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Saxophones Some existential thoughts on GAS & eBaying at the moon.

Jazz Is All

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Perusing eBay for saxes is kind of like a cross between drugs, sexual obsession and a werewolf movie: once you are heavy into it you'll be eBaying at the moon, i.e. up until all hours scanning all the horns on every European eBay site. It's definitely a trip into all the aspects of desire, lust, frustration, and existential questioning about the validity of the whole endeavor. If I were going to advise someone of a field to go into it would be to get a degree in psychotherapy and then become the world's expert in GAS Therapy. You could make a fortune and have all the wives in the world forever in your debt. However, you would have to have a bodyguard to prevent being killed by a hit squad from SOTW, a notorious mafia group from the woodwindy city.

Lest you think that GAS is a self-curing affliction, that once one finds the saxophone or mouthpiece to satisfy the need, it disappears, forget it! You've got the sax jones and it in fact only gets worse. One satisfying experience of GAS fulfilled simply leads to repetition with the underlying subconscious thought one of "Wow, that was great. I feel so good now I want to do it again to get that rush when I find the perfect be all and end all of saxes. And that was a (choose one: NSATBCB) so I can go for a (same choice out of 6) this time. I need a better one of those NOW."

This begs the question whether having more than one sax of the same kind even makes sense. As John Locke pointed out, it's impossible to be in more than one place at one time, so too is it impossible to play more than one sax at one time. To put it more vulgarly, there is a Spanish saying that goes: "No se puede montar a dos caballos con un solo culo" -- You can't ride two horses with only one ass. I find that quite meaningful here since with only one mouth and two hands it's hard to play more than one sax at a time.....unless you're someone otherworldly like Rahsaan.

Unfortunately, or fortunately, being a sax player and sax fancier has nothing to do with logic of any type whether existential, physical, or psychological and thus we are able to continue on our merry way playing, ogling, buying, selling, dreaming about, looking at, drooling over, buying again and yet again, and thereby find fulfillment. After all, with saxophones one can make the sweetest and most satisfying music there is in the world, and that above all in my estimation is the greatest avocation to have in life.
 

Dr G

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Dude, you’re killin’ the buzz in the room.

You’ve seen my horns. The better question is ”Why not?”.
 

Jazz Is All

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I didn't suggest not doing it, god knows I would have 3X that many if I could. I merely examined the psychology of it all to have a better understanding of what it is all about and thus live more mentally free of any complexes and obsessions related to constant hornyness.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXqPjx94YMg
 

DavidUK

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I chuckle at folks thinking they'll get any bargains on eBay but as a source of diverse and obscure horns it has a place in our GAS world.

It does a good job of distracting buyers from the bargains to be had elsewhere and so long may it attract and prosper.
 

Jazz Is All

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I chuckle at folks thinking they'll get any bargains on eBay but as a source of diverse and obscure horns it has a place in our GAS world.

It does a good job of distracting buyers from the bargains to be had elsewhere and so long may it attract and prosper.

I spent a lot of time looking on all the eBay sites: France, UK, Spain, Italy, Germany as well as the clicpic sites and Leboncoin. There are many nice saxes and there are some bargains now due to the steep decline in business caused by the pandemic. However, for deals you have to shop on the American eBay site, at least for American horns. Not only are the prices cheaper overall, but they are in dollars and thus cheaper for those of us with Euros. They also have a better selection of American classic saxes and more of them are in better condition than those you see here in Europe.

Of course the main problem for us Europeons, in Spain anyway, is that you can only benefit from that if you go there and bring the horn back with you on the plane. I've done that at least 3 times because we went for summer vacation for almost every summer over the past 18 years. Of course depending on the state you are shopping on eBay from, you may have to pay sales tax but that amount is nothing compared to the cost of shipping and customs duties if you buy it online from Spain. Monty Python runs the customs office here, which is why the Spanish Inquisition never sleeps.
 

ellinas

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I prefer spending "more" on reputable sellers and/or professionals rather facing the risk of getting a lemon or a sax that will cost in the end so much more than it should.
 

DavidUK

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Out of my 100+ horns I've had only a couple of lemons. The trick is to "know your seller" before pulling the trigger. Did they buy it, and play it, and is it still in good nick and playing perfectly? Yes = good.
Or did they find it or inherit it and know nothing about saxophones = o_O
You still end up with some knowledgeable liars, those who choose to misdescribe, hoping you're in the dark and won't know there are problems when it arrives.
Those who ARE in the dark should indeed stick to known reputable sellers/retailers.
 

MMM

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Out of my 100+ horns I've had only a couple of lemons. The trick is to "know your seller" before pulling the trigger. Did they buy it, and play it, and is it still in good nick and playing perfectly? Yes = good.
Or did they find it or inherit it and know nothing about saxophones = o_O
You still end up with some knowledgeable liars, those who choose to misdescribe, hoping you're in the dark and won't know there are problems when it arrives.
Those who ARE in the dark should indeed stick to known reputable sellers/retailers.
David, not to put you on the spot or anything, but how much time do you spend looking for bargain saxes? You can be truthful, this is like an AA session, no one else will know.
 

Jazz Is All

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Out of my 100+ horns I've had only a couple of lemons. The trick is to "know your seller" before pulling the trigger. Did they buy it, and play it, and is it still in good nick and playing perfectly? Yes = good.
Or did they find it or inherit it and know nothing about saxophones = o_O
You still end up with some knowledgeable liars, those who choose to misdescribe, hoping you're in the dark and won't know there are problems when it arrives.
Those who ARE in the dark should indeed stick to known reputable sellers/retailers.
Obviously you have to know what to look for when looking at saxes regardless of whether in a shop or online. If you don't know your way around vintage saxes then even the former can be problematic. The main thing you can get actually trying an unknown make of sax is how it feels to you to hold and play it as well as, of course, how it sounds. Even if you can't get to play it, how it feels to heft it, hold it and work the keys can tell you whether it's going to be to your liking or not all the rest being good.

How do the action and key work feel to your fingers? Will you need to make any modifications to the palms and side keys to make them a good ergonomic fit for your hands? Does it feel balanced on your strap and around your neck? Does the goose hit you in the mouth like a 10m? That happened to me just once and I forgot those immediately. Is it too heavy? The SMLs and old Keilwerths are like a ton of bricks or perhaps a Panzer tank. Or is it too light to feel real. The early Martin Handcrafts feel like tin toys with an upper body tube made for a child's hand. These days the opportunities to do that are much harder to come by due to COVID-19 and there is no way to know that from photos. Only years of frequenting Vintage sax shops and trying the horns on for size can tell you that.

That said, if you know what to look for in photos you can usually spot a good sax from a bad one because good sellers go out of their way to give you all the info needed both in writing and photos. They point out the repairs, cosmetic damage, dings & dents, and post clear, focused, well lit pictures that show the pads, springs, stacks, engraving, bow, bell, etc etc. With a good ad like that you usually are assured a winner.

On the other hand the ads that don't show certain crucial parts of the sax or only photos from a landscape distance or with poor focus or shadows and no pix where you can see the shape of the pads and---one I hate that is so common---only show the right side of the horn so you never see the LH bell keys or the pinky table. This last one is a pet gripe of mine. They have 15 photos and not one of the damn pinky table. It's like they are telegraphing that they hated playing it so much they can't bear to even look at it. I swear that has to be the reason. When I see these ads I usually pass on by or if it seems like it may have merits I query the seller.

All this said, if you don't mind buying into a project or renovation because you have the money and the sax will be that great afterwards, then all you need do is figure out what that will cost, subtract it from the market value of that horn restored and see if you can at least break even given the seller's current price. If not, make an offer or pass on by to the next. It's not acoustical science.
 

DavidUK

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David, not to put you on the spot or anything, but how much time do you spend looking for bargain saxes? You can be truthful, this is like an AA session, no one else will know.
Hello, my name is David and I'm a saxoholic.

To find and catch a bargain I need to check out my preferred sources every two hours during waking hours for fear they may appear and disappear within that time frame.

It is THE only way to catch a bargain. If I spend 4-5 hours working on the project house I'll miss another bargain. It may not be one for me of course, but I have to know about it. Yamahas abound particularly, at £40 to £200 for perfectly good ones. My 1958 SDA for instance was advertised within the hour I searched. Spotted, seller contacted, driven to, bought for £200 with a £175 Berg in the case (sold).
Had I missed it I would never have known about it which is the saving grace!
 

nigeld

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I chuckle at folks thinking they'll get any bargains on eBay.
There are various degrees of bargain. My view is that if I have a good chance of selling the item for as much or more than I paid for it, then I am happy. I'm looking to break even, not make a profit. So far, I haven't lost money on a saxophone - I have mostly sold them for a little more than I paid, but I have been less fortunate with mouthpieces. I've recently had two satisfactory purchases on eBay (one sax and one mouthpiece) at good prices and one bad purchase (claimed playable but actually in very poor condition), that I got a refund for.

With regard to GAS, I am reasonably well-behaved (by Café or SOTW standards) with regard to saxophones (my aim is one of each size), but hopeless with regard to mouthpieces - I never sell the unused ones.
 

PigSquealer

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Hello
My name is Glenn. I’m a GASoHollic.

I have been GAS free for 63 days. I looked on Eflay and found a tenor a couple days ago. This was a result from someone purchasing a birthday present. I love the adrenaline rush of scrutinizing three pictures. The sellers usually furnish wonderful information. Like bad dating. One owner, perfect condition. Plays excellent from top to bottom. Ask questions we know nothing about instruments. The anticipation of waiting for the goods to arrive. The thrill of bad tracking Shipping. The nervousness of proper packaging. How to stealth the item in the door.
Ever find yourself opening a package at 2 AM unable to play test...more adrenaline until next day.
I have.
I am a GASoHolick
 

Jazz Is All

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Hello
My name is Glenn. I’m a GASoHollic.

I have been GAS free for 63 days. I looked on Eflay and found a tenor a couple days ago. This was a result from someone purchasing a birthday present. I love the adrenaline rush of scrutinizing three pictures. The sellers usually furnish wonderful information. Like bad dating. One owner, perfect condition. Plays excellent from top to bottom. Ask questions we know nothing about instruments. The anticipation of waiting for the goods to arrive. The thrill of bad tracking Shipping. The nervousness of proper packaging. How to stealth the item in the door.
Ever find yourself opening a package at 2 AM unable to play test...more adrenaline until next day.
I have.
I am a GASoHolick
Birthday Present? Were you making a référence à moi? LOL

I absolutely love the ads on ePray that say "I don't know nuthin bout playin' saxes, Miss Scarlett".
Homer and Jethroville.....give me a break. I'm hip to that old line of b.s.

Sometimes at 2 a.m. I wish I had kept my E-Sax mute, so I could play my tenor up in the front of the house. Nobody would hear it and it would be better than watching NetFlicks and getting fat couching. Back in the summer I was all set to buy a Roland Aerophone AE-10 for that very purpose. However, after listening to all the sounds it produces the idea of playing synthetic sounds that don't sound like a sax and are not even created by my own actual chops blowing through a reed acoustically just didn't get me excited. A real sax does just because it is real.

To give an example of what I mean listen to this guy playing. I found it on YouBoob on Friday while searching for sound examples of the saxes I was considering. As you'll hear, it was useless for that purpose--or for any as far as I'm concerned.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8s64aBHQ90w
 

saxyjt

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Moi non plus! Or, am I?

I must admit that when it comes to mouthpieces, I struggle to resist. But I'm improving. I only bought 10 this year and only one horn!

But I've been bad. And it wouldn't take much to send me back on the trail. Couesnon, SML, Geassi, Couf, Vito, Martin, ... All regular search topics, and more!

Do I need any more horns? I certainly don't. But... I could be tempted. :w00t:
 

PigSquealer

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Birthday Present? Were you making a référence à moi? LOL

I absolutely love the ads on ePray that say "I don't know nuthin bout playin' saxes, Miss Scarlett".
Homer and Jethroville.....give me a break. I'm hip to that old line of b.s.

Sometimes at 2 a.m. I wish I had kept my E-Sax mute, so I could play my tenor up in the front of the house. Nobody would hear it and it would be better than watching NetFlicks and getting fat couching. Back in the summer I was all set to buy a Roland Aerophone AE-10 for that very purpose. However, after listening to all the sounds it produces the idea of playing synthetic sounds that don't sound like a sax and are not even created by my own actual chops blowing through a reed acoustically just didn't get me excited. A real sax does just because it is real.

To give an example of what I mean listen to this guy playing. I found it on YouBoob on Friday while searching for sound examples of the saxes I was considering. As you'll hear, it was useless for that purpose--or for any as far as I'm concerned.
Yes ! I observe the keen buying tactics of my married elder peers. I also read the obituaries every few days. Married sax collectors have a very high survival rate. I predict a successful birthday week.

Ebaggers could at least be orginal. smells like dead animal, don’t see none. tested as urinal, has leaks. Mouthpiece burns funny on full bowl. Like new.

Buy you neighbors ear plugs. They cost less. Just mention your birthday is soon. Most will give you a break....you’re old :rofl:

Youtube for sound check ? Are mouthpieces & reeds listed tooo_O
 

Pete Thomas

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Ebaggers could at least be orginal. smells like dead animal, don’t see none. tested as urinal, has leaks. Mouthpiece burns funny on full bowl. Like new.
I’m going to see if I can dig it up if it still exists but I did once put up a no name non playing piccolo and described it as a complete pile of crap, you really don’t want this

It went for £160
 

h4yn0nnym0u5e

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Cambridgeshire
I bought a bari with the following (slightly redacted) description:
Broadly speaking, you get what you pay for with this saxophone. Around the lower register- particularly the bottom C and below- the sound is strong and warm but a it's a challenge to play well near the top.
Build quality was acceptable on purchase, with a few minor issues like burring on some of the tone-holes etc. After two years of frequent playing ... there may be springs that need adjustment.
In short, if you want a high quality baritone saxophone, this is not it, but If you want a bari sax that costs less than a car, then maybe this is what you're looking for
There is some cosmetic damage in the form of scratches, but no dings or bends.
Honest assessment of a low-end bari suitable for #2 son to take to uni without worrying too much about it. I still didn't buy without getting @Stephen Howard lined up to give it a good sort out and review, though. It still fits the description, apart from the fact that it now works as well as it's capable of, and would undoubtedly sell for what I paid to buy it and get it brought up to snuff.

Hasn't had much use recently of course - it's in Nottingham...
 

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