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So many sax makers


Senior Member
I have just had an email from Gear4Music regarding a Rosedale 'Intermediate' alto sax for £330. What with the BW at £500, Jupiter at £700 et al, there are so many sax makers it is beginning to look like the mobile phone market.

Recently I bought a mobile phone to replace my old one. In the end I bought a Blackberry but really, it could have been any phone that happened along at the right time because the choice was so great I eventually lost patience with the whole thing and just clicked on "BUY" with the one that happened to be on the screen at the time. As it turned out, I'm quite happy with the phone but it was just luck in the end.

With the sax market, the choice is becoming overwhelming and I wonder if many saxes are bought with the attitude "sod it, I'm getting that one!" -- and does it matter? Apart from the Grand Four (Yani, Yam, Selmer, 'fill-in-your-favourite-here') most saxes are pretty cheap really. So cheap in fact that they are becoming a bit disposable. Buy a sax for seven hundred quid, don't like it? -- ebay will get you back £650 and you've rented a sax for fifty quid -- big deal.

My camera is a Nikon, I have used Nikon all my life and will continue to use Nikon until such time they p**s me off -- if ever. As far as saxes go, I have Yani; the sentiment is the same because I just can't go through that 'mobile phone' purchase mill ever again.

The point of the post: For prospective buyers of a saxophone -- despite my own personal desire for the [apparent] best there is -- just buy one, just buy one and play it!

It is not the buying, it is the playing. Enjoy it as life is too short to f**k around (I believe the language is appropriate in this case).



Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
What it boils down to is people's desire to get a fair deal at a fair price. This is always the bottom line. Some go further and seek out a bargain - but in the end we all want to feel we've got good value for money. So this provides the makers and sellers with an opportunity to make and sell goods that fit into 'niches'. One item will have more or less features than another, one will cost more or less - the buyer decides what's worth paying for.

It used to be a lot easier a couple of decades ago - you started off on a Jupiter or a Trevor James (or a Yamaha if you were flush) and them moved up to one of the big three (as then).
These days it's far more complicated. Sure, you can pick up a nice little horn for a couple of hundred quid if you shop wisely - but once you get up to around £350 you could just as easily point to anything in that price range and know that it would be up to the job (at least).
The more you pay, the more the horn will be up to the job - and once you hit the £1000 mark it all gets a bit academic.

Like you I tend to pore over reviews when buying new good. Phones, cameras, walking boots, washing machines...
My preferred reason for buying is reliability. I'll take fewer features if something is better built. Whizz-bang technology is great...when it works.
But in the end what really counts is useability (in a horn this would translate to playability). You can read all the reviews you like, weigh up the pros and cons until you can't remember which is which - and in the end all that really matters is how something works for YOU.

I had all the angst when choosing a new camera. On paper the Canon 5DII looked like the tool for the job, and I already had an older Canon (with no significant glass though). I read all the reviews, did my research and went to a camera shop with the intention of buying one. I picked one up, played with it, took some test shots, fiddled around with the controls...and then picked up a Nikon.
Ten minutes later I bought it, along with some serious glass.

It's a nice piece of kit - but just like my horns I know I'll be lucky if I ever get to the point where my own skills are hampered by its limitations...but I also know that it has the capacity to allow me to get that far if I choose to.



Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
The availability of cheap decent instruments is a good improvement for students.
When I started my parents had to pay a lot of money for a piece of junk.
Nowadays my students can play in tune; much less useless efforts and faster improvements.

I play some cheap instruments myself. I bought a tenor first not to bring my precious MkVI in dodgy venues, and I have to confess it does the job.

Unfortunately the MkVI is much better. £500 Vs £4500 is a huge difference, and the old hooter is not nine times better than the young one. But it is better.

It is like finding the right wife: you want someone special for you, and the search could be big fun. I recently upgraded my alto (I had to sell all the good ones I owned in the past) and I happened to fall in love with a terrific old horn in poor conditions (that cost me only £500: money is not always a valid indicator of quality). Better than a BA, a Cigar Cutter, a SA80 and a few Conns.

But the search is definitely part of the fun. And difference between "falling in love" and "to be in love" can be applied to saxophones too....

Moderator, please stop me if I become too romantic...
Saxholder Pro

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