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I'm an LA transplant who is very sad to say he won't be going back down to Manny at the beloved Horn Connection anytime soon b/c of traveling logistics. But I got a serious jones to do some noodling with as many mpcs and vintage altos as I can get my hands on, but it'll have to be in Northern Cali. (I'm in Sac, but will travel to the Bay for good sax.)

I've perused the threads and found saxology, Bronstein Music, and hornucopia, but most of the n. cali talk here has been about repair people, not shops. Anyone got some other suggestions or favorite spots? (Special points to anyone who names a Sacramento shop!)
 

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There's A&G Music/Best Instrument Repair on 14th St. Note that Best Music (on Broadway) is NOT related to A&G/Best Repair, nor is it related to House of Woodwinds in San Ramon. A&G Music, House of Woodwinds, and Union Music (in San Francisco) are all owned by the same folks.

A&G does have a wall of saxes. These are mostly Selmers with the occasional Conn and a few new ones thrown in. Probably not as many as you'd find at Hornucopia. The other thing is I don't think that A&G allows you to try out mouthpieces before you buy. I may be mistaken, though.
 

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Sax shops in N. Calif

A great repair shop in N. Calif is the Horn Shop in Fresno! They are a full service shop-brass and woodwind. Tech Bob Suauffer could make a garden hose play well! Harry does the brass instruments- welding, brazing, soldering etc and Bod is the woodwind expert. They also are dealers for all the Steinway-brands-as well as Cannonball, Keilworth and others.
 

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Union Music in San Francisco always has horns, nice people.
Lee @ Lee's Sax Worx in SF is mainly repair, but he always has a few used horns.
He's got a Kouf alto there now with a huge sound.
Ditto on a Conn tenor.

Jey Clark @ saxology just passed away so I don't know if they've re-opened. Big loss or the community.
Another local repairman in Oakland Steve Deutsch has horns sometimes.
(looking for an SBA alto?)
 

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Saxology in business

Lenny said:
Jey Clark @ saxology just passed away so I don't know if they've re-opened. Big loss or the community.
Indeed, he will be missed.

Eric Drake is still running the repair end at Saxology. He did a fabulous job on my Buescher True Tone (subsequently stolen :x ), and I just got a nice mouthpiece from him.

mz
 

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BTW, Best Music on Broadway has at least as many horns new & used ( Pro & intermediate) as A&G/Best Instrument rRpair. Why they've both got the same name puzzles me.
09-07-2005 04:33 AM "]

Because Best Music used to be part of Best Instrument Repair and in the same location as A&G Music/Best Repair on 14th St. in Oakland, then Best Music moved to Broadway St. and took the name with them. A&G stands for
(Dick) Akright (Brass) and (Bob) Gross (woodwinds) the owners and repair guys there. Steve Deutsch used to work there. It's an excellent shop.salute:
 

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Welcome to Suckramento!

I've gone through the same dilemma here... I didn't look closely, but when I was at Tim's band instrument repair shop on Arden Way, I recall seeing a wall of saxes. Don't know trial policies, and I've never had any work done there (took a lesson there), but since it's in your 'hood, you might want to look them up.

BTW, if you are looking for sheet music, Aebersold / Leonard books, or for a decent tech, I've had good experiences with the folks at Kline Music over on Sutterville. They don't carry any vintage stuff, but their repair guy, Tom, did a good job on my Buescher 400 bari for a great price, and seems to know his old horns pretty well.

Of the Bay Area shops people have mentioned, I've only been to Union Music (I think it's on Bush, right off of Van Ness). Really friendly folks... they usually have a dozen or so horns on consignment there, with typically a couple vintage ones. They don't carry vintage mouthpieces, but have a decent selection of new ones and are very accommodating at letting you test them out, with no sales pressure. I've been known to show up there, buy a reed, and play their horns and mouthpieces for an hour or two, and walk away with them giving me a smiling wave good-bye. (of course, I don't make it a habit... would probably **** ANY shop owner off if you did so). Their prices are average, maybe a bit high... but I'd give them my business just because they are a small, friendly shop. But that's just me.

Pete
 

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Tim's is the best in this area

Welcome to Sacramento (suckramento)
Tim retired in May. The store was bought by Scott Mandeville who knows how to make your saxophone play like no other. His work is the best I've ever seen, and he is a great guy too. You should see his restoration work as well. Scott is a top notch artist not just a sax mechanic (their is a difference) I don't know about the techs in the bay area, but in Sacramento, Scott at Tim's is the best I've ever seen.

Soprano: yanagisawa sc-901
Tenor: Cannonball big bell global
 

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nathan61 said:
best music in oakland
I just bought a sax there yesterday, a yamaha 82z matte finish, they not only helped out tremendously when I was selecting horns, they lowered the price when I finally chose one (the matte 82z), down the about the same price as an 82z unlacquered/silver plated/black lacquer. Not only did they not try the whole "this sax is amazing by reputation, you should get it" line, or a variation thereof, the guy who helped me (Jorge), was extremely helpful, gave me another ear to listen to the horns, and he even said that the selmer ref 54's were not worth the money, in his opinion. Talk about honesty. Another thing that is worthwhile mentioning is that they don't get paid a commission for each sax they sell. They offered to let me take two horns home for a few days to compare them, and have them played/listened to by my private instructor, and then let me come back and make my choice, if I ended up wanting them.

Another thing is that they have a bunch of obscure instruments, if you are interested in searching for them (I saw a toragato, or however you spell it), a bass flute, and others, which I either can't remember the name of, or don't know the name of.
 

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Congrats on your purchase!

To follow up on my earlier post about techs in Sacramento, based on the recommendations in this thread I went over to see Scott Manderville at Tim's. Scott is a GREAT guy, and really knows his stuff. I ended up buying a MkVI from him, and having some work done by him (dent work actually - he did a ridiculously good job on a difficult project, a bent bell lip on a Buescher TH&C, with the double-ring lip). It wasn't busy when I was there, and he and I chatted quite a bit.

I have total confidence in his work, and will be taking work to him in the future. I may still get some things done over at Kline's, as the tech there does solid work for a very good price, but for things like mech resto and setup, I'll surely go to Scott.

Pete
 

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I've also been to Union Music in San Francisco and found them to be extremely friendly and helpful. I tried a bunch of mouthpieces there, no problems. Also, I talked Larry at House of Woodwinds in San Ramon, and he said that because House of Woodwinds/A&G/Union Music are all affiliated, if you are interested in trying out horns, you can call ahead and let them know what you are looking for, and they will ship instruments from the other stores to the location of your choice.
 

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For my money -- Best Music is the place to go for all of the reasons already posted. In fact, I pretty much agree with all of the postings made on this thread -- except Horniacopia.

I was very disappointed by the person working the store there -- I went with my wife and we both left the place pretty much creeped out by the treatment I received. Creeped out was not an exxageration.
 

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Outstanding mouthpiece work

http://www.saxcraft.com/
Eric Drake knows what he is doing with mouthpieces. He has an impressive inventory, and is a smart guy who is easy to deal with. He did an outstanding job on 3 of my mouthpieces. I made the mistake of trying out about 8 alto mouthpieces in his inventory. All were playable, many were outstanding. So, he smoothly used the "puppy close" on me and said I could take the one I particularly liked on trial. Of course I'll end up keeping it. It practically plays itself.
 
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