Saxophones Has the hunt for the perfect horn (for you) been good?


Well-Known Member
"The sated day, is never first.
The best day is a day of thirst.
With all the goals and meanings on our earth,
it’s still the journey that gives the effort its worth.

Some lines from Karin Boye's poem "On The Move" ("I rörelse")



Hello, my name is Brian.
I am an addict, but have been clean now for years. I take it one day at a time, and have to be very careful.
I don’t twitch now on hearing the words “mark 6 alto “, but I do sometimes wake up in the middle of the night in a hot sweat.
My wife says I often mutter the phrase “original lacquer”, and quite often state a serial number. Usually this is around about 60,000 !!!!

Yes, the figure would be around 30. That is just mark six altos. In addition there would be some BAs, SBAs, and S80s.
Possibly 40 selmer altos !!!!!

In my defence, I was not hoarding. Just trying stuff!!!!
I wouldn’t have had more than 2 or 3 at a time.
They were much cheaper then than they are now. Probably about £1500/2000, as opposed to £5000 now.

I had the spare money to allow me to do this....so I did.

The great thing was that I then had time to compare saxes over a period of time. I then kept the one I liked, and sold the other.

I don’t think I ever lost financially. Usually I got back what I paid. Sometimes I made a profit.
BUT........ a huge bonus was mouthpieces. There would almost always be at least one mouthpiece in the case. I always resold without a mouthpiece. So, usually I got back what I paid, but had a mouthpiece or two.
Very often, there would be an ebonite selmer soloist in the case.
That was another addiction of mine. I loved them.
So, I ended up with about 100 Selmer mouthpieces for alto. ( I was also buying them via EBay ) but that’s another story !!!!!

That’s my story. Thanks for your understanding, compassion and support.
Thanks for sharing Brian... a sad tale, happening to saxophone players all around the globe... There is no help no charity available to get us through this, no detox or rehab where you can be safely locked away from the urges of GAS until they inevitably pass and learn from past mistakes. I'm sorry for your addiction mines a similar tale of woe oh the hurt of being mis-understood by those who profess to love us. its a disease, i'm just glad ive not been vaccinated...


Well-Known Member
good spot DavidUK..lol.. I'm trying to fight the madness.. Don't have the room to store saxes but that doesn't seem to stop me.. fir the first time in a while I can pick up my conn stick on the MF vintage and play...sort of to my limited ability... I know if I go I will buy it and not sureif it will add to my confusion. I have a beutiful relaq completely overhauled big b plays beautifully its in a case upstairs.. suppose it could do with some company :rofl:... Opinions welcome i am only 2 years into my journey: think i prefer vintage saxes, as a beginner is it better to stick with one does exploring hinder progression, so many to try but love the conn..
£700 for a 1942 King Zephyr Tenor seems OK to me judging by what's out there. Depends what it's like in the flesh but if good, bearing in mind it's just been overhauled by its tech owner, you shouldn't lose on it.

But if you decide not to go pass the option back to me to ponder on it a while as I may be tempted.


Senior Member
Several years ago when interest rates were poor (bit like now) I decided to purchase a VI, hopefully as an investment, after a lot of research I finally found one that fit the criteria I had set so made a 600 mile round trip to pick it up.

It was an alto and as mainly a tenor player it didn't get much use, I also had health and house move issues which stopped me playing for quite a long while.

When I started again the lighter alto seemed to be the obvious place to start so I began to use it on a regular basis, what a revelation, it is so comfortable to play, fits my hands perfectly so all the keys are easily reached and it seems suit my STM mouthpiece, I can't say I'll not change but it will have to be a bit special to be better than this one.


Several years ago when interest rates were poor (bit like now) I decided to purchase a VI, hopefully as an investment, after a lot of research I finally found one that fit the criteria I had set so made a 600 mile round trip to pick it up.
Not bad.
In February I made a trip of 725 miles (and then 725 miles back = 1450 miles) to pick up a baritone sax (it was a bargain!). Still very pleased with it.
And it was a good excuse to get a taste of Scotland for a few days. We were so taken with Scotland that we want to go back this summer for a week or two. Hopefully the corona crisis won't get in the way of that trip.
Wade Cornell

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
If we're playing mine's further than yours : I bought a tenor from a Norwegian dealer a few years ago. That meant flying there, picking up my tenor in Norway and taking it back to New Zealand. There is method to this madness: if carrying a horn into NZ you don't pay import charges, duty or GST (like VAT). So that afforded airline tickets and some time in Norway to visit my daughter (who lives there). Also visited friends in Germany for a jam and had a visit to the UK before flying home. Ahhh pre-covid traveling madness. According to Mr Google Auckland to Oslo 17,198 km. Round trip = 34,396 Km. Good thing I plant forests and could rationalize my carbon expenditure!

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Interesting question Wade. My answer is - not bad, I think. All my horns play well, aren't a struggle and suit what I'm trying to do with them. I've never been able to try a 10M tenor or a Super 20 alto and I'd have liked that. I once blew a Mk6 alto that played like a dream but it wasn't for sale, alas. The open C# sang like an angel. I found my Mk6 whilst on holiday in NYC in 2002 and I like its philosophy on music - similar to mine.

It's a shame we can't go back and have a blow on all the horns we've ever owned - must've chosen them for a reason, though as has been said, our playing tends to change and mine certainly has re tip opening and how much air I put through the horn. It has also been dependent upon which horn has been in the ascendency at different times of my career and this has tended to govern the setups of the other horns to an extent through necessity.

My best blower for responsiveness was my A800 Elimona Yani alto - the low notes were amazing, easy as pie.


New Member
On the subject of journeys for horns. Most of my purchases involved lengthy drives round the UK (why are most of the good deals always around 5 hours from home??) but I also I had a couple of international trips for horns.

The most memorable was a few years ago taking an trip to Germany. A member of the SOTW forum offered me trade/swap deal for a horn I'd been looking for for a long time. I flew to Germany and he picked me up at the airport in his classic Porsche convertable, put me up for the night at his home (very nice place). He had an incredible collection of vintage saxophones which I had fun trying. We did the swap and I flew home the next day. I was slightly nervous about the whole thing having watched one to many horror movies like The Human Centipede but everything turned out okay :)
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Forever Flat
My only contribution is to say to try different horns and challenge your "intellectual" bias about what you might like. I guess I also realize that there are no perfect horns (machine, people, whatever) but some are easier to get along with than others.


I went to Itly to buy my Sequoia tenore (and to holiday with the family)

The highlight was Aldevis in concert at the Castello di San Giusto above Trieste

The lowlight was being dumped at Treviso airport by Ryanair. I'd already arranged for the tenor to be sent by post, so Ryanair was denied the chance to leave that on the airport tarmac along with the rest of our luggage
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