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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone have experience with Thomann baritone saxophones? They sell a low Bb with modernist keywork, hence the interest. I haven't found one yet (no rush). Thanks for any informed thoughts.
 

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Bad, cheap, and awful. My repair tech just got five of them for a local music school. He couldn’t even do a proper set up on two of them.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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The cheapest TBS-150 is chinese made, other models (lowjazz and baripro) are made in taiwan
I heard good things about them J.Max what model you are talking about?
 

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I have the BariPRO and my repair guy said lots of good things about the quality.
 

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I play the TBS 150 from time to time with a yanagisawa mpc and its really ok for the money.
I've heared good things about their Pro line (chateau stencils?).
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks very much for the constructive replies. It is the "lowjazz"model that I am interested in. I am not sure if it is a BariPRO without low A or something different.

malteof & Norbo: Did your - presumably new horns - have problems that necessitated tech assistance? If yes, what work was required?
 

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Thanks very much for the constructive replies. It is the "lowjazz"model that I am interested in. I am not sure if it is a BariPRO without low A or something different.

malteof & Norbo: Did your - presumably new horns - have problems that necessitated tech assistance? If yes, what work was required?
No real problems, but still let my tech go over and make sure it was properly set up. He didn't find any bigger issues.
 

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No issues at all. It arrived perfectly packaged and 100% leak free. Even the supplied mouthpiece is ok - not unlike a Selmer S80-D. I heard that it is made by Mauriat in Taiwan - don't know if this is true.
\Bo
 

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Thanks very much for the constructive replies. It is the "lowjazz"model that I am interested in. I am not sure if it is a BariPRO without low A or something different.
The LowJazz is down to Bb and I'm pretty sure that it is a low A with a shorter bell only

Despite reading some positive review about the Bb, I would personally avoid it (I'm speaking for the low Bb only) because I'm not sure about its intonation
A very competent technician (he assembles his own sax line with pieces coming from TW) told me that not only the short bell with the same body is enough to make a baritone down to the Bb but, for general intonation problems, the whole body should be reviewed

If I were on the market for a contemporary baritone down to the Bb, for me the only choice would be a R1jazz but it is not cheap
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Many thanks again for the replies. I will take the pros and cons into account. I have thought about a R1Jazz, but am hesitant, because of apparent quality control issues. I have owned a Rampone R1Jazz soprano at one time, but it definitely didn't instill confidence, and this sentiment has been echoed by others, both here and also by a retailer whom I know a bit and one who stopped carrying the horns for similar reasons. On my soprano, all the pads had to be reseated along with a miscellany of other loose ends that weren't tied up by R&C. After that, it was a great instrument, but not something I wish to experience again with a baritone. There was a gently used R1Jazz bari up for sale here some time ago, where the flaws reportedly had been ironed out after purchase. Something like that would definitely be of interest now, but probably hard to come by. Meanwhile, I am still tempted by the lowjazz based on malteofs and Nordbos responses.
 

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The Grassi Professional 2000 (the original one produced in Italy) down to low Bb is an excellent bari, a little hard to find though
 

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I have owned and sold the Lowjazz Thomann bari to low Bb! It's a good horn, no problem with intonation what-so-ever. Also very well set-up by someone at Thomann I suspect, no need to go to a repairman for adjustments.
Why I sold it?
Well, the horn plays well, but has that generic Taiwanese feel about it. And if you like that, Mauriats and so on and so forth, buy one!
I replaced mine with a Conn stencil (Geo M Bundy) from the thirties...
Actually cheaper, but with more pop to the response, and more intonation issues;)
 

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Discussion Starter #15
So I did buy a Thomann and ironically, it has really been THE GOOD, THE BAD, and THE UGLY. I indeed up buying a Lowjazz Bb bari, after a local person got remorse about selling what appeared to be a very nice low Bb MKVI baritone. So after a couple of years of looking, I ran out of patience and figured that I would take the chance.

It has been a truly bizarre experience and I am posting this as a caution for anyone thinking of buying a horn from Thomann.

THE GOOD
The saxophone is good, exactly as malteof, Norbo, and funkyreverend have stated about their horns. It is indeed made in Taiwan, and it appears to be of solid build and plays well...now. It is single post construction without double arms on all keys, but there are plenty more expensive baritones built in this manner. The solders are flush; the pads, springs and corks seem of good quality. I don't know about the pivot construction of this horn, but have no reason to believe that it won't hold up well. Intonation is good if not great within the entire register. The action was stiff when I received it, but it is better now. The right hand keys are a bit far out, but are set to maximum height and I will see how that works out. This is hardly much a of review, but I haven't had it long enough or played it sufficiently to post something more elaborate. For a little more that USD 2,500, I consider it an absolute bargain. I couldn't get myself to pay around 6000 for a Mauriat and I am happy that I didn't. I am not sure this Thomann is much different. I expect it to serve me alright until I find a low Bb MKVI locally.

THE BAD
From everything about the saxophone itself, the heavy, albeit plasticky coffin-style case, and Taiwan labeled packaging, I am certain that this was properly packaged when it left Taiwan. They should just ship straight to the customer. However, Thomann has this too-good-to-be-true assurances about setup and warranty. The horn arrived with absolutely no padding inside the coffin case to immobilize the instrument and keywork during transit besides three small pieces of foam, one each for low C, B, and Bb, but barely thick enough to keep the keys shut. The rest of the mechanism was just left to rattle around. Likely as result, it arrived needing adjustment. However, the main issue was that the bell-body brace was loose with a distinct click when you picked up the horn. I have tried this before with a Super Action 80 bari some years ago, so I immediately knew what the problem was. One could also clearly feel movement at the joint, something that obviously needed to be addressed. I was also fairly certain that a screwdriver alone would not fix it and wasn't keen to take it apart myself. Hardly the end of the world, any of it, but I was annoyed, because when I ordered the horn, I offered to pay extra for proper setup and packaging, which didn't elicit a response.

THE UGLY
I would have been spared this if Thomann had just told me to go fly a kite when I contacted them. However, they do offer a 3-year warranty, which initially seemed appealing and also a 30-day window of return, which wasn't what I had in mind, but more problems could materialize given the way it was packaged, so I didn't want to forego that option. Hence, stupidly, I contacted Thomann expecting some sort of assistance. My first interaction with them had not been been good in that when I asked them for tracking info, they told me to check my spam folder in a rather rude manner. That particular email account happens to be setup without a spam folder. When asked again, they sent me tracking info that didn't track. The third time I contacted them, I was told that these were of course just placeholder tracking numbers used internally and when I finally received actual tracking info, it was 2-3 three weeks down the road and effectively too late to adjust work around delivery. This would not have mattered if Thomann hadn't tried to pin everything on the shipper, but they did, and I wasn't around when the sax arrived.

So anyway, I contact Thomann mainly about the loose bell-body brace asking them for directions. I should interject that almost every interaction with Thomann is with a new representative of whom some treat you as if you just bought your first kazoo and all relentlessly refers to their "experts". One never actually gets to communicate directly with an "expert". Anyway, Thomann wanted pictures, so I sent them pictures of the bell-body brace and packaging. I pointed out that one kind of had to hold the instrument to understand what the issue was, as them movement hardly was in the order of several centimeters. A couple of days went by and now they wanted images of the entire instrument from all angles. I took loads of pictures of their nice looking saxophone and sent to them. Another few days went by and then I received an email complaining about the resolution. Thus, I sent a Google Drive link to full size 12 megapixel images 4Mb each. Again an intermissionto allow the "experts" time to inspect. Apparently, they arrived at the conclusion that the loose bell-body brace was due to the shipper mishandling the package and wanted me to file a claim. This I flat out refused to do, because of the manner in which the horn was packaged. I just found it plainly unethical. There are numerous of references on the internet on how to package properly and a customer wouldn't get away with return shipping of a soprano packaged the way Thomann ships baritones across the Atlantic Ocean.

Again, a wait and then came the request for a video that would movement in the bell-body brace. By now, I figured that this was going nowhere and certainly evolving into something for which I do not have time. I took the horn to the Boston Sax Shop and asked Jack to fix it, which he nicely did as always. When I told Thomann about this, they seemed offended. This would void their return policy and their 3-year warranty would no longer cover anything that a technician had touched. I have the entire correspondence in my email and it is quite long, but as I recall, my response was something to the effect of whatever. Another 2-3 days went by and representative (number 17?) asked me to send the invoice and description of adjustment/repairs from the Boston Sax Shop with the stipulation that they would pick up the tab, not much btw. So I had to ask Jack to write a note to forward along with the invoice. I don't know why I kept getting surprised, but as I remember, the next representative informed that I needed to go to a properly authorized technician and submit a quote to Thomann, before I could have any work done on the horn. This just about wore through the crack of the thin crust of what was left of my patience, and I summarized for the absurdity of wasting my time. The response from the next representative was absolutely priceless; to the effect of that this is what happens when one complains about numerous issues and overloads Thomann with information and pictures.

That was a very long post to say that whomever makes Thomann baritones in Taiwan appear to do a good to great job at a price that cannot be beat. However, also, that Thomann is an unpleasant mess to deal with and outright rude to their customers. Moreover, that their warranty is meaningless for something like a saxophone shipped to the US; certainly one the size of a baritone, which cannot realistically to be shipped to never defined service centers that Thomann will acknowledge seeing that the Boston Sax Shop doesn't meet their standards and no telling who or what would. Finally, I never regretted buying the sax, only that was so naive to get lured into trying to adhere to Thomann's Byzantine policies. They would serve their customers much better by acknowledging that they don't really inspect the horns before shipping, do an awful job of packaging, don't pay attention to what you say or write, and will play games with you if you dare to contact them. Alternatively, they could charge USD 500 more, which still would be very competitive, and stand by their products and service.
 

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Interesting story, and not surprising as that seems to be the mode these modern huge online stores operate. There are reasons why they are able to keep the prices low... Too much bureaucracy, and the product categories are so wide the "experts" in house will be unlikely to have specific expertise in, for example, woodwinds. You just can't expect the service one would get from a smaller brick and mortar store. All the while folks use smaller shops to browse instruments etc, try them out, then eventually order online for the lower price.

Not proud of it, but I too, buy most of my music paraphernalia from Thomann, as they have good prices and selection. Also played a Thomann tenor (not sure which model, probably the cheapest) for two weeks, and there was nothing wrong with it except a "cheap feel" and uninspiring but decent tone - definitely good value for the money. Mostly it's been troublefree, but got a somewhat bad taste after they silently removed a negative, but constructively written product review of mine - for a soprano swab that is WAY too thick to fit a soprano. If they remove a review for pointing that out (+ that it sheds it's loose fibers inside the sax), I wonder how much weight can be given to their supposedly neutral user review system.
 

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I think brasscane got a bit unlucky, I've successfully sent back a soprano within the first 30 days and it was super easy. Granted, I live on the same continent...

The baritone was shipped in the same way as a Yamaha horn I acquired a while ago. I think there was some very light bubble wrap around the horn in the case, which btw is really good for the Thomann baritone.

A bit more concerning with the ratings, hopefully there's a good explanation.
 

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It seems like there is a big difference in how Thomann handles German/European customers and those from other continents. Everyone I know personally has only good things to say about them. Maybe they have different departments or outsource anything concerning customers from outside Germany/Europe.
 

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Ship back a baritone at own expenses and also lose what you paid to customs may be not an affordable option...
Here in Europe is more fast and cheap, even if ship a baritone is not cheap
 

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I had only good experiences with thomann's customers service. I talked with competent people on the phone who wanted the problem to be solved. There really seems to be a (somehow understandable) difference between continents.
 
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