Antigua Winds
AW Reeds
Results 1 to 10 of 10
  1. #1

    Default Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    I'm annoyed - I typed this thread once before and lost it when spell checking....

    A brief synopsis of my playing - I played flute as a kid and switched to sax at 12 y/o (cool factor, etc.) - I played alto and tenor until 22 y/o, and would call myself an "intermediate" - I've played in my "large northeastern university " big band, some pit bands for plays, and a few club bands. I put the sax down at 22 y/o, sold my alto MK VI and tenor Conn (?10/12M) - to this day I can't remember why, although as I recall the MK VI fetched twice as much as I paid for it new eight years before. I hadn't really done much until about 3 mos. ago I bought a Mendini nickel plated tenor for a wopping $309 delivered to my door with a case, neck strap, a padsaver for a plug, a tuner, a throw away mouthpiece and some wood they claim were reeds. With all the play-alongs now, I really enjoy playing sax again, much to the annoyance of wife and kids, although they bug me less and less as I get my chops back (haven't had much neighbor feedback, but the long tones drive me nuts sometimes...so I can imagine...). The horn is actually not bad - I assume since I bought from the importer someone at least briefly set up this instrument, as it plays pretty well out of the case, which I believe is felt covered styrofoam, but pretty sturdy. There were no leaks and its free blowing once a decent mouthpiece was put on (currently a Rico Graphonite B7). After two weeks, the toggle bar on the octave key fell apart due to a bad solder joint - it looked like no solder was used. I called the importer who replied after a day they would fix it, but I bought a microbutane torch, some solder and flux at Lowe's, and fixed it myself, mainly 'cause I didn't want to be without the horn for 1-2 weeks...been OK since... Anyway, my only real complaint is the intonation, particulary G1/G2, E1/E2, and Eb1/Eb2, all are which are 20-30 cents sharp - I can get them down with embourchure on longer notes, but it's tough on uptempo stuff. I fixed the Eb1/Eb2 by lower the key height, but haven't fixed the G/E because of the linkages, I'm afraid of knocking everything else out of key. My other problem is altisimmo is tough on this horn, though possible.

    I recently saw Oldsax's Maxtone SX 55T for sale so I went to Sam Ash Music Warehouse in Ft. Lauderdale and tested out other saxes first. I tested four saxes: Cannonball Big Bell, Cannonball Vintage Pro, P. Mauriat Series 76, and a Yamaha 82Z. The salewoman clearly knew the technical information about these horns, but told me that these horns were not setup (and currently didn't have anyone to set them up), and was very diligent about writing my comments about some adjustments needed.

    1. Cannonball Big Bell Tenor in black nickel and black nickel keys (or maybe regular nickel keys): this sax was my second favorite - this was freeblowing from top to bottom, very easy low notes, probably the easiest low notes on a horn I've ever played. The intonation was excellent with little adjustment needed. The key layout was different than my horn, not necessarily bad, but its hard to judge after playing 10 minutes. The matching neck had an octave key issue, probably just an adjustment, but the silver neck played well. The left pinky spatula is closer than my horn, making for quicker action as well in the low notes. My only complaint is the tone - as I read in another thread - is annoyingly bright through the entire instrument range. A fairly full sound but a little biting for my tastes. Another mouthpiece may have led this to be my first choice, just don't know...(~$2600).

    2. Cannonball Vintage Pro in some antique type (? unlaquered) finish: again, only one neck worked, again the silver neck. The tone was a little less bright, but still biting. The intonation was OK, but not as good as the Big Bell. Not as freeblowing as the Big Bell, and not as responsive in the low notes. Ergonomics about the same as the Big Bell, though I don't recall the left pinky spatula being as "right" as the Big Bell. I think this was about $2800.

    3. P. Mauriat Series 76 in some sort of vintage tone: lightest physically, and a slightly better tone than the Cannonball saxes, but the intonation on this horn was all over the place (+/- 35 cents) and this immediately prejudiced me against the horn. I think the ergonomics were OK and maybe the same as the Cannonball saxes, though I did not play this horn very long. Since I was looking at saxes for intonation reasons, clearly this sax was not for me. One last comment, although the tone was not "annoyingly" bright, I did find the tone thin, especially high notes. Price (I think) about $3200.

    4. Yamaha 82Z: clearly the best horn I tried. The tone was great, bright, but not too and fairly full. The intonation was good, except for a couple of keys notes +30 cents. Mendini/Cecilio clearly copied the Yamaha ergonomics, as the key position was identical to my cheapie. The action, of course, much tighter than the Mendini. The price was $3600, more than 10X what I paid for mine.

    My final comment was that after trying these horns, I decided not to buy a new horn - I didn't feel that these horns were worth the $2K-$3K for intonation and a tighter action, at least right now. (Athough Oldsax's Maxtone SX 55T might be a steal for $900). The 82Z still had a couple of notes out of whack, although any/all may have had better intonation if set up first. Unfortunately, there aren't a lot of instrument techs in S. Florida, nor a lot of places to try out new horns. One thing the evening taught me is you really need to try out a sax before buying it. I don't know if I tried different saxes than the ones in stock if I would have found a better horn - I really want to try the Keilworth EX/SX 90, but I can't find one around here....Anyway, I may have to plan a vacation to New York, Las Vegas, or maybe Amsterdam, and possibly some remote midwest locations (Prowinds, wwbw, Cascio interstate) to try out new horns before buying a new horn. Although some dealer will exchange the horn if dissatisfied, I found it a better comparison when you can switch back and forth and you can hear the difference.

    I'll post this as new thread as well...I'd like to hear comments or suggestions...

  2. #2

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    I am quite sure the Cecilio is a chinese horn. Not a knock against the chinese horns as they have come a long way. But the majority are quite sketchy. I have heard some great things about the Bauhuas Walsteins though. For the price, may be well worth looking into.
    (Athough Oldsax's Maxtone SX 55T might be a steal for $900). That probably was "the deal", but looks like it sold already. I have a SX58 myself and it beat out my Yamaha 62. The Maxtones are well made horns from taiwan (ie barone, ce winds, mauriats, cannanballs).
    I agree that 3000.00 is alot of cash to spend on a horn if you have not tried in person.

    I am only a beginner/interm player, so I am sure you will get alot more feedback and info from the seasoned sotw crowd.
    And, Welcome to SOTW !

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Technician ptung's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Posts
    958

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    In the interest of sharing information and encouraging easier problem solving, I'll be honest with you (and you might not like this, but I am trying to be helpful): based on your comments the intonation problem you're having probably isn't, at the first level, your horn.

    I have played hundreds if not thousands of horns, and nowadays it is very rare that after I repair/service/adjust one -- as long as the horn is either a top-quality vintage model, a good PROC model, a good ROC model, or a professional model from the big four (all of the above that you enumerated fall into one or another of these categories -- that any note is more than 25 cents off on my tuner. Usually, there is nothing more than 20 cents off, and even then the problem is usually corrected with more play and more experimenting with mouthpieces and mouthpiece placement (on the neck cork).

    It sounds to me like your problem is one of the following:

    - tone production (embouchure, airstream, concept) -- if it isn't one of the items below, it is probably tone production or part of the tone production circuit that is giving you issues.

    - state of the saxophone's repair -- possibly the saxophones you are playing are not in their best condition, or else not set up to match your mouthpiece well enough. This is actually very likely a factor in your playtests, because none of those saxophones were set-up with your personal mouthpiece(s). Still, 30+ cents points at either some kind of repair issue or some kind of tone production issue, on the saxophones you listed in the numbered section (I am not including Cecilio, here, because I am not familiar with that branch/brand's current products).

    - the mouthpiece or the mouthpiece match -- possibly you have a bad acoustical match, or a facing that has shortcomings

    As a repairer I can tell you that it is very rare that any saxophone comes in that I don't feel I can improve. This includes new and used saxophones where the owner is not coming in for repair, but for something else, and where the owner believes the instrument to be tight. Any area of set-up that's imperfect (not just mechanically, but in how it matches you, the individual, with your unique tone production challenges and bodytype -- which is part of the instrument, acoustically, after all) will cause you some issues, perhaps greater or lesser.

    As a retailer of vintage and new equipment I can tell you that getting a mouthpiece that works well for you, and consistently so with different horns, is a challenge.

    My favorite alto piece is often too sharp (for me, given my tone production habits and body type -- it might not be for someone else) on E2 on many, many horns, for example. Even in my own case, playing many saxophones in the course of work, it took me a while to realize this.
    -----------------------
    www.justsaxes.com

  4. #4
    TK Melody Endorser/
    Forum Contributor 2013
    BrianMitchellBrody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    5,982

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    In your post you mention Oldsaxer and the Maxtone SX-55 alto twice without any reference as to why you were mentioning them. Did you actually purchase the horn and in your retyping the post forget to replace the paragraph about the Maxtone?

    B
    “We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    ~Aristotle

  5. #5
    Forum Contributor 2008 oldsaxer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    S. FL
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    Quote Originally Posted by modman View Post
    In your post you mention Oldsaxer and the Maxtone SX-55 alto twice without any reference as to why you were mentioning them. Did you actually purchase the horn and in your retyping the post forget to replace the paragraph about the Maxtone?

    B
    He did not contact me or purchase. Another lucky sotw member got it. No more to be had. The cupboard is now bare

  6. #6
    TK Melody Endorser/
    Forum Contributor 2013
    BrianMitchellBrody's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    5,982

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    Hey OS. Sorry to wake you up. LOL

    B
    “We are what we repeatedly do.
    Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.”
    ~Aristotle

  7. #7
    Forum Contributor 2008 oldsaxer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    Location
    S. FL
    Posts
    233

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    LOL.. it happens. Back to my transcendental state

  8. #8
    EricM's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    New Jersey Transplant stuck in California.
    Posts
    334

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    Mendini by Cecilio is a Chinese made P.O.S. It's only use is for a wall decoration. It can also be made into a lamp or flower pot. That is all they are good for. I would not recommend one to my worst enemy. I went to their warehouse in City of Industry, Ca., and tried a few models. Every model I tried played out of tune and had manufacturing defects. Their so called tech did not no much about saxophones. He only knew how to take them out of the box and remove the packing corks. Don't waste your time with this brand. You will be sorry. They are junk !!!!

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    Kingsport, TN, USA
    Posts
    11

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    I actually have the exact same sax, same finish and everything. Believe it or not, the thing has near perfect intonation. I actually popped out a tuner the other day, and one note was about 8 off, and everything else was less than 3 or 4. With that said, this thing was picked out from about a dozen horns, and it does suck trying to get altissimo out of it and the mouthpiece is an utter POS. The altissimo issue may be me, especially since I came from a bass clarinet a decade and a half ago, and have not played sax long. I have a busted YAS23, and am too cheap to repair it and would rather have had a tenor, so I bought this thing as a toy/decoration.

    I suck because I have not had time to play, and still have to refer to a fingering chart more than I wold like, but recently had a chance to play around with a good Yamaha, a lower end Yangasawa, and some others, and I actually like this thing just as good. It is a little less refined, but I paid next to nothing for it.

    It is worth noting that this thing was a screw around instrument for a tenor player nearby, and as I said before, he picked the thing out of about a dozen and it maintained. He sold the thing to me for less than a good service would cost, mainly so I would have something more playable than my trashed out second (third, fourth, fifth...?) hand Yamaha.

    If anyone ever has any specific questions about one of these, let me know. If I can't answer it, I can hand the sax off to someone who can.

    Edit:

    Let me add that, although I am not a sax master, I am comfortable enough with woodwinds to know what is a problem with the instrument and what is because of me and my bad playing. Take nothing that I have said to recommend something like this for a student or a beginning player. They should stick to the reams of advice in the Beginners section and elsewhere, and go with an established make and model.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Mendini by Cecilio vs "Pro" Saxes

    I had a Cecilio TS280N and loved it. The action was very close and tight, and though the intonation was a bit spotty, I played it for a year before I finally saved up enough money to buy my P.Mauriat 66R, which I love twice as much.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •