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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm a beginner, and i have been offered a 60's Vintage Keilwerth Toneking Tenor, completely restored (650€ bill!) for 1.300€.

My teacher does not know this saxophone, and he told me that i have to look at the ergonomics, weight (and, of course, value).

Does anyone know about the ergonomics of this vintage sax (how does it compare to the yts 25 yam i'm renting at the moment?)? Does it have all the keys (F#, etc...) ? And what's the weight?

Regarding the price, are 1.300€ ok for a completely restored vintage tenor toneking?

Thanks in advance, i'm a little bit lost... :D
 

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I'm not sure of horn values on your side of the pond, but a vintage Keilwerth Toneking is basically the same horn as a Couf Superba. Pro horns. The late Grover Washington Jr. played Couf Superbas.

Like all Keilwerths, it's a big spread warm sounding horn. Ergonomics aren't quite as good as Selmer and Yamaha, but much better, IMO than vintage Conns and similar.

Do some searching on here. Tonekings and Superbas have a number of threads about them.
 

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I’ve sold many Keliwerths Toneking and New King of the ’60 and ’70. With or without rolled toneholes. Uncomplicated horns with a very nice robust sound and reasonably modern mechanics. Not worse than the the Yamaha 25.

Most probably won’t have an high F# but that is not uncommon.

The overhaul for €650 is on the heavy side while the price not overhauled is a good price so.... the total price is not great but is not bad either. If this is a Toneking withe the lucite “ angel wing” make sure the wing is not broken, there are replacements but they are expensive.

Those older toneking with an angel wing might have an high F# but in a different place than your YTS 25.
 

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Not exactly the same instrument as the Couf Superba I in that some of the keywork on the New Kings are a little pared down compared to the Superbas. The Tone Kings a bit more so. But ....basically much the same instrument.

Weight: not an issue, no heavier than many others.

Ergonomics: fine unless you are a particularly small-handed individual, in which case IMHO the pinky cluster Bb becomes a bit of a reach and some folks say the lower stack pearls are a little wider spread (although IMHO I have never felt the latter).

It is unlikely to have a high F#. If what you are used to is a Yama, you would need to familiarize yourself with the keywork under your fingers, but there would not be anything dramatic to acclimate to. The horn sounds 50x better than your Yama.

Good horns, I do not know the current European market but the price seems a bit high by 100-200eu...but as Milandro said, not bad if the overhaul work done was good.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
First of all, Thanks a lot for your answers, they are of a great help for me!

Regarding the Toneking, it's an silver model without wings (from the 60's). As my fingers are of a normal size and well trained by 20 years of jazz guitar, I imagine that the "big hand necessary" issue won't be one for me. ;) And i have read that there is other ways to play à high F#, if the key is not present (i don't know if it is useful, as i only play an one octave C scale at the moment :D ).

Regarding the price, i have understood that it will be possible to negociate a 1.100€ price. Which seems to be a fair price.

The overhaul has been done by a renowned french sax repair guy, that seem to do a very good job, from what i have heard.

I don't know if that kind of vintage sax will be easy to resell in the future, if i want to change (?), and at what price.

I will try it (with my teacher) in a few weeks and let you know what happened. ;)
 

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good luck, try to get it under €1000
 

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Well, actually trying the horn is a good plan. I do hope your teacher isn't a 'modern sax only' sorta person, however. Because a fair number of teachers are; we are now in an era where we have had a generation of sax players who have never touched a pre-1980's saxophone (with exception perhaps of a Selmer France). So they tend to be in the dark about 95% of vintage makes and models.

If resale is a major concern, then it is unlikely you would be able to resell it for 1100eu, or even 1000eu at that. But Milandro and others might have a better idea in that respect. IMHO, this shouldn't concern you much. If,say, you buy for 1100 and 2-3 years later sell for 900...many would argue you haven't LOST any money on owning it.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
@Milandro less than 1.000€ would probably be difficult. Perhaps 1.000€, i will try.

@JayePDX My teacher isn't a vintage sax guy (he owns and play a modern Selmer). He was honest about that. He told me that ergonomics, position of the keys and the thumbs (orientation) could be a problem for me with vintage sax (as a beginner). It seems, regarding what everybody wrote here, that it won't be the case (except for the size of the hand/fingers, which is not a problem for me). He will try it with me and give me his advice.
As far as i'm concern, I don't have any dogmatic position. Regarding guitars (a area where i'm skilful) i play vintage guitars as well as modern ones (i own 3 of each kind). I play a guitar and i know quickly if it will please me. I'm not able to do that with a Sax (of course!) :D


If i buy it for 1.100 or 1.000€ and resell it in 3-5 years for 800 to 900€, i totally agree that i would not have lost any money. A brand new Yam is loosing much more value in such a time frame.


In my area, for 1.000 to 1.100€, i can buy a Yam YTS 475 (1.100€), an YTS 280 (1.000€).

And for 1.400€ a Selmer SA 80 (serie one), or a Yam YTS 62.

The question that i will have to answer: This Toneking or one of these sax?
 

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frankly speaking the pricing strategy of the seller looks strange to me.

€650 for a not overhauled horn is a good price, but asking an additional €650 for the overhaul is too much.

€1000 would be a good price, less will be a bargain.
 

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Well, actually trying the horn is a good plan. I do hope your teacher isn't a 'modern sax only' sorta person, however. Because a fair number of teachers are; we are now in an era where we have had a generation of sax players who have never touched a pre-1980's saxophone (with exception perhaps of a Selmer France). So they tend to be in the dark about 95% of vintage makes and models.
Very good point Jaye, except that it's probably closer to two generations than one. The teacher that I learned from in middle or high school never had a vintage horn and while I don't teach, I am certainly more than old enough to be a high school band director and have private students of my own.
 

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(i don't know if it is useful, as i only play an one octave C scale at the moment :D ).
Not to be a buzzkill, but if you are only able to play a one octave C major scale at the moment, I'd actually recommend sticking with a rental until you've developed more skill. The reason I suggest this is that you're really not in a position to know what you want in a horn yet or to properly evaluate one.

If you try the Tone King, it will probably be better than the Yamaha, so in that sense it would be a step up. OTOH, in a year's time, you will be a very different player and you might find that there are other horns out there that fit you better. You could then be in the position of having to sell your Tone King for a loss to raise funds to get something you like better. (If the Tone King were selling for a bargain price, it would be a different story, as you'd likely make money or at least break even on the sale.)

If you really want to buy now, I'd suggest looking for a good deal on a solid student horn. You could play it for a year or two while you save your money for a pro horn and by that time, you'll be in a better position to make a selection and you could always keep your student horn as a backup.

Anyway, that's my .02 € Good luck whatever you decide.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
@milandro Thank you for your advice. I will buy it at 1.000€ max (if it please me a lot and is ok for my teacher). And i will offer 900€, if it's just ok (regarding sound and ergonomics), but i'm not fond of it.

@MrBlueNote With such a nickname, your posts sounds good, of course! :D You're right in a way. But I made a calculation. I rent the YTS 25 for 160€ (10 months renting september to june). And there is not much used tenor to sell in my area (I mentionned the 4 saxs that are on the market at the moment). And i will have no sax to play and train during summers (wich is a huge problem, as i'm already in love with this instrument!).
Whatever sax i will buy i will probably keep it 3 to 4 years (at least), the necessary time to be able to really choose an instrument by myself. If i could buy the Toneking for 1.000€ (thanks to milandro advice, i won't buy it for more money than that), and resell it for let's say at worst 700€ in 3 years, it will cost 180€ less than the renting, and i will keep it during summers! (for 4 years, it's a 240€ bonus). And, as it is already a vintage sax, there is a chance that i could resell it for the same price i may have bought it. And if it's really good, why not keep it?

For the same price (1.000€) i could buy a used yts 280, i'm not sure it will sound as good as the Toneking, but ergonomics will probably be better (at least more "modern"). Regarding the resell price, it will probably be the same story as the Toneking (or worst).

So if the toneking is ok regarding the ergonomics and sounds good, why prefer a standard yts 280? I hope that the trial will help me answer this question. ;)

In both case (Toneking or YTS280) they will certainly sound better (from what i have read here on the forum) than my YTS25! ;)
 

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You've clearly given this a lot of thought and I can't argue with your reasoning. If the horn is in good playing shape and you can get it for a reasonable price, it sounds like you should be set. Good luck!
 

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I should point out, FWIW...vintage Keilwerths actually had a version of "Modern Keywork" in most respects, with the exception of no offset lower stack (an aspect which results in your wrist being rotated in a fashion - an 'improvement' I find arguable at best from an ergonomic standpoint). I always find 'orientation of the thumbs" sorta comments a bit...ok, lemme be nice here...um....capricious.

I would say, your teacher should be there to determine that the horn plays and responds well up and down, and that its intonation is not an issue. As far as feel of the keys under your fingers...as you have been playing a bit already - THAT determination is yours alone to make.

I mean...if you feel the feel and ergos of the horn are fine, but your teacher feels it isn't selmer-esque enough.....go with what YOU feel.
 

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Very good point Jaye, except that it's probably closer to two generations than one. The teacher that I learned from in middle or high school never had a vintage horn and while I don't teach, I am certainly more than old enough to be a high school band director and have private students of my own.
Stop making me feel ancient, dammit :fftheai:

But yeah, if one considers the advent of 'contemporary horns' coinciding with the Japanese arrival on the market (an overly simplistic guidepost, but anyway)...it has been around 40 years now...

I grew up with band rooms full of Bundys, Armstrongs, Kings, Conns, Bueschers, Holtons, etc...

Sort of an outlier, but one of my favorite threads here is the one where a poor woman, beginning player in UK - purchased a nice old Conn 14M in good nick, and upon taking it for the first time to her lesson, was told by her teacher that she had mistakenly purchased a 'left-handed saxophone'.

(mmmmmyyyyeahhhh...most Conns had left-side bellkeys.....bbbbbbut....)

It's a true story....:|
 

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As much as I like a Yamaha horn, there is no student horn they make even remotely in the same league of a Keilwerth when it comes to sound.

As for the ergonomics much depends on your hands. I find that these Keilwerth compare well to more modern horns and are certainly comparable to a Yamaha 23-25.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@MrBlueNote & milandro Thanks a lot.
@JayePDX "orientation of the thumbs" It's the first thing my teacher told me about vintage sax! :D :D :D He said: "it could be difficult to play because of the orientation of the thumbs and, therefore, bad orientation of the hands (bad ergonomics, let's say). And difficult to go back to a modern sax if you were to learn on a "bad thumb orientation" sax. As i'm quite easy with my hands, being a guitarist, it did not moved me that much :D . But it was funny you mentionned that! :D

Given all the informations and advices you guys gave me (and thanks again!), i'm gonna try it in a few weeks, and let my hands, ears and heart talk. (but not more than 1.000€, that's my wallet talking! :D ).

I will keep you informed of the result ;)
 

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@JayePDX "orientation of the thumbs" It's the first thing my teacher told me about vintage sax! :D :D :D He said: "it could be difficult to play because of the orientation of the thumbs and, therefore, bad orientation of the hands (bad ergonomics, let's say). And difficult to go back to a modern sax if you were to learn on a "bad thumb orientation" sax.
:|.....

Yesssssss........ :dazed:

.....welllllllllllllll.......:fftheai:

...... this...:banghead:.... is....... why .....sometimes...a teacher just needs to be slapped around until some sense is knocked into him/her.

I mean...seriously ???....the number of players who own BOTH modern and vintage horns AND PLAY BOTH regularly....completely refutes such absurd comments like this.

It suggests (contrary to reality) that a human is incapable of making minor physical adjustments one he/she has become familiar with a single design of an implement.

When you get into a rental car, a model which you have never driven before...is your reaction "OH MY GOD !! WHAT'S ALL THIS, THEN ?!!!! How can I even hold the steering wheel with the HORN right THERE ? !!! WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO !!!!!?!" ??

or do you start 'er up, and get to drivin' ?

Likewise, when a sax player puts down their Yamaha, and picks up a Martin....they really will be able to play the exact same passage they just played on the Yama...without necessity of a FREAKOUT, danger to life or limb or audience, or the need to twist their appendages into any sort of Pretzel of Pain....

It's actually quite magical:

The human body is quite adept at adjusting to minor changes in how tools and implements are held/utilized.

Amazing, really.
 

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@MrBlueNote & milandro Thanks a lot.
@JayePDX "orientation of the thumbs" It's the first thing my teacher told me about vintage sax! :D :D :D He said: "it could be difficult to play because of the orientation of the thumbs and, therefore, bad orientation of the hands (bad ergonomics, let's say). And difficult to go back to a modern sax if you were to learn on a "bad thumb orientation" sax.
What the heck is your teacher going to do if he ever encounters a bassoon? Wet himself?
 
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