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Saxophones Value of 70s/80s Corton Alto

Messages
318
Locality
SW Devon, UK
Just going through my insurance values for stuff...

I've got a Corton alto that I bought in the mid '80s. I think they were a few hundred quid new at the time and I think I paid £80 for it second hand, which seemed like quite a bargain. Because I paid so little for it (although it was a lot to me at the time) and it's a "cheap sax" I've always assumed it's got no real value, although it plays really well and sounds pretty good - certainly good enough for band work.

Anyway, am I right in assuming it's worth around the £100 mark? Are cheap saxes of this era better than modern cheap saxes? (they certainly weren't as cheap as they are now).

TBH, I suspect the Rousseau mouthpiece I'm using is probably worth about as much as the rest of the horn.

Few pics attached for identification purposes:
29812540863_4ccbb662d8_k.jpg
30328022642_434700c40b_k.jpg
30408221276_bad9c203c4_k.jpg
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,192
Locality
Betelgeuse
Yup, you're right with a guess of about £100. Might do a bit more on a good day on eBay if there are buyers actively bidding against each other - could get £140 or so on a good day. I buy and sell lots of saxes, and have had a few of these, so I have experience to back up this estimate. They're actually made by Amati in the former Czechoslovakia, and crop up with a variety of brand names, including Boosey and Hawkes.

I'd guess the Roussseau mouthpiece would fetch about the forty quid mark at best.

These have pros and cons compared to a modern budget sax. on the plus side, the Corton has a robust build quality, and good tone with OK intonation. On the minus side, a modern Chinese sax will have far better ergonomics and include an adjustable thumb rest and a high F# key.
 
Messages
318
Locality
SW Devon, UK
Thanks @jonf
I've got no intention of selling it, just making sure I had the right idea of its (lack of) value. I don't really gig much with saxophones at the moment, I mainly play guitar in my current band, so it only gets used for the odd bit of recording, otherwise just for my own amusement and it's good enough for that - it's certainly solid and hasn't needed any tech attention in the 30 years I've had it, not even pads. I used to use it regularly in jazz and concert bands but not so much in the last 15 years or so.

As for ergonomics, I've never played a more modern design of sax so have no idea what I'm missing (I'm much better on clarinet anyway, so sax always feels a bit "wrong" to me). My other saxophone is a '50s baritone with similarly old style keywork.

Anyway, good to know that my estimate was about right - I can carry on treating it as a useful but not valuable thing.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
16,308
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
It never ceases to amaze me how good gear is worth hardly any money. I still have my first alto, same as but badged Lafleur B&H. When I give it a nostalgic blow, my LH pinky misses the table completely. I have to reposition my whole left arm and reach. They play in tune and are robust instruments. They were all that was available at the time for the price. Chinese horns back then were poor. Several members on here use one. It's a matter of personal opinion and preference as to whether a modern Chinese is better. Bohemian manufacture.
 

spike

Old Indian
Messages
2,436
Locality
Half way up a hill
Just had a closer look at the pics - I can't see anything wrong with the "ergonomics" of that horn. In fact I like the look of the angled RH pinky keys. No F#. Would be nice to see a pic of the left hand table. Looks like a gem to me. Not a mark on it as far as I can see from the pics. What you paid for it doesn't make it a cheap sax ;-)
 
Messages
318
Locality
SW Devon, UK
Thanks folks. When I replied "interesting" to @jonf 's post I wasn't intending to be argumentative - I don't know who told me it was East German but it was a long time ago (certainly well pre-web) and I had no reason not to believe them, so I did find it genuinely interesting to have the true origin pointed out :)

@spike and @Colin the Bear , I've always reckoned it's a perfectly reasonable saxophone and never really had any urge to have a better one. I bought it mainly so I could double on alto when I was playing clarinet in concert/military bands and at the time it was all I could afford (think I was about 17 when I bought it and saxophones were expensive). The lack of modern keywork doesn't bother me because I've never played anything else, it sounds like a saxophone and seems pretty bullet-proof. I could buy a better one now if I wanted to but this one serves its purpose well enough for me - and not having to worry about it being valuable is a bonus if I do take it to the odd rock gig. I'll take a picture of the other side for you later spike.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,192
Locality
Betelgeuse
Your reply didn't come across as argumentative at all, just that you had previously been told something different.

I like these Amati built saxes, I've had four of them over the years. I like the good tone and the way they can be made to scream if that's what's wanted.
 
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