Saxophone Forum


by faulk_wulf
(4 posts)
10 years ago

Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

Hello there. I am a new saxophone player, though not a new band member. I have played flute for many years but finally decided I wanted to be in Jazz Band too. So I picked up playing Tenor. The school's tenor I am borrowing is crap. I would like to purchase a new one. I discovered hordes of lacqured instruments on the internet, but the Helmke line on E-bay with the bright red lacquer caught my eye the most. I can find no online store(s), or many reviews for the brand. I take care of my instruments, so even low quality should surfice. The thing is, it's in my price range. I'm a HS student with a part-time minimum wage job. So I can't afford much. I am open to suggestions, comments, and critiques. (Regardless of it being Helmke or not, I would *REALLY* like it to be a red lacquered instrument- I mean why have a horn that looks like everyone elses? In my oppinion) Thanks. Talk to you later.

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  1. by hardrockcouple
    (1 post)

    9 years ago

    Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

    Hi, I am not a high schooler, but recently purchased a Helmke tenor. I have and play a Buescher Tru Tone alto, A Buescher Tru Tone C melody and Conn Bari. I play in two diffrerent bands. I wanted a tenor but did not have much cash.. Like many here I instantly mistrusted the "cheap" saxes like the Helmke. A local trader sells them and he persuaded me to PLAY ONE. I played it compared to 5 other saxes and I played it against my tuning meter. I hate to admit it but it has better intonation than my vintage Bueshers and YES they are set up correctly by an excellent technician. So my advice is PLAY ONE, then make up your mind. Make sure that you find someone that can repair it if need be MOST shops will not touch them. I bought mine from a guy who works on saxes for a living. I am sure some are crap. Mine may not last the year, but so far it is a joy to play. I asked the technician how on earth could they do that for that price. He shrugged and said they just do and playing is the real test. HOWEVER, I would never buy one from ebay or the net. Go to a place that has them and PLAY IT FIRST. then make up your mind. Just my two cents or more worth.

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  2. by Radjammin
    (255 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

    I think some people are loosing touch with the original question by faulk_wulf. 1. Cheap horn 2. good player 3. Red? Well the only good red horn I can think of is LASax. There the only one with the weird colors that are any good imo. I would say if you want to stay cheap, I would ditch the color preference, because once you put that higher then the quality of a player is the point when sax players will stop taking you seriously. Sax players know horns. Your high school teacher might think it is a pile of junk, but if you walk in with a conn martin, or king made before 1970 they will think your legit. It will also help keep your cost down. You can go cheap, I think some of the name brands that were recommended are good horns. Just be carefull buying a new cheap horn. If your not paying over $1500 on a modern horn, used or new, your gonna have to do your homework to make sure it is actually good.

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  3. by faulk_wulf
    (4 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

    Sorry if I'm not allowed to double-post, but there's now "Edit" button that I can find. When I said "I would like to purchase a new one." I didn't mean the instrument had to be new, I just meant I wanted my OWN saxophone. (The rest of the post is accurate.)

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

      theyre crap - they are garaunteed to die before a year of playing, and your playing will be inferior with it. If you really have to have somthing different, check otu antigua winds, they have both silver and annodized nickel finishes availiable - should run around 1400. But finish is nothing - the new selmer student model stuff is really nice - just looking at them, I like the 700 the best, and if I didn't play the 5, 6 and 700, I would pick the 700, which is the economy model. But the cases on those suck - will last about a long as a helmke.

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      1. by tenor562
        (297 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

        Selmer Student model is great, highly reccomend it. If not get a YTS23, it's ok, and will beat out most of the crap horns. What kind of horn is your "crap horn"?

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        1. by claribari
          (6 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          Selmer student saxes, since the Bundy II, have ben inconsistent. I reoair saxophones, and alhough they do sound fine, if you can afford something else, go for it. Even a Jupiter is consistentky built better. Main problems with the Selmer Student saxes are that the pads are not aligned correctly with the tone holes...i.e. a pad will have a set (where the roneholes meet the pad) off of the center of the pad. The new ones are not made in the US, and although they look and sound pretty good, I would be wary of the construction due to Selmer's previous student saxes.

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        2. by faulk_wulf
          (4 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          I will get back to you Tuesday evening with that answer, because I have no idea. But it is very tarnished, dented on the bell, and the mouthpiece is full of scuffs and minor cracks. I live in a rural town and we just can't afford to fix up our horns too much. (In short, it may not be the brand of horn, just the condition of it.) Still, I will tell you Tuesday if I remember to check it out.

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        3. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          Tarnished? that suggests silver, or nickel - its probably a VERY nice horn. The mouthpiece has nothing to do with the horn, buy a new one, if it is really that bad, though some mouthpieces are made with the floor looking like its all scratched up.

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        4. by faulk_wulf
          (4 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          Tarnished must be the incorrect word then, because this is just a standard "gold" saxophone. It's just instead of the normal bright shiney look, it has a faded greenish color and its rough to the touch in those spots.

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        5. by ralphclark
          (1 post)

          10 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          Must be a lacquered finish, which is common for cheap student saxes I gather. That's exactly what it looks like when it wears off in patches and the metal underneath gets oxidized.

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      2. by Sunyveil
        (11 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

        yeah, I got one of those because I needed my own tenor to be in jazz band next year. i've heard a lot of people that say they fall apart and whatnot, but for the last month mine has been just as good as any jupiter or selmer for a fraction of the price.

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        1. by TooSaxy
          (1 post)

          9 years ago

          Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

          Get It! It is cheap. I play one. It is perfectly in tune. I bought the Halmke Curved soprano in black lacquer, and aside from some minor problems (they were easy to repair) it is perfect. I was amazed at the quality of the instrument. I say get it.

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          1. by Sax Mom
            (964 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

            Better to take your chances on a vintage horn of better qualitiy.

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            1. by Sax Mom
              (964 posts)

              9 years ago


            2. by The_┬žax
              (147 posts)

              9 years ago

              Re: Cheap Beginner Sax (Helmke)

              Do not get the Helmke. May seem great at first, but after a year or maybe more, the soldering will fall off and the low-quality rods and keys will be bending like licorice. I have never owned one, but i know of people that have. Stick with your vintage Bueschers, Conns, Martins and Keilwerths. If you dont think that your bueschers are playing well then get them checked out again, and tell the tech exactly what you think is wrong with them.

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