Saxophone Forum


by jwfrie2
(3 posts)
8 years ago

Woe is me!

I admit it.... I purchased a cheap soprano and now I have issues. Basically the overall intonation of the horn is way off. relativly speaking. I have an alto I play regularly, but my new soprano is much more difficult to keep in tune. If I want to play a high d I must finger a high e. This leads me to believe that - My embrochure needs work (but I have no problems with my alto) I should invest in a quality soprano mouthpeice, the one that came with the horn is questionable. I should have the horn completly overhauled because it was never setup correctly in the first place, or I may learn that the horn is just a piece of crap. OK so my question is, could the horn be of such low quality that even if I purchase a new mouthpeice and work agressivly on my embrochure, that is can never be repaired?

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  1. by definition
    (963 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Woe is me!

    we need to know what kind of soprano it is before we can help you really

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    1. by Dave Dix
      (421 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Woe is me!

      You may be able to play in tune better with a good mpc but some of the cheaply made chinese horns are just bad period and theres not a lot to be done with them even some tech's will not touch them. Dave

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  2. by jwfrie2
    (3 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Woe is me!

    Right, The instrument was purchased from WWBW.com and is a 'BandNow' (www.wwbw.com/BandNow-Soprano-Saxophone-i272393.music

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    1. by kneejerk52
      (397 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Woe is me!

      well ill tell ya, i tried to talk a friend out of buying a cheap horn and im afraid he will have the same problem, he bought a , "Barrington?" anybody know if they are ok. when it comes ill test it for him and let you know.

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      1. by kneejerk52
        (397 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Woe is me!

        test played the "barrington soprano", kind of dead in the low register. much harder to produce any sound compared to the winston 350gl i have. some of the construction makeup seems to be a little weird but it just seemed to be hard to play and sounded a little dead. is this normal for the cheap horns.

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        1. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          I believe just about anything can be normal for cheap horns. The lack of consitency is the only consitent thing about them.

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        2. by kneejerk52
          (397 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          i felt bad but had to be honest for the guy, but the horn just seemed it would make it harder than it had to be in order to learn. it's hard enough to play any soprano in tune let alone one thats hard to produce sound to begin with. i hope they stand by their return policy, he said they have a 45 day return policy. the olny defect i could find was it looked like there was a small amount of corrosion near the rivet on the g# pad, don't know what this was or how it could affect anything.

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      2. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Woe is me!

        I wouldn't waste more money on an overhaul. An overhaul would cost more than the horn is worth, and it probably STILL wouldn't play right. They don't hold adjustments very well at all. If you haven't had it too long, I would see if wwbw would let you exchange it towards a better horn. Otherwise, try a low reserve ebay auction and take what you can get. I try to warn people! I would think that there are enough negative posts about these horns on this site to scare people away from them, but apparently not. Every time I log onto this site there's a new post; somebody is asking about a $250 saxophone and if it's any good! If it were any good, it wouldn't be $250! People think that because they can buy a cheap guitar that plays relatively decent for a couple hundred bucks that they should be able to buy a saxophone for the same money. But, a saxophone is a precision instrument. What pisses me off even more is that people often buy these horns to REPLACE good vintage horns that just "aren't shiney enough" Then when the piece of shit starts falling apart, plays out of tune, and their band director says their kid's not doing so well in band because of the horn, they BLAME THE KID! And, of course, if their kid had any interest whatsoever in learning how to play the sax, after experiencing one of these horns he won't! But some people must think I work for the saxophone companies or something, and I get a commission for each saxophone sold over $800! Really, people, I'm just trying to save you money in the long run, and help you to invest in an instrument that your child will enjoy! Something that will carry him or her through high school and college. I know that often finances are tight! You're talking to a guy who has been laid off TWICE in the past year and a half! Damn, I wish I DID get a commission from each saxophone I sold!

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        1. by Tbone
          (120 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          Well said Jim! Well said.

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        2. by kneejerk52
          (397 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          yea and it would be different if the people buying the crap could play. but most times i beleive they can't. this makes a bad horn sound even worse. i told my friend to read the post here and he would see, but still went and bought the cheapie. oh well.

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        3. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          Well, to those people who are tempted by these cheap horns, here is something to consider, You don't want to spend a lot of money on a horn. Maybe you have doubts as to rather your child will stick with it. You work hard for your money and times are tough. I can appreciate that. But lets be optimistic for a second. Let's say that your child starts out on alto sax. You squeeze together enough money to rent a decent student model horn through the school or a local music store. Your son or daughter really enjoys playing and decides that they want to take private lessons, and become more envolved with band and wind ensemble. Two years into high school, your child is selected to attend a saxophone workshop at Interlocken, studying under Sinta, or perhaps one of the great jazz festivals. By the end of high school, your child has earned a music scholarship to study at a prestigious college or universary. Now, lets say you rent the same horn. Your child plays it for a few months, gets bored with it, and decides that the saxophone just isn't for him. Return the instrument to the school or music store and be done with it! Perhaps you have accumilated a total of $480 in rental fees. That's about equal to 8 Playstation or X Box games! How many videa games has your child wanted, played a few times, and now they're sitting in the bottom of a drawer somewhere covered in dust! At least for the months that you rented the saxophone, your child was learning a musical instrument and hopefully getting some entertainment out of it. Similar to the situation above, only lets say you purchased a nice used instrument that was in good playing condition. Your child decides to play sports rather than play in band, You can either put an ad in the newspaper or on ebay, or sell the saxophone to a music store who purchases and re-sells used instruments. As long as the horn still plays and is in the same condition, you can get back every dime you paid for it and sometimes even more! But, now lets say that you disregard everything that has been said in this post and several others on this site. You think only of your pocket-book and you spend less than $300 on a new Schill horn from ebay (or a Band Now, Maxtone, Monique, or one of the other cheap brands) Your child attempts to play the horn but it sounds out of tune and it squeaks. The intonation is off, and the squeaking is because the horn needs adjusting. After calling a couple music stores, you are lucky enough to find a store that tells you to bring the horn in and they will take a look at it. The other stores told you flat out that they do not repair that brand! The repair tech tries to adjust the horn so that it is playable. The band director also notes the poor quality of the mouthpiece and suggests buying a better mouthpiece. You spend $150 for a new mouthpiece! That's outrageous, you think! Half the price of the horn! The teacher tries to work with your child/, but the intonation is poor on this cheap horn and it sounds out of tune. After a few months, your child loses interest and decides to play another instrument or sports. But, perhaps your child REALLY wanted to play sax? Suppose they had dreamed of earning a music degree, or playing in a famous jazz band? What may have been a wonderful opportunity for your child is lost due to frustration. Your child decides to quite playing saxophone altogether. You've spent $300 on a cheap sax, $150 on a better mouthpiece. $100 on adjustments and repairs, $50 on reeds; hoping that maybe part of the problem with squeaking and poor intonation was due to the type of reeds. All-together, this horn costs you over $600. You decide to sell it, but nobody seems interested. You list the horn on ebay and it sells for a little more than $100, if that. Now, which is the better deal? The first option of renting can get expensive in the long run. It's a good idea for a student who can't decide what instrument they want to play, or if the parents have any doubts about they staying with it. My recommendation though is that after a successful year of band, you will probably want to make arrangements to buy an instrument rather than rent. If you buy a vintage or used instrument at the right price, you can often sell it at a profit. As I hope you can see, in the long run the cheap horn ends up costing you money, Most are not approved for band use. In other words, they are so bad that band directors may not allow them! When you consider the cost of repairs and upgrades, and the missed opportunities, how can you afford NOT to invest a little money into a horn that will provide your child with years of enjoyment, the opportunity to earn a scholarship, or fulfil their dreams of someday playing professionally. Make the investment!

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        4. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          Jim, You neglected to mention that some music stores that rent horns to students will apply part (or all) of the rental fees toward the purchase of the horn you've been renting.

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        5. by jwfrie2
          (3 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Woe is me!

          Thanks for all for your responses.... I will work on it and see if I can sound good on a bad horn. Someone did mention that sopranos are difficult to play in tune, so is it possible that my enbrochure is just not in shape? (Maybe a discussion for another forum) I will try a different mouthpiece and see what that does. I have been playing sax for over 20 years, but I have very little experience on sopranos. I marched Bari in the Marine Corps and played tenor and alto in between. But I have never played soprano until I bought this one. I was extremly weary of the sorprano, but at $250 it did seem attractive. Oh well, at worst it will make a cool lamp lamp!!!! Thank again...

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