Saxophone Forum


by CRWILD
(1 post)
10 years ago

TENOR SAX

DOES ANYONE KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HELMKE TENOR SAX?

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  1. by SelmerParisPassion
    (59 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: TENOR SAX

    A great investment in an intermediate model for a low price. Awesome for a highschool student.

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  2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: TENOR SAX

    Helmke? Never seen one myself, but the ads that offer this particular brand gives me quite a few reasons to believe they are complete junk. Their reputations also seem to reinforce the notion that these are instruments suitable for no one that wishes to actually play a saxophone. The ads for Helmke usually read: "Helmke, by German Engineering" This is a marketing catchphrase *clearly* aimed at taking in the unwashed and unsuspecting with a vague statement implying that it was designed by some unnamed German Engineer with no other information offered. This marketing statement is subterfuge and was put there to try to put the buyer at ease with a meaningless notion. It also tries to lay to rest any questions about the origin of the brand being anything but a low-cost, low-quality horn (which by reputation they are) by insinuating that they carry the quality standards of many things made in Germany (which they don't) Such low-cost instrumentslike this and others come plagued with a number of problems that are uncorrectable: 1) cannot play in tune no matter what you try 2) leaks like a sieve 3) cannot hold adjustment 4) easily broken mechanisms 5) conspicuoulys shoddy workmanship 6) many repair technicians will refuse to work on them, with good reason 7) poor ergonomics Clearly, any instrument that matches these issues is *NOT* a good horn for a begginner, or a pro, or anyone that wants more than a wall decoration or plant potter.

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    1. by sax_maniac
      (984 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: TENOR SAX

      Pay attention to #6 listed above! These horns are in the class of what you'll find in see-through packaging at Costco or Wal-Mart. They may play ok out of the box, but repair techs can have a difficult if not impossible time getting replacement parts and will sometimes refuse to work on them as their repairs might not hold due to the cheap materials used to make them. I swear by Selmer Bundy II's as being inexpensive, yet of great quality for beginner or intermediate playing. They don't have a high F# key , but people who care about that are into a different price and quality level anyhow. In good, playable condition, Bundy II tenors sell for around $300-$500 and your repair tech won't roll his eyes at you when you come into the shop. The marketing on those junk horns cracks me up. "FRENCH/GERMAN ENGINEERED". Maybe reverse-engineered from a French or German horn, technically. It's like trying to appeal to someone by saying it's made using "SPACE AGE TECHNOLOGY". Which could mean a pocket calculator. I've never played one, as I'm not a gambler.

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      1. by SelmerParisPassion
        (59 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I feel the same way generally, but the 2nd chair player in jazz band at the local high school here bought one and it really wasn't too bad. Bundy tenors are pretty good student models, though, they're indestructable. Just stay away from the Yamaha's, as the ones I've come across give you such a bad sound it's like a cat crying in a garbage can.

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        1. by Khuba
          (2 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: TENOR SAX

          I'm a Freshman, and I bought a Helmke Tenor Sax over the summer. The school had three tenors, one was a Yamaha, one a Vito, and the other a King. All three of them were old, and they all had problems and played poorly. The Helmke had a better tone and better intonation than all of them, but with all inexpensive saxophones, I do have to say you get what you pay for. A few weeks ago, one of the needle springs for the low B mechanism fell off, but a local music repairman said they'd fix it. The cork on the neck is falling off, as well. I've been having a problem with the octave key mechanism being too easily bent. And with any lacquered instrument, the lacquer just kills the tone. That being said, I still love my saxophone, and if you can get past a few little minor things, it's honestly not a bad saxophone. I don't think you could do better for the price you pay for one. And, yeah, I played a Bundy II in middle school. I

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        2. by Khuba
          (2 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: TENOR SAX

          Oh, another thing about it. I noticed that compared to the Vito, the Yamaha, the King, Brad's Conn, and Becky's Yahama, my Helmke was way heavier, and it seemed to be thicker, as well.

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      2. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        haha! Here we have someone who knows what he is talking about. Everyone says that the yamaha student model is the best, but that is a load of crap, they are made so cheaply, like key cup feet being glued on... And the metal in asian manufactured saxes is slightly thinner so it makes them less warm. And kids tend to be dumb and put really bright nasty pieces on their saxes, the yamaha makes them sound so bad that you dang near rip your fingernails off, squeezing your armrest in pain. The AS300 or bundy II are the best student models, they are both extremely tough, have a warm sound and utilize solder everywhere where it should be. I have also heard that the conns are good, but the only ones i have ever seen were beaten to crap so I really can't say.

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      3. by SaxMan2.0
        (13 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        So Yamaha Student Mdoel (YTS-23) is crap? What about the Inter. and Pro. models? Are they still good?

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      4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        --------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So Yamaha Student Mdoel (YTS-23) is crap? What about the Inter. and Pro. models? Are they still good? ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Haven't tried any Yamaha student models (I have one arriving this week, though probably in unplayable condition), but I can say that Yamaha Proffesional Custom series rates right up there with the others offered by Keilwerth, Yanagisawa, and Selmer. The deciding factor will always be YOUR preference. One of Yamaha unlaquered tenors I tried awhile back was an extrememly lively sounding horn with an even scale, good response, and all the other things you'd expect out of a pro-level instrument. I personally liked it better than the Ref 54 I played, and possibly even better than the Yani 991 and Series II. I tried the intermediate Yamaha 475 alto and thought it was quite a nice instrument. It sounded good enough and the keywork was excellent, though strangely enough it was a very light horn compared to the Antiguas and Jupiters and Yanis it was tried against. Though realistically, the others had reasons to bea bit heavier: the Antigua had a heavy black coating, the Jupiter was partially composed of silver, and the Yani made of bronze, I think it still was probably a little flimsy compared to these others.

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      5. by sax_maniac
        (984 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I recently played a new Yamaha 475 soprano up against a Taiwanese "Accent" sop. The Taiwanese horn was $500 cheaper, came with two necks, and was a lot warmer and professional sounding. And I was looking for every reason NOT to like the Taiwanese horn, mind you. (I ended up going with a vintage horn anyhow). I've tried a YTS-23 and found it's octave key unusually uncomfortable. My thumb was raw after about 10 minutes as there was a rather sharp edge to the key. I just wasn't impressed with the finishing of the horn. It didn't feel like a quality horn. I have found no tonal character on the student Yamahas. Good intonation and consistency from horn to horn, but just nothing very interesting to it. "Yup - that's a saxophone..." (Same goes for their baseline pianos, by the way - no character) As far as I'm concerned, it's worth the gamble and adventure to find a good vintage horn at the price a lot of the cheaper new stuff is going for. That goes for intermediate horns as well. Unless someone is committed to dropping $3000+ for a "real" modern pro horn, they should go the vintage route. At least they're not throwing their money away as the value on a good vintage horn is generally retained and even appreciates.

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      6. by navyblueTENOR
        (10 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        The Accent Soprano is awesome, I've seen it played. It really looks like a real pro one, and it's quite inexpensive. does anyone know about an Accent Tenor>?

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      7. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- And the metal in asian manufactured saxes is slightly thinner so it makes them less warm. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- When you used the gauges, what readings did you come up with on what instruments? I'd really like to know.

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      8. by Tom-Sax
        (2 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I spoke to the Great-Tunes store that sells these Helmke Tenor Saxes on ebay, and they said they are manufactured in China, and they get them direct from the manufacturer. Supposedly there is no middle-man except for the freight company. Obviously the advertised "German engineering" comes from the original design if at all. I'm thinking of getting one of their tenors myself, and I haven't heard any horror stories. Supposedly, compared to the other cheap brands, these Helmke's have much better manufacturing consistency. The Great-Tunes guy said that the one-year warranties that come with the new saxes are handled by sending the customer an RMA number for shipping, there is a 7-14 day repair period, and then the horn is shipped back to the customer.

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      9. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        "What wine goes with Ramen noodles??......" I'm not sure, but I know for a fact that Ramen noodles go good after a lot of beer.=) "The Great-Tunes guy said that the one-year warranties that come with the new saxes are handled by sending the customer an RMA number for shipping, there is a 7-14 day repair period, and then the horn is shipped back to the customer." that sounds like a pain in the ass. Think about it for a min. -day one, your horn breaks -day two, you're starting to wonder "where is that damn phone number on my warranty slip" -day three, you call them and get a answering service -day 4, finally you get a hold of someone and they send you a RMA number (or whatever that is) -day 10, you get that thing in the mail. -day 11, you ship your horn to them -day 16, they get your horn. -day 20, they start working on your horn. -day 26, they ship you back your horn. -day 32, you get your fixed sax back. granted I made that up, BUT I will bet anything it's realistic. Now personally I would rather pay a few $100 more and get myself a good student sax that anyone can fix. but that's just my and my "college sense" talking. Normal people wouldn't do a cost analysis like that. They would just pick the least expensive horn and go from there.

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      10. by saxgrobie
        (86 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I have thought about this for a while now, and I have now come to a conclusion. Granted, this is only my opinion, but I'd like to think its a good one . . . . Ramen Noodles are best with Sweet tea while watching The Price Is Right. Where were we? Oh yes, Helmke. Well I have never played one. But there has to be a reason it has such a terrible reputation. Personally I would not get one to risk it. And even if I liked it after playing it, I still don't think I would get one. I wouldn't want to put up with the raised eyebrows and rolling eyes. Call me shallow, but it just doesn't seem worth it to me. Kelsey

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      11. by Spike
        (248 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I belive it's "sweeta". You take one gallon of water and bring it to a boil. you then add 4 cups of sugar and 4 large tea bags and bre to taste. Serve chilled... with ramen and the price is right. What's your favorite ramen? i like the "saporro ichiban" brand, although i found another good one in an asian grocery. i prefer beef ramen, but can't find miso. I used to get some all natural brand of miso that went out of business. also, the "..." is called an elipsis. just thought i'd say that. don't know why...(HAHA, IRONIC)

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      12. by shawnee girl
        (2 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I have just bought a Helmke Sax for my 6th grader. I became concerned after talking to the band teacher about parts. so I started looking for reviews and found your comment. I was wondering how you found a phone or if you found a phone number for Great Tunes. I don't know how to contact them. I received the Sax 2 days after I paid for it and it is a beautiful instrument and what little I know it sounds nice. I would like to get their number if you would share that info. I am VERY concered about repair. Thanks in Kentucky!

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      13. by HellzDungeon
        (1 post)

        10 years ago

        Re: TENOR SAX

        I to have bought one of these saxophones(not a helmke, a Schill 2005 model), and am pretty happy with it. Its a lot better than what my school has, and looks WAY nicer to ^^ I think the funniest thing with it was on the warranty, it says; "This warranty does not cover normal wear and tear or damage to the instrument caused by shipping, abuse, accident, misuse, Act of God,..." Act of God? first time ive seen that on a warranty o well, like i said, its a great insrument, and will be great for me to use for my high school years to come Hellz

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