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Gary's asking about Medusa Mania on the B & S section leads me to ponder what sax buying enthusiasms we've had since I came around the forum - AND - what is the next wave?

We've had lots of Yamaha enthusiasms.
There was the reaction against the voldemort horns - Part I (Unison) and Part II (LA Sax).
Keilwerth's, particularly shadows were hot for a time.
Did cannonballs really get off the ground? Not sure. I think the stone series (especially rocks on the necks) started to seem silly to me.
Then there was the very hot B & S mania (I bought a matched pair of alto - tenor) and love 'em. The Guardala's, Chicago and New York Jazz specials were just more of the B & S phase.
On came the Mauriats - and I see their prices going up and up.

What's next?
Should we get a Stephanhouser now while the price is still a good deal - before they possibly get popular and go Mauriat on us?
What about the plastic sax?

Your thoughts, Please?
:cool: :cool:
 

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My prediction is that, if Selmer and Keilwerth keep increasing their prices in the face of cheaper, high quality alternatives (the very definition of a poor business plan), then you will either see a) their market share continue to decrease in the coming years, or b) they will outsource their labor, effectively changing the product itself.

It is only logical that if you only have one person who knows how to do something, then their knowledge and products have great worth. As soon as 100 people learn to do the same thing, the value decreases. I suspect that the saxophone landscape will be quite different in 10 years.
 

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vintage-wise, five or six years ago Buescher TH&C and Big B horns were praised endlessly and it seems the dealers were on it as the prices started to go up. Now, it seems they have cooled down...and for the past few years, it's been vintage Conn horns that have been the favorite (here and on the bandstands of NYC.)
 

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As long as the big 4 keep raising prices for good reasons or not, folks will be open to new makes that are affordable. That truth isn't a fad. It's the so called efficient marketplace at work. When the quality is high enough it should create demand equal to it's price. Hence the big 4 can and do charge premium pricing for their instruments. When a new manufacturer comes in with lower pricing, they are likely doing so at lower profit margins. With exception of labor costs, administration, marketing, raw materials, etc. are very much the same no matter who's name is on the sax. They face a hard choice if success means they will have incur rising fixed production cost due to them increasing manufacturing capacity. Do they continue to sell them at a low margin or do they increase prices thereby risking competitiveness?

Bottom line for us players is that we should be inclined to do what we can to support manufacturers who are offering good quality and value. Else, we will all pay more for less quality and/or choices.

Off my soap box now...
 

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Morry said:
My prediction is that, if Selmer and Keilwerth keep increasing their prices in the face of cheaper, high quality alternatives (the very definition of a poor business plan), then you will either see a) their market share continue to decrease in the coming years, or b) they will outsource their labor, effectively changing the product itself.
It's my understanding that Selmer Paris horns are about to be assembled (only) in China from French parts. The high-end repairman who told me this seemed certain and thought it would result in a better product out of the box. (He is really down on Selmer's quality control.)
 

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Surely if selmer / kielworth / yamaha etc started top charge less for their top line horns, we would all start to ask "what was wrong with that instrument/ brand" wouldnt we? Highest cost = highest quality in peoples minds

...how else does Lexus get away with charging so much for a Toyota;)

Selmer manufacturing in China makes no sense and is all the wrong way round anyway, it makes (slightly) more sense if you must save money to assemble chinese made components with care and attention in Paris, but I honestly cant see it happening on the top line horns, it would be a huge marketing own goal. People buy top line selmers and yanis and yamahas preciesely because they are not made in China.

At this point the chinese could make the best horn in the world, but they would have an impossible job to sell it to all those people who have invested in a big 4 horn already and would die before admitting the chinese can make a good instrument for a fraction of the cost.

There will always be a market for the primo instrument brands for the same reason there will always be a market for Rolls Royces and Ferraris...the question is how much of a trade off will there be between prices, quality and manufacturing volume.
 

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"It's my understanding that Selmer Paris horns are about to be assembled (only) in China from French parts. The high-end repairman who told me this seemed certain and thought it would result in a better product out of the box. (He is really down on Selmer's quality control.)"

I'm more than an "acquaintance" of Jerome Selmer and I can say your repairman is wrong.
 

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The big names are adjusting like everyone else is. Selmer will always be Selmer and there will ALWAYS be a large number of people who use them. Same goes for Buffet in the clarinet world, or Fox in the Bassoon and oboe world. With the internet as big as it is now for music instruments and accessories, smaller companys have more oportunity to make their products available. I have sold more Howarth and Patricola instruments in the past 2-3 months then ever.

Trends? The only one I can think of is smaller guys breaking out. Thats where some people including people in my own business think we need to look seriously at.
 

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It's one thing to lose market share but that may not matter as one includes more and more horns at other price points in the definition of "market". Is Selmer or any other Big Four manufacturer actually losing sales, producing fewer horns in the "high end" category as driven by the market?
 

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Dr G said:
It's one thing to lose market share but that may not matter as one includes more and more horns at other price points in the definition of "market". Is Selmer or any other Big Four manufacturer actually losing sales, producing fewer horns in the "high end" category as driven by the market?
It would not surprise me if the big 4 are loosing sales to some of the upmarket taiwanese horns.... people spending $3k horn rather than save that bit longer for a $4k horn.

It will be interesting to see if they stop there though, or whether curiosity will eventualy see them go on to a big 4 horn anyway. The real loosers are probably the midrange big 4 horns, whats the point in owning a mid range big 4 horn when I can get a top of the line Taiwanese branded horn. But that market was never very large anyway was it?

Who knows if there are any stats to back up this hunch, and if there are Im sure the big manufacturers wont want them public knowledge anyway.

Ebay and the global internet market has certainly changed the sax buying landscape though. Even forums like this make a huge difference in knowing whats out there and producing a more educated customer base I suspect.
 

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RandyJ said:
"It's my understanding that Selmer Paris horns are about to be assembled (only) in China from French parts. The high-end repairman who told me this seemed certain and thought it would result in a better product out of the box. (He is really down on Selmer's quality control.)"

I'm more than an "acquaintance" of Jerome Selmer and I can say your repairman is wrong.
That's good to know. Did he have any comment about how this misinformation might have gotten to my repairman (or corrupted from some related information), who is very well-connected in the industry, though not directly to Selmer?
 

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Birdseed, Broccoli, or Brass

I've been told by a dealer that Selmer has been having labor troubles - maybe strikes and such that has caused them to bring in replacement workers and they are actually passing on the training costs to the distribution/sales network. Now maybe that's a convoluted excuse for raising prices for some other reason.

Also rumored that some Selmer mouthpiece manufacturing may be shipped off to China. The availability and distribution of mouthpieces is/was to be affected for a period of something like six months - supposedly to ship the tooling overseas.

This could also be management by rumor or implicit threat - if you are having labor troubles, all kinds of stories start about how this or that might get outsourced.

I thought I remember hearing that are general/widespread issues with labor in France - maybe other parts of Europe having issues too?

I think the biggest reason to be wary of Chinese mfg operations is a lack of trust of what they might be putting in your mouth (or under your fingers). Their regulation/FDA environment is NOT to any level that we in Western civilizations benefit from. And despite whatever dog and pony shows may be put on for Western industries courting mfg business opportunities in China, I'll never trust what they are putting into our mouths long term - be it birdseed, broccoli, or brass.

Not to mention how they've handled recent FDA issues via "management by execution". Yeah - that's the way to get people to speak up when there's wrongdoing... The well-being of the West is not in their 100 year plan. After Western manufacturing is completely decimated, we'll be selling and shipping them our food like it's Ireland in 1856. Afterall - we won't have any cash left when they decide to turn in their Treasury bonds. Though I shouldn't be so doom or gloom - we can always be annexed as part of their sovereign state to avoid any struggle in the matter.

Sorry - had to wear my raving lunatic heart on my sleeve for a minute there... Hey... where did my tinfoil hat go?....

So anyhow, while I think that more instruments coming in from China might be a TREND, I think that ever becoming a fad is a stretch - unless engraving becomes old hat and everyone has to have their horn painted with a pretty picture.
 

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Grumps said:
How about this trend...

All of them going broke as more and more public school band programs are cut from the budgets. Seriously. This is not a business I'd like to be in right now.
But don't forget we're in a global economy now. Ever see where the highest priced Mark VI's on ebay are headed? I'll give you a hint: They use chopsticks to eat.

I would imagine that the number of school band programs in China is greater than it was 10 years ago...and will be an even bigger market as time goes by. There's a rapidly growing middle class there now (just as our middle class shrinks--along with the anemic band programs), and they appreciate quality just like we do. Believe me, not all Chinamen drive Chinese cars; a lot them actually drive Buicks, believe it or not--because not every man can have one. And no doubt this translates into other areas of life as well. If you're rich, your child will have a Selmer, not a Mauriat.
 

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I just read EZ's last post. It must have been ESP or something. But it even adds more creedence to my argument. If Selmer is moving their mfg. there they may have more in mind than just cheap labor. Believe me, though the U.S. is still on top for now, I'm sure a lot of companies are looking to the East for future profits. Along with the rise of the middle class in China, the buying habits and tastes of its people are becoming more sophisticated almost overnight. EZ is right--the 21st Century will belong to China, not us. We'll be just like England is today. Hopefully it won't happen too fast.
 

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getting back to fads: for new horns, it's no high F# key...first an option on Yamaha 82Z tenors, and now standard with the Selmer 54 Reference Flamingos (altos and tenors.) Yes, I've heard that you can order a 82Z alto without the high F#, but that it is a 6 month wait.
 

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When talking about China, it's important to remember the differences between China and the U.S. and the unique challenges China is facing.

First, China has over one billion people but its "westernized" population will be limited. Modernization is predicted to reach about 300 million Chinese located in the best parts of the country. These people will comprise China's middle and upper class. The rest will continue to live as peasants.

Now let's factor in geography. China's subpopulation of people enjoying modern living standards will be confined to an area of land a fraction of the size of the U.S. Meanwhile, China is facing severe environmental problems including potential crises related to both the quantity and quality of its land and water, and these problems could impact hundreds of millions of people on a daily basis.

Though China is fast becoming a super-power with a strong capitalist economy, it also risks burning up in the heat of its own expansion.
 

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Swingtone said:
I would imagine that the number of school band programs in China is greater than it was 10 years ago...and will be an even bigger market as time goes by. There's a rapidly growing middle class there now (just as our middle class shrinks--along with the anemic band programs), and they appreciate quality just like we do.
Well wouldn't it be ironic if some day they outsourced production back to the States...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Hmmmm,
Thread's not going where I expected it to, but
VERY INTERESTING nonetheless.

;) ;) ;)
 
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