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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
G'day, everyone.

I'll need to introduce myself before I get to the question, because I think it's important to know what sort of player I am to help me with making such a decision.

[HR][/HR]
I've read the stickies here, and I've literally invested days into researching saxophone buying guides (I've read most of Stephen Howard's reviews, for example), talking to my teacher and reading maintenance manuals, so I'm more or less familiar with what's available, what I'm interested in and how to look after an instrument.

I am a "late bloomer" who has been in love with the instrument since the age of 10 but wasn't accepted into the professional circles at the time, because I was considered too old (the country I was born in was very specific and required at least 2 years of piano and at least 2 years of clarinet to even be considered for saxophone), so I did 6 years of percussion (drums, kettledrums, xylophone) instead - the only instrument family they agreed to accept me into back then. I'm old enough now to stick wads of money into people, and Australia's pretty open when it comes to learning an instrument, so I've finally decided to pay for a term at a local conservatorium 3.5 months ago, and I've been playing 2 times a day (40-120 minutes cumulatively) since.
I don't want to brag, but because of my dedication to the instrument and my previous musical experience, I have been able to become reasonably good in such a short period of time: I can play all the natural major scales, the chromatic scale (low Bb to high F) and a number of classical pieces with relatively few mistakes, and I've recently started on a number of jazz pieces which I'm not particularly good at yet.

[HR][/HR]
I am currently renting a horn from the conservatorium, and it's pretty horrible (it's a 1970 Conn Nxxxxxx). I mean it's in good shape (well-preserved and looked after), but the bottom keyguards are incorrectly placed (rendering low B and Bb impossible in a sitting position), the octave key is one of those where you have to slide your thumb up instead of rolling it to the side - to name a few issues with it. I'm not complaining, because I've rented it for the time it'd take me to figure out if I actually wanted to invest myself into playing saxophone like I've always dreamt. The hire fee for a single term was $5 less than a pack of 5 reeds :D

When I've sent my teacher a link to the silver-plated Yamaha YTS-280 and asked him for an opinion, he said I should be getting a professional horn and that he'd look around for a good vintage one for me (he's a huge fan of vintage instruments). I've been shopping around ever since, wasting exorbitant amounts of time on research alone. We don't really have too many dealers in Australia, so purchasing an instrument is more like comprising a list of what you'd like to try out and then dragging yourself through the country to visit "that one shop" that has some of them. I think it's important to play an instrument before purchasing it (especially given the prices!), so I don't really have too many options here: my local shop only has Yamahas (and a Bond... ugh), and they didn't let me play them!

So far, neither I nor my teacher have found anything decent locally. This is a list of models I have seriously considered so far, with the ones I've "pitched on" bolded out:
  • Selmer MKVI
  • P.Mauriat 66R
  • Keilwerth SX90R Shadow
  • Trevor James SC
  • Conn 10M "Naked Lady"
I've decided to not consider P.Mauriat, Keilwerth and the "Naked Lady", because they have some serious issues (or can have them/get them through active use). Naturally, I will try them out if given a chance, and if the sound blows me away, I will probably reconsider (not sure P.Mauriat's sound can trump their silly key design).

So yeah... Generally, I think I just want to hear some comments on my list. Am I going in the right direction? Should I catch a plane to get to a shop in another state to test the horns out and purchase one? I've spent so much time on search and research that a part of me is no longer sure about anything. The shop I'd have to go to no longer has a MKVI available (and they were very elusive when I rang them up to ask them about repair history and other important details), and I think their only SC is in a "raw" finish (I'd actually prefer silver).

Thank you in advance for any help, advice or commentary you provide.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Just an update: I went with the Trevor James SC, and I've been very happy with it for the past 2 years. It's an excellent horn.
 

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Nice choice.

As I came to the end of your OP, I was surprised that it was posted two years ago, and that no one responded. Or am I totally wrong? Whatever the case.

BTW just out of curiosity, why didn't you consider any other makers?
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Nice choice.

As I came to the end of your OP, I was surprised that it was posted two years ago, and that no one responded. Or am I totally wrong? Whatever the case.

BTW just out of curiosity, why didn't you consider any other makers?
Yeah, I was surprised too (and haven't used the forum for about 2 years because of receiving no responses in this thread). It probably got drowned in other threads though, because a post needs to pass moderation on this forum if it's a user's first post, and mine didn't come up for more than a week, I believe.
I did consider other makers (Cannonball and Temby, for example, also King Zephyr). I've posted this after about 2-2.5 months of personal research that brought me down to those 5 options.
 
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