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Why do you or don't you purchase or play Chinese Horns?

  • I DO play them because the price is right.

    Votes: 16 20.8%
  • I DO play them because I actually like the sound.

    Votes: 13 16.9%
  • I DON'T play them because they are complete junk.

    Votes: 12 15.6%
  • I DON'T play them because I feel it is morally wrong to purchase horns from China.

    Votes: 9 11.7%
  • Some of the brands are good. Some are not.

    Votes: 34 44.2%
  • I haven't decided where I stand yet.

    Votes: 10 13.0%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is a subject frequently talked about here on SOTW. Maybe we can get a general opinion on the matter.
 

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How about me?

I had my horns BEFORE I knew they made horns in China.

I'd rather buy from Houli (ROC) than PROC, just because I'm an old fashioned guy.
 

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Why purchase a Chinese horn for $800 or so, when for the same price I got a Martin Committee III that needed nothing and destroys any alto I have touched in sheer power? For the same price of a Chinese horn I could get a Vintage American horn that I know will kill, even if I have to put a full overhaul into it. Also it will hold its value for the most part
 

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The Chinese horns can provide a lot of bang for the buck. Yep, there are ones to avoid. But the word is getting out about the ones worth having, and it is possible to have good players in all three major voices (S,A,T) for the same price as ONE used big four horn. That can be mighty handy for general purpose playing and cover bands. Plus, there will come a time, if not already, when China is producing a world class horn which will be available for a fraction of the price due to lack of reputation. It would be nice to be up on Chinese horns and be able to grab it.
Folks here lament the reliability of Chinese horns and recommend vintage. I will always doubt the reliability of any 60-80 year old mechanical device of any type.
 

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I read on another thread that Chinese horns are really good in ergos and sound quality but lack in intonation. My Kohlert matches that description. Although I heard that Phil Barone's are Asian so maybe that's one of the unknown horns.

Not to speak ill of anybody, of course.
 

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the word custom is getting morphed into sent from china and modified
 

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Horns from mainland China are clearly products under development. They will get better and will sort themselves out just as the Japanese horns did. Meanwhile, there are some reportedly really good horns to be had if you know which companies to trust.
 

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I gig with a Taiwan tenor, for fun I play a Chinese (PROC) soprano, but I love my vintage Martin tenor and bari beyond all reason. I don't know where I stand.
 

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I recently bought off Ebay a chinese flugelhorn and a trumpet mouthpiece, and they really rock! My friend has A Bauhaus Walstein soprano sax that is just wonderful - great sound, good ergos and build quality. Now I know why Pete Thomas plays one!
 

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I haven't tried a Chinese sax, and frankly don't expect to ever buy a new sax again. I'm happy with what I have. But I do play a Ridenour Lyrique pro-line hard rubber clarinet and it's excellent. As I understand, they are made in PROC, but finished and tweaked by Tom Ridenour in Texas, by God, USA. I would not have bought a no-name clarinet, but felt (justifiably, as it turns out) that Ridenour's products are a safe bet.
 

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...so i go into a hardware store to find a plunger(for my trumpet)..they dont have exactly what im looking for...and uncommonly the clerk understands why a trumpet player is looking for a plunger...finally he goes in the back and pulls out this mildewed old plunger...it truly looked as if it had been used...i ended up buying it...when he flipped it over and saw the made in U.S.A brand on it he himself looked shocked and said,"man,this REALLY IS an antique"
 

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As the comments made so far indicate, there are several saxophone industries in "China," so the question probably isn't very helpful. IMO, the really troublesome horns are the ultra cheap ones being dumped on the NA market via e-commerce. About these horns, I think folks who want to make an environmentally and ethically informed decision should probably ask:

a) do I need this or am I just buying it because it is cheap?
b) what does common sense and overwhelming evidence tell me about an industry designed to produce saxophones that retail for $300?
c) aren't there better options, ones that are not clouded by an inescapable cloud of economic, environmental, and human rights violations?

Please notice--if you care to--that these considerations imply no moral judgements whatsoever about China or Chinese people. They are about making the same kinds of discriminations that informed and educated people are being urged to make in all areas of consumer behaviour these days.

FWIW: since it is sometimes difficult to respect other peoples' opinions, I think when you are making up your mind about things like this that it is a good idea to avoid the trap of feeling superior to people who understand things differently than you do, or who care about things that you don't. This would make a very nice bumper sticker.
 

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morally wrong? that's pathetic on so many levels.
 

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I did the research instead of relying upon second-hand uninformed opinions and fifth-hand anecdotes.

Now, they are the only thing readily available to me as new. (I'm back in the PRC).
 

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..."when you are making up your mind about things like this that it is a good idea to avoid the trap of feeling superior to people who understand things differently than you do, or who care about things that you don't." ...This would make a very nice bumper sticker.
You would need a very wide bumper to put that sticker on :bluewink:
 

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when you're tired of playing old american horns, you're tired of living. (my alto is a Martin Comm II)
 

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I played every soprano, some multiple times over 4 days, at the LA NAMM show, and that included a lot of PROC horns.
There are a few VERY good horns being made there, and I agree that they will continue to improve rapidly.
But there are too many real "doorstops" as well.
I suggest that it is important to know who you are dealing with, and to make decisions based on the quality of the horn AND the company.
There are good people doing good work in China these days.
It's just extremely hard to get to know who is who.
 

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I personally don't like Chinese stuff. Some of the saxophones may be fine in their way but why buy something from them you don't have to? We are practically forced now to buy so much of their stuff anyway. I guess this could be deemed political but I personally don't like some of the stuff China is doing in the world so that's why I wouldn't buy one. They might play ok but I've never tried one and don't intend to. I'll probably get wacked again for being political and that never seems to go away from your personal data on this forum. But I would suggest doing some research on the Tibetan people just for starters. And about business paying a living wage to labor. I'm screwed now for sure. Just how I personally feel about it.
 
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