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Thread: Teach me about tenor pricings

  1. #1

    Default Teach me about tenor pricings

    Basically, what's the minimum that one would expect to play to get a descent horn? Then at what point does the bang for your buck diminish? I have an alto sax right now that I borrowed from a friend to see if I can learn this instrument, now I want to look into purchasing a horn of my own, but I want to go with a tenor. I'm not afraid to spend some money on this as I consider a quality instrument to be an investment, but I would like to know when diminishing returns tend to kick in.

    p.s- i know there are exceptions to every rule, but I just want to know generally speaking.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Forum Contributor 2014 skeller047's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    Good quality used horns can be had for around $1K. New pro-level horns start at around $1.5K. Unless you have specific wants/needs (i.e., you are a collector), your upper limit should be $2.5K. That will buy you a very nice used horn. New ones at that price, unless they are one of the major names (Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Keilwerth), are probably not worth the money.

    If you are going the used route (most bang for the buck), definitely find someone you can trust to help you. A player, in other words. And not a beginning student, some one who has been playing for at least 5 years, preferably more.

    Having said that, my recommendation would be to buy an intermediate level new instrument, from say, Kessler, for about $1K. Or for about $1600, a Barone, which is a fine pro-level instrument. Either of these horns would last many years, and shouldn't lose more than 1/2 their value (assuming you don't wreck it) over the years. If you stick with it, you might find in 5 years or so that it is time to try different instruments, and either of these choices will definitely last you that long.
    Steve Keller

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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    Well...good quality used Tenors can actually be had for less than that...say $500 for a nice, reputable vintage Tenor. Three years ago, that was $750. Sometimes if you are lucky, today you can get one for $400.

    I agree a decent brand-new horn cannot be had for less than $1500, and quite honestly that in and of itself is a bit shaky. I would argue that you cannot get a pro-calibre new Tenor for that, or anywhere near that (not to say the company won't market it as "pro", just saying it wouldn't really be a pro-calibre horn). IMHO, you wan a new, pro horn you have to be ready to spend over $2000 easy....

    So, the 'bang for the buck' goes to used instruments...because, for example...the $1500 you could use to buy a solid student model new horn can buy you a top-line, pro, top-shelf vintage one. And for $400-750...you cannot get any new Tenor which isn't a piece of crap, quite honestly...while...for that same dolla' you can get a very good used one.

    Also, one often confuses 'quality' with price or market value...yet, particularly in today's (and tomorrow's, and the next days') economy...that isn't so. So if you tend to assume that only paying over $XXX will get you a quality horn...you may need to adjust that preconception. Are there $500 horns out there which are far superior and of better quality than $1500 ones ? Yup....

    Given that Forums are a place of diverse opinion...I will chime in and say (respectfully) I do not recommend the above advice on buying a new 'intermediate' horn for $1000-1600. I think that is the antithesis of 'bang for the buck'. It is sorta like splitting the baby.

    I would suggest a few alternatives:

    1) Invest $500-800 and just stop there. Get a good, reputed used horn and it will serve you very well for at least several years.
    You can get a used second shelf or student model (say, for example, a USA-made Conn Director, or King Cleveland, or an Armstrong, or a Japanese made YTS-23 or used late-model Taiwanese Jupiter) for $500-600.....

    2) Invest $800-1200...but don't use that on anything new. More bang for buck gets you a classic, top-shelf, superb horn like a Martin Comm III, Conn 10M, Beaugnier-made Noblet or Vito, Keilwerth or Kohlert, etc....or a tried-and-true intermediate classic like a YTS 61.

    3) Push the budget ceiling up to $1800....and that can actually get you a used Yanagisawa 8XX series or even a mid-'90's 900 model, a selmer mk. VII, and even perhaps a later Buffet SuperDyn. These are all top-calibre 'modern' horns....

    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    Keeping in mind that European prices are higher (1 euro is at least 1 US$), I bought a Buescher stencil tenor for 450 euros, a few years ago. I think you should be able to find something similar in the USA for $400 ~ $450. It probably will need a service then, but you should be set for well under $1K. Something like a YTS-21 or 23 shouldn't be too expensive as well.
    Grassi low A bari (1976) Meyer 9M / Martin "The Martin" tenor (1951), OL vintage Tone Edge #7
    Martin "Indiana" alto (1954), Meyer 6M / Buffet Crampon "Continentale" Bb clarinet (1972), Vandoren V360

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    Distinguished SOTW Member artstove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    I'm generally with JayePDX on this. You can get a good, solid, used horn in the $600-800 range. King Cleveland, later Conn 10M, etc. Diminishing returns really start to kick in when you get over $1600-2000. Again, this is for used horns, which I think are a better value. Ultimately, though, it depends on what you want. If a particular $3000 horn is the magic horn for you, it may not be a diminishing return.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member RandyJ's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    You could fine a $100 horn in a pawn shop-
    You can find a $10,000 horn also-
    And you can find a bunch in between.

    You need to play more, then play as many horns as you possibly can and make your own decision which could be a Chinese throwaway or a new Selmer Dragon. What you end up with just needs to fulfill your needs and makes you happy.

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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    Well....yes and no. Hard for a beginner to play more and learn what they like and want....if they don't have a horn, eh ?

    Which is why many folks suggest keeping the budget on their first horn on the low side....and although, yeah, you could find a $100 pawnshop horn... it'll need $300-400 of work.

    So really, again....making the low end at $500 for a Tenor is pretty realistic....
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Teach me about tenor pricings

    Something like a Vito or Yamaha student model probably where I'd look for a budget horn. Unless you luck into something better like a Vito VSP or intermediate Yanagisawa.

    I didnt mention vintage horns only because I'm not familiar with the ergonomics on things like old Conns etc.
    Alto: YAS23, Greg Wier NY 6m
    Tenor: Selmer (Elkhart) 164, Saxscape FatCat Proto
    http://www.soundclick.com/bands/defa...bandID=1122869

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