View Full Version : Sax shops in San Francisco?
04-09-2003, 05:27 PM
Where does a saxoholic go to look at horns (including vintage) in San Francisco?
In the new "venues" topic I'va also asked for advice on where to find a good jazz tenor performance this coming Saturday evening.
04-09-2003, 06:54 PM
Bronstein Music, 363 Grand Avenue, So. SF, CA 94080, they have a good selection of saxes and some vintage ones.
Union Music on Bush Street, I think they have a decent selection of vintage saxes.
You might also try Lee's Sax works. I think he just moved to Taraval & 27th (?). Anyway you can look him up on the web. He's primarily a repairman, but I believe he has some vintage horns for sale also.
04-10-2003, 12:37 AM
You might want to call Lee and see what he might have before making the trek out there...
04-10-2003, 02:07 AM
I don't think Union or Bronstein's either have a whole lot. Union has some VIs on consign and a bunch of cannonballs. Bronstein's has newer selmers (ref 36, 54), SML, and hit or miss on vintage stuff. Personally, I felt the service at Bronsteins was comparable to a Guitar Center.
Well, used to be if you went to North Beach/China Town and...
04-16-2003, 12:14 AM
Anyone know what ever happened to Irwin Burger, who way back when had a shop on Taraval St., then i think he later moved to somewhere in the Mission district...think at one time i heard he may have died, but don't remember for sure...i remember stopping by his Taraval shop one time in the 1970's, he had a rather nifty selection of woodwind stuff, and i walked out the door with an old Buffet Eb clarinet(good horn) and a 13,9xx silver Selmer tenor, on of the very early Supers...also a nice horn...had to sell 'em both later for $$, but nice goodies none the less. Seems that Irwin(if i'm remembering his name correctly) was a pretty decent guy, and looked to be a good repair tech...
04-16-2003, 06:06 PM
Thanks everyone. Had only enough time to visit Union Music - got caught in a torrential downpour and the staff looked quite alarmed as my wife & I "poured" ourselves in the front door.
Not a huge selection of vintage, but very friendly folks & most accommodating - told me to grab as many horns off the wall as I wished and noodle away. I played several, including a decent sounding Mk VI that unfortunately had a not-so-hot relacque job. For any Mk VII fans out there, they had a good looker - sorry, did not play. Picked up a used mp & had fun poking around.
For anyone who doubles on trumpet - they seem to have a good selection.
I know of a very excellent tech in Oakland with tons of experience. His name is Steve Deutsch. Doesn't charge anywhere near what Woodwind and Brass used to charge. His phone number is 510-533-6750.
05-12-2003, 06:29 AM
Thanks Ivy - next time I'm downthat way, I'll check him out.
05-13-2003, 03:41 AM
Ivy - what all have you done with Steve D. - I'd love to hear more about your experiences with him - thanks.
Steve overhauled my King Super 20 alto a few years ago. Did an excellent job. The Super 20's have an unusual key and mechanisim design that not everybody knows about. He used to be the main woodwind guy at Best Instrument Repair for at least 20 years in Oakland but he is now on his own, working out his house.
05-24-2003, 06:28 AM
An interesting place to visit is Hornucopia in San Carlos. I haven't been there in a number of years, but I think they're still in business. Used to have many vintage horns in various states of repair. For a while I bought 'fixer-uppers' and restored them for resale or use in public schools as a donation.
1549 Laurel St
San Carlos, CA
05-24-2003, 11:47 AM
In answer to the question above about Irwin Burger.
In San Francisco, Irwin Burger was the best. Unfortunately, he has passed onto saxophone heaven and we all pray that he is making great music upstairs.
Yep, Irwin had a shop on Taraval between 21st and 22nd Ave. We are not going back years, but decades. After, being on Taraval, he moved to Ninth Street, between Mission and Howard. This shop was twice as large as the one on Taraval. Later, he moved across the street within the same block.
Lee Kramka was his sax repairman when he was on Ninth Street. Irwin was mainly a flute player, but as a repairman could fix anything. As stated above, Irwin has passed on. At that time the tech's working for him branched out on their own.
Lee Kramka had a shop on 17th Avenue for a few years and is currently located on what street? Tavaral between 27th and 28th. So, the more thing change the more things remain the same. He has a far larger shop than the one he had on 17th Avenue which was really a hole in the wall.
Lee is not cheap, but he guarantee's his work. Unless, of course one backs over the horn with the car in the garage or drops it. He only guarantees regular use.
The only trouble with Lee's new shop is that he doesn't have a neon sign out front and the neon sign is from the Aquarium next door, which used to occupy his present location. He only has a sign is in the window and there is no marquee. Lee is usually swamped. If you are talking an overhaul, its about a month wait. He will let you keep the horn till he is ready to work on it, but one has to call him early. Just a side note, Lee is strictly a sax person. So, if you are looking for a flute or other instrument this is not the place to go.
If you are taking public transportation, the L Taraval goes right out there. Just get off at 28th Ave and his shop is about 20 steps away. Just happen to live a block and a half away from his new location on Taraval, so I'm spoiled rotten
So, Amasax. So, the more thing change the more things remain the same. A little bit of Irwin Burger remains on Taraval. It's just a few block down towards the beach.
Well, back to the da shed.
Lee's web site address is: www.saxworx.com.
05-24-2003, 05:09 PM
The good news, for those not in walking distance, is you can actually park near his joint on Taraval...
05-24-2003, 06:40 PM
Hey, StraightSax, thx for the Irwin update...back in Feb 1975, wuz in SFO on a college band trip of all things, did the horn huntin' routine, ended up in his shop(my sister used to live on Taraval for a while in the late 1960s/early 1970s, so maybe that range a bell for me to check)...well, not only was Irwin a nice guy to chat with, i ended up walking out of his shop with an old Buffet Eb clarinet and a 13,9xx silver Selmer tenor(wish i still had that horn, was nice little piece).
Any rate, kept up with him off & on for a few yrs, did vaguely recall the move to over by Howard street, thought i'd heard he'd passed on, but couldn't quite remember...
I used to occasionally go to yoga clinics/retreats at the Iyengar studio at 19th & Taraval, but haven't been over in that vicinity in the last several yrs...(had a travelling job in the early 90's, went to SFO a bunch, that probably woulda been last time I was in that neighborhood). 8)
05-24-2003, 06:42 PM
oh, also have always liked SFO/Bay Area, thought about moving out there several times, but the cost of living was always about $15-20k more that whatever I was making at the time... :(
05-25-2003, 06:05 AM
I just mentioned that elsewhere, fortunately jobs also pay better here. If you can find one these days :(