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Saxophones Ooh! What a nice coincidence!

JohnnyFletch

Member
Messages
70
Well, what a lovely few days I've had.

On Friday the missus asked if there was anything I needed that she could get me for fathers day from my 2 little angels rather than the usual socks and chocolates. I said 'No, but if you want to put a deposit down on a new Tenor sax for me I wouldn't be upset!' (As some of you may know, i have taken up sax again but have been playing alto as I couldn't afford to buy a decent tenor).

Anyway, on Saturday I said I'd pop along to Curly Woodwind after work and check out a few tenors to see if anything caught my eye, and if it did she could put a deposit on it as my present and I'd pay the rest off over a few weeks/months.

So off I went and as always Nick and Bob were their usual helpful selves. After having a chat with the guys about what I was possibly planning I noticed a couple of really nice reconditioned saxes.

Now here's where kizmit stepped in, 2 of my favourite saxes (for my current level of achievement, I just couldn't justify anything more expensive) going by what I've seen, heard and read (but never played) are the Yanis and the Conn-Selmer PTS380V. The problem is, they are out of my price range, i couldn't do it. Although I was determined to not just settle for any old tenor. I wanted something that felt right. Also because of my lack of knowledge I didn't want to just buy a second hand one online, for several reasons, not least that it could cost a lot to set right if it turned out I bought a turd.........Anyway, where was I? Oh yes Kizmit!..........

So, just behind Bob in Curly are 2 very nice looking reconditioned saxes. Would you believe it, on asking what they were...........an absolutely mint Yanagisawa T901 and a very well looked after Conn-Selmer PTS380V (it's hard to say mint when the style is vintage and spots are bound to be there, but there's not a ding, dent or scratch to be seen). I mean, how does that happen, I decide that the time is right for a tenor and these 2 just appear in the exact place where I trust and want to buy from, WITHIN THE BUDGET I HAD SET THE PREVIOUS EVENING!.............

After arranging to come back in the week to try them out I went on my way. Without wanting to get too excited I thought it best to think.............Ah sod it, as soon as they were open on Monday morning I was in there.

I was determined not to rush any decisions and as always the guys were eternally patient and nothing I asked was too much.

I was furnished with an MPC, reed and sling and taken into the side room to spend some time with the Yani and the Conn-Selmer.

Here's my thoughts

I started with the CS.............oh my! now this feels nice in the hands, the keywork all feels sturdy and very well positioned, lovely action and response, mmm............I love how this thing looks too, very cool indeed, I'm loving the vintage look. Maybe I should have a blow............what the hell was that? That tone is stunning, I've never made a sound like that before and it's so free blowing......the sound is jazzy, broad and breathy.......... what a good start!

Next up, the Yani...........I can't see a mark on it, mint condition, it's lighter than the CS, keywork is nice too, well positioned, nice feedback. It feels like a well made bit of kit. What does it sound like, let's see?........hmm, nice.......very clean sound, bright easy to play, not quite as free blowing as the CS but very nice indeed......... not for me at all, but very nice. I swapped back and forward a few times to be sure but out of the 2 the CS was hands down the sax for me.

But let's not be hasty I thought, it would be foolish of me to not even try other saxes in the budget so after handing back the Yani but keeping the CS for reference I moved on to a few more.......

The Buffet 400..........Wow! Good looking, lighter than the Yani and CS, comfortable to hold, nice keywork and placement.......let's have a blow then............yes, very much yes, this thing sounds great, free blowing top to bottom, nice broad sound, bit cleaner than the CS but I love it, serious contender, especially considering the difference in price for new models like for like.

Next up, the Trevor James Horn '88..........I'll be honest, the champagne finish is not my cup of tea. Not enough to stop me from buying one but a nice gold or matt finish would be better. I'm not expecting much, just comparing with my TJ alto, a very nice, playable sax but at this next step up in price the difference is drastic and I didn't think the '88 would compare.........how wrong was I, compared to my TJ Classic ii the '88 is so much better, a different league, even comparing it to the Buffet, Yani and CS it more than holds its own, in fact, as the cheapest in the bunch I'd say it's phenomenal value, plays like a dream, great tone, nice mechanics, keywork feels great, easy to blow........just unbelievable for a sub £1,000 horn.......this is actually a harder decision than I thought........all very different in style, feel, sound and price........all very, very good (in my limited experience).

Last up was the Yamaha 280........as expected very competent, feels nice, keywork action is fantastic, most expensive of the bunch, it is what it is, you know what you're getting with a Yamaha, quality, sturdiness, precision, easy to play and so on...........I have to say, as good as the yamaha is, it does feel a little soulless so for the price, it's a no.

So, do I want a used or new horn? Do I want to keep the budget down? How important is the look compared to sound etc, etc. In the end it comes down to one thing......what feels right? Which horn, when I close my eyes and blow feels right?............hands down, no contest........the Conn-Selmer.......all the others are really very, very, good, i wouldn't be unhappy to own any of them, but nothing made me feel like I could actually have a chance of mastering the sax, or had the same feeling of control, and my God, the sound and tone are soooooooooooo good, it could only be the Conn-Selmer.

So decision made I put down my deposit and arranged to trade in my nearly new alto against the price which the guys very generously agreed to at full price as I've only had it a couple of weeks. The guys also agreed to let me drop in and pay off installments until I paid it off, although it was explained to me that as the sax was on commission if somebody wanted to buy it then at the owners behest they would have to sell, although they would do their best to avoid selling it.

So, deposit paid I went on my way............my plan lasted all of 24 hours..........I played my 2 altos but they just didn't feel right any more........I was hooked on that CS sound........and God forbid, what if they had to sell it before I could have the time to finish paying it off............nah, I'm sure that won't happen...........DAMMIT! this is taking too long, there are too many variables..............screw it, I'm going to get it.......so, I raided the money I have set aside for our new garden project, to be paid back asap obviously, packed up my part ex alto and I went and picked up my Conn-Selmer PTS380V.........I'm so happy it's ridiculous, I've played it for way too long, my lips are killing and I forgot how much breath you need for tenor compared to alto, but this horn is so much fun to play, i can't put it down.

A big thanks to the boys at Curly Woodwind here in Liverpool, i can't recommend the shop enough, so helpful, never trying to push crap on you and allowing you to test and try until you find what's right for you, always on hand with the right advice and not necessarily the advice that makes them the most money. Very professional and a shining example of why we should all support local businesses.

Thanks for reading

Fletch
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
9,155
Locality
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
So tell us how you really feel. Seriously, congrats on the new sax. Hope it brings you as much pleasure playing it as getting it. ;)
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
27,046
Locality
Cheshire UK
I'm so pleased for you and thanks for sharing your story :)

I think it might Ben CTB who said a sax will choose you and it sounds like this one really did.

Jx
 

Amachelle

Member
Messages
98
Locality
West Midlands, United Kingdom
Congratulations!!! Ive been looking on the Curly website so its good to hear when someones had very good service.

I hope you enjoy playing your new tenor, it was obviously meant to be
 

JohnnyFletch

Member
Messages
70
I tell ya though, the funniest part was Monday after placing the deposit. I took a few photos to show the missus what I'd chosen, knowing full well that she would freak out because of how the horn looks with the vintage finish. I got home all excited, 'let's have a look!' she says, 'ok' says i................the look on her face, priceless....... she says, rather animated, 'what the f*** is that thing? Where'd you find that? In a bin?'............ hahahaha. She went on to demand to see the real one, you know the shiny gold one!....... 'noooooooooooo!' I reply, 'this is the real one!'.............. her face, now twisted into that wife face they pull when you say you're going for a pint, is a picture, 'they've seen you coming ya d*** head!'........... lol...........the thing is, it looked less tarnished and worn in the pictures than in real life haha...........you should have seen her face when she saw it in the flesh..........mortified doesn't begin to describe it pmsl.
 

Alice

Psychedelic
Messages
5,574
Locality
Kent
Lovely story :) Happy Father's Day to you and it will be nice to read more in the future. I wouldn't have been able to rest either, knowing that the sax of my dreams could be purchased by somebody else.
 

Alice

Psychedelic
Messages
5,574
Locality
Kent
I tell ya though, the funniest part was Monday after placing the deposit. I took a few photos to show the missus what I'd chosen, knowing full well that she would freak out because of how the horn looks with the vintage finish. I got home all excited, 'let's have a look!' she says, 'ok' says i................the look on her face, priceless....... she says, rather animated, 'what the f*** is that thing? Where'd you find that? In a bin?'............ hahahaha. She went on to demand to see the real one, you know the shiny gold one!....... 'noooooooooooo!' I reply, 'this is the real one!'.............. her face, now twisted into that wife face they pull when you say you're going for a pint, is a picture, 'they've seen you coming ya d*** head!'........... lol...........the thing is, it looked less tarnished and worn in the pictures than in real life haha...........you should have seen her face when she saw it in the flesh..........mortified doesn't begin to describe it pmsl.
Wow! What a response. When she hears you play it, hopefully she will begin to understand. Not all that glitters is gold, old adage but true. I'm biased however as I love the vintage instruments.
 

JohnnyFletch

Member
Messages
70
Congratulations!!! Ive been looking on the Curly website so its good to hear when someones had very good service.

I hope you enjoy playing your new tenor, it was obviously meant to be

Second to none Amachelle, very amenable, generous with their time and expertise, just as good, if not better on price than any other shop I've found online. They're in the process of moving premises too, only round the corner but it's a bigger shop with better parking. Aftercare is fantastic too.

Don't get me wrong, they don't have hundreds of saxes on display, but what they do have is a great selection of the best quality saxes at each price point based on their years of experience and, because of their size, they can do a good line in used horns which you can guarantee work properly allowing people like me to buy a better quality horn without the worry of buying a dud.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,386
Locality
Liverpool ( Pool of Life )
Congratulations on your new sax Fletch, that makes two members of the Cafe that have both bought the same sax from the same shop @Royston :)
Curly are moving to new premises on the 4th July, bigger and better !
image.jpeg
I'll have to pop in as i need new reeds, mpc, sling, sax.....no no no :doh:
 

JohnnyFletch

Member
Messages
70
Congratulations on your new sax Fletch, that makes two members of the Cafe that have both bought the same sax from the same shop @Royston :)
Curly are moving to new premises on the 4th July, bigger and better !
View attachment 7527
I'll have to pop in as i need new reeds, mpc, sling, sax.....no no no :doh:

Cheers trimmy, I'm already thinking about what else I can buy for it but it already came with an upgraded mouthpiece and the sling is really comfy, other than a new set of padsavers and some new mpc's and ligs which will be much further down the line when I am much more competent that's it. I am very happy with my purchase. Next up a nice sop or baring hahaha

How are you getting on with yours?
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Messages
10,067
Locality
KIC 8462852
Congratulations on your new sax Fletch, that makes two members of the Cafe that have both bought the same sax from the same shop @Royston :)
Curly are moving to new premises on the 4th July, bigger and better !
View attachment 7527
I'll have to pop in as i need new reeds, mpc, sling, sax.....no no no :doh:
Is it all of Curly moving or only the saxes?
 

JohnnyFletch

Member
Messages
70
Something you may be interested in Fletch, I'm going on Thursday (can only improve me i think I hope)
View attachment 7528

Yes trimmy, I saw this yesterday, I don't know if I am up to a standard capable of keeping up with others yet but I am very interested in going along and checking it out, I'd love to know more about it. I'm only 5 minutes from there, I used to have a business on Penny Lane so know exactly where it is. I might just see you there.
 
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