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I've heard mixed things about these but I wanted to know what your opinion is on these, specifically when it comes to baritones saxophones. Please include references or links to where you got the horn if applicable. Thanks
 

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Japanese, Taiwanese and Chinese saxophones don’t belong in the same cauldron although they are all Asian because they are made in Asia. Although there are factories in Viet-Nam they don’t produce baritones.

I am also doubtful of whether they could be defined as knock-offs or at least, the majority of them are not.

Most have earned their stripes in many years of production and these days even formerly less known brands like ThaiShan have gained a lot of support for many years on this forum already. Japanese production is very different and priced differently from Taiwanese and from Chinese production.

But even so, there are Taiwanese and there are Taiwanese and there are Chinese and there are Chinese (NO Japanese Baritone makes concessions quality, they are all excellent).
 

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I've heard mixed things about these but I wanted to know what your opinion is on these, specifically when it comes to baritones saxophones. Please include references or links to where you got the horn if applicable. Thanks
I'm not sure what you are implying by the phrase "knock off", but I can give you a good overview of Chinese and Taiwanese horns.
I've been playing bari for over 40 years and performed professionally using Selmer Mark VI, Yamaha YBS61, Couf Superba and Conn 12M instruments. My current working bari is a TK Melody Yardbird, made in Taiwan. It is one of the best playing horns I have ever had.

I also own a horn from the Longkou Jinsheng factory in China. It is not on the level of a "Big 4" or one of the better Taiwanese brands as far as the quality of materials used, but it is a solid instrument. The workmanship is first rate and the intonation is spot on.

Last year when I moved back to the USA I brought a Taishan bari for one of the members here. These instruments have been widely reported on here. They are used all over Asia by working pro players, both Chinese and foreign. Taishan horns are well made and use quality materials.

There are several eBay sellers based in China that market baris made by Taishan and East Star. These are two of the oldest factories in China. Taishan targets the China domestic retail market and East Star is primarily an OEM factory. Both are reasonably priced and good values. If you look at the Alibaba marketplace you will find all kinds of Chinese made (as well as a few Taiwanese) instruments. The quality of these offerings ranges from mediocre to outstanding, with price not necessarily an indicator.

Taiwan has a large number of factories, many of which produce excellent instruments. The problem is that most do not have an extensive distribution network under their own brand in the US except for P Mauriat and Cannonball. Many of the Taiwan made products found in the US are OEM, such as Eastman, Barone, Sax Dakota, Tenor Madness, etc. These are instruments built and distributed with input from US based dealers.
 

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Previously I have owned Conn 12Ms, Selmer MKVI, Martin Committee. Currently use a Chinese baritone which is as good (Bauhaus) but when on tour I have used Yanagisawa B900 and Selmer Series II which were hired by the management, buit I still would have preferred the trusty Bauhaus. But I do understand why some people do not like Asian instruments as there are some very dodgy ones out there. Mind you the one I have I chose out of four, mine was the best for me the others were still OK.
 

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"knock-off" implies a copy or imitation including brand name.

I've played the Cannonball, Mauriat, Unison and Antigua. My opinion is they are good horns but not as good as the best (Yani B901, Selmer serie II, Keilwerth, YBS-62).
 

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I bought a Kessler 'Solist' baritone three years ago and have been extremely pleased. True, I spent most of that time finding the right mouthpiece for it but maybe I'm just demanding. Whatever, relevant to the 'knock-off' question, this horn is termed by the seller to be a 'computer copy' of a B901. Because they don't try to sell it as a B901, its not a 'knock-off'. It came from China, and I understand the factory does work for the Big 4 with lower-end models, etc. The point is, this is a serious baritone sax, not a toy, and at $2500, you cannot beat it. Now it bears telling that baritone is not my primary horn, but the baritone goes on every gig, and I guess I'm playing it 35% of the time. I started on baritone, a brand new 1956 Martin, in the school band but I never had my own baritone until 15 years ago when I found a Martin just like my old one. With this I began to re-establish myself on the bari but started chasing mouthpieces after deciding that the Level Air 9* was not adequate. I ended up with a vintage Berg HR 130/0 that I played for the rest of the time but was never satisfied with intonation. About this time I changed primary bands and began to play a lot more bari. I soon started to hanker for a low A, so I got the Kessler and sold the Martin, almost broke even on that. This was the beginning of a 3-year fight to find the right mouthpiece, and on tapes I was still hearing intonation issues. finally I found what it needed - a like-new Level Air 9* just like my old one. Since getting that, its been a revelation. Obviously I don't mean to say that you must have a Level Air to make it play - I mean, the younger you are, the more likely you won't have to make a mouthpiece change. I'm way beyond 'senior citizen' and I think that's the problem with the intonation. Anyway, especially since getting the mouthpiece situation settled, the horn has been terrific and I'm liking what I hear on the tapes. Whatever way you want to play, it can do it. I play more rock/R&B/Motown style and it does the trick. Deep lows and a singing upper register with good intonation - what else could you want from a baritone sax?
 

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I bought a Kessler 'Solist' baritone three years ago and have been extremely pleased. True, I spent most of that time finding the right mouthpiece for it but maybe I'm just demanding. Whatever, relevant to the 'knock-off' question, this horn is termed by the seller to be a 'computer copy' of a B901. Because they don't try to sell it as a B901, its not a 'knock-off'. It came from China, and I understand the factory does work for the Big 4 with lower-end models, etc. The point is, this is a serious baritone sax, not a toy, and at $2500, you cannot beat it. Now it bears telling that baritone is not my primary horn, but the baritone goes on every gig, and I guess I'm playing it 35% of the time.

I started on baritone, a brand new 1956 Martin, in the school band but I never had my own baritone until 15 years ago when I found a Martin just like my old one. With this I began to re-establish myself on the bari but started chasing mouthpieces after deciding that the Level Air 9* was not adequate. I ended up with a vintage Berg HR 130/0 that I played for the rest of the time but was never satisfied with intonation. About this time I changed primary bands and began to play a lot more bari. I soon started to hanker for a low A, so I got the Kessler and sold the Martin, almost broke even on that. This was the beginning of a 3-year fight to find the right mouthpiece, and on tapes I was still hearing intonation issues. finally I found what it needed - a like-new Level Air 9* just like my old one.

Since getting that, its been a revelation. Obviously I don't mean to say that you must have a Level Air to make it play - I mean, the younger you are, the more likely you won't have to make a mouthpiece change. I'm way beyond 'senior citizen' and I think that's the problem with the intonation. Anyway, especially since getting the mouthpiece situation settled, the horn has been terrific and I'm liking what I hear on the tapes. Whatever way you want to play, it can do it. I play more rock/R&B/Motown style and it does the trick. Deep lows and a singing upper register with good intonation - what else could you want from a baritone sax?
Thanks 1 saxman -I always value your comments - paragraphs help to get your point across. I am in no way an English teacher - but in my profession, and also I notice on line -
people send blurbs...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the info. To clarify I meant the horns that are Selmer copies when I said knockoff. Perhaps like this one https://www.dhgate.com/product/newe...recinfo=8,103,5#cppd-5-5|null:103:r1809158998 but it could also be a copy just by design as well. I was mostly interested in seeing what are the best chinese/tiawan alternitives to the more standard pro horns ie Yani, Selmer, Yamaha. I'll look into the TK Melody Yardbird, Bauhaus and Kessler soloist
 

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Do the Taishan horns generally have the same types of things that need tweaked upon arrival? I ordered one, and it plays great in every sense except for two things: the thumbhook is too high, so holding it is awkward (especially standing) and the low A key is out too far, and is very difficult not to hit all the time with your left thumb. I've had somebody else who bought one tell me they had pretty much the same issues and give me a list of the things they tweaked when they got it. Do those issues sound familiar to you?

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Thanks for the info. To clarify I meant the horns that are Selmer copies when I said knockoff. Perhaps like this one https://www.dhgate.com/product/newe...recinfo=8,103,5#cppd-5-5|null:103:r1809158998 but it could also be a copy just by design as well. I was mostly interested in seeing what are the best chinese/tiawan alternitives to the more standard pro horns ie Yani, Selmer, Yamaha. I'll look into the TK Melody Yardbird, Bauhaus and Kessler soloist
The horn in your link is a Chinese R54 counterfeit. These are sold all over China and come from many different sources. It is easy to buy as assemble parts, or buy an un-logoed horn from a factory and engrave anything you want on it, including illegal Selmer/Yamaha/Yanagisawa marks. I have a thread here on a Chinese "R54" tenor I bought. Although not a direct Selmer clone, it was a surprisingly good instrument, but there are lots of these that aren't worth turning into light fixtures. I would not recommend anyone buying an instrument with counterfeit logos. If you want a Selmer or Yamaha inspired instrument there are several Chinese factories that produce them under their own logo.

I have not seen a Chinese copy of a Selmer bari. Most of them are what we call "Yanahama" - primarily based on the Yanagisawa bari with some features copied from a Yamaha. The Taishan horns are an example of this. The Jinsheng bari I have is not a copy of any "Big 4" horn, I believe it was developed under one of their OEM contracts. You can find Chinese made "R54" logoed baris, but of course the are completely counterfeit. The horn itself may play decently. Or not ...

If you are interested in the TK Melody, I have a brief writeup and photos of mine elsewhere on this site. I got mine when I lived in China, they are not currently in distribution in the US. I have factory connections if you decide you really want one. Bauhaus is a UK based brand, I am not sure if the have a sales channel in the USA. Kessler is a well known dealer based out of Las Vegas, you can easily contact them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Yeah, I would be interested in buying one. How would it work out buying from the factory? Like what is the process
 

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I wouldn’t buy a counterfeit (an object pretending to be what it is not with the intent to deceive the buyer or the onlookers ) under any circumstance.

To some extent all modern saxophones are , one way or many ways or other, a “ copy” of a Selmer.

Selmer is not even trying to make this point anymore (they did many many decades ago but stopped at some point) because it is simply impossible to stand in court, so, if all modern saxophones are a Selmer copy (in many details more or less) then none is unless they ttry to deceive by applying a logo that doesn’t belong there.

Counterfeits selling, and buying, is illegal and punishable.

Importing one in the US it is a federal crime and COULD have very serious consequences (in theory).
 

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I had always thought it meant a copy without the brand name...
Thank you, you are correct. Interestingly, I searched for “knock off purses” and found websites selling items with the copied company’s logos.
 

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so, if OP means illegal copies or counterfeits

good or bad they are not permissible all of them.

The only person one is fooling with buying an illegally branded instrument is oneself.
 

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Cmilljazz, did you happen to find one of these horns locally, or just from surfing online?

How about taking a look (and try out) a new or used Bari from a local music shop around where you live? Or surf craigslist for a used one you could try out. Just curious to know why you are specifically seeking a knock off Bari? I am not in any way saying these Bari's are bad either, as I have no experience to say that.

When I purchased mine, I decided to stay with a local music shop. A few things have come up with my Bari that I have been able to go right back to the music shop and they take care of the issue right away. They had some used, and a variety of brands of new ones. So I took note of what they had, surfed on here for a bit and that help me to decide.

Best of luck to you in your search! I hope you get one that you can enjoy for years to come!
 

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Thank you, you are correct. Interestingly, I searched for “knock off purses” and found websites selling items with the copied company’s logos.
Yes, the phrase is used for both copies and counterfeits, it was only recently I discovered those definitions, otherwise, like you, I would have called Versace counterfeit a "knockoff"
 

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Yeah, I would be interested in buying one. How would it work out buying from the factory? Like what is the process
You need to negotiate a price, then wire a payment. Baritones are usually not in stock and take about two months to process.
See your PM for more details.
 

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Do the Taishan horns generally have the same types of things that need tweaked upon arrival? I ordered one, and it plays great in every sense except for two things: the thumbhook is too high, so holding it is awkward (especially standing) and the low A key is out too far, and is very difficult not to hit all the time with your left thumb. I've had somebody else who bought one tell me they had pretty much the same issues and give me a list of the things they tweaked when they got it. Do those issues sound familiar to you?

Sent from my SM-N950U using Tapatalk
I have only played one Taishan bari and it was comfortable for me. I think issues like thumb rest and key placement are individualized. I was not comfortable with the thumb hook on my Jinsheng bari, but I was able to swap it for one that fit my hand better.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Cmilljazz, did you happen to find one of these horns locally, or just from surfing online?

How about taking a look (and try out) a new or used Bari from a local music shop around where you live? Or surf craigslist for a used one you could try out. Just curious to know why you are specifically seeking a knock off Bari? I am not in any way saying these Bari's are bad either, as I have no experience to say that.

When I purchased mine, I decided to stay with a local music shop. A few things have come up with my Bari that I have been able to go right back to the music shop and they take care of the issue right away. They had some used, and a variety of brands of new ones. So I took note of what they had, surfed on here for a bit and that help me to decide.

Best of luck to you in your search! I hope you get one that you can enjoy for years to come!
The knockoffs were merely curiosity and I've never played or seen one of them. I was more interested in seeing if people had any high opinions of these taiwan instruments that come at a lower price. As far as local music stores, I've tried all the bari's the music store had in stock which were a mark vi low a, early conn, p morriot,and another brand I forgot. Anyways, only the mark vi really played really well and it was out of my price range. However, I played ybs-52 in a big band for a semester and I thought it certainly held up well against the vi I played considering the price difference. And for craigslist, I've been looking for quite a few months and there haven't been any worthwhile listings quite yet, same thing for ebay and reverb, although I think i missed out on a ybs-62 for 3600 but other then that, nothing that significant. I just wanted to check the taiwan or even chinese market to make sure I've been through all my options.
 
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