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Saxophones Amati Alto Sax - Opinions? (looking to buy)

waking11dreams

New Member
Messages
2
Hi. I was a bari player in high school, but I always loved the alto and wanted one of my own (especially since bari's are so expensive in comparison). It's been a few years since I've played a sax and I'm dying to get back into it. I found a "Super Classic Amati Kraslice" (they call it a vintage silver Czechoslovakia Classic) for sale in my area for $140. The owner says it was purchased in Prague, Czech Republic and made in 1980. It is in need of some repair (pads etc.) but nothing too major from what I can tell, and that's what apparently is bringing the price down so low. I'm curious as to what anyone knows about these horns and if it would be worth anything to buy this and spend a bit extra fixing it up and getting some good equipment for it. Thoughts? Thanks.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
As I understand it:

Amati was a nationalised amalgamation of the independant pre WWII musical instrument builders centred in Kraslice. Two biggest names melded into this concern were Keilwerth and Kohlert. (although both got going again separately in Germany, taking expertise with them). Post war the designs/quality fluctuated a lot, and tended to fall behind other makers. By the Super Classics, they'd pretty much sorted things out and were making decent horns, even if the market perception is different. I've a Super classic tenor that I'm repadding at the moment. It's well made and solid, but was unplayable when I got it, so I can't say more than that yet. They tended to keep to the darker sound, rather than the brighter sound of the French/Far eastern saxes.

Take a close look at the silver plating. Tranish on the surface is no problem, but puts many people off, so lowers the price. If it's solid, with no black corrosion coming through, it'll be OK, just an occasional wipe with a cloth/silver cloth. Even if there's a little corrosion in a couple of places, not too bad, you can easily keep on top of it with a silver cloth. If the plating's peeling, it's a very expensive fix. However wear through to brass on some keys wouldn't be so badly thought of. And on my tenor, the glue (sealing wax) holding the pads in was so shot that there was no option but a complete repad. Likely the one you're looking at will either be there, or be there soon.

As for price/value, your local market is probably far different to here. Big risk is that the cost of a repad puts the cost of the horn over it's resale value - but if you're intending to play and keep,this is much less of an issue. As for kit you'd buy around the horn, it'll all be transferable to another if you decide to change in the future, so not really a consideration.

Price in a complete repad/recork and think carefully about the resale value/total cost.

Could be a bargain... Could be a white elephant. Personally I think you'll be happy with it, but I'm a sucker for older saxes. And a brand new shiney Bauhaus Walstein or other reputable brand could well cost you the same....
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
Kev's about spot on as usual (I think he's turned into a bit of an oracle actually!) I can't tell you about the alto, however, I've been playing one of their 1960 tenors for the past 4 or 5 years and I love it. It's sturdy and reliable (although a rod did fall off at a jam session the other night, but that's my fault for not giving her a regular check over with a screwdriver!) I had it serviced when I first got it, (I paid about £180 for the horn) and another £150 ish for the service. It's had a very hard life gigged most weekends, it gets busked with several times a week and has never let me down yet!
It may be worth asking the seller if they will let you take the horn to a tech, to get a quote for the work and maybe a valuation both pre and post work.
Let us know how you get on.
 

waking11dreams

New Member
Messages
2
Thanks for the advice. I'm hoping to be able to check it in person soon. If there doesn't seem to be any major corrosion or broken keys etc. and everything else seems alright based on some playing, then I think I'll go for it. My brother has had some pretty good repair training and experience, and I've been itching to learn basic woodwind repairs myself, so this seems like a great opportunity to me (and if it all goes horribly wrong, then I've learned a few lessons and get to dish out a bit more money than I'd hoped). I am also a sucker for the old sounding saxes. There's just something particularly wonderful about them. So here's hoping!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Good luck.

A couple of other things...

1 - Make sure the sax is Silver plated, not Nickel plated.
2 - Get Steven Howard's Haynes Saxophone Manual.
3 - good stuff about repairs on musicmedic.com, cybersax.com, even Ferees Tools. You should be able to get allt he tools you need from musicmedic and Ferees.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Nothing, it'just that some people can't tell the difference.
And some people are allergic to nickel (me for one).
Glad you clarified that, Kev! I play a 1960's Reynolds Argenta Bb trumpet, which is made out of Nickel & is Nickel plated. I wonder if it has been affecting my mental functioning - :w00t::shocked:>:):thumb:
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Just check you are happy with the ergonomics. I bought one, did it up, it played fine but the positioning of the pinky clusters did not relate to any of my other saxes and I just found it too much hard work to adapt to it every time I picked it up.
 
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