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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited by Moderator)
Hi, I am thinking of getting a new tenor saxophone, maybe a bari. dont know if this is important but, I learned to play in band class 20 years ago, but haven't played for 14 years. In the start of the pandemic I picked up my alto and started to play a couple of songs & overtones, and I realised how much i missed playing/obsessing. My alto is a cheap Chinese/tiwanese that is far harder to play the the bundy that I learned to play on, I had both mine and the bundy tennor (that belonged to the school) for a year. I use the mouthpiece that came with it and a berg larsens 110/3/m (clone I think, but sounds much better). I'm currently using vandoren java green reed strength 1 and 1.5 on the berg and vandoren zz 3 on the sax's original mouthpiece. I have never liked play my alto, though I still think its good to start and it looks nice imho lol.

Anyway since I am still new I'm hoping for some recommendations and feedback on some horns, cause other than price and looks I basically know nothing. Also I dont care if it is a Selmer or anyother brand as long as it is and that is less than 4000 USD and an instrument that will last. I am considering the following:

Kessler Custom ‘Handmade NS’
Kessler Custom Handmade Series Tenor Sax
Selmer TS44
Yanagisawa TWO1

I am leaning on the handmade ns sax, because of price and looks, but I dont really which of these I should go with. what are your opinions on these? or should I go with another tenor?

thanks for your attention
 

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Of that list, I’d personally get the Yanagisawa. The TS44 is an intermediate horn, overpriced for what it is in my opinio. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but the Kesslers are Taiwan horns which I personally would avoid... I know some people love them but I haven’t had great experiences with Taiwanese horns.

In that budget, I’d strongly consider a YTS 63 if you wanted brand new, or a lightly used YTS82zii or 875ex. If you wanted vintage a purple label Yamaha 61 or 62 (I’d lean towards a 62) plus an overhaul could give you a fantastic horn.

You should also be able to find a gently used Selmer series II or III for that amount which is also worth looking into.

Best advice is to play as many as possible - I know that’s easier said than done!
 

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Hi Kiyoshi

I have the Yanagisawa and like it very much.
Can you play test any of those models? That is the best way.

Welcome to SOTW!
 

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@ $4k you have many options. Are you set on new ? Like Grumps says. Some really great options on vintage units. A pristine Conn 10m can be had for under $2k.
To get a sense of feel on used values browse Reverb. I just entered “ Tenor Saxophone “ with min price @ $1000 max @ $4000. Search returned 433 hits.

stay away from Fleabay
 

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Hi, I am thinking of getting a new tenor saxophone, maybe a bari. dont know if this is important but, I learned to play in band class 20 years ago, but haven't played for 14 years. In the start of the pandemic I picked up my alto and started to play a couple of songs & overtones, and I realised how much i missed playing/obsessing. My alto is a cheap Chinese/tiwanese that is far harder to play the the bundy that I learned to play on, I had both mine and the bundy tennor (that belonged to the school) for a year. I use the mouthpiece that came with it and a berg larsens 110/3/m (clone I think, but sounds much better). I'm currently using vandoren java green reed strength 1 and 1.5 on the berg and vandoren zz 3 on the sax's original mouthpiece. I have never liked play my alto, though I still think its good to start and it looks nice imho lol.

Anyway since I am still new I'm hoping for some recommendations and feedback on some horns, cause other than price and looks I basically know nothing. Also I dont care if it is a Selmer or anyother brand as long as it is and that is less than 4000 USD and an instrument that will last. I am considering the following:

Kessler Custom ‘Handmade NS’
Kessler Custom Handmade Series Tenor Sax
Selmer TS44
Yanagisawa TWO1

I am leaning on the handmade ns sax, because of price and looks, but I dont really which of these I should go with. what are your opinions on these? or should I go with another tenor?

thanks for your attention
Of those horns, I would go with either the Yanagisawa or the Kessler Custom Handmade Series (brass). I’ve nothing against Taiwanese horns - whether a horn is a good one will depend on the design and quality control, not the dirt underneath the factory parking lot. Yanagisawa is well known, for decades now, for their consistency and excellent quality. It is interesting that there are only a few factories in Taiwan that make horns for many brands - Kessler is known for ensuring a high level of quality control for the horns made for them, and they do a great setup in their shop.

There’s little to be gained by nickel silver as a body material.
 

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The Kesslers are a great value but a Yani will retain alot of its value. Selmer would be my last choice of those listed. If you do not want to throw in alot of cash and uderstand that used horns are worth less by a margin the kessler is a good value. If you are along time player and will use it to death the Yani is my choice.
 

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G, I think nickel-silver is a great body material. It largely retires the "lacquer problem".
As does silver plating, but not suggested here.
I think that gives NS a real advantage over bare or lacquered brass.
 

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@ $4k you have many options.
My first reaction too.

$3999 max....how did you, @kiyoshi7 , come up with your short list of those 4 ?

I would ADD to that list, personally.

Eastman 640...

... Buffet 400...


....and here's one which I just stumbled across recently:


All of these are really good horns, and they all actually lean towards an old-school vintage tonality (dark, wide, lots of harmonics) which was like the old American makes such as the Bundy/Bueschers.

I will say THIS - I know nothing of Conn-Selmer offerings, most people here simply ignore them completely, I am guessing most have never played a recent non-student one, too. There are one or two owners I have stumbled across, both owning the non-student models, and they truly insist the horns are professional sleepers.
So they may be better than the company's online reputation (if hearing crickets is actually a reputation).

I also add..I have never tried nor even held a Kessler. There are several Kessler owners here on this forum.

Yanagisawas have a stellar reputation for a good reason...I am actually surprised that one can find a new TWO1 for under $4g, but indeed one can....

(yes we can get into used, but as you have specified you are looking new...and as your budget is $4g as opposed to, say, $2g...you have the financial arsenal to acquire a very good, brand-new Tenor....if your budget was $2g, then buying used becomes a much more compelling suggestion).
 

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My first reaction too.

$3999 max....how did you, @kiyoshi7 , come up with your short list of those 4 ?

I would ADD to that list.

I will say THIS - I know nothing of Conn-Selmer offerings, most people here simply ignore them completely, I am guessing most have never played a recent non-student one, too. There are one or two owners I have stumbled across, both owning the non-student models, and they truly insist the horns are professional sleepers.
At $4K that would cover most of the P.M.line. Another child that goes unmentioned. I looked into a 76 a while back. Rolled tone holes.
WWBB may have these on sale Black Friday

The Yamaha YTS 62iii in silver plate is quite the respectable instrument also. $3.6k

Selmer 64 & 74 are above budget. I’m sure a Conn or Selmer product in budget is worthy.
It’s a personal thang
 

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A lot of suggestions, for under 4000 you could also take a look at the Trevor James Signature Costum RAW and/or Eastman 52nd street. Both seem to be really good horns. A Yani should have the highest resale value.
 

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Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
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As someone who just got a new tenor this year, I have to say, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't try the Andreas Eastman 52nd St Tenor. I fell in love with it, even though I had every intention of buying a Yamaha or Borgani.

This thing is a beast! Here's a couple of great options for you well under your price cap:


 

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Both Eastman's 52nd St and model 640 are great horns....I have actually serviced a couple of 640's and briefly had a 52nd St on my bench....I was very impressed. Actually, if I ever HAD that sorta $ to spend on a horn tomorrow, I would get an Eastman over a Yani or Yamaha. Just because their tone is nicer, more to my sonic preferences; their blowing response is sweet, and build-wise I would say Yani and Yama do not surpass the ones I have seen.

The 640 can be had brand new for well under $4g.

Oh, BTW ...someone commented disparagingly about Taiwanese-made horns, earlier.

I used to be on that train. Over the past few years, having serviced a number of more recent ones, middle-to-upper-shelf ones....I can report:

...that's bunk, in 2020. One can no longer lump Taiwan-made saxes into one category, or claim a common (negative) attribute.
Some brands offer really good horns.
 

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Tenor: Eastman 52nd St, Alto: P. Mauriat 67RDK, Soprano: Eastern Music Curvy
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Both Eastman's 52nd St and model 640 are great horns....I have actually serviced a couple of 640's and briefly had a 52nd St on my bench....I was very impressed. Actually, if I ever HAD that sorta $ to spend on a horn tomorrow, I would get an Eastman over a Yani or Yamaha. Just because their tone is nicer, more to my sonic preferences; their blowing response is sweet, and build-wise I would say Yani and Yama do not surpass the ones I have seen.

The 640 can be had brand new for well under $4g.

Oh, BTW ...someone commented dispariginly about Taiwanese made horns earlier.

I used to be on that train. Over the past few years, having serviced a number of newer ones, middle-to-upper-shelf ones....I can report:

that's bunk, in 2020.
Sax Alley sells those 640s for a great price, especially when he tunes up a used one!

I'm so excited to try the updated keywork model on the 52nd st for next year, although the 650 model Rue St George's) has been updated (as the 850 model).
 

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Oh, BTW ...someone commented disparagingly about Taiwanese-made horns, earlier.

I used to be on that train. Over the past few years, having serviced a number of more recent ones, middle-to-upper-shelf ones....I can report:

...that's bunk, in 2020. One can no longer lump Taiwan-made saxes into one category, or claim a common (negative) attribute.
Some brands offer really good horns.
well connected with Yamaha

Sax Alley sells those 640s for a great price, especially when he tunes up a used one!
for some reason your link to saxalley will not open.
was this the item ?
 

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for some reason your link to saxalley will not open.
was this the item ?

Very strange! It works for me - not sure what could cause the redirect.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow far more responses than I was expecting, thanks

Of that list, I’d personally get the Yanagisawa. The TS44 is an intermediate horn, overpriced for what it is in my opinio. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but the Kesslers are Taiwan horns which I personally would avoid... I know some people love them but I haven’t had great experiences with Taiwanese horns.

In that budget, I’d strongly consider a YTS 63 if you wanted brand new, or a lightly used YTS82zii or 875ex. If you wanted vintage a purple label Yamaha 61 or 62 (I’d lean towards a 62) plus an overhaul could give you a fantastic horn.

You should also be able to find a gently used Selmer series II or III for that amount which is also worth looking into.

Best advice is to play as many as possible - I know that’s easier said than done!
thanks I'll look for those selmer, about the Yamahas, I didn't consider the brand because I had the impression, though I may be wrong, that they sound 'bright'.

Hi Kiyoshi

I have the Yanagisawa and like it very much.
Can you play test any of those models? That is the best way.
unfortunately I cannot play test, that's part of my problem

Whatever you get, consider going for a used horn. You'll get more bang for the buck, and should this be a passing fancy, you'll get your money back when you sell.
@ $4k you have many options. Are you set on new ? Like Grumps says. Some really great options on vintage units. A pristine Conn 10m can be had for under $2k.
To get a sense of feel on used values browse Reverb. I just entered “ Tenor Saxophone “ with min price @ $1000 max @ $4000. Search returned 433 hits.

stay away from Fleabay
(yes we can get into used, but as you have specified you are looking new...and as your budget is $4g as opposed to, say, $2g...you have the financial arsenal to acquire a very good, brand-new Tenor....if your budget was $2g, then buying used becomes a much more compelling suggestion).
I don't mind going for a used/vintage sax (sorry for the confusion, when I said new in the start of my post I meant new for me) I was considering getting a near 100 year old frank holton tenor sax, though I wouldn't want to play it daily. I never heard of reverb, thanks, I found 2 saxes there, that I will have to do some research on (Cannonball Big Bell Global and Martin Handcraft "Standard"). My main fear of getting an expensive used horn is if I get something that will need to be overhauled.

My first reaction too.

$3999 max....how did you, @kiyoshi7 , come up with your short list of those 4 ?
Easy lack of knowledge and self awareness lol. So I put lots of constraints in my selection because having flexibility might be a recipe for disaster.

All of these are really good horns, and they all actually lean towards an old-school vintage tonality (dark, wide, lots of harmonics) which was like the old American makes such as the Bundy/Bueschers.
To be honest the only reason that I remember the brand kessler is because of their description for their 'red brass' sax as having a darker tone.

A lot of suggestions, for under 4000 you could also take a look at the Trevor James Signature Costum RAW and/or Eastman 52nd street. Both seem to be really good horns. A Yani should have the highest resale value.
I had never hear of Trever James, I'll look into them, though I'd go with a silver plated version of it, the idea of seeing oxidized brass scares me a bit.
 

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You can buy Dave Guardala. This is a relatively rare modern good saxophone.
But there are two nuances. Do not buy the latest version (these saxophones are Amati made) and do not buy black nickel plated (my subjective opinion is that the sound is not good).
Therefore, good saxophones that were B&S made in the 1990s: lacquered, silver plated and without lacquer.
 

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As someone who just got a new tenor this year, I have to say, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you didn't try the Andreas Eastman 52nd St Tenor. I fell in love with it, even though I had every intention of buying a Yamaha or Borgani.

This thing is a beast! Here's a couple of great options for you well under your price cap:
Ah, really would like to try those two and compare them. Did you play them side by side? What are the differences? And what made you go for the Eastman?

Also, did you play a Rampone R1 Jazz when looking for a new sax? The silver/gold looks amazing...
 
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