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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all: sax newb here.

I am 68, retired, a keyboard musician (although I periodically flirt with a b-flat flute) and am in the market for a tenor sax on which I wish to play lullabys while I await my grave, i.e., I will not likely be seeking session gigs.

My preliminary research urges the conclusion that most of the inexpensive Chinese beginner/student models are throwaways, best suited to able youngsters who may or may not wish to pursue the sax beyond the third lesson.

I mentioned my search to a friend who connected me with a fellow who is selling the Keilwerth ST90 for $500 (says he paid $1200 for it) which is a few years old and in flawless condition (no scratches/dings, pads not at all worn/deformed).

I have found a host of references to the SX90 but few for the ST90. So, my question is this: given that I am unlikely to pursue this instrument beyond my rocking chair, and assuming the instrument is in very good condition, is the used ST90 a reasonable purchase at $500?

When I say reasonable, I mean better than awful sound, likely to outlive me (10-15 years), and not much more than $500. I did noticed a post here that said the ST90 sound was a little tinny but I have to wonder how tinny can a tenor sax be?

Any suggestions would be helpful and appreciated.

Monk
 

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Yes, it is worth 500$.
While you should know that it isn't really a German sax, since it is made by Jupiter in Taiwan, it is a nice choice for your needs as stated. I bet it will serve you well.
A buddy of mine has one and it is not tinny at all (you might want to avoid high baffle mouthpieces just to be on the safer side too...). My friend plays link STM 6 which I used to own and sounds really good.
 

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You might keep your eyes out for a used Keilwerth EX90 series II, which was made in Germany. Also the EX90 series III might also be a contender, with parts made in Germany by Keilwerth, but assembled and finished by Amati in the Czech Republic.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rispoli: Bon soir; Gary: Gutten abend!

Thanks for the speedy replies. You both answered another question I had but did not ask. I tried to follow various web posts about where the Keilwerth was made/assembled and gathered that in the recent past it either changed names, changed hands, or changed countries. In the end, I was more confused than when I started.

Regardless, I gather the Keilwerth is a sound instrument but will keep an eye out a bit longer (a week or so).

Monk
 

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Speaking as someone who knows far less about this than Gary or Rispoli:
Earlier this year I tried out several mainly Taiwanese student altos in about this price range on behalf of non-sax playing friends who wanted to buy a new alto for their daughter. The Keilwerth ST90 seemed to me to be the pick of that bunch - I liked the keywork and the sound. Altos not tenors, and I'm no expert, but for what it's worth, if I saw the same alto in good condition for $500 I'd snap it up for my son (having tried it first, of course).
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
@Edwin

G'Day Mate,

It appears that I am very fortunate right off the bat with my search; good to have your first hand experience. By the way, I read a host of reviews of the alto v. the tenor - alto lighter, easier to blow, arguably more versatile - but my ear really digs the mellow tunes produced by the tenor. Most sax musicians I've known played the alto; older guys, who played 2-3 sets, especially liked the fact that the alto is lighter. Then too, if the tenor tires me out, I'll just take a nap.

Thanks,

Monk
 

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No worries!
I worried about the weight of the tenor before I tried it. But playing with a harness has made that a non-issue, for me at least.
I reckon you should play the horn that speaks to you. Sounds like that's the tenor. No reason you have to restrict yourself to just one type of course. Start on tenor, then get alto, soprano, bari...
cheers,
Edwin
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Old Man Still Looking but Learning

To update from my initial post: the more I talked with the Keilwerth owner, the higher his price went so I gracefully bid him adieu.

Limited by my $500-600 budget and wanting a saxophone to give my keyboards a rest (not burnt out but been there been doing that for 59 years) I've continued to reasearch the issues - now focused on the used/new debate.

Based on posts at SOTW, especially repair techs, it appears that one is cautioned that a used horn will likely need to be rehabed (pads, springs, cork, possibly rods, may need a new or more suitable Mpc, funky screws, and more things that I can immediately recall). One post linked to a tech who advised that spending $600 to put a used horn back into good shape was not uncommon. If I intended to do more than just wile away the hours with a horn, then I think it would be prudent to pick up a pro or vintage horn for a decent price and then rebuild it. Because I live at least 100 miles from any size town, and because I've never played a saxophone, traveling to inspect or try before I buy would be pointless. Bottom line, a used horn is probably not a good choice for ME.

So, I noticed quite a few posts referring to MusicFactoryDirect which I visited and would very much appreciate any comments on these three prospects if anyone has any familiarity/experience with them or just wishes to further educate me. All are new.

Orpheo Student: $449
Roy Benson RBTS 202: $599
Vento 5308:$579

If memory serves, all of these had an "intermediate model for about $200-300 more than those listed (like an Orpheo Pro for $795). In my ignorance, I have to wonder if a manufacturer's "student" horn for 800, is $300 better than that manufacturer's $500 horn???

Know too that I am well aware of the discussions (often better classified as arguments) regarding Chinese imports but, pragmatically speaking, given my circumstances, I don't need a superior horn, won't live long enough to say to myself "That was great, Monk," and fortunately do not have to rely on a horn to pay the bills.

Your thoughts about these, or any other models, would be appreciated.

Thanks, Monk
 

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Monk, where are you?
If in the US and if your budget can stretch to the $800 zone (which your latest post seems to suggest may be an option), how about the Kessler http://www.kesslermusic.com/html/sax/tenor.html ?
If you're in the UK the base Bauhaus Walstein just about fits in that range (if in the US, shipping from the UK would take them a bit above that range I would have thought but maybe buying from Palo Tung could be an option). Another UK option is Gear4music (have a look at Stephen Howard's site for reviews of BW and gear4music saxes).
In Australia, Largo have a good reputation in this price range.
I realise this doesn't actually answer your specific question re orpheo/benson/vento but must confess to having no idea about these. Others will know though.
Good luck,
Edwin
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks Edwin,

I updated my profile adding my locale; sorry for the omission. $800 is stretching things a bit but I'd consider going the extra bob to avoid getting an absolute lemon. I'll look into your recommendations and get back.

Monk
 

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Yup. New Mexico is a different country alright....
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
@maddenma

'Tis indeed: they call it "The Land of Enchantment." Compared to Boston, from where I hail, the sun shines most of the time, rarely rains, and the summer humidity averages 10%. However, the fact that you have to drive 70 miles to Las Cruces, 100 miles to El Paso, or 200 miles to Albuquerque to get a gig is not all that enchanting. But I came here to retire so I like it.

Monk
 

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Hi,

I am just a beginner so I do not want to comment on different makes and models of saxophones. I also realize that you are looking for a new horn. However, check out this website of vintage horns. There is at least one horn that is in your price range. http://www.2ndending.com/saxes.html
JayeSF is a member of this forum and I got my horn from him about a year ago. I have had to spend only about $150 in maintenance. He also has sound clips of the horns so you will be able to judge the sound for your self.

Good Luck
 
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