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Beginner Sax Buying a Sax on a budget.

rmariano

New Member
Messages
2
Locality
New Zealand
Hello everyone,

I am a 29 year old guy who decided to start playing Sax. I would like to start getting lessons (currently arranging dates and times with a professor), but I will need to get an instrument to get going. Now I know that the best ones are for about 1000+ NZD, but I can't really afford that (at least not at this stage). I've seen in a local store some budget options like these two:

ALTO SAXOPHONE - BLACK with GOLD KEYS ****CLEARANCE SALE ****

ALTO SAXOPHONE - GOLD LACQUER - SALE SALE SALE - WHILE STOCKS LAST

They are clearly Chinese brands, as I couldn't find anything about them googling. But I thought -although a long shot- it would be fine to ask around here if anyone ever heard of them. Maybe someone can tell me just by the looks of them some feedback on why I should avoid them, or if they seem to be good-ish. Alternatively, maybe someone with experience on Chinese/Asian cheap Saxophones can give some advice on some brand that is not so bad as an introductory instrument for a beginner on a budget.



Thank you very much.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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3,229
Locality
UK
Might be OK, might not be.

Recommending Ultra Cheap Chinese horn brands is tricky because while the brand name remains static, the actual source might not. One shipment of horns under the XYZ brand name might be fine, but the next lot might be made by an entirely different factory.
And then there's the consistency. Even if you're able to ensure your latest shipment of horns comes from the same factory as the last lot, there's no guarantee they'll be of the same quality.

Your best bet is to buy from an established seller who offers a decent warranty - preferably with an in-house repair department.
You should also budget another £40 or so on top of the purchase price for an independent post-sale checkover.
Most of these cheap horns are adquate these days, but often have really silly faults that affect the playability. These would normally get caught during quality control - but since it's unlikely the factory will carry such checks out you have to rely on the retailer doing it...or have it done by your own repairer.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
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2,843
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The Athens of The North
I would prefer a good used sax from a reputable maker, like Yamaha , for example.
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
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1,062
Locality
England
The few cheap Chinese horns that I've tried have all been quite playable, certainly better than some of the old 'traditional' beginner instruments such as Jupiter (I've only tried one, and it was bordering on unplayable...though I think the modern Intermediate level ones are better).

Having said that, I've heard tales of ones with silly faults, as Stephen above points out, a simple inexpensive setup by a tech will sort those.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
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10,386
Locality
Liverpool ( Pool of Life )
A good used alto the likes of yam, yani or similar would be my choice before a cheap chinese, plus resale value of the used would be better.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
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4,124
Locality
Betelgeuse
A good used alto the likes of yam, yani or similar would be my choice before a cheap chinese, plus resale value of the used would be better.
Mine too, but it depends on budget. A used student Yamaha would be twice the price of the one in the link, a used Yanagisawa a minimum of five times the price.

The saxes in the link really are at the bottom of the market, but may well be OK. I have a G4M alto at home which would have cost a similar amount new, and it plays very well. I'd echo Stephen's advice about budgeting just a little extra for a set up. Margins are so tiny on sub-£200 saxes that they will be sold as they left the factory.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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16,013
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Burnley bb9 9dn
These bottom of the bag instruments can be a nightmare. Saxophone shaped objects. The Gear4Music saxes are very good but aren't available in New Zealand as far as I'm aware. I took a punt on one because of their no quibble returns policy and have been pleasantly surprised. I even bought a couple of their returns and fettled them.

The saxophone is a bit of a Heath Robinson affair. One little leak and it won't play right. Very frustrating for a beginner. Not being able to distinguish what's you and what's the horn may put off a new player.

A cheap Chinese horn may play out of tune, it may be poorly constructed and no tech will touch it, it may fall to bits. It may never play and it may not last very long if it does. Is this a bargain?

An experienced player / fettler may try it and like it but in my opinion some one with no mechanical bent and no musical experience should stay away.

If there's a no quibble returns policy, show it to the prof. Better still get what the prof recommends.

There are schemes in UK that rent instruments and deduct the rental from the buy price. They also have ex rental instruments for sale. Is there a scheme like this in your neck of the woods? Your professor will know.

Do you drive? Did you buy a car and then look for lessons?
 

Tiberius

Well-Known Member
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1,062
Locality
England
...A used student Yamaha would be twice the price of the one in the link, a used Yanagisawa a minimum of five times the price.
This is a problem sometimes, people say I've got a budget of £250...and everyone suggest items costing £1,000 and says, hey, these are better. Sure, I damn hope they're better :) (although, honestly, my teachers £1,000 sequoia is no better than my £300 Taiwanese...but that's another story).

Of course, the big problem is nobody can say that the particular budget Chinese model is any good. It might be, it might not. Without playing it, there's no way of knowing. I think Colin's post is the best, make sure it has a good returns policy, then as long as it does, give it a go.
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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Bristol, UK
Buying a cheap sax, or a used sax, involves risk, so if you are a beginner, I think there are three things that you need:
1. Have someone who can try it out for you in turns of playability - this could be a a teacher or just a good local player. When I bought my first sax, I paid a local pro player to try it out - it cost me the same as a sax lesson. Not only did I feel a lot happier, but I heard what it could sound like in the right hands.
2. Have a competent repair person look it over, and tweak as necessary. (This also applies to expensive instruments.) If you are getting it from a shop, then make sure that they have an in-house repair person who has done this. (It may be that the repair person can check playability as well, but they are often generalists, rather than saxophone specialists.)
3. Make sure the seller has a good returns policy and guarantee.

It's all about balancing cost and risk. If you can trust the seller then that is worth a lot.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,124
Locality
Betelgeuse
Yup, the saxes in the link are about £190, a decent used YAS 23 or 25 would be knockig on £400. Minimum for a used Yanagisawa, unless it's knackered or you're very lucky is about a grand. Personally I'd find the money and get a Yamaha if I was a learner and lived in New Zealand. Otherwise the advice from @nigeld is spot on
 

rmariano

New Member
Messages
2
Locality
New Zealand
Wow, thanks a lot for such an awesome feedback people. I have a used sax on sight recommended by a local player (although not sure if it's a good brand) but that's something.

***BOSTON SAXOPHONE***

I am skeptical to buy those cheap ones now, feel kind of scared. I contacted the store to check out their return policies and such, so I can arrange the instrument to be tested and then decide if I want to keep it. Also need to balance this with the other auction I just posted before making a commitment.

Thanks again people, you're awesome!
 

garrobito

Member
Messages
131
Locality
Alameda, CA, USA
There are a couple reputable pages to get used sax around the world... www.reberb.com, samash.com used and few more here and there..
Off course more money you can get better instrument. Down the road, investment paid himself... I prefer a reputable "used" even if I need to invest a little later in a technician than a chinese copy, even if sound good today down the road is not gonna keep the intonation.. or the resale value..
 

SaxoFREAK

saX on the bEaCH..
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626
Locality
Liverpool
These bottom of the bag instruments can be a nightmare. Saxophone shaped objects. The Gear4Music saxes are very good but aren't available in New Zealand as far as I'm aware.

They do deliver to New Zealand according to their own website '
New Zealand

Postal Service
Delivery Times
5-10 working days Standard Service
Delivery Times
2-4 working days'
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
I wouldn't buy from them if you're in NZ. High chance of ending up with something that needs fixing. And then you're into a long period waiting for a replacement, plus all the hassle of customs, duty etc.
 

Wheezey

Member
Messages
135
Locality
Lanjaron, Granada, Spain.
Here in Spain, I bought a Monzani tenor, (Chinese) for about 400€, over the 'Net.
Came with a good case and a free stand, reeds (and a rubbish mouthpiece, not unusual I understand).
400€ is NOT worth my saxophone.
No help whatsoever, sorry -
but I hope you're as lucky as I was.

Wheezy.
IMG_0970.jpg
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
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1,858
Locality
Hamilton, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand
I wouldn't buy from them if you're in NZ. High chance of ending up with something that needs fixing. And then you're into a long period waiting for a replacement, plus all the hassle of customs, duty etc.

I imported two Walstein saxophones from the UK ten years ago - it took less than a week from the UK to NZ - both instruments still going strong - purchased a Squier Classic Vibe 50s Telecaster on line from a NZ music chain store and took 10 days to get from Tauranga to Hamilton {a distance of about 100 km (60 miles)} also imported a John Parker JP251SWS trumpet from Just Flutes in Croydon - horn still going. great. With the price of saxophones in NZ and the limited range available sometimes the only option is to import from overseas and a lot of the time cheaper even when including shipping costs and government border charges (no customs duty payable on musical instruments imported into NZ, but 15% G.S.T. payable and document handling fees).

Greg S.
 

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