Sax on the Web Forum banner
81 - 100 of 103 Posts

·
Moderator
Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
Joined
·
30,102 Posts
If you sourced a manufacturer in Europe (to keep it general), would you have a high/med/low level of concern with bait and switch style production, or degrading quality of product, versus the ones you looked at as "samples?
Yes. (medium probably)

Now ask that question for mainland China.
Yes again. Higher I would think but you need to balance the low cost with a higher domestic QC cost as I mentioned above. The problem is when importers expect to pay a third of the price but get the same QC at source, rather than doing some of it themselves.

If we have to tip toe around every little phrase, and not understand that we are not degrading a people or nation but an industry in a country when we say "Chinese horns", and its generally well-demonstrated variability in production and quality (for whatever reason or rationale), than we should just give up trying to communicate via writing.
I think you may be referring to things I have said, and just to clarify they were not about SOTW members (with a couple of exceptions you might expect in a large community) but about some importers I have met.

Nor was it about people using the term "Chinese horns", but rather terms like "the Chinese can't make good instruments."

I apologise for giving the wrong impression. There is a huge amount of shoddy goods coming from there, but lets not forget there are also some very high quality goods - Dhi Zao flutes spring to mind as well as some excellent saxophones that you need to dig around to find.
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Joined
·
7,892 Posts

·
Registered
JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
Joined
·
1,650 Posts
Maybe the question is something like this:

If you sourced a manufacturer in Europe (to keep it general), would you have a high/med/low level of concern with bait and switch style production, or degrading quality of product, versus the ones you looked at as "samples? Now ask that question for mainland China.

If we have to tip toe around every little phrase, and not understand that we are not degrading a people or nation but an industry in a country when we say "Chinese horns", and its generally well-demonstrated variability in production and quality (for whatever reason or rationale), than we should just give up trying to communicate via writing.

I had a Chinese Venus Soprano. It was what it was worth/what I paid for it, more or less. But I wouldn't buy one again, in the absence of new 'data'; I just didn't have confidence in it. Everything was just too flakey/shakey and it spoke inconsistently in various ranges.

Call it romantic or sentimental, or environmental...there are 1,000s of horns out there, that after some work or restoration, will play and sound better and last longer than most Chinese products. MOST, not all, especially as of late. You can get a Bundy-modern Conn in good shape for 150-500., maybe spend low $ on it to tweak it, and it will last forever.

Someone knowledgeable, and biased but not crazy, said that most of these horns have low quality pads/felts, other materials and will need major work in two years of regular playing. They play fine out of the box, mostly, but then where are you then after dropping 100s on an overhaul in a couple of years? IF this is true, and I don't know it to be so, that would be the biggest distinguishing factor in this discussion because it cuts across "good/bad sound quality" issues. Its just economics.
Some good posts in this thread since I last saw it. Quoting from and answering yours, Hi Fly, only because it is the easiest to reply to and recent:

- A correction: pads can be specified, at least from some factories, in PRC. I haven't asked whether mine can do the pads I use myself for overhauls, but I have seen both some stock pads (Oves, some others), and of course the MyPads which can be ordered from many factories (some of these topics, like almost all topics, here, have the potential to be controversial for no reason, and have been). I'm 18 years doing this (overhauls, repair, custom craziness, you name it) and the MyPads are about the same as the best pads the majority of techs used before this site blew up Pisoni's premium lines (which only took about 15 years lol). The MyPads are, imo, in line with Prestini's old top pressed-felt line. HOWEVER, the comment on linkage materials is somewhat on point. Again, in that area there is variance from factory to factory, but linkage materials and installation are areas that are constantly evolving. I do not replace all the linkage materials on the Crescents, and to me -- just keeping it real -- they are and have been subpar at times. Again this varies factory to factory, and the same factory that makes Crescents today has shown improvement and attention to what's going on in the marketplace generally over time. They just aren't very good at it (i.e. at understanding the whole forrest, rather than just seeing some trees). That said, those subpar materials won't influence your experience, playing, unless you're made aware of them (a mental downside), or something happened in shipping or during servicing. Linkage materials can be too spongy, mounted askew, or in any number of inexplicable ways, but they will be functional when the horns arrive in the US to either you or the brand owner. A large part of what I do in set-up is to make things that could be an issue disappear as far as the player's experience. There are still imperfections and goofy things present in the assembly of the horn, they just do not affect your experience when playing.

That latter is a much lesser concern on Taiwan instruments. Taiwan factories "get it." They are not just manufacturing according to a mechanical scheme; they seem to understand something more overarching about saxophones, i.e. how people (both industry and lay) want things done, how they are used to having them done, and what the conventions and norms are, specific to saxophones. PRC factories are making very good saxophones now, but they are just manufacturing something without being devoted to the use of the item itself. This is GOOD for players, because if PRC factories had more specialized labor it would be higher paid labor, and while the end result would be saxophones more identical to Taiwan saxophones, they wouldn't necessarily be better to play (because some of that is personal preference) and those who would prefer to buy PRC would have to pay more. The difference is labor cost, but it is also factory culture and physical execution.

On that last count, it makes sense to validate one critique re differences between PRC and ROC. There absolutely *is* a difference in manufacturing approach, engineering tolerances, and overall execution -- you just might not be able to identify it by playing, if both horns were serviced properly ("optimally"). Taiwan is now engineering with tolerances about on the level of Selmer, pre 2005 or so. Most of the "Big 4" have become finer in engineering tolerances then, and in some ways modern Selmer is phenomenal in this respect. Some of the tubes and keys are so closely fitted and consistent, that when I work on them I remember and am struck by how well fitted they are each time. The Taiwan tenors I like are now on their old level, but not quite at the newer top level -- again I'm speaking just about the fineness of manufacturing tolerances, *not* about performance or how those tolerances affect the playing experience. PRC is still behind all of those in terms of manufacturing tolerances. A great deal more of assembly is hand-work done by human factory hands than is the case in ROC, Japan, or Europe. You can see this, visually, in working on them, but you will only think you feel it now because I've told you it's the case. I think the spring steel is a tiny bit better on ROC horns, and the engineering/design (e.g. where spring cradles are placed) is a little better (meaning more logical and practical) on ROC than PRC designs, but the difference that creates is smaller than the difference the tech who does the set-up engenders.

Long story short, and coming from someone who has done very detailed work on horns from both countries (including stripping down entire horns to bare bore, and remounting all the keys on a different horn), there is a difference in quality that could be called better or worse in terms of mechanical things, and ROC is ahead of PRC, still, by more than a little because to close the gap the manufacturing process in PRC probably has to change quite a bit to eliminate the role of human hand-work in assembly more completely. HOWEVER, that does not mean one person will like one horn better than the other, and it also does not mean the player can feel the differences I've described. In short, if you buy a PRC or ROC saxophone from a reputable dealer, you're going to end up with a good saxophone, and an hour or two of dedicated research can help you figure out which would likely suit you better.
 

·
SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
Joined
·
3,909 Posts
Some good posts in this thread since I last saw it. Quoting from and answering yours, Hi Fly, only because it is the easiest to reply to and recent:

- A correction: pads can be specified, at least from some factories, in PRC. I haven't asked whether mine can do the pads I use myself for overhauls, but I have seen both some stock pads (Oves, some others), and of course the MyPads which can be ordered from many factories (some of these topics, like almost all topics, here, have the potential to be controversial for no reason, and have been). I'm 18 years doing this (overhauls, repair, custom craziness, you name it) and the MyPads are about the same as the best pads the majority of techs used before this site blew up Pisoni's premium lines (which only took about 15 years lol). The MyPads are, imo, in line with Prestini's old top pressed-felt line. HOWEVER, the comment on linkage materials is somewhat on point. Again, in that area there is variance from factory to factory, but linkage materials and installation are areas that are constantly evolving. I do not replace all the linkage materials on the Crescents, and to me -- just keeping it real -- they are and have been subpar at times. Again this varies factory to factory, and the same factory that makes Crescents today has shown improvement and attention to what's going on in the marketplace generally over time. They just aren't very good at it (i.e. at understanding the whole forrest, rather than just seeing some trees). That said, those subpar materials won't influence your experience, playing, unless you're made aware of them (a mental downside), or something happened in shipping or during servicing. Linkage materials can be too spongy, mounted askew, or in any number of inexplicable ways, but they will be functional when the horns arrive in the US to either you or the brand owner. A large part of what I do in set-up is to make things that could be an issue disappear as far as the player's experience. There are still imperfections and goofy things present in the assembly of the horn, they just do not affect your experience when playing.

That latter is a much lesser concern on Taiwan instruments. Taiwan factories "get it." They are not just manufacturing according to a mechanical scheme; they seem to understand something more overarching about saxophones, i.e. how people (both industry and lay) want things done, how they are used to having them done, and what the conventions and norms are, specific to saxophones. PRC factories are making very good saxophones now, but they are just manufacturing something without being devoted to the use of the item itself. This is GOOD for players, because if PRC factories had more specialized labor it would be higher paid labor, and while the end result would be saxophones more identical to Taiwan saxophones, they wouldn't necessarily be better to play (because some of that is personal preference) and those who would prefer to buy PRC would have to pay more. The difference is labor cost, but it is also factory culture and physical execution.

On that last count, it makes sense to validate one critique re differences between PRC and ROC. There absolutely *is* a difference in manufacturing approach, engineering tolerances, and overall execution -- you just might not be able to identify it by playing, if both horns were serviced properly ("optimally"). Taiwan is now engineering with tolerances about on the level of Selmer, pre 2005 or so. Most of the "Big 4" have become finer in engineering tolerances then, and in some ways modern Selmer is phenomenal in this respect. Some of the tubes and keys are so closely fitted and consistent, that when I work on them I remember and am struck by how well fitted they are each time. The Taiwan tenors I like are now on their old level, but not quite at the newer top level -- again I'm speaking just about the fineness of manufacturing tolerances, *not* about performance or how those tolerances affect the playing experience. PRC is still behind all of those in terms of manufacturing tolerances. A great deal more of assembly is hand-work done by human factory hands than is the case in ROC, Japan, or Europe. You can see this, visually, in working on them, but you will only think you feel it now because I've told you it's the case. I think the spring steel is a tiny bit better on ROC horns, and the engineering/design (e.g. where spring cradles are placed) is a little better (meaning more logical and practical) on ROC than PRC designs, but the difference that creates is smaller than the difference the tech who does the set-up engenders.

Long story short, and coming from someone who has done very detailed work on horns from both countries (including stripping down entire horns to bare bore, and remounting all the keys on a different horn), there is a difference in quality that could be called better or worse in terms of mechanical things, and ROC is ahead of PRC, still, by more than a little because to close the gap the manufacturing process in PRC probably has to change quite a bit to eliminate the role of human hand-work in assembly more completely. HOWEVER, that does not mean one person will like one horn better than the other, and it also does not mean the player can feel the differences I've described. In short, if you buy a PRC or ROC saxophone from a reputable dealer, you're going to end up with a good saxophone, and an hour or two of dedicated research can help you figure out which would likely suit you better.
Not to over-shadow you with too much praise, but THIS is the kind of content SOTW is all about.

- Saxaholic
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,912 Posts
...quick follow up only. Yes, the relatively broad statement of a negative/trust but REALLY verify nature would be only for Mainland China, not ROC. Yes, the band of variability in build quality as well as design is much smaller I would say, than mainland. No more, no less. But not exactly breaking new ground here are we ; )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
So, if I'm reading all the verbose double-talk correctly, and drilling down to the essence and roundabout answer to the initial question: of the two the Crescent is comparatively junk, and the Barone is the one to buy, correct?

But wasn't that answer pretty obvious from the start?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I can't say anything about Barone saxophones, I've never played one. But I have a Crescent and it is not junk. Comfortable ergonomics and a pleasing dark tone. Mine is about 5 years old. I got it to play when I travel so my more expensive saxes don't get damaged. I don't travel much so don't play it much, but when I do it fits the bill just fine.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
The used Crescent is worth $400-500. The used Barone is worth about $1100. This is assuming both are in great condition. Occasionally you might see a Barone sell for 1300. However they will sit here in the marketplace a long time. I've seen these two horns recommended so many times on this forum. I really don't get it. I guess if you have to buy a New horn, and like to loose half your money the moment you take delivery.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
19,000 Posts
If you want a Chinese-quality horn instead of Taiwanese, get a Cecilio set up well and save a few hundred.
Even if a tech sets up a Cecilio really well...it will NOT stay that way for long. :confused:

....Cecilio over a Crescent to save a few hundred bucks ????? You'd be shooting yourself in the foot.

IMHO if one wants a good chinese made horn, find a Buffet 100 or 400.

The used Crescent is worth $400-500. The used Barone is worth about $1100. This is assuming both are in great condition. Occasionally you might see a Barone sell for 1300. However they will sit here in the marketplace a long time. I've seen these two horns recommended so many times on this forum. I really don't get it. I guess if you have to buy a New horn, and like to loose half your money the moment you take delivery.
True, neither sell fast nor for decent market value on the used market....which is again, why, when folks have a limited budget it is recommended to go used....

BTW, I know this thread is old, but....a New Barone is currently around $2500...a new Crescent is around $900.

I am certain someone in this 5-pager has already mentioned this...but.....??????....I am puzzled as to why OP would have landed ona choice of these two....is it even fair to make an apples-to-apples comparison here ?

I understand that pricetags are certainly not the top yardstick...but would YOU expect a new $900 horn to out-perform a $2500 one ???

Would you expect a new $400 horn to outperform a new $900 one ???
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
19,000 Posts
Some good posts in this thread since I last saw it. Quoting from and answering yours, Hi Fly, only because it is the easiest to reply to and recent:

- A correction: pads can be specified, at least from some factories, in PRC. I haven't asked whether mine can do the pads I use myself for overhauls, but I have seen both some stock pads (Oves, some others), and of course the MyPads which can be ordered from many factories (some of these topics, like almost all topics, here, have the potential to be controversial for no reason, and have been). I'm 18 years doing this (overhauls, repair, custom craziness, you name it) and the MyPads are about the same as the best pads the majority of techs used before this site blew up Pisoni's premium lines (which only took about 15 years lol). The MyPads are, imo, in line with Prestini's old top pressed-felt line. HOWEVER, the comment on linkage materials is somewhat on point. Again, in that area there is variance from factory to factory, but linkage materials and installation are areas that are constantly evolving. I do not replace all the linkage materials on the Crescents, and to me -- just keeping it real -- they are and have been subpar at times. Again this varies factory to factory, and the same factory that makes Crescents today has shown improvement and attention to what's going on in the marketplace generally over time. They just aren't very good at it (i.e. at understanding the whole forrest, rather than just seeing some trees). That said, those subpar materials won't influence your experience, playing, unless you're made aware of them (a mental downside), or something happened in shipping or during servicing. Linkage materials can be too spongy, mounted askew, or in any number of inexplicable ways, but they will be functional when the horns arrive in the US to either you or the brand owner. A large part of what I do in set-up is to make things that could be an issue disappear as far as the player's experience. There are still imperfections and goofy things present in the assembly of the horn, they just do not affect your experience when playing.

That latter is a much lesser concern on Taiwan instruments. Taiwan factories "get it." They are not just manufacturing according to a mechanical scheme; they seem to understand something more overarching about saxophones, i.e. how people (both industry and lay) want things done, how they are used to having them done, and what the conventions and norms are, specific to saxophones. PRC factories are making very good saxophones now, but they are just manufacturing something without being devoted to the use of the item itself. This is GOOD for players, because if PRC factories had more specialized labor it would be higher paid labor, and while the end result would be saxophones more identical to Taiwan saxophones, they wouldn't necessarily be better to play (because some of that is personal preference) and those who would prefer to buy PRC would have to pay more. The difference is labor cost, but it is also factory culture and physical execution.

On that last count, it makes sense to validate one critique re differences between PRC and ROC. There absolutely *is* a difference in manufacturing approach, engineering tolerances, and overall execution -- you just might not be able to identify it by playing, if both horns were serviced properly ("optimally"). Taiwan is now engineering with tolerances about on the level of Selmer, pre 2005 or so. Most of the "Big 4" have become finer in engineering tolerances then, and in some ways modern Selmer is phenomenal in this respect. Some of the tubes and keys are so closely fitted and consistent, that when I work on them I remember and am struck by how well fitted they are each time. The Taiwan tenors I like are now on their old level, but not quite at the newer top level -- again I'm speaking just about the fineness of manufacturing tolerances, *not* about performance or how those tolerances affect the playing experience. PRC is still behind all of those in terms of manufacturing tolerances. A great deal more of assembly is hand-work done by human factory hands than is the case in ROC, Japan, or Europe. You can see this, visually, in working on them, but you will only think you feel it now because I've told you it's the case. I think the spring steel is a tiny bit better on ROC horns, and the engineering/design (e.g. where spring cradles are placed) is a little better (meaning more logical and practical) on ROC than PRC designs, but the difference that creates is smaller than the difference the tech who does the set-up engenders.

Long story short, and coming from someone who has done very detailed work on horns from both countries (including stripping down entire horns to bare bore, and remounting all the keys on a different horn), there is a difference in quality that could be called better or worse in terms of mechanical things, and ROC is ahead of PRC, still, by more than a little because to close the gap the manufacturing process in PRC probably has to change quite a bit to eliminate the role of human hand-work in assembly more completely. HOWEVER, that does not mean one person will like one horn better than the other, and it also does not mean the player can feel the differences I've described. In short, if you buy a PRC or ROC saxophone from a reputable dealer, you're going to end up with a good saxophone, and an hour or two of dedicated research can help you figure out which would likely suit you better.
I like this comment, overall...it provides a lotta useful insight into a subject which gets debated (rather speciously at times, IMHO) here all the time.

... except for ONE thing : Yes perhaps a player cannot FEEL or ascertain the differences between a horn of better precision and one of less....perhaps some of the mechanical differences, overall build/design quality differences, etc are not overtly noticeable....but is that really the point ?

No, it isn't.

The point is, over the long run...the horn of greater precision/build quality is very likely gonna be the better horn.

This Forum is littered with ephemeral:

"hey, I just bought a _________________ (insert uber-cheap asian model/brand here)...and I dunno what the big deal is ! This horn plays fine and it sounds good !" threads.....

They do neglect to take into account that a horn out of factory or the tech shop may well start off playing well. The test is how it fares over time. Ostensibly a sax built under greater quality control would perform over time better than one where factory standards and tolerances are not up to snuff.

If subsequent tech servicing over the years require more scope of work (or frequency of visits) to keep your horn in good playing shape, then the saving of several hundred buck$ at the outset of purchase means very little, really....
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,016 Posts
I've had a Crescent tenor and Taiwan horns but not a Barone. If you lose half on the Barone, that's more than the full price of a Crescent. Losing half on a Crescent is about what it will cost to rent for a year or two. I think that makes for a decent value in a new horn if you keep it for just a few years.

The used Crescent is worth $400-500. The used Barone is worth about $1100. This is assuming both are in great condition. Occasionally you might see a Barone sell for 1300. However they will sit here in the marketplace a long time. I've seen these two horns recommended so many times on this forum. I really don't get it. I guess if you have to buy a New horn, and like to loose half your money the moment you take delivery.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
267 Posts
I've had a Crescent tenor and Taiwan horns but not a Barone. If you lose half on the Barone, that's more than the full price of a Crescent. Losing half on a Crescent is about what it will cost to rent for a year or two. I think that makes for a decent value in a new horn if you keep it for just a few years.
This was exactly my thinking when I bought the Crescent. On the other hand I paid around $200 to have it properly set up after receiving and it has needed readjustment more often than I expected.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,030 Posts
This was exactly my thinking when I bought the Crescent. On the other hand I paid around $200 to have it properly set up after receiving and it has needed readjustment more often than I expected.
Just as someone above predicted would happen with a Cecilio. But your comment is from actual experience.

If you're going to buy a cheap horn, may as well buy cheap-cheap instead of expensive-cheap.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
13,188 Posts
I've played a Barone black tenor for 11 years now. I got it as a backup for my Martin Music Man but it quickly became the gig horn. I've gone back and forth between the Barone and the Martin since. The Martin has the better tone but the Barone is less clunky to play. Recently I had to have a new strap ring soldered onto the Barone because the strap ring broke off in the middle of a gig. Looking at the ring that broke, it appears that it corroded. I live literally right next to the ocean so everything corrodes, including my Martins (tenor, bari, alto), much to my despair. But that's the only problem I've had with the Barone in 11 years of gigging.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
I owned a Cresent and it was a good horn. I got it used. I have long said that you could buy the same horn on Ebay and then add some setup to it. I have had 7 different Taiwan horns at the same time. I haven't played the Barone, but own a neck. I will never be convinced that the Barone is anything special. People on this forum and Phil, will have you believe that there are some special stuff done that make it better than other Taiwan horns (if it really is). I have compared the photos of many examples. Its rather ordinary. The used Taiwan horn is the best value in saxophones. I really like Pmauriat, Eastman and Lasax Big Lip X.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,973 Posts
... based on zero experience with the Barone, right?

I did not expect the Barone to be so good. Not my *best* tenor. But very good.
You might want to try one. Could be a surprise in store.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,844 Posts
... based on zero experience with the Barone, right?

I did not expect the Barone to be so good. Not my *best* tenor. But very good.
You might want to try one. Could be a surprise in store.
I have never claimed it wasn't a good horn. However I can make some reasonable assumption based off my experience with other Taiwan horns, which is considerable.
 

·
Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2013-2016
Joined
·
7,892 Posts
I owned a Cresent and it was a good horn. I got it used. I have long said that you could buy the same horn on Ebay and then add some setup to it. I have had 7 different Taiwan horns at the same time. I haven't played the Barone, but own a neck. I will never be convinced that the Barone is anything special. People on this forum and Phil, will have you believe that there are some special stuff done that make it better than other Taiwan horns (if it really is). I have compared the photos of many examples. Its rather ordinary. The used Taiwan horn is the best value in saxophones. I really like Pmauriat, Eastman and Lasax Big Lip X.
To be fair, when he first started selling them, he posted a whole manifesto about how to buy a horn from Taiwan and his philosophy about them. I can't find it in the search right now though.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
81 - 100 of 103 Posts
Top