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Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting back into playing after about a 7-8 year hiatus. I'm primarily a bass and guitar player but doubled on saxophone in my mid-20s (though not phenomenally). I sold my Kessler Custom Standard Series tenor sax about 8 years ago due to lack of space and needing to pay rent/deposits. Now that I'm in a much more stable financial place and have the room for it, I plan on taking up tenor sax again for good.

I picked up an Antigua Winds student tenor for about $100 that, after having into a few shops to inquire about setup, will cost me $300-$500 to get into borderline playable condition. Since the horn was probably worth less than $1000 new and is likely worth less than $500 in perfectly working condition it's not worth the cost of repair, so it's time to start shopping for something else.

I can get a used horn but I'm hesitant to go vintage because I may be looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars for an overhaul on top of an already pricey horn. I had the Kessler with the OL7 mouthpiece that they offer (.100 tip opening with a bore modeled after Florida Links) but I was never 100% happy with it. I've considered purchasing what I had before for about $1300 but I know I'd want to upgrade within a few years. I've also considered purchasing another student level saxophone for that price range or renting a student sax but I know I'd have similar misgivings.

I've recently stopped into a few local music stores to try out some saxophones and I've found two that I really like in a reasonable price range. The one I'm leaning towards is a Cannonball Big Bell Stone series tenor for about $3000 and the other is an Accent tenor for $2500. I've tried a Yamaha YTS-82z and a YTS-62iii for $4800 and $3500, respectively and so far my preference goes 82z > Cannonball > 62 > Accent. I don't think I'm comfortable paying more than $4000 for an instrument since I'm playing for myself and never plan to do more than dabble, but I'm also hesitant to spend $3500 on the 62 when I like the more affordable Cannonball better, even though I see a lot of warnings about resale value here and on other forums.

The store offers a rent-to-own program where I'd rent the horn for 1/36 of the total price per month then pay the balance after 6 months to 2 years of renting, so I think I've narrowed down my options to buying the Kessler now and saving up for either the Cannonball or a different used sax a few years down the line or buying the Cannonball now under the rent-to-own program. The Cannonball seemed more comfortable and fun to play than my Kessler ever did but that may have just been because of the excitement of something new in the store. I'm wondering if anyone can provide any insight into the decision.

Sorry for the long post but thank you for any responses offered:
TL;DR Should I buy an entry level horn now with the understanding that I'll replace it in 2-3 years and likely take about a $600 loss on the price or buy the horn that I really want now and hope that it'll stay what I want in the long term?
 

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Based on your wants, I’d suggest buying the nicest used pro tenor your money can buy. When shopping used, $4k will buy a modern Selmer Paris, Yamha, or Yani.

Not 5hat there’s anything wrong with the Cannonball, but you did mention resale. Buying used takes the pain out of resale....
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Buying used would significantly limit my spending power because I don't want to drain my savings account too much. I'd probably be able to spend about $2000 used where I can justify spending the $3000 on the Cannonball since it's essentially financed at 0% interest. There aren't a ton of shops nearby that sell used and I'm not comfortable buying something without playing it. I do know that I've disliked nearly every Yamaha that I've ever played on, with the exception of the 82z that I played recently and one that I played years ago. They all tend to feel stuffy and sound sterile to me. I'm not really worried about resale since I plan on playing for years to come and hope to choose a sax that will stay with me for those years.
 

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If you've got $2500-3000 to spend, you should have numerous options for a really, really good used tenor. Quality used Yamahas, Yanis, Martins, Conns all can be had for less than $2500... get out there and see what you like. Definitely don't settle for $3k Cannonball before doing some shopping around.
 

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Buying new, even with a zero percent interest or whatever, is not a good use of one's money.

If you are set on getting a modern horn, look closely at a used Selmer series III. I found it to have a more pleasing tone than any Yamaha or Taiwanese horn such as Cannonball. They can be had in excellent playing condition for less than 4000.00 quite often, and unless you just absolutely abuse it you won't lose more than 800.00 at the absolute top should you decide to sell it in the future. Your total cost of ownership will be much less than any of the horns you mentioned, and it may well be more enjoyable to play. In fact, QuinntheEskimo,(located in Woodenville, WA), has a very good reputation as a dealer and has one that looks brand new on Ebay for 4k right now. He offers a 30 return period so you can be sure it the horn for you.

Don't rule out vintage horns that come from reputable dealers- they can be terrific players are every bit as good and usually require no more maintenance than a modern horn.
 

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I'll echo the recommendations for a used Yamaha or Yanagisawa. The 82z is my favorite modern saxophone and I've been playing one for ten years. It's seen many hundreds of gigs and recording sessions, and I never regret selling my old Mark VI for it! So it doesn't surprise me that the Z was your favorite of the bunch. They're some of the finest instruments ever made.

I absolutely love Yanagisawas too, though, and they've never made a horn that couldn't be used in a very pro setting. So even if you see one for around $2k or less, as long as it's in good condition and properly set up it'll be some of the most horn for dollar on the planet.
 

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I was in a similar spot recently (i.e., getting back into the tenor after a lengthy layoff). I'd never gone the vintage route before and actually had my mind set on a SX90R Keilwerth ... After playing and researching for a while, I surprised myself and ended up with a much less expensive and even more importantly, great Buescher Big B. In fact, I was so pleasantly surprised by the horn I have since picked up a Buescher 156 (basically a later Big B with different engraving) and a The Martin. I only chime in bc what I thought I wanted and what I ended up getting ended up being totally different. I initially started with a similar budget for the first horn and ended up well under that and very happy with the decision.

I just wanted to second what MLucky said ... Lots of great options at that budget and in addition to the names he listed, I'd throw in the Buescher. To Claxton's point on the vintage route ... I was initially hesitant due to the erg issue sometimes associated with vintage horns. For what it's worth I personally have found it to be a relative non-issue.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just wanted to second what MLucky said ... Lots of great options at that budget and in addition to the names he listed, I'd throw in the Buescher. To Claxton's point on the vintage route ... I was initially hesitant due to the erg issue sometimes associated with vintage horns. For what it's worth I personally have found it to be a relative non-issue.
I think, after reading the replies here and on other forums, I'm going to rent an intermediate horn for at least a few months and keep putting money in the piggy bank while playing as many as I can to see if I can find the one that speaks to me.
 

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You might want to look at used P.Mauriat pmxt-66 and system 76. They are great horns and you can get used ones for a steal. They play very well I currently prefer a Mauriat 66 to my 5 digit mk vi they are great sounding horns.
 

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I do not suggest renting. I did that, for my kids, and it was a waste of money in the end and the horns were junky.

Then I bought YAS-23 for each. Great intro or interim horn. That’s what I started on, years after they were gone.

Kept my eye on the FS threads here and elsewhere, Craigslist etc., and buying a few here and there was able to work my way up to what I wanted through relatively brief exploration. There are some really good deals on some great horns here.

You don’t have to go big right at once. My advice would be to buy a decent used horn here, or elsewhere, instead of renting and use that while seeking “the one.” Once you’ve got it, you can sell that decent used horn at close to what you paid, in most cases, so long as you didn’t damage it

There may be a number of interim horns along the way. All the more fun.
 

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I would buy a Barone. They are great horns and they won't break the bank.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I do not suggest renting. I did that, for my kids, and it was a waste of money in the end and the horns were junky.

Then I bought YAS-23 for each. Great intro or interim horn. That’s what I started on, years after they were gone.

Kept my eye on the FS threads here and elsewhere, Craigslist etc., and buying a few here and there was able to work my way up to what I wanted through relatively brief exploration. There are some really good deals on some great horns here.

You don’t have to go big right at once. My advice would be to buy a decent used horn here, or elsewhere, instead of renting and use that while seeking “the one.” Once you’ve got it, you can sell that decent used horn at close to what you paid, in most cases, so long as you didn’t damage it

There may be a number of interim horns along the way. All the more fun.
If I rent it will be either a YTS-23 or a YTS-200AD in like-new condition and will run me around $50 a month. Since I don't have a horn to play right now I think it's worth my time to spend the $150-$300 to rent a horn for 3-6 months while I save up for The One. I'd rather spend that on a horn that I know will be in playable condition than to spend close to $1000 on a horn that might still require that $200-300 to get set up and adjusted right off the bat. I'm not a good enough player to know firsthand what red flags to look for in a used horn aside from dead notes, obvious leaks and severely poor action, so it's possible I could burn myself on that front if I rush to purchase something just for the sake of having a horn in my hands.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
lostcircuits,

Is there a significant difference between the Big Bell Stone series and the Global Series? I'm not familiar as Cannonball have only just recently come onto my radar.

GHawk,

I've had other suggestions for either a Phil Barone or a P. Mauriat for the best bang for my buck. I'm really tempted by the Barone but hesitant to purchase a sax that I can't physically play before I pull the trigger.
 

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lostcircuits,

Is there a significant difference between the Big Bell Stone series and the Global Series? I'm not familiar as Cannonball have only just recently come onto my radar.

GHawk,

I've had other suggestions for either a Phil Barone or a P. Mauriat for the best bang for my buck. I'm really tempted by the Barone but hesitant to purchase a sax that I can't physically play before I pull the trigger.
Honestly, I don't know the difference between the Global and the Stone series. You are a bit too far away for a quick drive-by otherwise I would be more than happy to have you over and try the horn but if you have any plans to visit Colorado in the near future, just let me know.

I have never played a Barone horn but I have heard only the best about them. Regarding Mauriat, you may want to check out the thread about them on this forum.
 

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If I rent it will be either a YTS-23 or a YTS-200AD in like-new condition and will run me around $50 a month. Since I don't have a horn to play right now I think it's worth my time to spend the $150-$300 to rent a horn for 3-6 months while I save up for The One. I'd rather spend that on a horn that I know will be in playable condition than to spend close to $1000 on a horn that might still require that $200-300 to get set up and adjusted right off the bat. I'm not a good enough player to know firsthand what red flags to look for in a used horn aside from dead notes, obvious leaks and severely poor action, so it's possible I could burn myself on that front if I rush to purchase something just for the sake of having a horn in my hands.

I’m impressed. It’s hard not to go for the instant gratification of “free financing”. I also know they can’t write those deals on used goods. Your idea to rent is a good one.

I did something similar when I decided to get serious about playing the tenor. The local music store rented me a nice Bundy II. A few months later, I realized I’d never been sent a bill so I drove on over to make my payment and figure out why I wasn’t getting billed....

The place was shuttered. No contact info on the door. Nothing. 10 years later I upgraded to a “pro” tenor. 10 years after that I gave the Bundy to a needy young person.
 

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Buy a quality used horn. Renting is a waste of money and some of the new horns you're considering will lose much of their value should you give up playing once more. Also, I've had horns that were eighty years old and in unplayable condition restored to near new for under four hundred bucks. Anyone charging a grand or more for an overhaul is ripping you off. Shop around.
 

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I'm getting back into playing after about a 7-8 year hiatus. I'm primarily a bass and guitar player but doubled on saxophone in my mid-20s (though not phenomenally). I sold my Kessler Custom Standard Series tenor sax about 8 years ago due to lack of space and needing to pay rent/deposits. Now that I'm in a much more stable financial place and have the room for it, I plan on taking up tenor sax again for good.

I picked up an Antigua Winds student tenor for about $100 that, after having into a few shops to inquire about setup, will cost me $300-$500 to get into borderline playable condition. Since the horn was probably worth less than $1000 new and is likely worth less than $500 in perfectly working condition it's not worth the cost of repair, so it's time to start shopping for something else.

I can get a used horn but I'm hesitant to go vintage because I may be looking at hundreds or thousands of dollars for an overhaul on top of an already pricey horn.
Why ?

What has led you to that sort of conclusion ?

Why are you equating Vintage Horn with "Will need a complete Overhaul"

??

Just curious.

Because if you have a decent budget for a Tenor, then you can certainly find a Vintage Tenor which is already in good playing shape and one which the seller is willing to stand behind with a return policy.

Just saying. You seem to have gone from Point A to Point C whilst drawing some conclusions at Point B which are arguable at best.

I I'd rather spend that on a horn that I know will be in playable condition than to spend close to $1000 on a horn that might still require that $200-300 to get set up and adjusted right off the bat.
Then how about spending $1000 on a horn which is, again, guaranteed by the seller to be playing well and set up well right off the bat ?

Again here, you are making some assumptions about used horns which are certainly not written in stone.

There aren't a ton of shops nearby that sell used and I'm not comfortable buying something without playing it.
I am a bit confused by this. You are in Seattle. Portland is a 2.5 hour drive away. Bellingham is 90 minutes away. Craigslist right now shows an S20, Two Martin Indianas, a C'Ball Vintage Reborn, a Martin Comm III, a Conn PanAm, and a Yani-made Martin stencil (maybe a T6 ?).... all currently listed and in your price range.....

....and that's just the 'lazy man's search'....no calling around to music shops, no inquiring with techs who may be selling or may know of certain shops which sell....
 
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