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I have an alto sax, Yamaha YAS-52, that I purchased about 15 years ago, but have only started playing it regularly in the last year. (Paid about $1000.) It has developed leaks and needs an overhaul according to my tech. The quote for the cost of the overhaul is $600. Is it worth it to put $600 into a horn I paid $1000 for? Would I be better off selling it and just buying a new horn?

Thanks for you input.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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Do you like the horn? If no, your question is answered. Sell it or trade it towards something you DO like- because now is the time.


If yes...

It won't be a profit-making enterprise- but this isn't about resale, right? This is about playing. The YAS-52 is a very well-made horn that plays very well when in good condition and will last indefinitely if given good care and regular overhauls every decade or so. If you consider that you paid for it 15 years ago and you'e already absorbed that cost, the question before you now really is "would I pay $600 for a newly overhauled YAS-52?". Assuming the overhaul is a good one, the answer for me is a resounding yes.
 

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Yes.

Any sax is worth overhauling if it's a good one regardless of how much or little you paid for it. What you paid for it shouldn't even be a factor determining how much you're willing to spend in maintenance.

If you drive a 20 year old car that you paid little for, you still have to get it serviced and fill it up when the tank's empty, plus tax and insurance and testing and none of that is ever taken into account or adjusted to reflect the money you spent on buying it. You never bargain with your garage at the cost of a service or with your insurance company that you only paid so much for it and any repairs or insurance should be to a value you think is right for what it cost to buy, so don't apply the 'is it worth it seeing I only paid X amount' or 'can you do everything on it for next to nothing as it only cost me X amount' as that won't get you anywhere.

True you will often spend far more on an overhaul than some instruments cost TO BUY, but that's neither here nor there - if it's an instrument you want to get full playing potential out of, then it's only right you spend whatever it costs to get it in full working order.

I've had some people complain that I charge too much for a service - one player moaned it was 10% of the cost of her Yanagisawa A992 (and she wasn't the one who was likely to be paying for it as 'daddy' would be). I charge the same price for a service and overhaul regardless of the make or model as it's still the same work being done and I definitely don't base my pricing on a percentage of the value of any instrument or on how much or little someone paid for their instrument as that's not relevant to me. What is relevant is getting their instrument back into fully playable condition and I'd charge the same amount to service a Jupiter 767 as I would to service a MkVI as it's the same amount of work.

I bought a Yamaha YAS-62 for £320 which was in excellent condition although it had been repadded with sticky pads. As it was a YAS-62 I could justify stripping it down and rebuilding it. Likewise with a YAS-32 I bought before for not much more than that which was a great instrument and also well worth overhauling which I did - when it came to selling the 32 on eBay I had several timewasters saying things like 'I'll give you £200 for it for a quick sale' which was just taking the pi$$. In both instances the cost of the overhaul would have been in excess of how much I paid for each instrument if I was to charge it out. You WON'T get your money back on some instruments, but you will still get a good instrument if you're willing to spend the money on having it overhauled. I got £500 for the 32 in the end which was £50 lower than I was selling it for so on intermediate instruments you very often won't get the money you put into them back just like you wouldn't when selling a car you bought for very little and spent a lot more on it in maintenance and running costs. Chances are these older ones may be better than a lot of the new ones and it's also far less costly to buy an older instrument and have it fully overhauled than it is to buy a brand new one.
 

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....What Chris said.

but also consider what you're likely to get out of a horn in need of such extensive work. Those instrument in good cosmetic shape and working order get about $800, give or take. in need of an overhaul and fair cosmetics, they seem to bottom out around $400.
 

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It's interesting that we think of a horn costing quite a bit less should also cost much less to repair. Except that labor, as Chris states, (excellent post by the way!) costs the same whether the horn was less pricey than others when it was new or not. And we're also looking at a horn many years hence its being new. So as labor and parts costs have increased, any horn you repair or rebuild is going to cost what the current going rates are.

If it were me I would consider the costs to rebuild a Yamaha 52 much less expensive than buying another horn. And the quality of the horns are really up there. Even with above av erage play time on something like this, I would bet that horn lasts a very long time on the rebuild with only the usual minor adjustments all horns require from time to time.

Excellent post Chris!

Harv
 

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Is it worth it to put $600 into a horn I paid $1000 for? Would I be better off selling it and just buying a new horn?
As mentioned above only you can truly answer that question

If you went to the shop and bought a pair of sneakers for 40 dollars and they are the best sneakers youve ever worn, do you pay a shoe guy 200 dollars to put a new sole on the bottom when it wears out, or do you buy a new set of shoes. Ive known people to do both options,

The choice is really yours
 

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I just had a look on eBay and there are several YAS-52s there for around the $1600 mark - but that's no true indication of their condition and you might find they may need some work to bring them up to top playing form.

Even so, that plus the cost of an overhaul is still well below what a new equivalent one would cost and provided there isn't any serious structural damage (you can live with cosmetic damage as that won't have any impact on performance), they will still make for a great instrument once the work has been done to make them play just as good - if not better - than when they were new.
 
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