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Discussion Starter #1
I'm 47 and I've worked up the courage to actually take lessons to play tenor. I love the "breathy" tones of Ben Webster. I own 5 saxophones(1 soprano, 3 altos, 1 tenor) that I had evaluated by a classical sax player and he basically told me I had a pile of junk.

My tenor is a Cleveland King 615 and I was told by the local repair man that it wasn't anything special and that he could get it to "playing condition" for about $350. In the meantime, there is a Selmer Bundy II(serial #748872) that may need to be set up, but is priced on Ebay at $250, shipping and case included.

What's my better choice? Invest in the Cleveland King or invest in the Bundy II? My desire to blow like Ben Webster aside, I'd like to have one great horn and maybe a potentially average one.
 

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Playing like Ben is mostly about concept. If you listen to Ben and players of his type, you'll start to "think" in that style. Getting that type of sound and articulation is achieved by years of saxophone practice. If you can make your horn do anything, you'll have no problem sounding like Ben Webster. You'll also discover your own sound and style along the way.

As far as horns are concerned, you needn't find a #25k Balanced Action, but I would get something better than the student King or Bundy. You want a horn with an effortless sub-tone down to low Bb and it's just not worth putting a great overhaul into any of those axes. A modern pro-horn will be the most cost-effective route. If you've got $2k to spend, you could get into a vintage SML, Conn or Martin or 20-year-old Yanagisawa, Yamaha or Couf. Some of the newer horns from Phil Barone get good reviews and are not expensive.
 

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Exactly.

Although Ben Webster could have used a Cleveland or Bundy and still sounded like Ben Webster, you probably need all the help you can get.

My advice is not to get/use neither of those but a decent modern Asian saxophone, there are now so many to choose from.

My preference at the moment are the horns from Bauhaus Walstein, unbelieveable quality and totally capable of a gorgeous big classic smoky sound with a very big bottom end.

Or you could get lucky with a vintage quality horn purchase as BarrySachs says, but unless you are confident to try before you buy, it's a risk and will still likely cost more than a good modern Asian horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
So I should wait until I can round up $2k. Got it. In the meantime, I'm a bit of a scavenger, so is there a resource that lists the current value of popular tenors so that when I run across one in a pawn shop or Ebay or Craigslist I can know I'm making a good purchase or should I stick with informed sellers, i.e., music stores, dealers, musicians?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the link! This tenor is well within my price range. So what's the tonal difference, if any, between the bronze and the lacquer finish?

You don't need $2K for a horn if you want to buy a good Taiwanese horn. Pete suggests the Bauhaus Walstein. They are very good. You can buy a BW tenor from the UK for under $1K, and their shipping is very inexpensive, and the horns are well set up. Here is a link:

http://www.woodwindandbrass.co.uk/acatalog/yanagisawa_tenor_saxophone_selmer_tenor_saxophone.html
 

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Thanks for the link! This tenor is well within my price range. So what's the tonal difference, if any, between the bronze and the lacquer finish?
Uh... the lacquer sounds more Ben Websterish....
 

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Thanks for the link! This tenor is well within my price range. So what's the tonal difference, if any, between the bronze and the lacquer finish?
None whatsoever!!! Unless you want to open a huge can of worms. :argue:
 

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Thanks for the link! This tenor is well within my price range. So what's the tonal difference, if any, between the bronze and the lacquer finish?
None, really. You'll get a much bigger tonal difference from the mouthpiece/reed set up and from you, yourself. The "saxophone finish" debate continues, but it is generally agreed that the finish contributes less to the tone of a horn than other factors. Don't worry about that - just buy the one that you like.
 

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While I haven't tried the BW horns, it seems to be a good deal. These get good reviews. Besides, you will have some money left for a decent mouthpiece, and most importantly, some more Ben Webster cd's.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
. If you've got $2k to spend, you could get into a vintage SML, Conn or Martin or 20-year-old Yanagisawa, Yamaha or Couf. Some of the newer horns from Phil Barone get good reviews and are not expensive.
Okay, so the BW recommended is a beautiful horn for the price and I'm ordering one soon, but the scavenger in me has me looking under rocks trying to find an unbelievable deal on a vintage horn. I have this desire to get something or a better price than anyone else. What can I say, it's a sickness....
Anyway, I've come across a "Martin" tenor that seems to be in great shape for $500 and I am awaiting a reply to a request for more info. Is there a particular model I should seek or are all Martins good? Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
 

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Okay, so the BW recommended is a beautiful horn for the price and I'm ordering one soon, but the scavenger in me has me looking under rocks trying to find an unbelievable deal on a vintage horn. I have this desire to get something or a better price than anyone else. What can I say, it's a sickness....
Anyway, I've come across a "Martin" tenor that seems to be in great shape for $500 and I am awaiting a reply to a request for more info. Is there a particular model I should seek or are all Martins good? Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated.
Martin tenors? The only one to mess with is the Committee III otherwise known as "The Martin". Here are some photos: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.cewinds.com/saxophone_gallery/TheMartinTenor/wholesax.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.cewinds.com/saxophone_gallery/TheMartinTenor/TheMartinTenor.htm&usg=__d2jaSvZ6CwUg_jUJ4ki5mXmVxTI=&h=948&w=500&sz=420&hl=en&start=1&um=1&tbnid=Y2I_d2x4xiv3RM:&tbnh=148&tbnw=78&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dmartin%2Bcommittee%2Btenor%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Doff%26rlz%3D1G1GGLQ_ENUS350%26sa%3DN%26um%3D1 Here's one on eBay: http://cgi.ebay.com/THE-MARTIN-TENOR-SAXOPHONE-WITH-CUSTOM-RESTORATION_W0QQitemZ170373529074QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item27ab0dbdf2#ht_924wt_1167

There is a slightly fancier version called the Martin Magna.
 

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As an alternative sax, IMO Conn 10Ms from the 60s are underrated. They also don't come with the price tags of their predecessors. I would check them out. Relatively modern keywork and a big sound on the lower end.

But don't forget the other suggestions above about listening, absorbing copying the concept and sound. That's where your Ben-ish sound is going to come from.
 

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Martin tenors? The only one to mess with is the Committee III otherwise known as "The Martin".
Well, no, I wouldn't say that's true. I admit that The Martin horns are my favorites. But, Martin "Indiana" tenors can be wonderful bang-for-the-buck horns. Committee-I (city skyline engraving) and Committee-I (lion engraving) are every bit a professional tenor. Trust me, I've owned 'em all. Rook -- if you have questions about a Martin for sale and want me to review the pics, etc, I'll be happy to do so, just send me a pm here or an e-mail
 

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Once you've got your gear worked out, spend a huge chunk of your time working on playing with a really beautiful subtone. Do a search for subtone here on SOTW & you'll find lots of helpful hints. But the thing that will help most is just keep listening to Ben & trying to imitate his sound by playing along with him. this should be relatively easy since so many of his excellent recordings are ballads.
 

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Man, Bens' version of MY ROMANCE with Sweets, can bring tears to the eyes!!!

WHAT A SOUND!

Getting the concept in your head is what matters. Getting a mouthpiece that helps achieve that sound is super important. I dont put much of the emphasis, into the "horn". Mouthpiece and concept is much more important.


Good luck with your search...the journey is the fun part of it all.
 

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Really? You like the older ones too? Okay, sorry.
Like the old song says, I love the one I''m with. Mine's the Dick Stabile model, which is a stencil of the older Committee model. It hasn't done much for me in the Ben Webster department sadly :)

R.
 
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