All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians

Saxophones Definition of bargain?

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,331
Locality
London
Disclaimer: I sell saxophones

As much as I like finding a bargain horn, I seem not to understand a general attitude I see in many posts.
It seems that the commercial value of a horn is more important of its "instrumental" value.

Example: if someone decides to spend 5k on a tenor saxophone, can buy a Selmer MkVI or a new top horn.
The MkVI is seen as a bargain because it will keep its value, the new horn is not.

What I do not understand, is that if the MkVI is a bad player, it is no longer a bargain, while if the new horn is the very best tool for the job, it should be seen as such.

Same applies to lower priced horns (I am willingly keeping Sequoia price range out):
£600 for a new Chinese horn that works or £500 for a battered ex marching band mexiConn?

What is kept out of the equation is "how does it play". That should be the main issue for any player, amateur or professional. Dealers follow different guidelines: buy cheap, sell dear. In some cases dealer put their expertise that is worth paying for.

I seldom see posts like "I bought this battered unwatchable horn that plays a dream".

Now about my horns. The maker has a fixed price policy: shops cannot sell it cheaper.
If I convince him to put "RRP £7500", would it suddenly make all the horns sold for the usual price a bargain?

Please discuss.

(at least one post before going off topic, please)
 

Ads

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,314
Locality
North West UK
I can see where you are coming from and the two examples . the MkVI thing is as much a pleasure of owning THE classic and knowing that if you fall on hard times and have to sell you won`t take a hit (you`ll make infact) whereas with an expensive Taiwanese horn, you`ll likely get a fraction of what it`s worth and there`s little of that pride of ownership . personally I`d take an Anglo-Taiwanese Sheppard Autograph over any MkVI (Heck Tenor wise I`d take another MkVII Over a MKVI) but for its sound alone but itd be as a player , as an investment, the MkVI beats all and some people need both factors as part of the Sax owning experience..

You see, there`s more to owning a horn than how it plays to a large number of people. I`m not one of them, lets face it , I had Selmer Paris's most hated, unloved and derided tenor saxophone for a very long time and it didn`t stop me but many like this extra appeal of owning something special, I`d far rather have a Yamaha 62 in each size than a houseful of American classics but I`m a 100% player not any form of collector . collector / players no doubt gain as much enjoyment out of having the dozen or so horns as playing them and would find 2 or 3 Yams or Yanis boring ..

Any Mexi-Conn has been around for over 40 years so if it`s still playing well it`ll likely do so for years to come with maintenence, it`s as close to a true conn as beginners can afford and is STILL American (just not USA) rather than Chinese (Conn-Selmer USA) . it`ll also be easy to shift when they move on to a real Conn or a Yamaha or whatever or be nice to hand down to the grand-kids (Unlike a no-name chinese horn) .

A Bargain to me is like my Elkhart 300 Curved sop - you`d be hard pushed to find a curved to drive a big enough wedge in between it and a £2000 Yanagisawa performance & build wise and for under £200 that`s a Bargain ...... used Elkhart series-II & TJ Classic altos for around the £100-£150 mark are Bargains so are Bauhaus Walstein Tenors for £350-£400 .... half battered to death Boosey and Hawkes 400s with rotted pads for £250 are definately NOT bargains neither are other such examples of vintage mediocrity in need of loadsa money spending on them . as has been pointed out G4M Returns "Demos" would appear to be far from bargains ..

A bargain is a horn which performs way beyond its price BW & Jericho Stand out here on the new market above all, amazing performance for little outlay and BW`s amazingly are the one Chinese horn which keeps its value

Well that`s my Take -- YMMV
 
Last edited by a moderator:

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Locality
Helsinki, Finland
People like to collect. I'm not sure how many people (if any) on this forum don't have a single saxophone or other instrument they don't strictly need. If the thing you've collected doesn't depreciate in value, that's just great.

I, for one, love the way a worn but well-kept horn looks. I'd never shell out big money for a Mark VI, but I could certainly buy a reasonably priced old Conn, Kohlert, etc. if I came across one, even if I didn't intend to use it as my main horn. I could hang it out on display on a wall mount in the living room. Kind of like a painting.

I see a point in buying vintage for a gigging musician as well. The audience will probably not notice if the intonation is slightly off here and there, or if the octave D is stuffy. But they will see the patina and the cool radiating off the sax player's vintage Conn.

Finding a bargain big-name vintage pro horn is pretty unlikely these days. But sometimes you can get lucky with the not-so-big names, especially if you do your research beforehand.

Case in point, bought an Olds Ambassador trumpet from '57, paid £150 for it. The Ambassador was a student horn, cheap and plentiful. Hence not very expensive even now, especially in the USA. However, for a certain period of time the Ambassador came off the same production line using the same equipment and same tolerances as their (still today) expensive pro horns, even most of the parts were the same.

The horn is built like a tank, the valves are nearly perfect, no dents, everything's still intact, and it sounds great. And it looks great too, either made unlacquered in the first place, or lacquer stripped a long time ago with such care that the engraving is still clear and crisp, topped off with a nice patina.

I ain't gonna get rich if I decide to sell it some day, but then again I won't probably lose any money either, might even make a small profit. But why would I sell it? It plays great and looks great, and it cost me £150. It's hardly a bargain any more if I sell it, even for a small profit, because what am I going to replace it with? I doubt I'll ever find anything better in the same price range.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Locality
Just north of Munich
To me the bonus of older horns is they don't suffer from the brightness of modern ones. (So why am I mostly playing modern, bright mouthpieces...? hmm)

There are a lot of really good sounding good playing horns that can be found, and as the cost of one of these, brought up to standard is often much lower than a new pro horn, this is to me a bargain... I buy horns to keep. Not for market value. So if a horn's repad cost is higher than it's current market value, I don't care - if it's one I want to play... I can understand people not wantign to invest more in a horn than it's resale value, but if you're intending to keep it, then many of the price based arguments against it fall away. We need to take a holistic view, not a simple resale view.

And as for Sequoias.... too modern for me. So they're all overpriced.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
703
Another difficult topic. I would describe a bargain as something that is genuinely underpriced for its price class, assuming the condition of the goods sold is more or less the same (e.g. the ebay range of completed sales may be between $800 and $1000; if you can get it for $600 it can be considered a bargain). In practice, however, you are not often in a position to ascertain whether the qualifying clause applies.

The internet has started to even out global differences in prices, but if you live where I live, almost any saxophone offered in the US sounds very cheap (Mark VIs excepted). But by the time it is my hands, the price is considerably higher. To Americans many of these offers probably are not real bargains.

Budgets are a fact of live. Like others, I like to stretch them when I can. But I have often found that the article with a minimum price would be adequate, yet something that costs a bit more may suit me much better. So I don't see any special merit in a bargain mentality, but value for money (as seen by myself) is a good principle to adopt.
 

aaronrod

Member
Messages
42
Assuming that saxes (or anything for that matter) is bought purely on how well it fulfills it's primary function is misunderstanding how people buy things. After all, if function was the only consideration, one of the largest companies in the world (Apple) wouldn't exist. After all, every product that they make has a perfectly functional and reliable alternative that is significantly cheaper. BUt, people want Apple because it's Apple.

Same thing with saxes - people want Selmer/Conn because it's Selmer Conn. Add to this the negative connotations that 'cheap, Chinese horns' (or Chinese manufacturing in general) have in the Western world, higher levels of disposable income that we have ever had in the past (even during the GFC), and you get exactly what you are witnessing - a demand for name over functionality or intrinsic value.

(Disclaimer: I have a cheap, late 70's Buescher Aristocrat alto with a stock Meyer HR and a Jupiter JBS-593 student model bari with a Rico Metalite, both of which are great players...but I also have an iPhone and an iPad.) :)
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,540
Locality
The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
Items are sold for the maximum achievable value but how is that calculated? If you are a power company, any excuse will do as they've got us by the short and curlies. Always wondered to what that phrase refers? There is always the human reluctance to admit a mistake in value but how should I know, I'm the World's worst salesman.

PM Navarro. Get him to introduce iras the discussion subject on the 259 or is it the 295?
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
A "bargain" can also be classified as -

Something that was far cheaper than the budget you estimated
Played better than you thought it would
Gives more pleasure than you thought it would
Is admired more than you thought it would be
Outperforms your expectancies
Holds it's "novelty"
Meets more than your expected requirements not just in performance
Saves you money in the long term
 

thesaxman71

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,687
A "bargain" can also be classified as -

Something that was far cheaper than the budget you estimated
Played better than you thought it would
Gives more pleasure than you thought it would
Is admired more than you thought it would be
Outperforms your expectancies
Holds it's "novelty"
Meets more than your expected requirements not just in performance
Saves you money in the long term
plus 1 to that precise description....
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,750
Locality
Betelgeuse
I buy and sell saxes all the time - it's part of the hobby that is music for me. However, the saxes I've bought for me to play are all chosen and cherished on the basis of how they play, not what they are. So, the battered old Yanagisawa alto that loooks a state with its mismatched neck is a bargain, as it plays brilliantly, better than any other alto I've ever had. So is my Yanagisawa T992, as it is just fantastic in every respect. My Conn C Mel, raucous and surprising is another, and my Buescher True Tone in silver with its smooth tone. All these are marked out by nothing other than how they play. Because of this, I'll never sell any of them, and their residual financial value is consequently of no interest to me.

Saxes I buy to sell on are valued entirely differently, and the definition of bargain is the gap between what I paid and what I sold for. So, the Chinese Kaeriner tenor in black laquer (which actually played really well) was a bargain because I bought it described as an alto for £60 and the happy purchaser paid £160 for it. Likewise, the blurry photo of an unspecified alto bought for £75, and collected in person in a 250 mile round bike ride was a Yamah YAS23 which sold for its proper market rate.

So, saxes for me - bargain only comes in to play if it plays well, otherwise it does not do what I want. Saxes for trade, bargain is a financial concept.

Jon
 

cherrybyte

Member
Messages
108
Locality
Dulverton, Exmoor, West Somerset
Mk VI bought in Poland in 1978 for £70.00, sold For £4700.00 in 2005(pre lehman) from which I bought a new Yam Custom YTS82ZUL for £1750.00, a mint used YBS32 for £1500.00 and a Yam. YCL221II bass clar. (ex demo) for £1650.00..that's a bargain....

P.S. Forgot to mention the XBar Conn Bari from the same seller at £50.00 sold 5 years later for about £500/600.. but I'm kicking myself on that one, the MKVI..never gave it a backward glance..
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ads

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,314
Locality
North West UK
All that is at the moment is a Potential bargain . if that price was a Buy it now it`d be a bargain . well if it was if it was in the UK
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
It will probably sell for that amount! If you want a bargain put in your bid!!!
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Locality
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
It's only a bargain if it's a bargain price when the auction ends - and if it doesn't need unseen work. And it's only really a bargain if it is what the buyer wants. If it goes for that price, it probably means it's all it's worth in the current market to potential buyers.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Just been serviced
eBayer (seller) has great reputation
Horns have excellent reputation (personal experience included)
Worth a bid if it comes in at that price
 

Ads

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,314
Locality
North West UK
Carriage from the USA ?, that`s gona bump up the price somewhat especially with import duty , tax etc .
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
Will bump it up by about £90 - £100. Still a bargain IF purchased at £205 or possibly an offer at end of auction. These are very good horns. One went for £265 last week on eBay and that surprised me.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Messages
3,441
Locality
manchester
I have to agree with Ads first post, my two real bargain buys have been my 62 alto I bought for £830 of eBay minus a £70 eBay discount in as new condition plays like a dream, to me I have a brand new horn for £760 a steal and the other was my first buy a series 2 ELKHART alto what a great sax for the money £340 then,couldn't have wanted a better starting sax,and will always regret selling it, but it's all about the way they play and the reliability of them that makes them a bargain and to me it's the likes of the ELKHART and the other saxes mentioned by Ads that are the true bargains of the age.....John

Ps I have to say that if Aldevis's sequoia horns are as good as he says ie every bit as good as the comparable yams and Yani's at half the price, and I'm quite prepared to accept his experienced appraisal of them then they too must be one of the bargains available today and could quite easily become one of rare fab saxes of the future
 
Last edited:

Members online

Popular Discussions

London
Paris
New York
Los Angeles
Sydney
Moscow
New Delhi
Top Bottom