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  1. #1

    Default Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Any experiences with these models are welcome. The prices are incredible, so I am doing a little homework by asking folks who know!

    Conductor Tenor Saxophone
    http://amzn.to/cond_tenor

    Conductor Model 300 Alto Saxophone
    http://amzn.to/cond_alto

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Hi...I cannot say specifically...although I will say this, generally:

    A NEW saxophone for $300....will get you exactly what you paid for. While there are, apparently, a few half-decent and cheap new brands out there (albeit not talking $300) ...this isn't a brand which gets discussion here. So I would proceed with caution. It is an asian-made knockoff of little repute and these usually are cause for a red flag.

    A better bit of advice might be this:

    Determine if you wanna play Alto or Tenor, then determine how much you are willing (or can) spend on the horn. Then ask that question, instead.

    "I am a beginner and have $XXX to spend on an Alto/Tenor...I like ______________(this kind of music) and want to be playing in _____________(this kind of band situation)". Also, have you ever played an other instrument ?

    Welcome to the Forum, glad you found it ...and you are correct, homework is a great idea; this place can be a good resource in most instances.
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Jaye: Glad you answered this post. I read it and thought about it, but decided then not to post only because I really didn't know anything about this brand. However, after reading your reply and giving the question more thought, here I am!

    I agree with your assumption . . . there are better known brands out there (and probably from the same Chinese maker, too!) that would be a better bet, in my view. Sure, one pays a bit more, but that will most likely get you a distributor who paid more attention to ordering details and even may have demanded upgraded construction (from the same manufacturer). I think that is critical when considering the various brands-from-the-same-or-similar factories.

    I honestly don't know what Amazon did to acquire inexpensive saxophones to sell on the Internet, but I'd be more comfortable with a similar horn ordered by someone who knows the bi'ness (not that Amazon doesn't - heck, they could have a whiz-bang saxophone guy on staff for all I know).

    I've posted before about a music-store-owner friend of mine who bought some Monique altos, did the tear-down himself, and re-built the horns before selling them. I played one and it was terrific. So, I'm thinking that some inexpensive Chinese/Taiwanese saxophones have potential . . . they just aren't very good out of the Asian shipping carton.

    To the OP, if it were me I'd shy away from the horns you queried and instead go to known suppliers of inexpensive saxophones (Kessler comes to mind - I've had personal experience with his products). Could the Conductor turn out to be a player? Maybe, but the risk is there, unless the low price is peanuts to you. DAVE
    Dave

  4. #4

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    One of the positive reviews on the Amazon page is by a Ron Berger, instrument technician. He's actually had the opportunity to examine one of these horns close up. His 'phone number is on the link at the bottom of my post. If I was thinking about buying one I'd give him a call. It's very possible that if you did buy one of these saxophones it would need to be properly set-up by a saxophone technician. That's not unusual, even with some top quality professional instruments and, even adding that to the cost, it would still be very good value if what this Ron Berger says is true. Maybe the seller is just clearing stock or needs cash. Good luck.

    Ron Berger's Review on Amazon. Does anyone on here know Ron Berger ?

    5.0 out of 5 stars excellant quality saxophone, October 25, 2011
    By ron berger (San Diego, CA, US) - See all my reviews
    This review is from: Conductor Model 300 Alto Saxophone - Gold Lacquer w Case, Accessories and 1 Year Warranty - On Sale - Save $150
    I'm an instrument technician. I just finished working on a Conductor alto saxophone. All in all, I can say that this instrument is well made. I was really impressed with the quality of workmanship that went into building this product.
    Job well done.
    Ron
    Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
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    http://www.useyourears.com/music-map...trument-Repair

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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Sage words from Dave. Interesting review alleycat scraped up.

    IMHO, a must read for anyone in this position...is.....

    http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/...heap_horns.htm

    Thing to consider here is...is it really worthwhile buying a horn out of a box which may require tech tweaks to make it really play rspectably ? Tech work doesn't come free. Seems a bit self-defeating to me....
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post

    Thing to consider here is...is it really worthwhile buying a horn out of a box which may require tech tweaks to make it really play rspectably ? Tech work doesn't come free. Seems a bit self-defeating to me....
    ...Ask Selmer.
    Phil-Tone Custom Woodwinds
    Custom Mouthpiece Design

    www.Phil-Tone.com


  7. #7

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    I've had one before (not a 300 model), it was my first sax. It was okay, it wasnt bad nor was it good. It was darker sounding than my 62II, it eventually got a few leaks and I tried fixing it by getting a hammer and trying to hammer it back into position XD.
    Feel-
    it is good if you have small hands
    the action is ok, nothing special but nor is it sluggish
    Tone-
    It is sort of dark and mellow but it doesn't have a huge core to it.
    value for money? hmm not sure, i wouldnt buy one again even if it wasnt for me.
    it really isnt anything special for the money. But I think it beats quite a few other asian types out there for the price.
    I think its better than those yamaha Q class saxes aswell.

    if you are on a tight budget im sure this would sufficient but i'd recommend looking around for good condition saxes 2nd hand
    YAS 62II, [Eugene Rosseau NC4],
    Choosing open holed flute or not: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=108257

  8. #8

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post
    [COLOR="Sienna"]

    Thing to consider here is...is it really worthwhile buying a horn out of a box which may require tech tweaks to make it really play rspectably ? Tech work doesn't come free. Seems a bit self-defeating to me....
    Surely, what would be self-defeating would be for any player, beginner or experienced, to struggle with an instrument that was not set up to play at it's best ? Do you not agree that most privately bought secondhand and some, out of the box, brand new ones costing $1,000's would benefit from a few tweaks ? What I said in my previous post was that the saxophone dbrownbrown is enquiring about is so cheap that even after paying a tech to have it adjusted one would still have a bargain.

    Stephen Howard has this to say on the subject.

    "I'll start with brand new instruments.
    It might seem incredible that the instrument you've just bought for many hundreds of pounds needs fixing straightaway, but it's a sad fact that quality control these days is not what it used to be.
    Common problems with brand new instruments range from manufacturing defects at the worst, right through to bad setups at best.
    Manufacturing defects can be pretty serious, and expensive to fix ( if even possible ). Typically they'll be present in the keywork, showing up as badly fitted keys, misaligned key cups or badly secured fittings. The cost of repairing these problems can be quite high - and it may be a better bet to return the instrument to the retailer."

    http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/HandyHints/Servicing.htm

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Alley Cat: I agree in principle with what you wrote. My take is that this horn from Amazon most likely comes without a selling dealer setting it up first, an almost necessary step in selling new saxophones, even Selmers and Yanagisawas. And, no I didn't read the Amazon page completely - maybe that is included - but I doubt it.

    I believe that one would be better off buying a similar saxophone (meaning Asian-made inexpensive) from a known retailer of saxophones - one who takes the time and effort to set-up his products. True, the buyer pays for that service but considering the $280.00 Amazon price for their alto, then tossing in the complete re-build I mentioned earlier (and I doubt if this Amazon horn would be decent with a mere "tweak"), then the buyer is paying about the same price overall.

    For instance, I KNOW Kessler's products, having bought two of his house-brand saxophones and a couple of pro-level instruments from him. Buy an Amazon horn and then pay the price to make it competitive (if that is even possible), or buy one of Kessler's house-brand saxophones and have it done right the first time, with the backing of a known, reliable, and trustworthy business behind your purchase. Conductor saxophones?/ No thank you. DAVE
    Dave

  10. #10

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
    Alley Cat: I agree in principle with what you wrote. My take is that this horn from Amazon most likely comes without a selling dealer setting it up first, an almost necessary step in selling new saxophones, even Selmers and Yanagisawas. And, no I didn't read the Amazon page completely - maybe that is included - but I doubt it.

    I believe that one would be better off buying a similar saxophone (meaning Asian-made inexpensive) from a known retailer of saxophones - one who takes the time and effort to set-up his products. True, the buyer pays for that service but considering the $280.00 Amazon price for their alto, then tossing in the complete re-build I mentioned earlier (and I doubt if this Amazon horn would be decent with a mere "tweak"), then the buyer is paying about the same price overall.

    For instance, I KNOW Kessler's products, having bought two of his house-brand saxophones and a couple of pro-level instruments from him. Buy an Amazon horn and then pay the price to make it competitive (if that is even possible), or buy one of Kessler's house-brand saxophones and have it done right the first time, with the backing of a known, reliable, and trustworthy business behind your purchase. Conductor saxophones?/ No thank you. DAVE
    What you say makes good sense and you make your point very well. I think we all know that many, but not all, saxophone manufacturers merely assemble their instruments and rely the retailer to prepare the horn ready for the customer. That final preparation wouldn't happen with an Amazon supplied sax. It was only the review by Ron Berger, the instrument repairer, that made me think that one of these Conductor instruments was worth considering but he was talking about the build quality being good value for money not what state these horns are in when new in the box. No on-line retailer can match the service that a specialist like Kessler, with an established reputation to protect, will be able to provide.

    OK. Forget the Conductor. Far wiser to pay a bit more cash and buy a saxophone that's already been correctly set up from a reputable company as Dave Dolson and JayePDX have suggested.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Hello All,

    I really appreciate the well-thought opinions, and in particular the constructive dialogue between Alley Cat and Dave. The Kessler suggestion is certainly advice that is well-taken.

    I played alto and tenor in my high school band, then took 25 years off before becoming interested in playing again.

    Along the way, though, I did collect a Yamaha YTS-52 (with a metal Berg Larsen 110/2 mouthpiece), and a Cleveland (H.N. White) Alto from 1960-1965 (Serial #c136168). I was extremely fortunate in acquiring both horns, and have owned both for several years. The Yamaha's finish is still beautiful, but the Cleveland has seen better days. I find it very easy to play, though, and I like its sound.

    My musical goals are simple these days - I love to play Christmas music, and I would like to play for special occasions at my church.

    When I learned about the Conductor models, the little boy in me wondered what it would feel like to have a shiny new alto to pair with my Yamaha tenor - so, I sought the wise counsel of this audience.

    I am brand new to SOTW, so thanks for making my first day an informative one!


    Take Care,

    Derrick

  12. #12

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dbrowndbrown View Post

    I love to play Christmas music.

    The little boy in me wondered what it would feel like to have a shiny new alto to pair with my Yamaha tenor.
    You could decorate your Cleveland with Christmas tinsel. Just a thought.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sigmund451 View Post
    ...Ask Selmer.
    zzzzzzzzinggggggggg !!!!!!!
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Alley Cat View Post
    Surely, what would be self-defeating would be for any player, beginner or experienced, to struggle with an instrument that was not set up to play at it's best ?

    ...eh...you kinda missed my point entirely, there, if I must say so.

    A new horn shouldn't need significant work...period. That they do just speaks loads to how contemporary production has really gone into the tank.....

    Sssssooo....taking THIS example.....you buy this thing for $300, but a tech needs to spend 2 hours on it to really get it playing right.....

    That's kind of a sucky deal, in the end...because for $425-50 one can easily find a higher-quality, higher-level, proven & reputed model which is all set to pop right out of the case.

    Ergo...self-defeating...in one's search for a 'deal' they have paid more and gotten less.
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by dbrowndbrown View Post
    ...and a Cleveland (H.N. White) Alto from 1960-1965 (Serial #c136168).
    If you wanna spend $300-ish...get the Cleveland to a tech for a body-cleaning, dent removal and a check-up. That dolla' should get you several pads replaced and a quick regulation to boot.

    I have to say, much better use of that sorta $ than buying a low-budget new instrument. Old Cleves are solid players...and if I may take what alleycat points out and use it more specifically in your instance:

    one cannot properly gauge an instrument or have it do justice if it's not properly set up.

    So give the Cleve a little love...and it will serve you hella better than any sub-$500 new horn. They are very popular vintage models for that very reason...solid, reliable, very good-sounding, and inexpensive.

    You wanna go new, certainly go for it....but a respectable one with a decent track record in the budget range (aka kessler, bauhaus, etc) is gonna set you back about 6 bill$.
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

  16. #16

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post

    ...eh...you kinda missed my point entirely, there, if I must say so.
    I think I must have done ! Anyway, after what I wrote in post No.8 something suddenly occurred to me that completely undermined what I had said about buying a Conductor and then having it tweaked by a tech. By post No.10 I had firmly come around to the view taken by you, and Dave Dobson, and acknowledged this by saying.

    "OK. Forget the Conductor. Far wiser to pay a bit more cash and buy a saxophone that's already been correctly set up from a reputable company as Dave Dolson and JayePDX have suggested."

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Agreement is wonderful, then...ain't it ?
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

  18. #18

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    Quote Originally Posted by JayePDX View Post
    Agreement is wonderful, then...ain't it ?
    It can even happen on SOTW.

    What went through my mind was the thought of a complete beginner taking a brand new Chinese saxophone to a tech for it to be "improved". Ok, which tech ? The well intentioned beginner could end up with a very big bill indeed. That may not happen but why risk it when, for a few more $'s, plenty of other instruments are available from reputable suppliers requiring no work and ready to play ? You were right. I was wrong.

    Not long ago, someone I know from work showed me a new Chinese alto he had bought for his 9 year old daughter who was keen to learn. It was absolutely unplayable. The few keys that weren't jammed closed pads that didn't seal. It was a complete mess. I dread to think what any tech would have to charge to put that right even if it could be done. Judging from the Amazon reviews the Conductor wasn't in that league but, as you said, why take a chance ?

  19. #19

    Default Re: Beginner - Who Knows About Conductor Saxophones ?

    I bought the Conductor (Chinese origin) tenor and straight soprano from Amazon. I hadn't played in decades so they seemed like they would be OK for starters. I took them to my local repair shop for them to look over. They said they might last me a year but they wouldn't touch them if they ever needed repair. I returned them to Amazon within 30 days and got a full refund. In general, beware of any saxophone that comes with a pair of small white gloves!

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