What should a beginner buy? Choosing my first sax!

Padca

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Portugal
Hi all! I want to buy a used Saxophone tenor as my first one and I have a budget of 500€ and was wondering if you guys could help me pick the right one or recommend some these. I also found one for 650€, and if it really is worth it I would consider raise a bit that budget.

This are all the saxophones that I found for under that budget (all of them used):
- G.Giant
- Monzani MZTS-100L
- Le Marquis LM-TS
- Excelsior Grande premio rio de janeiro 1922 (grand prize rio de janeiro 1922)
-Conn shooting stars


For 650€ (also used)
-Trevor James "the Horn - classic I" - I've heard some good things about this one so I wonder if it's good for the price.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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OK, so since I get to answer first, I will say:

Some of those I have never heard of, and a quick websearch indicates that a few are actually priced new under around $800usd.

As a rule, I believe one cannot really buy a good-quality new Tenor sax...new, for that cheap. So when one sees one priced that low, new, it is not unreasonable to approach it with skepticism. The Monzani and Marquis, for example...those are not common brands nor have they developed any sort of reputation. They are seemingly budget-priced asian made horns, at least from the ads which pop up in a websearch. I cannot find anything on G. Giant or Excelsior Grande saxophones (again just in a quick websearch right now)

Not that this is terrible, it is just that there are tons of such brands and labels, and usually the quality is often not very good.

The Conn and the Trevor are the two which jump out as the most familiar and reputable makes. A Conn Shooting Star Tenor is a pretty darn good horn, very well made, free-blowing, nice tone.

There are people here who know more about Trevors than I so they can better reply.

As noted directly below, you do want to make sure the saxes are in good playing condition and will need no additional work.

Yamaha and Jupiter are two other reputable brands which, used, can perhaps be found at your price point.
 
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saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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Hi Padca!

We will most certainly help you, but the custom here is to introduce yourself. Perhaps you can do so in the Doorbell section. It's always interesting to know where you're coming from.

The only one I can recognize in the first tier is the Conn, but at that price my guess is that it needs some attention (ie work=money).

It's tricky to pick your first sax. You don't know enough to evaluate the pros and cons. A tenor is more expensive than an alto, so 500€ is a tight budget. I bought a Yamaha YTS-23 for less but it required a bit of attention before it could play well and it's not yet at its best.

Do you know any saxophone player that can help you? It's always good to have an informed opinion when you're starting.

The last sax I sold was vetted by a teacher before the student bought it.
 
OP
Padca

Padca

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Portugal
Hi Padca!

We will most certainly help you, but the custom here is to introduce yourself. Perhaps you can do so in the Doorbell section. It's always interesting to know where you're coming from.

The only one I can recognize in the first tier is the Conn, but at that price my guess is that it needs some attention (ie work=money).

It's tricky to pick your first sax. You don't know enough to evaluate the pros and cons. A tenor is more expensive than an alto, so 500€ is a tight budget. I bought a Yamaha YTS-23 for less but it required a bit of attention before it could play well and it's not yet at its best.

Do you know any saxophone player that can help you? It's always good to have an informed opinion when you're starting.

The last sax I sold was vetted by a teacher before the student bought it.
Sorry, will definitely make my introduction there. I'm finding kinda hard searching for used saxophones, because usually they are either 350€ and not good or 2000€ + and actually good (I think) . As it is my first I didn't want to spend too much money and I found that Trevor james one for 650€ almost new, and, from what I searched it has some good reputation. Unfortunately I don't know anyone that can help with purchase.
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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There are TJ owners here, I think. So they might pitch in and provide infos. I don't know them.
 
OP
Padca

Padca

New Member
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5
Location
Portugal
OK, so since I get to answer first, I will say:

Some of those I have never heard of, and a quick websearch indicates that a few are actually priced new under around $800usd.

As a rule, I believe one cannot really buy a good-quality new Tenor sax...new, for that cheap. So when one sees one priced that low, new, it is not unreasonable to approach it with skepticism. The Monzani and Marquis, for example...those are not common brands nor have they developed any sort of reputation. They are seemingly budget-priced asian made horns, at least from the ads which pop up in a websearch. I cannot find anything on G. Giant or Excelsior Grande saxophones (again just in a quick websearch right now)

Not that this is terrible, it is just that there are tons of such brands and labels, and usually the quality is often not very good.

The Conn and the Trevor are the two which jump out as the most familiar and reputable makes. A Conn Shooting Star Tenor is a pretty darn good horn, very well made, free-blowing, nice tone.

There are people here who know more about Trevors than I so they can better reply.

As noted directly below, you do want to make sure the saxes are in good playing condition and will need no additional work.

Yamaha and Jupiter are two other reputable brands which, used, can perhaps be found at your price point.
Thanks for the info! I couldn't find any those brands that you recommend in second hand. About the Trevor james, is it a realiabe brand and if so, the price tagged is the right one?
 

Keep Blowing

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Hi all! I want to buy a used Saxophone tenor as my first one and I have a budget of 500€ and was wondering if you guys could help me pick the right one or recommend some these. I also found one for 650€, and if it really is worth it I would consider raise a bit that budget.

This are all the saxophones that I found for under that budget (all of them used):
- G.Giant
- Monzani MZTS-100L
- Le Marquis LM-TS
- Excelsior Grande premio rio de janeiro 1922 (grand prize rio de janeiro 1922)
-Conn shooting stars


For 650€ (also used)
-Trevor James "the Horn - classic I" - I've heard some good things about this one so I wonder if it's good for the price.
. The guy I use for repairs etc usually has one or two instruments he is selling for customers, he wouldn't be selling them if they weren't in good condition and ready to play. Maybe it would be worth finding a tech local to you and asking if he or she has anything suitable,
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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As mentioned above, the first 4 in your list are not well-known brands, so they are probably made in China. That is not bad in itself, but one of the ways they save costs is by doing less quality control. So you can get a super cheap Cheese horn or a terrible one from the same maker. Unless you have someone who can try it out for you, there is a risk.

The Conn Shooting Star is a well-known vintage-style horn. Some people love them, and in the hands of the right player it will probably sound the best of the ones in your list, but I had a couple of vintage saxophones myself as a beginner, and I do not recommend it. In my experience modern saxes are easier to play. Also, if you get an old saxophone, you need to have a good estimate of how much extra you will need to pay to get it into playing condition - it could be nothing, but it could be as much as the instrument costs to buy.

So the Trevor James is probably the safest bet. Once again, you need to be sure that it doesn't need a lot of repair work.
 
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OP
Padca

Padca

New Member
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Portugal
As mentioned above, the first 4 in your list are not well-known brands, so they are probably made in China. That is not bad in itself, but one of the wats they save costs is by doing less quality control. So you can get a super cheap Cheese horn or a terrible one from the same maker. Unless you have someone who can try it out for you, there is a risk.

The Conn Shooting Star is a well-known vintage-style horn. Some people love them, and in the hands of the right player it will probably sound the best of the ones in your list, but I had a couple of vintage saxophones myself as a beginner, and I do not recommend it. In my experience modern saxes are easier to play. Also, if you get an old saxophone, you need to have a good estimate of how much extra you will need to pay to get it into playing condition - it could be nothing, but it could be as much as the instrument costs to buy.

So the Trevor James is probably the safest bet. Once again, you need to be sure that it doesn't need a lot of repair work.
Thanks! The Conn looks really old indeed and with many corrosion signs, but the Trevor James looks like it is in perfect condition and said to be rarely played. I'm to into prices of saxophones, do you think 650€ is a good price?
 

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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I just had a look at eBay's successful sales for TJ's Classic tenor. You should have a go yourself, just for reference.

I'd try to bring the price down. Offer 500€ if it's in good shape. Use the eBay references to negotiate!
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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Just one more comment (and I have no horse in this race, really, other than to give you my thoughts):

The important thing here is to get the seller to assure you the sax is in GOOD PLAYING CONDITION. The Trevor may be beautiful looking, and the Conn may be an ugly duckling...but if the Conn is guaranteed to be playing well and the seller of the Trevor is NOT willing to assure the same thing....then this tilts the table away from a prettier horn.

Consider that a vintage sax in good playing tack...is a MUCH better choice for a beginner than a modern horn which needs 3 hours of tech work....if you get my drift.

(This is why if you are buying locally, as already suggested by others it is a good idea to bring along a sax-playing friend or acquaintance if possible...OR have as part of the agreement that the sax is going to be taken to a repairer for an assessment and if anything major/significant is found, you can return it or negotiate a lower price)
 

GCinCT

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I’m not familiar with most of those brands, nor do I have the expertise of my esteemed felllow Cafe members. What I do have is a Conn Shooting Stars tenor and I like it . A lot! Free blowing as @JayeNM said and pretty good ergos. Nice tone and pretty easy to play in tune. I would say worth looking into.
 

Colin the Bear

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A saxophone that hasn't been played much, may not have been played much because it doesn't play well and needs a tweak or two. Buying a second hand saxophone isn't for the beginner imo. There's no come back, no one to check it over etc. 650 euros would buy a decent new student saxophone over here.

Some old saxophones are difficult to play due to the placement of keys and tone holes. They may not have all the keys a modern saxophone has. They're more of a specialist or collectors piece.

The best advice would be to find a repairer and see what they've got for sale. A teacher may be able to help, having contacts for repairs or maybe do their own.

The saxophone is a fickle beast and needs regular regulation. Some more often than others. The usual advice on the forum is to find a Yamaha of some description.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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It's definitely worth getting a competent player, or ideally a repair person, to try out the sax before you buy if possible. When I bought my first (second-hand) saxophone, I paid a local semi-professional player to try it out for me. It cost me the same as a single lesson. Worth it as an investment.
 

nigeld

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you can get a super cheap Cheese horn
what would you recommend, I think Gorgonzola sound a good name for a horn,
Depends on the music you want to play, rocquefort might be better :)
Jx
Oops! I hate automatic spelling correction.

I think a smooth Selmer Reblonchon might be attractive.
Or the dark robust smoky sound of a Keilwerth Rauchkäse.
But a Hanson Wensleydale doesn't quite have the same magical ring to it.
Maybe someone will do a tofu instrument for vegans.
 
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