List of Decent Tenor Saxophones Under $1K on eBay

Discussion in 'Saxophones' started by pete, Jul 30, 2016.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    To go along with my list of (Weekly) Yamaha altos.

    Caveats:
    First, the same as on the alto thread.
    Second, repairs on tenors are more expensive. I'm going to say to budget $500 US, but I'm going to look at horns that don't look like they need that much work.
    Third, set the bar lower. I'm going to look at folks' ads that are triple-digit feedback unless it's a really good deal.
    Fourth, I'll only update when I have time. ATM, I've taken some (prescription) drugs and I don't trust myself to do what I'm supposed to do, which is pay some bills.
    Fifth, to highlight, these are Buy-it-Now prices. You might be able to win an auction for a cheaper price. I've gotten a bit tired of bidding on auctions I don't win :).

    Finally, most teachers/music programs don't start students on anything but alto and may require a specific make/model. Make sure you check with the person you're getting lessons from and/or the band leader of whatever band the student is playing in.
     
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  2. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    To start, here are probably the best horns I'd recommend that are $501 to $1000:

    Yamaha YTS-52. $999. This is the tenor version of the horn I played for years, including college and professionally. It's considered an "intermediate" horn, but it's really, really good. This and the below Yani T-500 are also the newest horns on this list, both from either the mid-1980s to early 1990s. Altissimo F# key.
    Conn 10M. $899. This was Conn's pro tenor sax, back in 1965 and was still made in the US. Some people swear by them and others swear at them.
    Yanagisawa T-500. $869. Yanagisawa's older "student" horn that played and sounded better than a lot of companies' intermediate horns, as it's a slightly scaled down version of their older 6 Series pro horns. Discontinued around 1992. Altissimo F# key.
    Buescher 400. $629. You might want to take a chance on this one. It still has some of the design (underslung octave key) and features of the old professional Buescher 400s, but it was no longer marketed as such in the 1970s.

    Best tenors under $500:
    Yamaha YTS-21. Yamaha's original student horn. Acceptable condition, but the $450 one is much better.
    Yamaha YTS-21: $450. Quite nice shape, especially for the price.

    Cheapest decent horns I'd be willing to tell someone to buy:
    Bundy. $450. This horn was released after Selmer USA purchased Buescher and represented a shift to making a student line. These horns still play a lot like an older Buescher Aristocrat and this horn's in very nice shape. If those YTS-21s aren't available, this one is probably the next nicest.
    Bundy II. $325. Selmer USA's student horn that was around for years. While a lot of folks will say that the tone is "meh," at best, you can abuse the horn and it'll still play in tune. That's what it was designed for. Get yourself a decent mouthpiece and you've got a very serviceable horn. Hey, my first alto was a Bundy II.

    There are also a few older Bundy horns and some Aristocrats that were made post the Selmer purchase of Buescher (the original Bundys date way back into the 1920s), but only have a minor amount of look and feel of the older pro Aristocrats and 400s. These are arguably better than the $325 horn I list above, but are (obviously) more expensive.
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Looks like all student horns, this time around. Some of the horns from my earlier post are still available, too.

    First, you'll see that I mention that a couple of these horns are STENCILS. A stencil is a horn produced by one company for another company that would literally take a stencil and engrave (or stamp) their own name on the horn. In a general sense, there's generally at least one difference between the stencil -- besides the name -- and the horn it was stenciled from. In this case, the lacquer on the Vito stencils is usually darker than that on the Yamahas.

    EDIT: I should also mention, before I'm taken out of context: Vito saxophones were produced by a bunch of companies. The horns I list below are definitely Yamahas. The horns produced by other companies are not necessarily as good as the Yamaha-produced ones.

    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 stencil). $499.99. Nice shape. This is probably the best buy of the bunch.
    Yamaha YTS-23. $749.
    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 stencil). $799.99. Really nice shape.
    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 stencil). $800.
    Yamaha YTS-23. $899. Their definition of "100% intact" is inaccurate, but it's in good shape.

    I saw a couple other decent-ish horns under $1000, but I feel that they weren't in that good condition for their prices.
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 Stencil). Student model. $800. "Checked over by a repair technician." Nice cosmetic shape. Looks like new-ish pads.
    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 stencil). $799. Student model. Extremely nice cosmetic condition.
    Yamaha YTS-23. Student model. $749.
    Yamaha YTS-23. Student model. $749. Needs a bit more work than the above one.
    Yamaha YTS-200 AD. $699. Student model from the education market, but otherwise the same as the YTS-23. Nice cosmetic condition.
    Yanagisawa T-4. $697. From 1974. Yani's entry-level pro horn at that time.
    Yamaha YTS-23. Student model. $599. Poor cosmetic shape, but the seller's got a lot of good feedback, so I'd call that a wash. Rolling case.
    Vito (Yamaha YTS-23 stencil). $499. Student model. Nice cosmetic condition.

    My top pics are in red (Yani T-4 for $697; Vito for $499). Both of those check out to be very good prices, even if you figure in regular auctions.
     
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    A lot of interesting tenors, this week:

    Buescher 400: $345.
    "Intermediate." I think this was the last model before the 400 and Aristocrat lines kinda "merged" and morphed into the Bundy II in the late 1970s. Still has the underslung neck.
    Buescher Aristocrat: $300. "Intermediate." Pretty nice cosmetic condition. It's essentially the brother of the above horn. Neck's got some significant dents, so it'll need work before it's playable. I recommend the above horn over this, but the price is great.
    Yamaha YTS-23: $650.99. Student. I'd call the cosmetic condition a solid 7/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23: $699.95. Student. 14 day money-back. "Recently serviced." Cosmetic condition is about a 7.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23: $950. Student. A bit pricey. 8/10 condition. Selmer C* mouthpiece, though.
    Yamaha YTS-52: $999. Advanced intermediate. As mentioned, this is the tenor version of the horn I bought and played through college and some of my pro life. Really, really good horn. Cosmetic condition is about a 7.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-34II: $999. Intermediate. Very, very nice condition. I'll give it a 9/10. I only mention this because I like the condition and the price isn't terrible. The user has only 40 feedback, though.
    Vito (YTS-23 stencil): $650. Student. "Just serviced." Cosmetic condition is about a 7/10.
    Buescher 400: $599. "Intermediate." Slightly older than the above Bueschers. Needs some dent work on bow and bell. Cosmetic condition is about a 6.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23: $599.99. Student. "Fully serviced." "No further investment needed by the buyer." Pads do look good. Cosmetic condition is about a 7.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-200AD: $699.99. Student. The Yamaha YTS-23 rebranded for the education market. Very nice shape. I'll give it a 9/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23: $599.99. Student. "Fully serviced." "No further investment needed by the buyer." Pads do look good. Cosmetic condition is about a 7.5/10.
    Vito (YTS-23 stencil): $749. Student. Arguably the best looking horn on this list. Cosmetic condition is about a 9.5/10.
    Vito (YTS-23 stencil): $800. Student. Cosmetic condition is about a 9/10. Rico Royal mouthpiece.

    I actually didn't include about a dozen horns that were under $1000 because the above ones are in better shape and are much cheaper. My favorites are in red.

    Doing a quick check of closed eBay ads of horns in about the same condition as the above ones, the YTS-52 sells in a range of about $665 to $1300-ish. The YTS-23, 200, and Vito stencil range from about $500 to $1100-ish, so I think the picks I've made are decent.
     
  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    If I had the time, I'd look through all the non-buy-it-now horns and make some picks. There are some very good deals out there. I do like the ones on my list, but you can do better in an auction. If you come across an auction horn and want my opinion on it, go ahead and post here. I generally check the forum at least once a day.
     
  7. davhamm

    davhamm

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    What kind of offer, would be a good deal? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Bue...052452?hash=item1c6d8d2b24:g:QbsAAOSwARZXk7nm
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I'm sorry I missed this earlier. I did respond to your PM, but I'll also respond here:

    This horn was produced slightly after Buescher was purchased by Selmer USA. That probably means that it retains a lot of the characteristics of older Aristocrats. That's good and also should mean pretty decent tone and intonation. However, I would want to see more of the horn -- I don't think the seller is trying to hide anything. I think he just doesn't know what pics to show. I do think the pads I can see look pretty worn out, too, so you need to factor that in. I'd also like to see the make/model of the mouthpiece.
     
  9. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Buescher Aristocrat: "Student." $300. Neck needs dent work, otherwise about a 7/10.
    Yamaha YTS-200AD: Student. $649.99. This is a YTS-23 model sold through the education channel. Nice shape. 8.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23: Student. $699.99. Roughly the same condition as the above horn.

    I think that's about it. There are a few other Yamaha tenors on eBay, but their prices are a tad too high.

    I considered mentioning this horn last week, so I'll mention it this week:

    1971 King Zephyr: Introductory Professional. $800. Overhauled + Peter Ponzol "Silver Line" mouthpiece ($85, new). I didn't mention this horn last week because this is a thread about good horns for beginners and this horn's definitely not that. I think it'd be a little harder for beginners to play. However, that's a very good price, complete beginners generally don't start out on tenor, and this was an introductory pro horn at the time. Read more about the King Zephyr on my old website.
     
  10. davhamm

    davhamm

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  11. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't think there's a direct comparison you could make because they're very different instruments. In 1971, Yamaha didn't have an "intro pro" horn, just a pro horn: the 61 series. Yamaha's current "intro pro" horn would be the 62, as they now have the Custom Pro models. The 575 is their most advanced intermediate model. However, Yamaha kinda does what Yanagisawa does on their pro line: there's a base configuration and adding things to that config = a different model. Different necks, different brass composition, one or two piece bell, etc.

    In any case, nobody bought the Zephyr. Again, it wasn't a bad price.
     
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I'll mention this as the best tenor for the price, then get back to compiling a list: Yamaha YTS-52 (intermediate). $799. Cosmetically, about 6.5 out of 10. It's missing a key lever for the front altissimo F, which, IIRC, is all of $40 -- if you want to replace it. You don't have to.
     
  13. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Yamaha YTS-200AD. $830. Student. 8.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-23. $699. Student. 6.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-21. $599. Student. 6.5/10.
    Yamaha YTS-22. $430. Student. 5/10.
    Lamonte Superior. $445. Intermediate-ish. 7.5/10. This is a Holland-made horn with a body by Keilwerth. The seller finally dropped the price on this enough to make it an interesting pick. It's in really decent shape, too.

    I mentioned that $800 YTS-52 in my last post. The same seller has another YTS-52 that allegedly doesn't need anything for $1354 (after shipping). That's toward the top of YTS-52 trending prices, but it's within the range.
     
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    $999 - 1960 Conn 10M - Professional - Cosmetic: 7/10. I'm including this primarily because, "Oooh. Pro horn under $1K." These aren't even the best 10Ms produced, but they're not the worst. The price is also decent.
    $800 - Vito (Yamaha 23 stencil) - Student - Cosmetic: 7/10. w/Rico Royal mouthpiece. Pads pictured look decent.
    $799 - Yamaha YTS-52 - Intermediate - Cosmetic: 6.5/10. It's missing a key lever for the front altissimo F, which, IIRC, is all of $40 -- if you want to replace it. You don't have to.
    $749 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student - Cosmetic: 7/10.
    $675 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student - 6.5/10. The only thing that concerns me on this is that the neck looks like it's a replacement. Just ask for a pic of the neck. If it's got the Yamaha logo, all good. If not, negotiate $150 or so lower and buy a neck from Yamaha.
    $699 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student - 6/10. Allegedly works as-is. Looks like it needs new pads and some TLC from a tech.
    $599 - Vito (Yamaha 23 stencil) - Student - 7/10. This user has less feedback than from the other folks I generally list, but that's a really good price.

    As always, horns from previous posts may still be available. That Lamonte from a couple weeks ago has a lower price now, too. I think that could be a really decent horn for someone.
     
  15. JfW

    JfW

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    My pick of your latest list would have been that YTS-52. I believe you might be right about the price of that missing piece. IIRC, it's a standard component of yamaha saxophones and should be easy to get, I would think. There's not a bad horn there, but my next preference would invariably be the Conn.
     
  16. JfW

    JfW

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    $475 - Jupiter 687 - I understand these are fairly decent instruments and a lot of band programs have had these. That is not a bad price, however: There is no telling what sort of mechanical condition this thing is in. I gotta laugh out of their "non professional" player trying to show that it "works"

    This is the type of ad I would not buy from. The sellers deal in a wide variety of things likely acquired by storage locker auctions or through purchasing dilapidated lots of forfeited stuff. They obviously don't know what they are doing and spend more time taking pics of the trivial accessories than investigating the condition of the instrument. By the time you put much work into it, you're up into decent Yamaha territory, price wise, and it's simply far too much money for what could be a low caliber project horn
     
  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I remember looking up some other 52 parts at one point and saw that the only really expensive parts were the neck, body, bow, and bell. I think I'm fairly close on the price.

    I have very little experience with Jupiters, thus I can't really recommend them.
    I can tell, from a brief search on eBay, that there's a JTS and STS model. I don't know what the differences are and both are labeled "Made in Taiwan." Jupiter no longer sells either.

    Looking at sold 687s, $475 isn't bad. About middle of the road: high $560, low $389.
     
  18. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I do occasionally expand my search numbers to see what's slightly higher than $1000. SamAsh has an "as new" Yamaha YTS-26 with a one year warranty for $1197.77 + $77.86 shipping. If it's in perfect shape, that's definitely not a bad deal. There's another SamAsh ad for a YTS-23 for $1199.99 + $40 shipping, too. altomusic has a YTS-200AD II for $1199. + free shipping. I'd want more pictures and/or a guarantee, but it certainly looks nice.

    ===========

    $999 - 1960 Conn 10M Professional.
    Easily 7/10. Can't really see the pads in the pics, but it's quite a nice looking horn. Again, I list this primarily because of, "Pro horn under $1000," rather than, "I think these are good horns for a beginner."
    $800 - Vito (Yamaha 23 stencil) - Student - 7/10. w/Rico Royal mouthpiece. Pads pictured look decent.
    $798 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student. 6/10.
    $749 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student. 6.5/10.
    $699 - Yamaha YTS-23 - Student. 5/10. This has been listed before. Will definitely need all new pads.
    $649 - Vito (Yamaha 23 stencil) - Student. 7/10.
    $350 - Vito (Yamaha 23 stencil) - Student. 6/10. Very good price.
     
  19. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I wanted to take a look to see if there were any Yamaha or Yanagisawa intermediate/introductory pro tenors around $1000 listed as "buy-it-now." Here's a list:

    $1200 YTS-475. Advanced intermediate. 8.5/10. Low seller feedback, tho.
    $1134 YTS-61. Pro. 7/10 and it looks like some of the mother-of-pearl keywork has been replaced.
    $890 YTS-300. Intermediate. 9/10, but the neck looks like a replacement. That's only a couple hundred $, tho.
    $880 YTS-300. Intermediate. 8.5/10.
    $846 1956 Yanagisawa T3. Pro. 6/10. Needs quite a bit of work, but it's a Yani under $1000 :D.
    $725 YTS-32. Intermediate. 6.5/10. Needs a repad.

    I don't think I've mentioned it in this thread, but Yamaha serial numbers don't really correspond to anything. The exception is with some of the Vito stencils.

    From the "really good horn" perspective, I like the YTS-61. The best balance between price and condition has got to be those YTS-300s.
     
  20. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    First, I again highlight that this is not a real Yanagisawa.
    This isn't one either.
    This isn't a Selmer Mark VI.
    And this isn't a Selmer Reference 54.

    I'm now going to make a general statement. It's not always going to apply, just like any rule-of-thumb: don't buy a saxophone from a seller where the ad says, "From China," as pictured. See the highlighted area:

    2016-11-13_1106.png


    Public Service Announcement: also note that if you're just searching "tenor sax" that you might find a bunch of records from a guy named "Matsuura Yasunobu" and/or "Teruo Yoda." The album covers are NSFW. Unless they happen to allow nudes where you work, that is.

    We now return you to your post in progress.

    ===========

    Yamaha YTS-300.
    $880. 9/10. Intermediate. Pads look a bit dry, tho. Shipping's high ($120).
    Yamaha YTS-22. $730. 7/10. Student. Shipping's high ($120). Also looks like it needs new pads.
    Yamaha YTS-23. $798. 5/10. Student. Free shipping.
    Yamaha YTS-23. $749. 6.5/10. Student.
    Yamaha YTS-21. $499. 5/10. Student.
    Nikkan (that's Yamaha's original name) YTS-31. Intermediate. $369; $469 with shipping. 4.5/10. It's not a terrible price, provided you want to do a complete overhaul, including getting the lacquer stripped. You can always try making the seller an offer.

    ==========

    And not on eBay, but at a dealer:

    Selmer USA Omega TS-100. $999. 7.5/10. Entry pro. Intermediate.

    Provided this horn has a serial number that starts with an 8, such as "822123," which is the approximate serial number on my wife's horn, then this horn's a Selmer Omega.
    It's essentially a combination of the Selmer Super 80, Mark VI, and Mark VII, but made by Selmer USA -- and they're glorious horns. Best one on this page. They were over $4000 (adjusted for inflation), new. If the serial number doesn't start with an 8, it's still a good horn, but I'm a little wary about calling it an Omega.

    EDIT: I checked. We actually had a thread here a few years ago.
    The Omega alto was a model 162 and the tenor was a model 164. The TS-100 is a later model. Not a bad horn, but not up to the same level as the earlier Omega. So close ...


     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2016

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