Re: Muddling through buying a sax for my son
That is Keilwerth's student horn and it might be ok for a beginner. They make other horns that are held in much higher regard, but also cost a lot more. You sort of get what you pay for when it comes to saxophones.
Bang for the buck is found in a used horn of good reputation like a Selmer Bundy or Yamaha YAS-23. Those can generally be found in great condition for $200-$400 and are, in my opinion, much better than most modern student-line horns. And you can sell it for pretty much what you paid for it if for some reason your son gives it up.
For $50/mo, is any of that money put towards purchasing the instrument? That sounds like a rent to own rate to me. The good thing about going the rental route is that the shop should take care of any regulation issues that will ultimately arise and the horn should be set up to play well, whereas buying something online, there's generally little guarantee that it will play well (not that it won't, necessarily) and you would have to take it in to your local shop occasionally anyhow. Saxophones are just very mechanically complex and there's lots of little things that can make the horn sound bad even if the player is good. This is an issue even with professional horns. The student line horns are generally not made with the same durability of components as the professional horns, so adjustments and such can be required perhaps more frequently or they are less forgiving to mishandling by a beginner.
What is your local shop charging to buy a student Yamaha or student Selmer outright? What kind of horn are they offering for $50/month?