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· Registered
12 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
While shooting pool this evening, I decided on a new goal: $600 for my first sax. I'm not necessarily looking for the fanciest horn at that price point; rather, I'm looking for recommendations as to the best *value* $600 will get me. I have one criterion: It has to be a sax I can grow into, not one I'll grow out of. I would value your input.

Thank you.


· Distinguished SOTW Member
1,122 Posts
But now for the real question: Which sax?

Because you'll find yourself quite a bit more restricted shopping for tenors with a $600 budget than you will with altos (at least for those in good playable condition).

· Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
20,233 Posts
New? Vintage? American made? Asian?
It's nice that you had an 'epiphany' but you sure as hell don't give us much to work with here! :)

· Banned
2,969 Posts
I'm looking for recommendations as to the best *value* $600 will get me. I have one criterion: It has to be a sax I can grow into, not one I'll grow out of. I would value your input.
Start visiting pawn shops and yard sales. You might get lucky . . . provided you stumble across someone who doesn't know the true value of what they're selling.

· Distinguished SOTW Member
14,441 Posts
For that money you can get in a nice alto if you are patient. You can get a nice vintage horn with a pretty good setup. 600 is not likely to get you a good horn with a fresh overhaul but it will likely get you a more than decent horn with pretty good pads.

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
7,163 Posts
You may be able to get a '40's or '50's Buescher Aristocrat alto with older but good playable pads for that.

· Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
2,592 Posts
I am selling this Buescher 400 tenor which is ready to gig, for $650 plus shipping from the Dallas area. It has a 2-year-old pad job and, of course, regulation, by Gayle Fredenburgh of This is post-Selmer horn, but before they ruined them. It has the amber rollers and Norton springs. The snap-in resos had been removed, so Gayle outfitted it with appropriately-sized ResoTech re-usable resonators. 400 Tenor/?albumview=slideshow

This would be a solid first saxophone close to your budget.


[EDIT] This sax has been sold.

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
20,636 Posts
Yeah, actually, as you are can get either a good Alto or Tenor for that $. You can also get a sh#t Alto or Tenor for that $.

Buyer's market these days, so I disagree (respectfully) with those who say you need to increase your budget for a Tenor. Landing a respectable Tenor which can last you forever (i.e. no need to later "buy up") is very, very feasible if you are willing to do a bit of research for yourself.

Any number of used horns can be had for that sorta dolla'...some of my favorites in this pricerange include:

~ Vito (Beaugnier/Kenosha horns...not the later Yamaha stencils)
~ Conn Director usa-made, or Pan Americans
~ Buescher 20A/30A or perhaps Aristocrat
~ Martin Indianas
~ Olds Ambassador Parisians (by Pierret, France)
~ King Clevelands
~ Holtons (Great sleepers)
~ Dorfler and Jorka stencils (Genet, Maure, DuMont, Roxy, Voss, etc.)
~ Keilwerth stencils from the 50's-'70's
~ Kohlert and their stencils, same era as Keilwerths
~ Noblets (again, by Beaugnier)

(the last 3 might be pu$hing it for a Tenor, but an Alto is definitely feasible)

If you don't this:

1) go online, find some vids for "how to blow into a sax mouthpiece".

2) Go buy a sax mouthpiece or two...just a Yamaha 4c or 5c. They're cheap. Learn to blow it properly.

3) Go to a horn shop (or a school band room if you are a student...or maybe you have a buddy who plays sax) and try blowing some Altos and Tenors.

4) See which one moves you more..the Alto or the Tenor.

5) Take your $600 and buy a nice horn. Then take lessons.

It usually goes sumthin' like that.....oh....

6) Have Fun.

· Registered
868 Posts
Get a yamaha 23 or 52 and you'll be fine forever. They're strong horns, sound good and hold their value. Anybody who says you can't grow into one of those has probably never pushed a saxophone to its playing limits anyway. Unless you're trying to play ballads on stage at the Vanguard the small things won't matter. Plus it'll be in tune, which many older cheap saxes won't.

· SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
25,274 Posts
treble, get in touch with JayePDX if you really can't increase your budget (or even if you can). I don't disagree with him about the $600 for a tenor, but you have to be very careful you don't end up with a horn needing another $600 worth of work to get it playing well. You really have to know what you're doing at that price range. Forget about e-bay. Go with a reputable dealer like Jaye and you might pull it off.

First step is to decide whether it's to be a tenor or an alto...
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