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2. Buy a Decent Instrument

Discussion in 'General Information' started by pete, Aug 24, 2009.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    (I had to change this, significantly, from my website, because I'm really a saxophone and clarinet guy.)

    Get a decent horn. OK, what kind? The answer is, as long as it's decent, it doesn't matter much. Here's some details:

    The "standard" percentage breakdown is that the horn contributes to approximately 5% of your sound and your mouthpiece/neck/whatever setup contributes another 5%. The rest is YOU. If you're a professional, you can worry about that 10%, because you've already got the other 90% taken care of. If you're a beginner, you need to concentrate on the 90%.

    The absolute best bet on a horn is to tell the instructor to get you one or get whatever he recommends. In some of the other threads about specific instruments, we'll recommend some instruments, but the instructor should be your first stop. And if he doesn't know or care, you need a better instructor.

    The point: if you have a decent instrument that's in good repair, any problems you're having -- ANY problems -- with how you're playing is caused by your technique. It is not caused by the horn. You will not sound appreciably better on a $7000 Inderbinen sax (for instance) than you will on a $1200 YAS-23 sax. Seriously.


    Other info:

    * Don't buy a "vintage" instrument of any make/model, even if it was a professional horn or whatever. *

    Here's the reasoning: while you might be able to buy a really nice professional horn that's in 100% perfect shape, chances are better that you'll buy a shiny student model from 1970 that needs a complete overhaul. Or the wrong pitch. Or is missing modern keywork. Or has some other problem. I base this on thousands of e-mails I received when I ran saxpics.com -- and I only concentrated on the saxophone, there.

    Additionally, don't buy into the hype: "vintage" instruments aren't necessarily made better, have thicker brass, or whatever. Some "vintage" instruments are just old (I think I've mentioned something like, "A 1934 Cord is vintage. A 1972 Pinto is old").

    Again, there's a better chance that you'll get junk than get a gem.

    All this being said, you can sometimes get used student/intermediate/pro horns for cheap from a dealer. As long as the horn has been completely overhauled and has a warranty. And is a recognized brand. We'll talk more, later.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2009
  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

    All this being said, there are SOME places that sell some used recent student instruments in good shape and sometimes with warranty.

    Look in the separate forums for SPECIFIC INFO on what kind of makes/models to buy. I've been extremely happy with Yamaha, in general, and I think it's very difficult to go wrong on a Yamaha horn, especially if it's got a warranty.



    Kewl website. Better prices. A Yamaha YCL20 plastic clarinet is $244. Gemeinhardt 2SP flutes are $199. And they're overhauled and warrantied. Heck, I think that's cheaper than even renting for a school year.


    You can also try, for saxophones, clarinets and flutes, www.junkdude.com. However, note that if it doesn't say "overhauled", it isn't. However, Dave's good people and if you give him a yell, he'll direct you to a good, inexpensive horn.


    For the odd saxophone, you can try www.worldwidesax.com. Sarge generally has a few student-model saxophones in stock and will overhaul and sell them. Just drop him a line to ask what he's got.
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator


    Oddly, they don't make the warranty/"rebuild" claim on their oboes or flutes. I don't know if this is an oversight or if they just don't warranty those instruments.

    In any event, their horns are generally, but not always, vintage professional instruments. You may have to call to see if they have anything student-model in stock.
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator


    Decent prices, but I don't know if they ship outside Australia and you might have to be in-store to buy used.
  5. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

    Just saw this video of the Ridenour Lyrique [FONT=arial, sans-serif]clarinet. I might consider this instrument for a new student. It is not expensive either.[/FONT]

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

    A careful read of the section reveals that they are not just talking about bassoons, but rather all woodwind instruments. They just decided to save a pile of words by putting the "(and other winds)" at the start of a section headed by "All bassoons..."

    So, I feel that they also do the same or similar work on oboes.
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