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· Registered
294 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wuz up guys I play alto saxophone and soprano sax. I play alto a lot more than soprano (because trying to find the key). I am interested in tenor saxophone, because it sounds so nice. I want to get an inexpensive, but good quality tenor sax. I am looking for nothing higher than $600.

· Researcher, Teacher and Horn Revitalizer, Forum Co
Selmer Paris 6,7,SA80 & Couf S1s
3,603 Posts
i'll throw in my .02cents. A nice Vito (Yamaha) tenor is always nice. An easy player and usually in great condition even on that auction site. Though the 10M AmSax mentioned would be a screamer but not as ergo friendly and may need some more up front work.

· Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Super Action 80 Tenor, Buescher 156 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 , Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari
5,154 Posts
There are some decent vintage examples that pop up on eBay for less than $600. It is fairly difficult to find one that is in perfect playing condition though. Presuming that pads, springs, corks, and felts are all present and in good condition, you should still expect to pay about $150 to have the horn set up professionally by a tech. In the hands of a decent player, a good vintage horn can keep up with all modern professional offerings. In this forum there are differences of opinion as to which are the better horns. Here is a list of common less expensive vintage horns that are generally well favored by players. I did not include stencils as that would make a very large and less comprehensive list.

-New Wonder
-New Wonder series II (Chu-Berry)
-Transitional (Many different designs, but all share traits between the Chu and 10M)
It is important to remember that there were low and high pitched offerings of these models. Low pitched horns are designed to tune to A=440. High pitched were designed for the European standard of tuning, which was slightly higher than ours. I think that high pitched Conn's are A=457 and are untunable to our standards. Make sure that you get a horn that has an "L" or "LP" stamped somewhere around the serial number. There should also be a "Bb" or "T" to indicate Bb Tenor saxophone. There was a C-melody tenor that was keyed in C and will have a "C" stamped near the serial number.

-True Tone
-400 (Any design in which the low Bb and B toneholes are placed on the back of the horn "facing the player" are prefered.)
The same rules that apply to Conn vintage horns above also apply to Buescher.

-The Martin
There are some older models that some players like, but the horns simply labled "The Martin" seem to be the most favored.

You will find some gorgeous King's from the early 20's that tend to be very inexpensive. These horns tend to look better than they play. Most players agree that the Zephyr is the horn that put King on the map. There were several models of the horn. The older Zephyr's with fancier lacqered or plated keys are pro models. The newer Zephyr's with nickle plated keys (these generally have a more mass produced look) are considered good intermediate models.

All of these offerings will feel very different from a modern horn. It pays to do your homework and play as many of these as possible to find out which suits you the best. If you can find any of these horns in good condition for $500 or less, pounce on them. If it turns out that it is not the horn for you, you can probably get all or more of your money back through resale.

Here is a "The Martin" currently selling on eBay.

· SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
25,298 Posts
Superaction listed some good possibilities in the vintage market. Under Buescher, the Aristocrat should be added (although finding one for $600 is a stretch).

A dose of reality is called for here. You will be very lucky to find a top vintage tenor sax in good playing condition for $600 or less. It is certainly possible, most likely on ebay, but you'll have to really know what you're doing AND get lucky.

· Distinguished SOTW Member
6,817 Posts
JL said:
A dose of reality is called for here. You will be very lucky to find a top vintage tenor sax in good playing condition for $600 or less. It is certainly possible, most likely on ebay, but you'll have to really know what you're doing AND get lucky.
I have to agree with JL on this one! You'd be very lucky indeed (even though I'm sure everybody has a story...). Another consideration is the mouthpiece: I gather most vintage horns won't play on just any mouthpiece (I know mine won't), and so you can add in some cost for experimentation there too--you'll have to buy something.

It would probably be a good idea to figure out a way to get your total budget up a bit, or you might end up with a lamp:(

However...if a passable vintage tenor sound for under 600$ total is your goal, you might go King Cleveland. The old ones sometimes go crazy cheap, yet can really cook when set up well. Same goes for Conn Shooting Stars tenors: Willis Gator Jackson kills on his!

· Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2010
3,388 Posts
If vintage is not what you are interested in, modern taiwanese selmer copies like Antigua Winds or Jupiters can be had for <$500, leaving money for a decent mouthpiece too.

I picked up an older Antigua Tenor for $250 thats my back up horn. There is a newish looking one on ebay right now with a starting bid of $400. I saw a taiwan made "Accent" branded horn go for less than $250 last week. Accent as a house brand used to be made by B&S in Germany...not sure who makes the current Taiwan ones, but its probably reputable, and for that money who cares!

Someone here had a Yamaha YTS 23 up for only $95....which looks like a typo to me, but you never know.
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