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Saxophones Best Online Retailers?

dorono

Member
Messages
28
Hello all,

I was wondering if I could get your recommendations for the online retailers (ie: WoodWind Brasswind, Music 123, Musician's Friend, Sam Ash, Music Factory Direct, etc) that you've had the best experiences with.

I realize that many of you are in the UK, so if you're getting your stuff from UK-based online retailers, I'd love to know about them as well!

I'm really only looking into retailers who have online stores that they ship from, so if the store you love buying from is strictly local, then unfortunately I'm not going to be able to use them (as I am in LA).

Your thoughts are much appreciated!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
My dilemma would be that US based stores are almost invariably better value for many items, with certain exceptions (BW saxes etc.).
In UK I could buy a Meyer HR Alto mouthpiece for about £130, for example, or in the US I could buy a Phil Tone custom Meyer, and have it imported to the UK for £120 all in. Similarly I often buy trumpet and trombone mouthpieces in the US (Mouthpiece Express) as they are so much cheaper than in the UK, even after shipping and any import taxes.

Of those in the US I would certainly recommend "Junk Dude".

Kind regards
Tom
 

Tommy Ng

Member
Messages
580
My dilemma would be that US based stores are almost invariably better value for many items, with certain exceptions (BW saxes etc.).
In UK I could buy a Meyer HR Alto mouthpiece for about £130, for example, or in the US I could buy a Phil Tone custom Meyer, and have it imported to the UK for £120 all in. Similarly I often buy trumpet and trombone mouthpieces in the US (Mouthpiece Express) as they are so much cheaper than in the UK, even after shipping and any import taxes.

Of those in the US I would certainly recommend "Junk Dude".

Kind regards
Tom
I think Thomann is also cheap enough and you can get away with import tax..
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
..which is why I occasionally use them when buying stuff for myself. I imagine that someone living in the US would be liable for both more costly shipping AND import taxes, and the stock that they provide is very mainstream, apart from the odd German based products.
I did get my Selmer Ref54 from them and saved about £650 on the UK price at the time, but the poster is based in the US.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,972
My dilemma would be that US based stores are almost invariably better value for many items, with certain exceptions (BW saxes etc.).
There are some distributors of BW over there I believe, e.g justsaxes.com

I imagine that someone living in the US would be liable for both more costly shipping AND import taxes,
Import taxes in the US seem to be much less prevalent then they do over here.

One of the online retailers I recommend is woodwindandbrass.co.uk and the last time I looked they actually do an extreme shipping discount to the US. I think this is due to the fact they expect fewer international returns so they can afford to do that.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Guys,
On the day that they are slashing spending, you UK lot are busily discussing Import and Valued Added Tax avoidance as well as buying less from UK importers, distributors and retailers.

Pete, this is not a political post, just financial.

Really I'm protecting YC's and my pensions. ;}
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
But it could be if it starts getting into protectionism. (Is that the right word?)
I don't think protectionism is relevant here as a possible problem. Protectionsim applies to imported goods only. It comes in many forms, e.g. high tariffs, unreasonable standards, complicated import procedures, etc. According to the EU website, the MFN import tariff into the EU (the one applicable to the US, Australia, Canada and some others) on wind-brass instruments (HS heading 9205) is 3.2%. That is a low tariff and a very small amount compared to the UK VAT of 17.5%. The VAT of course is an internal tax payable on domestic and imported goods and, judging by comments in other threads, the UK authorities are serious about collecting it. Be that as it may, the VAT not be labelled "protectionist". It is possible, of course, that some transaction or delivery fees also apply on imports. BTW, China being a developing country, saxophones imported from there probably come into the EU at a zero tariff, but VAT would still apply.

I might add that the Australian customs do not levy a duty on consignments valued at less than $900 (it may be $800). Nor is GST (VAT) payable. Above that, both customs tariff and GST cut in. This makes direct imports of reeds, mouthpieces, etc., quite attractive even when postage is taken into account. It seems that it costs customs more to collect the tariff on such amounts then it yields in revenue.

Sorry for the lecture, but someone had to point this out.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
If an item is sent from outside the EU to anywhere in the EU there could be a VAT and import tax levied, in general this is not the case if an item is small in size but if it is a package with a declared value it will be taxed at least on the base of a the declared value or the presumed value if the declared value is deemed insufficient. So, sometimes mouthpieces might not be taxed but a neck, for example would be. Recently I received a sample from a Taiwanese manufactured with a declared value of 50$ , it was taxed by the Dutch customs for 40€, I refused the item which was then sent back to the company in Taiwan. Dutch custom also taxes VAT + the import tax as appropriate, depending from the different countries where the items come from. Curiously, the shipping charges are taxed too if they are in one invoice with the Item that you have bought. Every citizen in the EU has a certain amount that can be bought per annum outside the EU and which should be import tax free but they only apply this to items that you take personally in when travelling and not to items that are sent to you. There is a large element of discretion in all this matters. American and Canadian residents hardly ever pay anything for receiving imported goods. We are not so lucky!
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,972
If an item is sent from outside the EU to anywhere in the EU there could be a VAT and import tax levied, in general this is not the case if an item is small in size but if it is a package with a declared value it will be taxed at least on the base of a the declared value or the presumed value if the declared value is deemed insufficient.
A while back this bit me badly. A mouthpiece was returned from the U.S. as the customer decided on a wider tip. He just sent it without letting me know and (wisely) insured it for its value. Which generally means that is the value that you put on the customs form. At this end I had to pay import duty and VAt on a mouthpiece I was taking as a return.

If this is the situation the sender can indeed insure and declare the value, but they should mark the customs form and also the packet in big bold letters: "UK GOODS RETURNED". Luckily the customer was very good nature when I mentioned this and paid the duty (I can claim the VAT back), but I now make everyone aware of this issue.

The same would apply if say you were sending a horn to the U.S. for engraving. The engraver would send it back with a full insurance value and unless they make it very clear on the customs form that only the engraving should be dutyable, you could pay duty and VAT (for the second time) on your instrument.

Going off topic I know, but its useful for everyone to know this.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,483
In many countries it is possible to obtain from customs a declaration of temporary export for something like repairs or thing that need being done such as engraving (which by the way , being a service and not goods, shouldn't pay any import tax!), but battling bureaucracy can be a daunting task
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Another one to watch is when the shippers automatically clear customs for you, pay the duty and then present you with a large bill for duty and doing it. You're in a difficult position, cos their fees may well push something way over what it should cost.....
 
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