I've got one at the moment. They're a bit clunky, solidly made and have a good, robust tone. The pads as fitted originally are odd - they're synthetic, and as tough as old boots, but apparently not liked by repairers. The one on eBay sold for about the right sort of money for an eBay sale. You'd obviously pay a fair bit more for one from a shop. I quite like them, I think they're quite characterful and I like the way it's easy to get a raucous rock tone from them.
I've got a Weltklang solist silver tenor. These aren't B&S but they are exactly the same build. That typical German built sax with the bell brace and keyguards, the same as B&M Champion, Trafford, Meister and the Weltklang. My weltklang tenor is wonderfully built, has a great sound but is a bit of a clunky thing to play but I'm used to it. It also had quite a few of those pads on and my tech did complain that they were not satisfactory - infact they are inside the leather compressed paper, so not good quality at all but probably quite tough for a while. I got mine for £140 off eBay and I was lucky! Perhaps people call them a student horn but the sound they make in my opinion is great & I rate them very high. Mine is teamed up with a Lawton metal m/p and I think this really does it justice (not sure about me tho!!)
If you're thinking of buying a Sonora, just check the usual things like intonation/tuning, damage and wear and tear and if the pads seal properly - the problem with these East German saxes is that the cost of a full repad and overhaul is more than the instrument's worth. It's only the professional 2000 series B&S saxes and the blue label ones that are worth any money, the cheaper student horns like Weltklang, Sonora, Musica, Berg Larsen, Trafford etc are fairly common and aren't highly regarded in the UK - although in the USA there are some dealers charging higher prices for these instruments based on the reputation of B&S's pro instruments.
The keywork is clunky and basic on these things and they're heavy and solid, with a tone to match.
Several years ago my friend brought round his expensive Keilwerth tenor. After admiring the beauty and sound of it, I jokingly got out my Trafford tenor to compare. When I blew it, it sounded similar to the Keilwerth, although that's the only similarity - the Keilwerth is a far superior instrument.
No doubt some american sax dealer will start selling Weltklangs as "poor man's Keilwerths" in the same way that Bundy's are being sold as "poor man's Bueschers"
Trafford saxes were imported from East Germany in the 1970's by Barratt's, a music shop that used to be on Oxford Road, Manchester. A lot of them were shipped over in bits and assembled in a workshop in Trafford, hence the name.
If anybody wants a Trafford tenor, let me know, I never play mine.
I was bought a Sonora tenor saxophone when I was 18 I’m 55 now.
personally I think they are great yes a little heave but a magic lower range with a top range it is possible to get into.
i was very lucky to get this saxophone.