Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 6 of 6 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
4 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been vacillating for some time now over whether to publish this personal review on an open forum. I’ve finally decided to share this with the SOTW community as I have been using the resource for some time now as a casual visitor, so consider this my way of returning the favour.

I will try to be more descriptive about my experiences rather than make broad value judgements, although some subjectivity will certainly be present in my review. Australia is a relatively small place from a community perspective and I think it is important to be respectful in our public correspondence. Feel free to read between the lines.

I have owned two Temby saxophones in my recent past – an alto and a tenor. For those of you who don’t know: Temby is a house brand of wind instruments sold in Australia. They are marketed by David Temby from The Music Place stores in Melbourne and Sydney, as well as other assorted local music stores. I purchased both of my Temby saxes in the mid Noughties when I was returning to playing music in a big way, and I thought it was time to upgrade from the YAS23 my parents had bought me in 1980. At the time I would have called myself an intermediate player – someone who could read charts fairly well but had limited music theory and improv skills. I visited one of the Music Place stores (after doing a web search) several times and tried as many of their saxes as possible in my budget without looking at the brand stamped on the bells. The salesperson was friendly, if a little eccentric, and I never felt pressured to go with any particular model. This was in contrast to a few comments I have subsequently read in this forum (of which I was entirely oblivious to at the time of purchasing).

From memory, I decided to buy the Alto Temby (I think it was called the Professional model) as it had the most interesting sound out of all the ones I tried. It had a fairly modern sound which became edgy and angry as I blew harder. It had a little ‘attitude’, something missing from my YAS23 and the other altos I tried. Unfortunately I don’t remember what the others were – I think there was a Jupiter high end model, a Keilwerth intermediate, and a Selmer something (which was awesome but beyond my budget). I went home with the Temby Alto.

Later on I did the same thing with a tenor sax. I hadn’t played much tenor before, but enough to know if the horn was broken or leaky. I recall trying an old Conn, a few Yamahas, the Temby, a Jupiter, and a really expensive one (either a Keilwerth or a Selmer). Once again the Keilwerth/Selmer/whatever blew me away but it was $8000 or something. I was quite surprised at how disappointing I found the Yamahas, as I was expecting to go home with one. The Temby Tenor was, once again, quite interesting in its tone and it certainly had an angry edge to it when blown hard. From memory the Jupiters weren’t bad, but was a little boring. I ended up buying the Temby.

During this time it was marketed heavily as an Australian instrument, with nothing in the publicity material about parts (or whole instruments) being made in Taiwan. I remember being quite proud of having an Australian instrument, and then feeling disappointed when I found out it was Taiwanese. Then I eventually had a cup of concrete and decided “whatever” as I think my purchasing process was reasonably sound. The pricing stung a little afterwards though – Tembys are not cheap horns.

The interesting part came afterwards. I was alternating between my Temby alto and YAS23 during wind band rehearsals for about a year and unconsciously found myself playing the YAS23 more. Maybe it was 30+ years of familiarity with the old girl, but I did find it hard to hit subtones and play softly on the Temby. It would want to hit overtones and harmonics every time I did pianissimo sections. I practiced and practiced, and had the horn adjusted, but it stayed the same. But playing rock and blues – it was pretty good for that. Unfortunately I dropped the horn one day and smushed the bell. I decided to sell it on after straightening it, given my troubles with it in wind band. It just didn’t work for the music I was playing most of the time.

(Eventually I got my hands on a new Yamaha pro alto when a well-known music retailer in Australia went bankrupt and was clearing their stock. It’s my main alto now, although the YAS23 still gets a workout now and then.)

I continued to play the Temby tenor for several years in wind band and various jazz groups as an amateur musician. I was fairly happy with it, using a mixture of Otto Link and Selmer mouthpieces. One thing never changed though – it always had an edgy tone to it that would break up easily into ‘harshness’ (sorry that’s the best way I can describe it) when pushed. Once again – great for rock and roll or bluesy stuff, but it was all wrong with Glenn Miller or Stan Getz type stuff. And the lower register was brittle, just like the alto I had. I never figured out how to play around this. Servicing wouldn’t rectify it either, so I concluded that it was inherent in the design. It was a sturdy old horn though – I never had bits fall off or things bend easily, unlike other forum commenters. I inadvertently discovered it used pseudo point screws though, which kinda sucks (according to Stephen Howard’s website).

The ergonomics of the Temby tenor were a little strange – I think it suits people with smaller hands. They make a big deal out of the roller octave key, but I found the left thumb rest too small and I would get thumb pain after long sessions. I eventually wore the lacquer off both thumb rest areas, but the lacquer was fine on the rest of the horn.

In the end, after about 8 years, I have moved on and replaced the Temby tenor. I have found a new instrument from another brand which works really well for me and my current playing.

In conclusion, from my experience: Temby saxophones aren’t that bad, but they might be overpriced compared with other Taiwanese saxes (although they are priced the same as other high end Taiwanese saxes like Trevor James and P Mauriats in Australia). I think they are good for bright edgy styles like rock and blues. Support from The Music Place seems to be pretty good (your mileage may vary) and I have never had a hard time from their stores – but this is from a sample size of one (me). The earlier lack of disclosure about their Taiwanese origin seems to have hurt their reputation and resale though. This has been corrected on their latest websites. The marketing spiel on the website is quite odd and, to me, reads like an astrology column. Would I get another one? Probably not, but only because I’m content with my current saxes. Should you buy one, or avoid one? I can’t answer that for you I’m afraid!

Feel free to add your comments and feedback.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,680 Posts
I don't know anything about this company, but thanks for the write-up. It's always interesting to hear about regional brands of horns that seldom receive attention outside of their home markets.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
13,708 Posts
They try to stock a good number of products at The Music Place. The shop in Melbourne carries the majority of my line of mouthpieces. A friendly bunch of folks to do business with.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,165 Posts
Nice balanced review.
I've given my cents about these saxes in the past so I'll refrain now.
But....why the hell would you need a roller on an octave key ?!?!?!?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
8,693 Posts
I think Temby's reputation is tarnished by his earlier marketing suggesting or implying that his horns were made locally.
Not to mention his rediculously high prices.
I will not shop there regardless of his number of products.
I'll take my chances online before supporting someone like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
186 Posts
They try to stock a good number of products at The Music Place. The shop in Melbourne carries the majority of my line of mouthpieces. A friendly bunch of folks to do business with.
I concur, I have had good dealings with the people from the Music Place and their repair shop. They carry a nice range of saxes and accessories. They are getting some Inderbinen saxes that will be available for play test in mid November this year. Not that I can afford one, but it will be great to have a blast on one of these. Might have to sell a kidney :)

To the OP,

Nice Review and I can't comment to much on the Temby's as I have not played one. However I have a buddy that has 3 Temby's ,Soprano, Alto and Bari. I have only heard him play the Sop. It was a nice looking horn nickel plated and sounded great. He is a very experienced player and would probably sound great on any horn. The Temby soprano in his hands was quite nice.
 
1 - 6 of 6 Posts
Top