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2. Buy a Decent Instrument

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#1
(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.

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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.
 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#2
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.

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http://www.musicremasters.com

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.

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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.

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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.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#3
http://www.wichitaband.com/used.html#Clarinets

We often have a good selection of rebuilt clarinets in our warehouse. We’re particular about what we acquire and usually turn down instruments with excessive key wear or wood damage. Older clarinets often have better quality wood than new instruments, however. That means a rebuilt instrument that we’ve rebuilt can often be “better than new”.

Here’s what we do to all the used clarinets we sell:

The instrument is taken apart and everything washed clean. We don't believe in chemical dips, but do use plenty of soap and water! All wood parts are inspected for checks and damage, polished and then soaked in oil for three days. After the body-shop work’s been completed, we swedge hinge-tubes tight again and re-fit to the clarinet body. Finally, pads and corks are replaced and the instrument play-tested. Most customers tell us that our clarinets are then actually “mechanically better than new”.
Wichita Band’s service warranty is the same as it’s been for more than thirty years:

“ALL new and all used instruments sold by Wichita Band Instrument Company come with our 24 month service warranty. It’s in addition to any factory guarantees. For two full years, we will repair or replace (whichever in our estimation is the more advisable), pads, corks, springs or other parts required, at no charge to the customer. In the event of cracked or damaged wood sections, we will repair at no cost to the customer or replace the section and charge the customer only for our net costs for the replacement section. Often, wood replacement parts are supplied from the manufacturer at no charge. The customer is responsible for shipping and insurance charges. Cases and plating finishes are not covered by our service warranty but are sometimes covered by factory guarantees.”

Wichita Band Instrument Company maintains a repair department capable of restoration work of the highest quality. Even though repairs are essentially “free” for the first two years, after that period has expired, we remain at your service to maintain and repair your musical equipment forever. It’s our “service after the sale” promise and has been since 1953!

All saxes sold by Wichita Band Instrument Company have been taken apart, cleaned, dents and dings burnished out, keywork swedged tight and all pads & corks replaced. Whether it's a new, used or vintage instrument, our 24 month service warranty is included in the price! If you buy it from us, there's no need to spend an extra $600 to have it refurbished, 'cause a used sax from us is as good or better than a new one!

ALL BASSOONS (and other winds) sold by Wichita Band Instrument Company (new or used) come with our 24 month service warranty. We always, always replace all pads & corks and mechanically rebuild the instrument to "like new" specs. Bassoons are expensive and used instruments often represent good value. Why buy a new one?
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.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#4
http://www.brassnwoodwind.com.au/Used.asp

Used Instruments are serviced or where required totally overhauled prior to sale with a 3 month service warranty (unless otherwise stated).

We offer a 7 day satisfaction guarantee, fully refundable if not delighted with your purchase.
Decent prices, but I don't know if they ship outside Australia and you might have to be in-store to buy used.
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#6
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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