Saxophone Forum


by jasonss
(9 posts)
10 years ago

I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

Who said Sax made in china is bad? I have a Yamaha YAS23 alto sax, and I wanted a Tenor sax. So I was looking at YTS23, YTS475, YTS62, Yani T901, and LA sax. THey are kinda expensive to me. Eventually, I took a risk ordering a Schill Tenor from Ebay for 219 USD. Actually this Sax is not bad at all. I compare this sax with my Yamaha. This Sax has a very dark and mellow sound. Very easy to blow. It's earier than my Yamaha. The keywork is ok, but as good as Yamaha . I need to use some WD40. This sax is very heavy and made out of brass. It feels very solid. I don't think I can break it. I used to have a China made "Jinyin" Soprano. The brass they used was very soft. I always bend the keys when I put my sax back into the case. But this Tenor's brass is very hard. I really like this sax. I can't believe this sax is only 219. I am planning to buy a Schill soprano this week. I will let you guys know if their soprano good or bad.

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  1. by j_gally
    (19 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    I am going to buy an alto saxophone off ebay too. I am an intermediate player, though. It is a schill, german-made, has a silver/nickel finish,high f# key, high quality leather pads,ebonite mouthpiece,superioir blue steel springs with metal resonaters for better key action and they say it has a sound worth 2000dollars. SHould i believe this or am i getting what i payed for(230 US.) It is a store selling it, is a brand-new 2005, and if im not satisfied will take it back and give me back my money. Is it a bad sax?

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  2. by Goldref18
    (145 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    That was incredibly lucky. I wouldn't ever buy anything off of Ebay personally but congrads.

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    1. by selmersaxman
      (13 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      You've got to get off that! I have bought many things off eBay with no problems...be a little more open minded. Just cause you have your hang ups dont mean everyone has be like you. peace

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  3. by p-apple
    (49 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    Hey jason I was looking at the schill soprano too and was wondering how you like it. Sincerely, William Chen

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    1. by Freddiemac
      (1 post)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      Hello,I'm looking at the Schill soprano this week and I was wondering how you like yours. Thanks for the input. Freddiemac

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  4. by Charles652011
    (2 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    jasonss, after 8 years, can you tell us anything about your experience with your $219 tenor saxophone?  Were the cynics right?  Have you had a boatload of problems?  Did the sky fall on your head?  I am very curious.  The ethnocentrism evident in the postings of 8 years ago seem blatantly out of touch with recent experiences with Asian products in many areas of technology.  More to the point, was the purchase worthwhile?

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  5. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    Just wiat until you need to have it repadded in about a year. Then lets see what you have to say about it. You get what you pay for. You can't buy a real tenor sax for less than $800 that doesn't need some attention. I'll preach this until I'm blue in the face!!! These saxes are TOYS!!!

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  6. by wesley
    (1 post)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    Are you still happy with the Schill sax? I am thinking about buying one off ebay.

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    1. by flgator49
      (1 post)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      Don't buy a Schill sax, I purchased a Schill alto sax last month and it just can't be tuned. the c-c# sounds the same as do a few other notes. Plus it dos take WD40 to make the keys work smoothly. As the saying goes "you get what you pay for".

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  7. by invocansax
    (27 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    hi guys, im kinda new with this discussion forum thing, but this particular thread caught my attention. I play a yamaha yts- 61 pro tenor, a schill-helmke tenor, and a Bundy alto. so i would just like to say that while chinese made horns are NOT exactly up to par with their western and even taiwanese counterparts, i can attest that they are not that bad,particularly the horns made during the past 4 years, i use my schill tenor for gigs out of town while i use the yts 61 for the studio. while these horns are actually cheap, and i will not deny the FACT that Selmers, Conns, Kings, and Bueschers will always rule, its a decent horn for some of us who are constricted by budget. I believe one of these days the chinese will come up with a super quality horn, if they can build the bomb i guess they can find someone who can make a good sax. In the end of the day, i believe, even with the "Branded" saxes, you have to PLAY it before you buy it. In the end its what works for you that matters. Put it this way when yamaha started making saxes they were lambasted "what does yamaha know bout making saxes?' but look at them now! I use to own a Weltklang tenor, that was a good horn, though i hated the key positioning! But it had a good sound and sturdy. Opinions will always vary, as styles and techniques are different...so are saxes. Get a sax that works for you, and a sax that speaks to you...if its a jupiter that calls for you then let it be...if its a mark 6 let it be....and dont let anyone elses opinion affect you. Remember , what may work for you, might not work for another and vice versa right? Were all here cause we love playing the sax, lets keep it that simple. Anyways enough of the sermon, i was wondering if any of you are familiar with selmers before the balanced action? i have a really old selmer that i dont play anymore, kinda looks like an H. Couf Superba...kip me posted!

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  8. by invocansax
    (27 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    and to ad, yes some of these saxes are toys! thats why i would advise you to play on it before you buy it! i guess im just lucky the schill/helmke tenor i got was pretty good..not the best but good. guess budget constraints will really make you check every aspect of the horn since with thes horns theres the seed of doubt. thank god, the intonation was good, the horn well built, and has a good sound...repadding it was ok. PLAY BEFORE YOU BUY, and MAKE SURE theres a warranty or guarantee. most decent music shops will have one for every instrument you purchase.

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    1. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      Well, I've tried a few of these cheaper horns and they just don't hold up very well at all. The pads are very poor quality, the keys break easily, and the intonation isn't all that good. The mouthpiece and ligature sucks. They are basically a toy in my opinion. Maybe a nice lamp or wall decoration. I pity your band-mates if you're actually playing this thing in a band! If someone in the orchestra I played with brought in a shill sax, he or she would be laughed off the stage!

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      1. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        I've said this before somewhere. A saxophone is a precision musical instrument. A lot of care and craftsmenship goes into the making of a good saxophone. You can't get this kind of craftsmenship from countries like China, Taiwan, or Mexico. Look at the Mexi-Conns for example. I can understand a limited budget. I think most of us have had to settle for what we can afford rather than what we always want. There are many nice used saxophones that can be bought for under $1000. Some may need a little TLC or they may not be pretty, but good playable horns. Unfortunately, you're probably not going to find a good saxophone for less than $500 that doesn't need work. If you do, you're lucky. If you can't afford to spend $500, consider a different less complicated instrument. You can buy a decent guitar for $250, but not a sax.

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        1. by saxismyaxe
          (574 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

          "Unfortunately, you're probably not going to find a good saxophone for less than $500 that doesn't need work. If you do, you're lucky. If you can't afford to spend $500, consider a different less complicated instrument. You can buy a decent guitar for $250, but not a sax." This fact fell under the "Murphy's Law" rule for me years ago. It wasn't untill I had decided to commit to becoming a collector as well as a player, and had already added a few "Crown Jewels" to my collection that the deals of a lifetime started popping up everywhere. It seemed as thought the pickings were slim when I was struggling. Oh the irony!

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        2. by j_gally
          (19 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

          Are moniques good? I am still considering and another one caught me eye. It's a monique, satin silver and gold. Pro series. Im wondering if its a cheap reproduction or cheap one. It says its worth 2200, yet its 400 usd. And there is a satisfaction guarantee if i dont like it i get a refund. It has ribbed construction, bracing and key guards, power forged gold plated keys, its double plated silver, stainless steel rods and screws,adjustable screws and keys,TRI-point balanced bell brace,detachable body, comofrtable key inlays,high qualtiy leather pads with metal resonaters, adjustable thumb rest, and wide bow. MOst of this is gibberish to me. Im wondering if i should buy it instead of the schill.

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      2. by invocansax
        (27 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Well said connsaxman, well said...thats why you wont see me getting rid of my yamaha anytime soon. That is true horns from asia DO NOT have the same craftsmanship as the older horns of the past. at least i can use the shill for the roundabout gigs, and its serves me well. well enough of that...i wanted to ask you since you do collect conns, ive recently acquired a cgconn alto, it looks like the one charlie parker uses, engravings intact, would you know what this was called? whats your opinion of the 20M altos? werent these mexico made? ive recently been told that if i was to buy conn, not to buy the ones made during the 70s and 80s. Im eyeing a chu berry horn..what do you think? i know some older horns had intonation problems also...and since im used to playing on a yamaha tenor, wont the key positioning affect my playing? thanks.

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      3. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Charlie Parker played both a Conn New Wonder Series II (Chi Berry) and a Conn 6M. I think he switched to a 26M Connquerer later, which is basically a 6M with a couple minute upgrades. The New Wonder Series I and Series II horns look similar. The Series I horns were made from 1917-1924. Many improvements were made in 1922, including the microtuner neck on the alto. Other changes were made to the keywork. The New Wonder Series II was introduced in 1925, also known as the Chu Berry. The Chu Berrys and the Buescher True Tones were THEE horns of the time. From 1932-1934, there was a lot of experimentation going on, and just when I think I've seen everything, something strange pop's up. I've seen some early 6M prototypes that are essentially 6M's with the typical octave key on the top neck design and different engravings. Most 6M's had the octave key on the bottow of the neck, and the neck fit over the tenon instead of inside of the tenon. Send me a couple pics and I will take a look. Probably either a Chu Berry or a Series I is what I am guessing. The Conn 20M is a student-intermediate grade sax. They're not a bad horn actually. All of the 14M altos were made in the US. The 18M's were made in Mexico. The 20M's were introduced during the Daniel Henkin era of Conn prior to the UMI buyout. Daniel Henkin moved production back to Elkhart, IN. A lot of people underestimate the quality of the 20M due to the poor reputation of the Conns made from 1970-1981, but the 20M's made from the mid-80's to early 90's are decent. In fact, I often tell people who are looking for an inexpensive sax to consider the Conn 20M's because they are a pretty good value. The Chu Berry is one of my favorites. I especially like the tenors for blues. They have a warm, dark "lusty" sound to them. The thing with any saxophone with rolled tone holes though is that you want to look over the condition of the tone holes really well before buying it. If the tone holes are not absolutely perfect, getting pads to seat properly is going to be a hassel. The Conns are going to have a different feel than your Yamaha. If you have bigger hands, you might actually prefer the Conn. It might take a little getting used to at first, but it's not really that ackward, just a little different. I play mostly tenor, and when I do play alto I usually play a Conn 6M. There is night and day difference between my Conn 6M and my Selmer; sound, key positioning, action, etc. I prefer the Selmer in some cases; especially more mello songs like Lily Was Here or Careless Whisper and stuff like that. For stuff like Mr. Magic, or the Bob Segar stuff I play alto on, I prefer the Conn.

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      4. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        I have really small hands and i havent had any problems with conns. But they do feel different at first.

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      5. by phathorn
        (165 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        jim, you realized you just admitted to playing a George Michael song=)

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      6. by FredCDobbs
        (77 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Jim, do you know anything about the more recent Conn 25M? What do you think of it?

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      7. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Ahhhh yes, Careless Whisper. You know, that song still packs a dance floor. It's a great song even if it is by George Michael. I like the 25M. In fact, I'd say it's the nicest alto I've seen Conn make since the 6M. They have great intonation and a very smooth well balanced action. They sound a lot like a 6M. I played one for a while that belonged to a friend. I liked it so much I was going to buy it from him, but he decided to keep it.

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      8. by invocansax
        (27 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        you know guys careless whisper along with the sax line to baker street?(gerry rafferty), the sax solo to money and us and them by pink floyd and off course glenn freys the one you love, are some of the most memorable lines in the history of pop music! off course im missing some other songs...:)

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      9. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        The One You Love by Glen Frey...another GREAT dance song! We used to get so many requests for that song, and Turn The Page! My God, now there's a song that if I never have to play it again as long as I live would suit me just fine! I wouldn't mind doing The One You Love Again. When people see the sax usually the first thing they ask for is Turn The Page! UGH....No disrespect to Bob....but that song just annoys me. There are currently 3 songs that I REFUSE to play ever again: Boot Scootin' Boogie by Brooks and Dunn....I don't CARE how bad you want to line dance.....I HATE THAT SONG!!! I'm not overly fond of country to begin with. It's boring! Give me something with a few chord changes and a melody line that requires a little more effort. Of course I just play keyboard on this one, not sax. Mony Mony....What the hell is that song about anyway? NOTHING! and it SUCKS!!! And then last but not least, there's everybody's favorite Yakety Sax. What a HORRIBLE sax song! There are so many better songs that showcase my talent, like Pick Up The Pieces, Shotgun, or my up-tempo arrangement of Mustang Sally, Feelin' Alright, Green Onions (If I can ever teach the bass player NOT to keep changing chords so quickly). I'd much rather play something like Tequilia or Night Train than Yakety Crap! I'm going to be adding Turn The Page and a few others to that list though shortly. One sax solo that always sticks out in my mind believe it or not is in Brenda Lee's Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree. Maybe because I've heard it a few times recently, but wow, that guy had a nice sound. I wonder what he was playing. Sure sounds like an old Conn or maybe a King. Anybody know? Well, that's enough ranting from me.

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      10. by phathorn
        (165 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Mustang Sally is one we'll play...IF they throw the band a little extra. We have a few on the song menu like that...Jessie's Girl, Freebird, 867-5309, etc....

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      11. by j_gally
        (19 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Umm What about 24 and 21 and 18 ms?? what is m?

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      12. by tenor562
        (297 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        They're just different makes. I'm not sure what the specific correlation is between quality and number, but assuming that the 10M's were very good, and the 24M's are student horns, that might explain it.

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      13. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

        Here's the break-down of the Conn horns. pre 1895: These are the Worchester models. There were only a few made. They are very rare...almost non-existant. 1895-1917: The Wonder models. Models made between 1906-1916 had the union label stamp. Horns were either silver, gold or nickel plated or bare brass 1912-1917: The New Invention models. Horns were gold, silver or nickel plated, often with elaborate engravings. 1917-1924 The New Wonder models. The micro tuner neck first itroduced on altos in 1922. Rolled tone holes introduced around 1918. Silver plated was most common. Some were gold nickel plated or bare brass 1925-1932 The New Wonder Series II (Chu Berry) More experimentation from 1928-1934 leading to the M series. Different key configurations, the underslung alto necks, resonator pads and experimentation with different finishes began in the late 1920's and early 1930's including early lacquer finishes. 1932-1934: The Transitional years: Conn was changing from the New Wonder series II to the M series. Many unique and experimental combinations were seen. and also elaborate engravings. 1934-1947 The M series with rolled tone holes. Some of these earlier M series horns were silver plated, most of the late ones were laquered brass. The 2M and 4M (curved) sopranos were offered, along with the 6M alto, 10M tenor, 12M baritone and 14M bass (discontinued 1941) Other models offered during this period include the Connqueror 26M alto and 30M tenor 1948-1968 The later Pro M series, Directors models and Connstellation models. Up until late 1968, horns were still made in Elkhart Ind. Horns made after 1947 did not have rolled tone holes. The directors model horns (14M alto, 16M tenor) introduced in 1955 The famous "Naked Lady" engraving disappears in 1959. The 6M and 10M were still manufactured until the closing of the Elkhart factory in 1969. At least to the best of my knowledge, no 6M's or 10M's were made at the Nogales plant or in Mexico. 1969-1980 The MacMillan years. These are the BAD years of Conn. In 1968, Conn aquired the Best manufacturing facility in Nogales, Arizona, and all production was moved to Nogales, closing the Elkhart plants completely by the end of 1970. The Nogales horns were not built by the same legendary craftsmen as those made at the Elkhart facility, and the quality was not nearly as good. The 18M alto was made in Mexico. By 1972, ALL Conn horns were made in Mexico. Conn's reputation suffered tremendously until Daniel Henkin purchased the company from MacMillan in 1980. The Henkin era/UMI: After Daniel Henkin bought Conn in 1980, he did his best to restore the reputation of this once great company. He closed the Mexican facilities and the Nogales facilities and returned Conn to Elkart Indiana. The 20M was introduced. Unfortunately for Daniel Henkin, Conn's reputation under MacMillan was more than he could overcome. Frustrated, He sold the company to UMI in 1992. UMI has kept production in Elkhart, Indiana and has expanded the Elkhart facility to also produce other UMI musical instruments. The 25M was introduced under UMI along with a couple other models.

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    2. by Jollydogg
      (1 post)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      "Unfortunately, you're probably not going to find a good saxophone for less than $500 that doesn't need work. If you do, you're lucky. If you can't afford to spend $500, consider a different less complicated instrument. You can buy a decent guitar for $250, but not a sax." Wow, I'm glad my parents weren't like that when I wanted to learn the sax.... It's comments like that, my friend, that make me frown.

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    3. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

      Hey, like it or not, it's the truth. You can't buy a quality saxophone for under $500. Rather than buy a piece of junk for $300 that you're going to eventually get discusted with because it doesn't play right and no technition wants to repair it, buy a cheaper instrument! There are rental programs and financing to try to make saxophones and other instruments affordable, but a saxophone is a precision instrument and they are expensive! Face the facts, my friend!

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  9. by albatross
    (1 post)

    8 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    A sax is definetly a precision instrument and to a point you do get what you pay for (pay extra if you want it extra pretty....) Now for those $250 guitars.....you can get a strummer for that but not a good one...they too are precision handmade instruments.....

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  10. by oldbluesman
    (2 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    If I remember right back in the 60's the same thing was said about a sax call Yamaha that if it were not made in the USA or Europe the sax was a piece of junk. Over the years those pieces of junk refined their processes to produce a fine quality sax. Now about these Chinese sax's some of the top named sax are being produced there under a name brand. And Tiawanese sax are pretty good as far as sax quality goes. I've owned one for years. And I also bought one of those Chinese cheapies (ie., a Selman) and I must say that its a pretty good sax for the money. I had it for 1.5 years and had no problems. When I first got it I had a tech reluctantly service it. It plays in tune and to date nothing has fallen off of it. Its heavy brass as the first poster stated and getting pads for it would be no problem if I desired. But at that price rather repad I'll just buy another sax.

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  11. by Charles652011
    (2 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: I just bought a Schill/Helmke Tenor Sax

    oldbluesman, if you're still out there, you will have had your Selman sax for 7 and a half years by now.  So, can you tell us whether the dire predictions of poor serviceability of the Selman after a few years have come true in your experience?

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