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My dealer friend asked my opinion about whether he should carry Keilwerth's, as he had been contacted by Powell, their new U.S. distributor. I was conflicted. I love my horns, although I may be finding my alto concept changing toward the "sweeter" Selmer type of sound. However, I'm not sure it makes sense in this environment to stock horns that sell for > $3500, when they almost immediately need a $400 pad job. I don't know if that is the best way to create happy customers.

With the latest rounds of JK price hikes, small cities (where most of the business is student-related) seem to be a tough place to try and sell horns that expensive. In all fairness, the same goes for Selmer.

I think he can make more money selling the better quality Chinese and Taiwanese horns to parents of kids who will likely play for 3-5 years and then quit.
 

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A vote for Keilwerth...

Hi Morry,

In my opinion, your friend should consider carrying a few Keilwerth horns for players with serious interest...

When I was shopping for a tenor, I checked out many of the local shops in the Metro Detroit area and play tested any new, pro level tenors that I could find. I was prepared to purchase a well setup horn from a local shop. To my surprise, I only came across a few pro-level horns locally. Unfortunately, most of the horns I tried at the local shops were not setup well. I had a strong interest trying some Keilwerth horns and was excited to find a local shop that had one, however, it wasn't setup well (leaks and adjustment issues), and even though they were kind enough to let me try two mouthpieces, the combinations didn't play well.

I ended up taking a road trip to WWBW to play test a Keilwerth SX90R Shadow tenor sax. It was still factory sealed and I had the pleasure of opening it up and removing the cork wedges. It played the best and fit my hands the best of any tenor sax I had played yet. I loved the sound and bought the horn and drove it all the way back to Michigan.

It's now over a year old (I bought the horn in April 2006), and I've not had any trouble with sticking pads. Perhaps it is because of a change made by Keilwerth, or perhaps it is because I treated the pads with Runyon Pad Dope just after I purchased the horn.
 

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My new SX90 didn't have sticky pads either.

Keilwerths at the current price range is a very tough sell. You have to consider that you can in many times find a good Selmer at the $4000 price range used and sometimes in new condition.

JK horns have character, but a small following when compared to Selmers. The only way to eliminate the need for Selmer is the own a Selmer. I have a three Selmer tenors and a alto. I picked up the JK because it has the vintage vibe with modern keywork.....and also because it cost $2500 as opposed to $3600 and up for the rest of the JK line.

Why don't you have a chat with Dave Kessler and ask him if the JK's are worth stocking for a small shop.

Their killer horns, but they don't work for everyone. I do think the shadow that was mentioned above is one of the best horns to compete with Selmer, but the price isn't going to sway people away from Selmer and that's what JK needs. These horns have to be cheaper in order to pull buyers.

Cheap asian horns are naturally going to make a shop more money. Not many small shops make money off the high end horns unless they have a customer who's in the dark about internet prices and is dumb enough to pay retail.
 

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Morry, I'm a die hard, rock solid Keilwerth affection ado. I love my JKs and would not trade them for any horn on the planet (except maybe ANOTHER JK!). And I actually have a pretty big disdain for Selmer horns, I just have never cared for their keywork, playability or sound.

And I would always urge a shop owner to stock a couple of JK altos and tenors, if for no other reason than to let younger students come in and play on them from time to time, just to let them know that there are other brands of high quality horns out there besides Yamaha and Selmer.

But the decision for a small shop owner to stock two to four JKs for just those purposes, with the slim possibility of selling one of them every couple of years is a decision that only he can make. It comes down to the business. How long is he willing to hold on to inventory? Is he more concerned with having quality horns in stock for people to play and try out just to get that one sale every couple of years? Or does he need to keep only less expensive horns in stock which he can move every fall as the school bands gear up.

I can say, that I would have loved to see a local shop owner in my area step up and keep a couple of JKs in stock. When I was looking no one in the entire state of Oklahoma had what I was looking for. I got lucky in that I was able to play test some horns at a NASA conference a few years back. But I still had to order both of mine over the internet, unplayed. Fortunately they both arrived safe and played well, and I have a good tech in town.

The other big factor is wether there are any other JK dealers in his area. If there's not, that may be a big plus for keeping some in stock. If he's down the street from the WWBW, then I wouldn't bother.
 

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Fewer and fewer small stores can afford to keep big ticket horns in stock. I recently called a shop in a medium-sized city in my area to ask if they had any Yamaha tenor Z's in stock (they are a Yamaha dealer). Their answer: We can have one here in about 7 to 10 days. I'm OK with this, but I told them I would hold off because you feel more of an obligation to buy a special order. I ended up test playing a Z at another store that actually had one in stock (btw I didn't like it enough to buy).

We're going to see more and more stores opting not to stock high-end horns as people continue to buy their horns online to save money. In a way, I don't blame the retailer for this position, as so many people just go test play a horn at a Mom and Pop and then turn around and buy the same horn online to save a few bucks. (And it's not just horns; people do this with a lot of things they buy today--and it's killing the small retailer, which has been discussed at length on another thread.)
 

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Your right lots of big ticket items are cheaper on the net and it is killing the retailer.

Case in point my road bikes are a lot cheaper on the net then in a store, but the fit that I can get in the store means I'll usually pay more. On top of that taxes are killing the retailer as well. My last bike cost me almost $400 in taxes.

Saxophones are the same way. Who's going to pay $250 in taxes for a horn when they could get it off the net with free shipping. Often times places that have a good reputation like SaxQuest, Kessler, SaxForte' and so on set up the horns leak free and that's more than I can say at most mom and pops. Most of these local shops you don't even want touching your expensive horns.

I've talked to some internet businesses and they say their profit on a $4000 horn is usually about $50. Mom and pops won't even touch that and most of them put pressure on you to buy at their close to retail prices....who needs that?
 

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heath said:
I've talked to some internet businesses and they say their profit on a $4000 horn is usually about $50. Mom and pops won't even touch that and most of them put pressure on you to buy at their close to retail prices....who needs that?
My friend has often told me how he lost $300 on the last Selmer he sold, and made $300 on the last Chinese tenor. Which would most guys stock?

I do have to say, though, that the only reason I play a JK is because he had gone out on a limb and acquired one a few years ago. I was about to buy a new Yamaha and did a side-by-side comparison. I've been playing Keilwerths ever since.
 

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Another part of the equation is that JK distributors have often pressured dealers to buy in large quantities, sometimes 12 horns at a time.

I only ever bought two instruments over the net, and they were both high ticket items, my Serie II bari and my Buffet 1193 bass clarinet. Although I always prefer to play test, in both of these cases there were no local horns to be had. I was scouring the net just to find these at those times.
 

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JK also demands payment with in 30 days I think. Selmer requires payment by the end of the year.

You have to move the JK's quick.

With the current prices of JK's and the no rolled tone hole option not being offered which knocked a $1000+ off the price of the horn, JK is killing their market. The Shadow is probably the best tenor being made today, but the price is obscene just like the Selmers.
 

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heath said:
JK also demands payment with in 30 days I think. Selmer requires payment by the end of the year.

You have to move the JK's quick.

With the current prices of JK's and the no rolled tone hole option not being offered which knocked a $1000+ off the price of the horn, JK is killing their market. The Shadow is probably the best tenor being made today, but the price is obscene just like the Selmers.
Yes, the current terms from Sonare on Keilwerth saxes in a Net 30 days. However, I think we will see that expanded to Net 90 in the future.

Most Conn-Selmer dealers qualify for Fall Dating, meaning that your account is due Oct 15.

A bit of info though... Selmer prices have gone up, though Conn-Selmer is freezing their price through the end of this year. Selmer Paris pricing is going up again in 2008.

We like the brushed Nickel Silver tenor... all of my guys feel it is the best tenor being made right now.
 

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Selmer Paris prices are going up? Darn. It's pretty insane especially when you can get a yani that is just as good if not better for A LOT less...

Speaking of...I'm probably going to dump the series III this summer for a yani. I just like them better.
 

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Morry said:
With the latest rounds of JK price hikes, small cities (where most of the business is student-related) seem to be a tough place to try and sell horns that expensive. In all fairness, the same goes for Selmer.
I think he can make more money selling the better quality Chinese and Taiwanese horns to parents of kids who will likely play for 3-5 years and then quit.
If his market is mostly student-related, for what I can see those young players tend to prefer brands like Cannonball, Yamaha and P.Mauriat, probably highly influenced by their attractive look.

In that situation, I'd probably stock those. In particular Cannonball and P.Mauriat I am nearly sure provide much higher selling margins to dealers, given the cheap manufacturing costs of their instruments (unless nearly allt he profits go to distributors and I have hard time to think so).

Then there is the entry-level market of very cheap chinese-made instruments which provide perhaps even higher profit potentials (especially if house-branded).

In short, if the market is only local seems hard to stock high end instruments.
 

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jacobeid said:
Selmer Paris prices are going up? Darn. It's pretty insane especially when you can get a yani that is just as good if not better for A LOT less...

Speaking of...I'm probably going to dump the series III this summer for a yani. I just like them better.
Yeah... but overall, I do not think that it will negatively effect Selmer Paris sales as many of their sales are simply because they are a Selmer.

Yanagisawas are GREAT horns and depending on the player, may be the best horn for them. Everyone here at my shop prefers the Yani 991 over a Series III, but that wont be the case with 100% of players.

I think that the Keilwerth setup will be interesting to watch. IF Sonare can get local dealers to support it (which I think they can if the get better payment terms), then you might see an upswing in Keilwerth presence in the US. Local dealers like having a pro product that is NOT sold to WWBW.
 

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heath said:
Keilwerths at the current price range is a very tough sell. You have to consider that you can in many times find a good Selmer at the $4000 price range used and sometimes in new condition.
Sure, but why would you want to play a Selmer when you can play a Keilwerth instead?? :D
 
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