Saxophone Forum


by Dabino
(9 posts)
9 years ago

Re: cheap saxophones

There has been a lot of discussion re cheap saxes ie Helmke. Some say they're a load of junk, made in Taiwan, you should stay with "name" brands like Jupiter, Yam, Yani and Selmer. Jupiters are made in Taiwan, as are many other excellent saxes (eg Temby) Also how does one account for the excellent feedback on ebay from those who have bought saxes from Bently, UK, for a few hundred dollars. Are those who bag cheap saxes (1) giving an opinion based on real experience, (2) pissed off that they paid a lot more for their sax, or (3) just being snobs?

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  1. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: cheap saxophones

    All of the above, and then some. When it comes to something as mechanically complex as a saxophone, you basically get what you pay for. Are the prices of certain professional horns out of line due to marketing, perceptions, and prestige? Of course. If you were to do some basic ballpark math and add up the cost of materials, manufacturing processes, and labor, you would have to determine that at least one of those three factors has been severely sacrificed to come up with a $200 saxophone. We're not talking cowbells, here. There are some Taiwan horns that are decent. Heck - even Selmer is making student horns there now. Far eastern manufacturing has traditionally always ramped up from poor to better to even better. I'm sure that will be the case with saxophones, but due to modern "disposable" mentality that cheap is more important than long-lasting, I hardly believe that in 50 years there will be many Helmkes showing up in Grandpa's will unless it happened to be his treasured reading lamp. If someone wants to make "cheap and shiny" their primary objectives when buying a saxophone, that's their prerogative. There's plenty of manufacturers ready to serve those customers.

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  2. by johnsonfromwisconsin
    (767 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: cheap saxophones

    Actually Dabino, most of the praise I see for Helmke, Monique, Bently, etc brand saxophones is given by people who are obviously young and inexperienced or first-time horn buyers. People purchasing their first saxophone are not particularily objective, nor do they have the comparitive knowledge to make a good judgement on the matter. Technicians seem to universally hate such horns, and not because they don't provide the technician with work. They hate them because they are frustrating to work on, hard to get parts for, and are made so poorly that to work on one often means one problem leads to another right on the workbench. Such poor craftmanship makes it impossible for the scruplulous technician to stand behind his work and/or his original estimate. In a service-oriented industry such as intrument repair, reputation is everything. Often ignorant consumers will blame a technician because she/he has to bring the horn back frequently, eventually thinking the technician is taking her for a ride! Because of this, you might find many technicians refuse to work on such horns.

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    1. by Dabino
      (9 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: cheap saxophones

      You have a very good point there johnsonfromwisconsin, but how can you tell that the feed back is from an inexperienced saxophone player?

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      1. by johnsonfromwisconsin
        (767 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: cheap saxophones

        ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ You have a very good point there johnsonfromwisconsin, but how can you tell that the feed back is from an inexperienced saxophone player? -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sometimes by the language, other times by a disclaimer that goes something like: "My parents just bought me this horn and it's great!....best horn in the world!" Very few, if any, people who praise these brands say that they've compared them to modern and vintage horns from the industry notables. Note that this doesn't apply to all Taiwanese manufacturers. Though there is some disagreeance here, I think both Jupiter and Antigua are two manufacturers who make good instruments (though that wasn't allways the case, I guess).

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        1. by Goldref18
          (145 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: cheap saxophones

          I think Jason is hitting the nail on the head here. No Taiwanese horns are really of merit, i'd say, (including Jupiter, which is becoming the ultimate knock-off) but i would say that i have never heard feedback from a non first-time-buyer that one of these stencil-knockoffs are actually good. I also really don't trust a lot of no name horns because they just can't compete with the horns i currently have and i personally prefer when someone rates a horn based on their own personal level of what they see as a good horn because I am growing sick of these "best horn ever" reviews for every no-name brand out there.

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