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Discussion Starter #1
I always dreamed to own a curved soprano saxophone but I never could afford such high prices from brands as Yamaha, Yanagisawa,
etc... on the other hand, I have always been suspicious of those saxes sold for 200/220 dollars on line, as Mendini, Lazarro, etc...
After much search, and after having read several reviews, I took a chance and finally ordered a gold curved soprano sax from Tai Shan Winds,. They are supposed to be the "premium" Chinese brand, with prices usually twice higher than mainstream chinese competitors, still very affordable compared to the great western brands. The sax arrived in FOUR days ! 4 days from China to Michigan, cannot believe it.
Extremely well packed. When I opened the case (not a wooden case, but still well made) I saw all the parts wrapped in velvet lining.
The sax body also had several rubber stoppers under several keys to prevent damage during shipping. The saxophone looked gorgeous, and upon further inspection it seemed very well and accurately built. I played the sax for almost two hours and have been surprised at its playability and at the quality of the sound. As far as I can judge (I am not a professional) intonation is great. So far, I cannot find a defect. All keys play well, no leaks as far as I can judge, the sax seems ready to be played. Also, the mouthpiece, a 4C, is good and I didn't find any difference in tone and/or ease of play with an original Yamaha 4c that I already owned. This sax was sold on E Bay from a "top seller" for $425.00, but I took advantage of an Ebay special that gave me a $50 discount on everything if I bought through the E Bay cellphone app.
So I spent $375.00 in total. A steal, in my personal opinion. I could not be happier. Of course, I am not associated with the Tai Sha brand, I am just a senior (beginner) living in Michigan.
 

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Selmer MarkVII Tenor
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may you post some pictures ? and if you can, post some recordings playing with it, please...
 

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I had a Taishan soprano. It was a well made horn. I have had a couple tenors, an alto and I still have a bari.
 

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I suggest that you find a tech that will work on Chinese horns and have them perform a new horn setup. Horns can be setup from the factory in ways that shorten their playability life. I speak from experience.

Or, you can treat it as a disposable.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Twocircles, thank you for your recommendation to get a new horn setup, but what do you mean when you say " Horns can be setup from the factory in ways that shorten their playability life" ? I am not sure I understand. Also, as far as I can judge after playing the Tai Shan soprano for a few days, everything seems right. All notes play well therefore it looks to me that there are no leaks. You know, I spent $375.00 on this sax and I guess that a new horn set up will cost around $40-60 ? Is there really a reason to spend this additional money even if I do not see any issue with the instrument ? Thanks.
 

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I'm glad your transaction came out well. I bought a 60 dollar piece from china and spent 23 dollars to ship it back the cheapest way. I'll never do that again> K
 

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You know, I spent $375.00 on this sax and I guess that a new horn set up will cost around $40-60 ? Is there really a reason to spend this additional money even if I do not see any issue with the instrument ?
No. Throwing money at it is never going to make it better.
 

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Twocircles, thank you for your recommendation to get a new horn setup, but what do you mean when you say " Horns can be setup from the factory in ways that shorten their playability life" ? I am not sure I understand. Also, as far as I can judge after playing the Tai Shan soprano for a few days, everything seems right. All notes play well therefore it looks to me that there are no leaks. You know, I spent $375.00 on this sax and I guess that a new horn set up will cost around $40-60 ? Is there really a reason to spend this additional money even if I do not see any issue with the instrument ? Thanks.
I just mean that an expert eye/ear/touch can sometimes catch things before they become a repair hassle at an inconvenient time.
 

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I bought two different curvy soprano saxophones. Both made in China. I’ve vowed “never again” after trying to deal with low notes that were too flat to lip up. I’m glad your experience was a good one.
 

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I bought two different curvy soprano saxophones. Both made in China. I’ve vowed “never again” after trying to deal with low notes that were too flat to lip up. I’m glad your experience was a good one.
Could it be Taishan that makes the difference? How many bad Taishan horns are out there?
 

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There is no need to have a tech look at a horn that is playing great for you. I had this same model Taishan soprano and it played great and in tune.
 

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Buyer Beware is definitely the rule in China.

The three companies that I have had dealings with in the past and that I think highly of are TaiShan who has one of the best exporting records and is well thought of within China.

TBS who has a goal of unseating TaiShan as number one in China before they re-open their international division again, but they’ll sell you a sax if you contact them.

The other is Oves. This is a Sino-Japanese company and much of their work goes back to Japan. They make some excellent Yanagisawa copies that are available on eBay, but they only put good pads on the ones intended for the Chinese market.

Jinyin is one company that I have been advised to avoid. They have been around for a long time and have lots of stencil contracts, but they really cut corners on their own label saxes.

I think only one company, Mercury, makes all the semi-curved saxes in China, of course they sell components and other companies assemble their own labels. This is similar to IIRC Allbest in Taiwan, who make all the semi-curved sopranos there.

Would I do it again? Possibly, but I am in the process of buying a Keilwerth stencil made in the late 1980s, so I didn’t this time.
 

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Buyer Beware is definitely the rule in China.

Jinyin is one company that I have been advised to avoid. They have been around for a long time and have lots of stencil contracts, but they really cut corners on their own label saxes.
I can second this impression of Jinyin from personal experience. I bought a silver-plated Jinyin soprano, and it was the worst instrument I have ever owned.

OTOH, I can recommend the Chinese-built saxes sold by Just Saxes. I have a Just Saxes Crescent tenor, and it has been great. These are not priced like the the direct-from-PROC ebay beauties, but they are a great value given the quality and expert set-up by Palo Tung. I have no idea by whom he has these built, and he isn't talking, but they are proof, for me, that out-of-hand rejection of Chinese instruments is not justified.
 

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I can second this impression of Jinyin from personal experience. I bought a silver-plated Jinyin soprano, and it was the worst instrument I have ever owned.

OTOH, I can recommend the Chinese-built saxes sold by Just Saxes. I have a Just Saxes Crescent tenor, and it has been great. These are not priced like the the direct-from-PROC ebay beauties, but they are a great value given the quality and expert set-up by Palo Tung. I have no idea by whom he has these built, and he isn't talking, but they are proof, for me, that out-of-hand rejection of Chinese instruments is not justified.
I wrote one of the reviews of the Cresent on SOTW. This was what started me on exploring Chinese horns. Ultimately led me to Taishan and I have commented many times on them. (not like a Cresent)

What I am entirely convinced of is that you can buy the exact horn as the Cresent on Ebay for about $300 less. The buyer can decide if that $300 setup is worth it. It would not be for me.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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I just have a second, so this will be a fairly incomplete but to the point comment....

I have discontinued the original Crescent tenor and alto lines because the quality control from the factory making them became, to me, unacceptable even as a starting point. I found a good alternative for the alto, but not yet for the tenor. I may elect not to offer a PRC tenor in the future because I don't know of a factory making one that I can put my company name behind.

This is, to me, a pretty topical thing to note as far as some of the underlying and often repeated topics in this thread.

Probably, when reading posts by dealers, many board users tend to try to "read between the lines" in terms of what in the given post is or isn't promotional or advertising in nature (above, that would be my mention of the new alternative to the old Crescent). A more incisive "reading between the lines" would note that I would like to continue the original Crescent lines because the project (income return on investment/labor) was worthwhile to me; otherwise I wouldn't have offered them. Now, it isn't. That's fairly straightforward.

Important edit addition: my comments should not be taken as a knock on Taishan! I do have a Taishan bari in at the moment for servicing (not yet examined), by coincidence, but I think it's the first Taishan I've ever had in, so I have no comments to make on Taishan yet. I'll probably avoid making any in the future on this board because to do so would be sort of ethically dubious, in my own view.
 

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I have discontinued the original Crescent tenor and alto lines because the quality control from the factory making them became, to me, unacceptable even as a starting point. I found a good alternative for the alto, but not yet for the tenor. I may elect not to offer a PRC tenor in the future because I don't know of a factory making one that I can put my company name behind.
Sorry to hear that you had these sorts of problems. Like I said before, my Crescent tenor is just fine. I guess there's no point recommending them at this point. Good luck.
 

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twocircles : I had an Oves Tenor, that I bought personally in Beijing in a road that it is full of stores selling musical Instruments (Wangfujing road). It was a very well done instrument, and I it used for several years, until I upgraded to a Yamaha YTS-275... but was a good sax.
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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Sorry to hear that you had these sorts of problems. Like I said before, my Crescent tenor is just fine. I guess there's no point recommending them at this point. Good luck.
Glad to hear you're going good, pknight!

There are no bad altos or tenors in circulation -- I playtested every single Crescent that I sold for hours as part of servicing.

Here is what happened:

altos: the Eb2 went bad. There was a note on the alto that was always bad on every alto that I could correct -- and which I did correct on every single alto -- but on the last shipment all of the altos had an Eb2 that was unstable; it wasn't always a problem, and people that don't tune very far in (as I do) might not experience it (say if you managed to intentionally or unintentionally figure out how to identify a horn from the same factory that was manufacturing the Crescents), and some mouthpieces might be more stable on the Eb2 than others, but I could not (would not) put my own personal or professional reputation behind a horn that would be bad on that note with a high quality mouthpiece. Probably about 1/3 of players or more, if they have good tone production, would find that note unstable with a high quality Meyer-styled or Link styled piece. I could not correct it, so I discontinued the line. It's also important to note that I went through some complicated arguments and communications with the factory to try and make them aware of the problem, and to correct it, but they had no interest in doing so; this alto is still being sold to market by the factory.

My nephews have one of these bad Eb ones, but no others went out for sale, and the one the nephs have will not go out to market. I found another alto that is the equal on the bottom line -- some people may prefer it. I wouldn't offer anything I couldn't feel good about subjecting to scrutiny. Again, re this thread's topics, the main thing to note is that every single alto by the same factory now being made likely has this same Eb issue. They won't fix the problem til people stop buying the model. Thanks to eBay, that probably means it will never be fixed, lol.

The tenors: these still play well, and are up to snuff performancewise, but the last shipment was unacceptable for other reasons, some in the factory's installation, some in the engraving, some in the finishes produced -- in the end it was time to let them keep making them for other people and sever ties. I'm looking for another tenor that I can offer in the same price range, with equal or better performance and better quality control at the factory level.

I have had to state this a bunch of times, but there are no Crescents that left my shop in anything remotely like the playing condition they were in when they came in. I'm not making this up. It is just the truth. If someone thinks it's not, they're wrong. I not only altered bad notes, and improved weak notes, but *always* changed the entire venting of the horn, and retensioned springs over hours of play, as well as making a number of other improvements; there were stock improvements on every single horn, made before even playtesting, and then others that absolutely require playtesting. To do this to my own satisfaction required a good amount of play just to warm up -- I feel like any horn takes me at least 30 min to an hour to acclimate to, just in terms of getting comfortable enough on it to practice on it and have adjustment tweaks present themselves to me on their own. Some horns I played as much as 12 or even 20 or 30 hours before shipping (some horns closer to 1 hour, the average was probably about 3 hours). That's a lot of work and good faith & dedication, and any one putting a hard-earned reputation built over years behind a PRC saxophone is likely also doing similar work for the customer. I don't think other dealers/techs play their wares as much as I do, but I can promise you that any dealer of repute has a fairly lengthy list of immediate/automatic improvements and corrections that they make to every single PRC-made saxophone that they sell.

The factory seated pads well, and put the mechanism together well (though I would still call the construction and manufacturing process "opportunistic" -- meaning mechanically inexact as compared to current Taiwanese/German/French manufacturing), but a lot of the set-up was consistently poor and consistently poor in the same ways. I did not tell the factory about these things because then they would have offered it to every one (as they did my pivots and engraving) and the value that I added would have been diminished.

Any skilled tech with good tone production who has sold horns made in PRC will tell you privately (maybe not here) that what I say is true. They'll also confirm that when it comes to doing biz with PRC companies, if you get a horn that is "scratch/dent" status you're S.O.L.. For that reason, if you were to buy one and *not* go through a dealer, eBay would be wiser to use than direct sale because you have some recourse as far as returns; that is a privilege that dealers largely do not have, even when buying from factories in bulk -- maybe a company like Bauhaus Walstein, doing at one time a larger volume, might have a little more pull than I did.

Anyway, the ones I've offered are the only ones I've liked. Proceed with caution, and IMO it is wiser to go through a reputed dealer, especially if that dealer is doing set-up as part of the sale. It is NOT a small difference, whatever you may read on this site. I am not saying this about myself, because my Crescent II is really not even released yet, and I'll be sold out of the original line soon. Every reputable dealer who is a skilled tech is in the same boat as me: none of us want to put hard earned reputations behind a poorly produced or poorly regulated saxophone with our company name on it. I know what I do for customers, sometimes customers don't. That's OK, I'll do it for them anyway. So will other dealers/techs who share my terror of doing a bad job, and/or god forbid being called out for it here or elsewhere on the web.

A reputable, skilled tech is providing a valuable service on multiple levels.

And....

I do have a few more altos and tenors from before discontinuing the original series, both alto and tenor, but after those are gone there will be no more of the original series. And the baris are still the same, and still available. And again no bad ones went out into the world, and I think all the 2nds were marked as such. So, by all means, please continue to plug away (LOL)!
 
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