I need cheap, hot Sax.
April 9, 2006 10:41 PM   Subscribe

Years ago, when I needed money badly, I sold my beautiful Selmer tenor sax...I went into another branch of the arts, but lately I've been fooling around with a friend's horn, and I'm really enjoying playing. I don't intend to do anything but amuse myself and maybe play with some like-minded buddies - mostly traditional jazz, some soul horn section type stuff, but definitely no Smooth Jazz or Wailing Rock. The problem is I can't really justify the big bucks replacing my Selmer would cost...and I'm spoiled, of course, by the horn I once owned. Any advice for tenor horns under $1,000 - new or used? How about $2,000? I know the proof is still in the playing and trying, but I'd love some help getting started. thanks!
posted by soulbarn to Media & Arts (7 answers total)
This is advice coming from a trombone player, so caveat empor. But I've known some high schoolers to be pretty happy with the Cannonball brand saxes. It's not going to be a Mark VI (that's probably the one that you sold, huh?), but I've heard good things about them.

That having been said, the used market is pretty good. Find someone else selling theirs in need of money. I've heard of Mark XIs being picked up for fifty bucks in pawn shops....

(Side note: you picked the wrong instrument. You can buy a new, professional tenor _trombone_ for 1400. *snark*)
posted by rossination at 11:10 PM on April 9, 2006

Sorry, that's supposed to be "Mark VI" both times. There exists no Mark Eleven, to my knowledge.
posted by rossination at 11:11 PM on April 9, 2006

Check out your local newspaper's classifieds section. Using the classifieds, my parents found the clarinet I used in high school for $85 (it had been sitting around in a woman's attic) and the sax I used in high school for $250 (some kid's parents bought it for him and then he lost interest).

Also, if you have a college or university nearby, check bulletin boards in the music department. I was just passing through my university's music department one day when I happened upon the ad that got me a beautiful $1,000 Buffet clarinet, Rovner ligature and a stack of music for only $300.
posted by limeonaire at 12:56 AM on April 10, 2006

I've heard of Mark XIs being picked up for fifty bucks in pawn shops....

As a once-starving musician, I hope you possess the empathy to not buy an instrument from a pawn shop.
posted by ChasFile at 5:42 AM on April 10, 2006

I was (and barely am still) a Clarinet player and still have my Buffet R13 from the early 70's. I had a Selmer that I used for rougher duty. I was also a marginally acceptable Sax and Flute player. Frankly, if you've been off playing for some time, I'd focus on the quality of the mouthpiece and good, soft reeds to get the chops back into shape. That followed by smooth mechanics and pads.

I'd second the suggestion that you contact local university and schools music departments for pre-loved instruments.
posted by michswiss at 7:32 AM on April 10, 2006

I just went through this a couple of months ago. I ended up with a Yamaha in really good playing shape but a bit beat up from years in marching band.

Yamahas are decent to good horns, and fairly consistent. Some of the Mark VIs are actually quite sucky, so that's no real guarantee (the other problem with them is that lots of people want one, so they can get expensive). Some of the other Selmers are good, though. Old Conns can be good, as can old Buffets. Be careful with the Cannonballs and Jupiters. Some of them are fine, and some are not. I tried a pair of Jupiters, and one was OK and one was, well, not. I've heard good things about Keilworths, although I've not played one.
posted by jlkr at 9:20 AM on April 10, 2006

Sometimes you can find decent deals on EBay, but of course given the price range involved you need to be very, very careful about descriptions, feedback, payment details, etc. I've never looked for a sax there but have seen some fairly good clarinets there (and bought a decent Selmer for not too much, some time ago). Good luck!
posted by dilettante at 3:33 PM on April 10, 2006

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