 1998 (based on serial). I got it for $75 locally and had it overhauled, even added a V1 Yamaha silver neck! The neck is worth more than the sax, but the idea is to have a solid alto to play (I don't play alto as primary sax).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks all for the input!

2ndlending.com does one in the $400-$450 range but it's a Selmer Bundy that's fairly beat up. That's not really any better quality than a Vito is it? Just thinking if I can get a Vito in really nice condition locally vs ordering a beat up Selmer online it would make sense to go with the less beat up one wouldn't it? (Assuming they both are in good working condition)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Thanks all for the input!

2ndlending.com does one in the $400-$450 range but it's a Selmer Bundy that's fairly beat up. That's not really any better quality than a Vito is it? Just thinking if I can get a Vito in really nice condition locally vs ordering a beat up Selmer online it would make sense to go with the less beat up one wouldn't it? (Assuming they both are in good working condition)
Owned and played a Selmer USA Bundy I tenor (left hand bell keys and made in the 1970's) in high school and in a community band as an adult. It was good horn and would have been better if I had overhauled it (but ZERO value in it). Prior to that sax, I started learning in middle school in the later 1980's on a brand new, Selmer USA Bundy II alto. Very different build from the Bundy I of the 1970's, especially with layout of keywork. Some people love these Bundy II horns, but it was not a good saxophone for me to learn on (all the "cool kids" had Yamaha YAS-23's and YTS-23's or Vito clones of the YAS or YTS, but I digress).

Vito is really a stencil brand and not a specific model. It was distributed by Leblanc in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Some of the horns were made in Kenosha. Some were imported from France by Beaugnier (and partially or fully assembled in the USA, as the story goes). Some were later made by Yamaha and even Yanagisawa (and Conn I think). There are also Taiwanese versions of the Vito.

This is my Vito YAS-23 clone I had overhauled. It was in poor shape when I got it (probably why it was only $75) with missing pearls and lacquer removed. I had roo pads installed on it and added a V1 neck.

108546


I have another Vito from the 1960's…a tenor sax. It is NOT a Yamaha YTS-21 or 23 clone, but instead most likely produced in France by Beaugnier (I have compared pics of Beaugnier tenors to my Vito, and they are nearly identical). Great saxophone…and I paid $80 for it four years ago or so. It has that "French" sound but at a low cost. You should check those out, too, but you need to know how to identify the keywork from other Vito lines.

108545
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
"You should check those out, too, but you need to know how to identify the keywork from other Vito lines.
Thanks for the detailed response! I think I understood most of what you said but lost you at that last part quoted haha. Can you clarify?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
473 Posts
Thanks for the detailed response! I think I understood most of what you said but lost you at that last part quoted haha. Can you clarify?
Look at the two pics I posted of my saxophones. One is a Vito Yamaha-made alto, the other a Vito Beaugnier-made tenor. There are differences (based on what company made the sax) in how the keys are designed on the saxophone, as well as the metal guards, position of tone holes on the bell (left side VS right side), etc. My examples are not great, because one is a based on a YAS-23 alto, the other a French designed tenor sax (but both have Vito on the bell). Typically for a Yamaha-made Vito sax it will have "Japan" stamped near the bottom rear of the horn. The Beaugnier ones won't have country of origin stamped on them (usually), because they were assembled in the USA (likely to avoid tariffs and save on costs, although I have read some accounts that the Yamaha models were also assembled in the USA).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,486 Posts
I'd pass on the BU-5 just as a matter of it being such an unknown. $300 is real cheap for a tenor but too much to make a mistake on if you're looking at the entry level.

However, $400 is too low. $600 is probably near the bottom all costs considered.

I'd personally prefer the Yamaha over the Bundy, but if you're looking for more of a vintage tone it's a good option especially since 2ndending has a good reputation and the guy is always hanging around here.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
23 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Look at the two pics I posted of my saxophones. One is a Vito Yamaha-made alto, the other a Vito Beaugnier-made tenor. There are differences (based on what company made the sax) in how the keys are designed on the saxophone, as well as the metal guards, position of tone holes on the bell (left side VS right side), etc. My examples are not great, because one is a based on a YAS-23 alto, the other a French designed tenor sax (but both have Vito on the bell). Typically for a Yamaha-made Vito sax it will have "Japan" stamped near the bottom rear of the horn. The Beaugnier ones won't have country of origin stamped on them (usually), because they were assembled in the USA (likely to avoid tariffs and save on costs, although I have read some accounts that the Yamaha models were also assembled in the USA).
GOTCHA! That makes more sense thanks. I thought for some reason you meant they had different fingerings or something and was very confused. ?

I'd pass on the BU-5 just as a matter of it being such an unknown. $300 is real cheap for a tenor but too much to make a mistake on if you're looking at the entry level.

However, $400 is too low. $600 is probably near the bottom all costs considered.

I'd personally prefer the Yamaha over the Bundy, but if you're looking for more of a vintage tone it's a good option especially since 2ndending has a good reputation and the guy is always hanging around here.
Thanks! Yeah I decided to pass on the $300 one mostly because of all the unknowns and partly because honestly the guy was very standoffish and just giving me weird vibes whenever I tried to message him and ask a question.

The only thing with the Vito is I'm not positive it's Yamaha made. It was made in 1997 but I don't have the serial #. Regardless, it was definitely well cared for! The Selmer/Bundy would be older I assume so that might be nice for a richer/fuller sound. Definitely got some options there! Both are at the $450 range too which is nice.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,486 Posts
Vito has had several manufactures behind the name over the years. VITO tenors and altos marked "Made in Japan" are all Yamaha made.
 
1 - 20 of 41 Posts
Top