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  1. #1
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    Default Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    Hi!
    Well, these have been out for over a month now. Is anyone ready to provide a review of the new line of Kessler Custom saxes? Also maybe compare it to other horns you are currently playing.
    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    retromom's Avatar
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    Hi Mark,
    I bought a Kessler Custom Alto about two weeks ago and I love it.
    I'm a late Bloomer and I"ve not been playing the sax for very long so I don't have a whole lot of knowledge BUT I can tell you that my teacher was so impressed by it that she called and ordered one for herself and the band director at my daughters elementary school was equally as impressed
    Vicki

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    Mark: I urge you to look beyond the main title of the sub-section. There are many posts about Kessler's Custom saxophones. DAVE
    Dave

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    Dave,

    Thanks for the info - I did look at some of the other threads and for the most part there were only one or two reviews (yours included) but I was specifically looking for some comparitive information between Kessler Custom and other instruments - I realize that even that is subjective, but it might help determine the type of sound and overall quality of the instrument. The few people that I read the reviews were mostly favorable.
    With his very generous return policy, I don't see much risk in trying it out, but its nice to perform due diligence.

    Thanks again! I have gotten good information from you by reading earlier posts.

    Mark

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    Mark: Fair enough - the reviews did not do comparisons, as I recall.

    I don't have much in comparisons. Several months ago, I played two new tenors at another store - a new Cannonball and a new Yamaha Z. I the store's high-end mouthpiece and one reed. Frankly, I was not impressed enough to make a purchase and I put aside my thoughts about stepping up (down?) to a tenor. Besides, the price was high enough that it wasn't attractive as an experiment.

    Then, I saw Dave Kessler's generous return-policy (I probably should have known about it before this, but the other horns I bought from him were play-tested before the purchase and returns were not in the equation) so I signed up.

    I'm glad that I did. The Kessler Custom (with his upgraded mouthpiece) plays better than either of the two tenors I'd previously tried (at least from memory) and the price was such that I wasn't risking a couple of grand to find out if I liked tenor - or not.

    The only other horn I have to compare is a Buescher TT C-Mel, that plays nicely. Yet, the robustness and resonance of Kessler's tenor is far superior to my C-Mel (I know, I know . . .), plus I can play familiar material in familiar keys. Hope that helps. DAVE
    Dave

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    I can't really give a comparison to my Custom Tenor, as the last time I played tenor on a regular basis was 10 years ago. But I can tell you that the build quality and key layout remind me of the Mark 7 I played all those years ago.


    I've had my Custom for about two weeks now and except for one small problem (the high A is muffled somehow) I love the sax. I haven't really talked to Kessler about this, but I'm hoping we can fix this without having to ship it back (maybe some small adjustment I can make??)



    Dave
    Selmer AS 200 Alto, Selmer C*80 / Rovner Deep V
    Kessler Custom Tenor, Kessler 50 OL7

  7. #7

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    Mark
    thanks for opening this thread, I am also looking forward to read comparative details about those saxes and in the thread I started before you I didn't get any.

    In particular I am considering as second tenor, besides my B&S 2001, the Kessler custom along with P.Mauriat 66R and Jupiter Artist 886G models.
    Price of the Kessler is less than half of the P. Mauriat and about 40% cheaper than the Jupiter.
    As aesthetics go, I am not crazy about the other two, I'd rather choose the simplicity of the Kessler gold lacquer. But this will never be a decisive factor for me. Sound is what I care the most and, given that I won't find a store that carries all of them, I won't be able to go and test myself, so I am hoping to gather information here....
    Last edited by dexter_fan; 06-11-2005 at 11:01 AM.

  8. #8

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    Yo dexter_fan,

    I own a Mauriat 66R, I have tried a Jupiter 889, and I will be trying a Kessler Custom in a couple of weeks (I'm visiting my buddy who has one).

    Here's the low down on the Mauriat and the Jupiter.

    Ergonomics: Very similar feel. Both based on the Selmer layout.
    Intonation: Again, both have great intonation.
    Tone: Here's the big difference. I am a Martin fanatic, due to the TONE of the Martin saxes I've owned. Big, dark, powerful...... The Muariat has this in spades, where as the few Jupiters I've tried (they seem to be very consistent) remind me of Yamahas. What can I say?....The Yamaha sound just doesn't do it for me. B&S tenors were a very close second to the Mauriat for me. The B&S tenors I've tried had a great sound, but the Mauriat tenors are the closest in sound to my Martin I've ever found. So for me it was an easy decision, P. Mauriat 66R all the way!!!!!

    I know it'll be a few weeks, but I'll post my impressions of the Mauriat/Kessler comparison.

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

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    Thanks Joel. I look forward to read from your test with the Kessler.
    Last edited by rispoli; 06-13-2005 at 02:24 PM.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ
    Yo dexter_fan,

    I own a Mauriat 66R, I have tried a Jupiter 889, and I will be trying a Kessler Custom in a couple of weeks

    Joel


    Joel, thanks a lot. I look forward to read from your test with the Kessler too! I think my tastes are similar to yours given that I also love Martin, B&S and Keilwerth type of sound.

    My guess is that also the Kessler will be Yamaha-Yanagisawa sounding type, given that it is a copy of the Yani. Given its price, half of the Mauriat, I might choose that in the end (and eventually return it if the tone turns out too weak for my tastes). I'll check what your impressions are.

    Thanks again

  11. #11

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    Sorry guys, I didn't get to try my buddy's Kessler. Busy weekend with his wedding. Since he lives about 8 hours out from me, I don't forsee me playing his horn anytime soon.

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member goodsax's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ
    I am a Martin fanatic, due to the TONE of the Martin saxes I've owned. Big, dark, powerful...but the Mauriat tenors are the closest in sound to my Martin I've ever found. So for me it was an easy decision, P. Mauriat 66R all the way!!!!!...Joel
    I too find the sound from a Martin unlike anything else I've tried, on both alto and tenor. After reading the above quoted excerpt from your 6/12 post, a little late, I couldn't help thinking, if you're so set on the Martin tone, why are you searching for something else? What Martin weakness compels you to find an alternative? Why not find a The Martin (model of choice) in top notch condition and stick with that? I'm facing the same, or similar, situation and I'd like to compare notes with you about this. Thanks...Rob

  13. #13

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    I actually have a killer The Martin tenor. When I first tried the Mauriat, I actually wasn't even considering buying a new horn. Tim over at Sax Alley had some tenor mpc's that I wanted to try. He mentioned that I should try these new horns that he really liked. It was actually about the second time he asked me, months later, that I actually tried a Mauriat. I was pretty impressed; but the horn was a little out of adjustment, and I really wasn't looking for a new tenor. Months again later, Tim called me again about 3 new Mauriats that I HAD to try. No prob....Tim's a great guy, and I could spend an afternoon playing all his horns and mpc's. So I drove out to Sax Alley and tried the horns out. Holy cow! I was shocked. I found one of the Mauriats did out play my Martin (which has bested every other horn I'd tried on the market). About a 2 weeks later I called Tim about the new rolled tone hole model. He still hadn't adjusted the horn I had commited to buying, so I drove out to try the prototype 66R. Damned if it didn't sound even bigger than the other tenor I had picked out. The rest is history... I now own what I consider to be one of the finest tenors (P. Mauriat 66R) I've ever played on. Another reason is the ergonomics. I recently started practicing in the 3-5 hour range again. The Martin made my right hand hurt around the base of my thumb.

    later

    Joel
    BigDaddyJ

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by BigDaddyJ
    Sorry guys, I didn't get to try my buddy's Kessler. Busy weekend with his wedding. Since he lives about 8 hours out from me, I don't forsee me playing his horn anytime soon.Joel

    That's too bad for me, I was looking forward to read your impressions. You sound very competent and for what I read in your posts I believe our sax-tastes are similar.

    I don't need to be persuaded about the excellence of the P.Mauriat anymore, I read enough to be sure enough about it (also listened the mp3 recordings of K. Ridenhour : thanks, by the way!). It is just the fact that the Kessler custom costs less than half of it what is making the choice for my second sax tougher.
    I am looking for a second tenor sax that is equally or comparably good as my B&S 2001 so that it won't be left in its case most of the time. I am looking into something that I'll be happy to alternate with the B&S (to me very Selmer-sounding), comparably good but different...

    I am nearly sure the P.Mauriat would accomplish that, for the Kessler I have more reserves because I haven't read enough reviews (as can be expected from such a new product...) to persuade me yet.
    Last edited by dexter_fan; 06-28-2005 at 04:34 AM.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    So I am a music teacher but was a string player when I played. My son plays tenor sax and is going into his 4th year of playing it. He is a very good player who has been 1st chair for 3 years and won awards at jazz festivals and made it into honor bands. He has a Yamaha student instrument that we are looking to upgrade as a Christmas present. In looking at saxes, he really likes the look of the deluxe Kessler instruments in the black. It says on the website that this is an intermediate instrument. He's 13 and the look is what matters to him but I am concerned about getting a good instrument. I know I've seen before when the instrument looks "pretty" it's not necessarily the best playing instrument. Does anyone have experience with the intermediate Kessler instruments, especially the deluxe models, who can tell me if this would be a good buy for a student. I would like this sax to last him a few years. Reading all these comparisons, it seems they are comparing high quality saxes with the professional kessler. I may be wrong but that's the feeling I got. Does anyone have a comparison for the intermediate Kessler with a yamaha of same level?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    I tried one, and it's a nice horn. Definitely a great horn for a student that will last some years. If he's buying for the looks however, be aware that it's not black. That's a dark nickel finish that comes out as a dark grey - definitely lighter than the pictures indicate. Still a cool looking horn, though.

  17. #17
    Distinguished SOTW Member ratracer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    Quote Originally Posted by alauer View Post
    So I am a music teacher but was a string player when I played. My son plays tenor sax and is going into his 4th year of playing it. He is a very good player who has been 1st chair for 3 years and won awards at jazz festivals and made it into honor bands. He has a Yamaha student instrument that we are looking to upgrade as a Christmas present. In looking at saxes, he really likes the look of the deluxe Kessler instruments in the black. It says on the website that this is an intermediate instrument. He's 13 and the look is what matters to him but I am concerned about getting a good instrument. I know I've seen before when the instrument looks "pretty" it's not necessarily the best playing instrument. Does anyone have experience with the intermediate Kessler instruments, especially the deluxe models, who can tell me if this would be a good buy for a student. I would like this sax to last him a few years. Reading all these comparisons, it seems they are comparing high quality saxes with the professional kessler. I may be wrong but that's the feeling I got. Does anyone have a comparison for the intermediate Kessler with a yamaha of same level?
    Welcome to SoTW! You'd probably get a lot more replies in a new thread. The last post before yours was 5 years ago. That being said, is your son's horn a YTS-23? If so, that horn is good enough and could last him through high school. You should consider an upgrade in mouthpiece and/or reeds first, perhaps.

    That being said (do I hear an echo?), I have a three year old Kessler Custom Deluxe tenor in the lacquer finish. Great little horn and I would have had to spend twice the money on any other new horn to match it. (At the time, I knew next to nothing about vintage horns so that really wasn't an option for me like it might be nowadays.) Depending on the mouthpiece/reed combination you can make it lush and mellow enough for any ballad or raucous enough for any RnR. Good ergos for my not so big hands.

    Oh, and did I mention dealing with the Kesslers was great. They (Chuck and/or Dave) will go out of the way to get you what you want or need. They will not "push" their brand on you. Great folks to work with and they'll stand behind what ever they sell you. You get a trial period with free return shipping if it's not working for you.

    That nickel finish horn looks very nice. I'd like to have a soprano in that finish since I already have a tenor! You won't go wrong with a Kessler horn but even Dave will admit their not quite up to the level of what's considered pro-level saxes by the "Big 4" (Selmer, Yanigisawa, Yamaha, Keilwerth) That's not who the Kessler's are marketing their horns at. Although, there are a couple pretty good players on SoTW with some Youtubes playing a Kessler that sounds oh so sweet. Reminds me that I've got a long ways to go before I out grow my KCD.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    Hey guys,
    This thread as been a little inactive for a while but I had a question for anyone who originally got a custom from kessler's when the line first came out. How is the saxophone holding up? How often do you play it? Is it a good investment? How often do you have to repair it?
    I'm looking into the custom deluxe to replace my YAS-23. Any input would be awesome.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    A few years ago, I bought a Kessler alto for my grandson after testing several brands at the store. He was 11 at the time. He is now 16 and playing it, along with a B&S Medusa alto I gave him and a school-owned YBS 52 baritone. He played the Kessler alto A LOT and still has it for marching band, if he plays alto this next season (I suspect he'll be on baritone, though).

    Bottom line? The Kessler is still playing fine. I recall he's had to have a minor repair done on it, but other than that, it is still holding up.

    I think the Kessler alto I bought was much better than the 23's and 62II's I tested that day. DAVE
    Dave

  20. #20

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    Default Re: Kessler Custom - Any reviews yet?

    I received my Kessler Custom Deluxe Tenor in March. I bought it after considering a few other saxes and I could not be happier! Dave was a great guy to work with, his dad did a complete setup on the horn and I have been playing it daily since I got it. I've had no problems and no issues with the sax; I really like the sound. My teacher said its a well made and nice sounding tenor. I know there are better saxes out there, but for the money I don't think the Kessler can be beat. My only problem is I have to work up to the Kessler mpc; still using my Yamaha 4C, but again, I've only been playing for 5 months....George

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