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You often see this in ads for saxes: 'it's a player's horn,' or typically, 'this is a real player's horn'.

This is just a euphemism for knackered (worn out), right??? :bluewink:
 

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Yeah, it means it looks ugly as hell but it looks that way because it's been played so much, so it's a good player.

This is why I'm so skeptical of 'closet queens'. If it was a good playing horn then it would be played. Especially 40+ year old horns
 

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Not necessarily worn out, but if the instrument is dented and/or missing a lot of its lacquer it automagically becomes a "player's horn." :mrgreen:
 

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You often see this in ads for saxes: 'it's a player's horn,' or typically, 'this is a real player's horn'.

This is just a euphemism for knackered (worn out), right??? :bluewink:
Sounds like it could be a promotional term targeted to beginners.
 

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Yeah, it means it looks ugly as hell but it looks that way because it's been played so much, so it's a good player.
More like “rode hard, and put away wet” - literally. You can play a horn a lot, and not have it look beat to hell. Now a junior high school marching band bari - there’s a horn with mojo!

This is why I'm so skeptical of 'closet queens'. If it was a good playing horn then it would be played. Especially 40+ year old horns
Yeah, who’d want a horn in good condition???
 

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I think of it as looking bad but playing well. (My two main tenors are like that.) If it is just beat all to hell and does not play well either, it can't really be a "player's horn," it is just a beat up horn. I bought one horn that was the opposite - it looked gorgeous, but it was unplayable - bend body, old leaky pads, poor adjustment. But hey, the silver plating was shiny, and no visible dents - and it took $450 in tech work to get it into good playing condition (and it still has a bunch of old pads). My ugly player's horns were both good to go with minimal work - well set up, good pads, no major leaks. I'll take the true player's horn over the closet queen any day.
 

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This is why I'm so skeptical of 'closet queens'. If it was a good playing horn then it would be played. Especially 40+ year old horns
Not necessarily. Uncle Bob may have had a great playing horn which Aunt Mary couldn't bear to part with when he passed, and just left it in the closet where it stayed until the kids finally sold it years later. I think that was the origin of the term.
 

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Not necessarily. Uncle Bob may have had a great playing horn which Aunt Mary couldn't bear to part with when he passed, and just left it in the closet where it stayed until the kids finally sold it years later. I think that was the origin of the term.
Yep. I’ve played a few “Closet Queens”, and there is absolutely no reason to think that they weren’t good horns, just because they weren’t played.

On the other end of the spectrum (often defended as “player’s horns), let’s recognize that there exists a huge difference between played and abused. Don’t think that a horn that looks like rat crap is a good playing horn just because someone didn’t know how to (or want to) take care of it.
 

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Yep. I’ve played a few “Closet Queens”, and there is absolutely no reason to think that they weren’t good horns, just because they weren’t played.

On the other end of the spectrum (often defended as “player’s horns), let’s recognize that there exists a huge difference between played and abused. Don’t think that a horn that looks like rat crap is a good playing horn just because someone didn’t know how to (or want to) take care of it.
True. My "closet queen" is actually quite a good horn; it had not been abused, but it was not well maintained. One of my "player's horns" was also not abused, but clearly had been played a lot, with the silver plating worn off in high-wear areas, strap hook re-positioned, etc.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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It has to be a marketing term IMO.

If a horn is beaten up and ugly, there's not much going for it except to say the reason must be because some great player thought so highly they used it a lot for long time. As oppose to a mint vintage horn must be crap because nobody ever bothered to play it.

This is false logic really. There are plenty of reasons somebody might have left a great horn in the closet, and plenty of reasons why a well used horn is nit necessarily a holy grail.
 

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I’ve never understood the prevelant view that pretty horns aren’t desirable and the worse a horn looks the more “desirable” it is... nobody thinks an old beater car makes anyone a better driver.

I agree a horn doesn’t need to be pretty to play well...but there is no reason a horn needs to get beat up from use either.
 

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I think of it as looking bad but playing well.
Most concise and most accurate definition in the thread of how the term is supposed to be used.

The problem, of course, is that "player's horn" is also misused fairly often to describe saxes that look bad and play poorly too. In short, they're just in bad shape. A seller can misleadingly imbue such an instrument with cachet and potential by slapping on this label.
 

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I’ve never understood the prevelant view that pretty horns aren’t desirable and the worse a horn looks the more “desirable” it is... nobody thinks an old beater car makes anyone a better driver.
In fact, my rule of thumb for a used sax is that excellent cosmetic condition is a likely (not certain) indicator of excellent mechanical condition as well. No one (well, almost no one -- perhaps young kids given instruments beyond their ken) tries to mess up a horn's appearance alone. Bad aesthetics, especially on horns that are not exceptionally old, are probably a result of overall abuse.

On the other hand, I'm not sure that the preference for a beat-up appearance is actually "prevalent." E.g., many in this thread already have criticized it. And if you price items like vintage Mark VIs, a minty example will always cost more than a scuffed-up example with the same finish and serial number range.
 

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Mostly just a seller’s term.
Beat up relic: not a players horn
Maintained axe that’s obviously seen some playing time: players horn
Closet queen/ find: could be a player, but must ask why no one played it. Number of owners can be telling.

I have a burning alto that I play only about ten% of my time on saxophone. It’s unlacquered, so many would call it ugly. It’s in prime playing condition though, so I would classify it as a players horn even though it hasn’t seen a ton of playing time, right?
 

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Marketing term. Translates roughly to "you know you want it." Synonym: "killer horn."

You often see this in ads for saxes: 'it's a player's horn,' or typically, 'this is a real player's horn'.

This is just a euphemism for knackered (worn out), right??? :bluewink:
 

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Yeah, it means it looks ugly as hell but it looks that way because it's been played so much, so it's a good player.

This is why I'm so skeptical of 'closet queens'. If it was a good playing horn then it would be played. Especially 40+ year old horns


I'm certain there are tens of thousands of horns sitting closets all over the USA. Little Jimmy or Susie showed an interest in playing in the band so mom and dad wanting nothing but the best for the kid went out and bought a top-notch horn because they could afford to, thereby preventing Jimmy or Susie from having to play a rental or a school horn. The kid played for a year or two in junior high/middle school then quit when he/she got to high school. Into the closet the horn went where it sits to this day.

I had a buddy in junior high with a brand new Selmer alto (early 1960s). In high school he got strung out on meth and dropped out of sight. I wonder whatever happened to that pretty sax.
 
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