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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I went to a Music store yesterday that sells/buys/trades instruments. I saw a used silver Antigua Tenor sax with gold (lacquer) keys. It has a high F# key, so I was thinking at least an intermediate model (many basic models don't offer this key.) It actually played pretty nice. The only thing is, I don't know what model it is or how old it is. I should have taken a pic of it to post or asked the salesman what the owner said the age of the sax was. Years ago, when I first started seeing Antigua instruments, I thought they were cheaply made (Chinese maybe?) student grade instruments. I never really took the brand seriously. Apparently though, these are pretty good horns made in Taiwan. Not sure if they improved over the years or if I was just originally mistaken. Anyhow, the tenor had a somewhat dark, warm sound. It was in really good shape (just a couple very minor scratches and an almost imperceptible ding on the bell. They are asking $1200 for the tenor. However, it's hard to determine if this is a fair price if I don't know the model or the year. I guess I could try and copy down the serial number (hard to see, but it's there) next time I go to the store. Does anyone have any idea what model this horn could be or if it seems like a good deal or if there are any questions I could ask the salesman at the store? The good thing is, I can trade some instruments I'm not currently using for this tenor. Would save me the hassle of trying to sell them.
 

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http://www.kesslermusic.com/html/antiguawinds.htm
New Antigua Tenor's start around $1600 at Kessler. I don't know what used Antigua tenors normally go for. Without knowing the serial numbers, or model number, or seeing pictures...it's hard to tell what you're looking at.

I had an Antigua soprano, and while it was a very good copy of a Yanagisawa...it just didn't quite have the same feel, or sound as the Yanagisawa. Great horn though, tremendous value!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I called the store. The serial number on the back of the horn is 1 (possibly T, for tenor) 7011224. I'll see if I can find any info. found one with a slightly higher number from 2003, so maybe around that year, not sure. Kind of worries me that they don't have much info. It plays well, but want to make sure I'm getting a fair price.
 

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Ive had a couple of antigua tenors and altos along the way and they played nicely enough. Tenor and Alto seem to be decent copies of Selmer SA80s, the Sopranos are Yanagasawa copies. Intermediate is about right, but solidly made and decent sounding.

Silver plate would indicate that it was a top of the Antigua range model. For alto that used to be a AS3220 / A520SP and for tenor TS3220 / T550SP, but these have been superseded in recent times by big bell models in the Antigua range I think. The marketing department there likes to occasionaly renumber the horns in the range to keep people on their toes.

The ones I had were nice enough horns, but then I never paid more than $500 for one used (Thats maybe 10 years or more ago now though... IIRC I paid $250 for an alto and $400 for a tenor!) For $1200 there are probably better horns out there, but the one near you does have the positive advantage that you can play it and decide that you like it in person before dropping your money to own it.

Personally I wouldnt get too hung up on the silver plate finish, the regular lacquer horns are likely just as good to play, will cost significantly less, and probably be a lot easier to keep clean in the long term. I changed from Antigua 520/550 alto / tenor pair to a pair of B&S horns that are in that $1000-2000 range and I have not really thought about the antiguas since. Having said that I do still keep a beat up old Antigua tenor to use on a band float in the Santa parades to spare my regular horn the scars and bruises of playing in that environment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I've scoured the internet and have great difficulty finding a decent horn (even a used one) for under a grand. I could go to e-bay, but I would never try a horn unless there was a return policy. I'm just not a risk taker.
 

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Lacquered brass Antigua tenors have sold on eBay for $335-$550. These are the completed prices. There are lots more that high asking prices, over $1000, that did not sell. I wouldn't pay more than $600 for that horn.
 

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If you're looking for a used tenor and have $1200 to spend, there are MANY better horns (both modern and vintage) that can be had -- like a used Yamaha YTS-61 or 62, a Yanaigisawa T-800 stencil, Buescher 156 etc....it's a long list.

Unless you own and play mulitple saxes...
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
It isn't lacquered brass, it's silver. I'm not buying a horn on e-bay if I can't return it. No guarantee I'll like it or if the description is accurate.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ha, I challenge you to find me a used Yamaha YTS-62 or Used Yani for $1200. Actually, I'm sure it can be done, I just can't find one. e-bay maybe, but that can be risky.
 

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I've scoured the internet and have great difficulty finding a decent horn (even a used one) for under a grand. I could go to e-bay, but I would never try a horn unless there was a return policy. I'm just not a risk taker.
All sorts of great vintage horns out there for <$1000, not to mention the crowd of good tiawanese made modern used horns (Antigua, Jupiter etc) Even many of the chinese horns now have a decent rep (Bauhaus Walstein etc). The market place here is as good a place as any to start, although ebay has worked for me in the past.

While I agree that its certainly best to play a horn first if you can, sometimes thats not an option (depending where you live local options may be very limited). Its not really a risk to buy used, you buy, if you dont like it you sell it on for what you have into it. Main thing is to avoid anything thats going to need a total pad job or anything that just seems "off" in some way. All it costs is shipping fees and some commission to flip a horn. Occasionally Ive made money on a horn, but thats not been my aim. What it costs is a fraction of what you potentially stand to save. Its worked for me anyway.

Maybe its just the realization that as a weekend warrior with no pretensions to be a top player I know that a 5 digit MkVI or whatever wont make me sound substantially better than what I have. If I was in the market for a real top of the line horn then a play test, or at a minimum a good return policy is a definite requirement, but in the waters I sail I was happy enough to take a chance without playing, and Ive no regrets. Having stumbled on the excellent horns I have now Ive not seen or played anything since that has tempted me to change. No GAS is definitely a good thing:)

Maybe your best bet is to try and talk the local store down to a more realistic price based on market research?
 

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If you are fixed on a modern big 4 horn of course you will struggle to find anything under a grand.

The real value is in horns slightly off the main path. YTS52 is a great horn, often found for way less than a 62. The US Selmer Omegas are another great horn thats under appreciated. Yani made stencil horns for Whitehall for years and they often pass under the radar. Then there are defunct brands like B&S and Grassi. Or there are a ton of quality vintage horns to chose from, as well as the modern Selmer knockoffs from Antigua, Jupiter, Cannonball etc.

Dont give up hope yet;)
 

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It isn't lacquered brass, it's silver. I'm not buying a horn on e-bay if I can't return it. No guarantee I'll like it or if the description is accurate.
Its silver plate. Still just brass underneath. If you like the look of silver thats great, but personally I wouldnt pay extra for it. The only significance in this case is that silver plate was not an option on the entry level horns, so it helps to identify this horn as a 550 or equivalent.

Just as a FYI.. if you can return a horn on ebay, I suspect that you will be out of pocket for the shipping costs anyway. Personally Ive had no problems buying via ebay over the years, the one deal of many where a mouthpiece went missing I was reimbursed, so no harm. The vast majority of sellers are great.
 

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I've had an Antigua tenor and 2 different sopranos. They are good instruments. The sopranos are very good for the price tag, the tenor was less exciting for me, but it was good and we're all different. At $1200 I too feel that sax is overpriced by 25% if it is near mint and will be adjusted to your specs with some kind of short/moderate adjustment warrantee.
If the shop scoffs at that (They have a building to keep open and employees to pay, etc.), I like Vito (France and Japan) models for an Intermediate sax. You're dealing with saxes made by great sax companies at great prices. There are a good number of very good sellers here that can get you into a GREAT saxophone for $1200 USD. Conn 10Ms, Martins, Bueschers, Kings from the 40's and 50's are everywhere and have more modern keywork.
What you need will always really be what you want for a hobby. If you need a high f#, then get one. Just because a sax doesn't have the F# does NOT make it an entry level horn. If fact, the $7,000 Selmer Reference 36 is an amazing modern example of a sax without the f#. Many top players prefer a sax without the F#, but again, we're all different.
Good luck in your search! It is fun to hunt for the next great sax for you. Have patience and wait for the right one to find you. It always happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Any thoughts on a Prestini Tenor? I found a Music Store that will sell a used one for about $500. Have to check the model though. I don't know much about Prestini, but saw some posts here of people who like them. The shop with the Antigua Winds tenor also has a used Vito Sax. It has a brighter sound and the ergos don't feel as comfortable and no high F#, but it's cheaper. I guess about $800 or something like that. Also didn't seem to respond as well in the low register, but possible this could be fixed.
 

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Prestini have a decent reputation for making pads. IIRC the prestini tenor is one of many so so chinese horns, but one this it trying to stand out via the name recognition and (presumably.. hopefully anyway) decent OEM pads.

One thing I dont really like is the "USA" labeling for something that is not really made in the USA... Same knock against mauriat "paris" taiwan made saxes I guess.

Prestini advertise a range of horns, so whether its worth $500 probably depends which end of the product line its from. Rationally for $500 for a tenor, if you like the way it plays (in tune?) and its in decent shape and comes with any sort of warranty you cant really go too far wrong. The antigua is probably still likely the better horn, but $700 buys a lot of lessons (or mouthpieces :) )
 

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Many of the modern Vitos were made by Yamaha...If it has "Made in Japan" on it, that would be a really good horn. I haven't heard anything good about Prestini. You might get more information if you post your question outside the Antigua forum -- like in the Misc Sax discussion or What to Buy threads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
The Prestini is the Classic tenor, which I guess is the better tenor. I will see if the Vito has Made in Japan stamped on it and if the repairman can take a look at it to see if it needs adjustments. To be honest, I wasn't really looking for a silver plate tenor, it's just that this one happened to be at the shop and it played well. I may as well try the Prestini just to see, can't hurt. It may be fine for my purposes. I have a student Selmer right now that I got cheap years ago, but I'm not really happy with the ergos and no matter what I do, I just can't get the low notes to respond as well as some other horns I tried. There are no leaks, I took it to a competent repairman. May be just the way it is.
 

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I have bought about 10 or 12 horns off of ebay over the last 10 years, and only one was truly garbage (for the $75 I paid.) Generally they need $75 - $300 in work to get them in top shape, though 3 or 4 were just fine as arrived. One had some damage that was arguably misrepresented, and after some discussion the seller gave me a partial rebate. I have resold a few to students, flipped a few, and kept the rest. I ask a lot of questions, occasionally even get a phone number and chat. Not all sellers are scammers and/or idiots, and I've found that the "ebay risk" factors into the price. I actually tend to trust the pawnbrokers and indy music shops more than the "I'm-not-a-musician" sellers. Players selling their extra horns usually are very forthcoming with all manner of information. So it's part luck and part putting in the time. Net-net, ebay has been pretty good to me.

For a while I had the Jupiter equivalent of the silver-with-brass-keys Taiwanese tenors. Played beautifully, but never quite got the voice I wanted from it so sold it here on SOTW. They can be a bugger to keep looking good, though. Which reminds me, do you shop here on SOTW? Lots of really good folks here, and easy to verify reputations. Keep us posted here on what you come up with.
 

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Lacquered brass Antigua tenors have sold on eBay for $335-$550. These are the completed prices. There are lots more that high asking prices, over $1000, that did not sell. I wouldn't pay more than $600 for that horn.
+1 - Maybe, just maybe up to $800... if I could get my hands on it and blow it first hand and it sounded an extra two bills worth...

Otherwise, given that budget, you can get a brand new Kessler Custom Deluxe for that $$$$ and probably get a better horn in the process. Or, as has already been recommended, a good vintage or stencil can be found in that price range. Good luck!

If buying online is even a hint of an option, you'd do well to give Kessler and Sons a call, talk to Dave or Chuck and they could help you sort out your options. Who knows, they may even have a used Antigua in stock and if so, you'd be assured of excellent packing and a well setup instrument.

In the interest of transparency, Dave Kessler talked me out of either a Unison or Antigua back in 2007 in lieu of a custom Deluxe tenor. I traveled across country and played great out of the box and ever since then with only two trips to the tech for adjustments.
 

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I like most of the Antigua saxes, especially for the money. Somebody pointed out that Antigua's logo changed a few years ago. I can't remember the details but the saxes made after the logo change were supposed to be better. The Antigua soprano i owned was the newer logo and it was excellent. Also Sheryl, almost all the newer saxes have high F# key. So it is not unusual as it was years ago.
 
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