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I want to buy a tenor saxophone.

The thing is that I used to play a bit on a very old (& nasty) one and now I want to make an upgrade.
I was thinking of buying it from the thoman superstore (btw, I live in europe, so that's like my single option).

I'm not a professional (actually kind of a newbie at sax), I just want to play for myself and with my friends, so I don't really want to make a big investment. My desired price would be somewhere below 700€.
Ok, now for the actual question(s) :

  • Should I trust smaller brands like "thomann" or "startone"?
  • Are there any good tips for buying a tenor sax?
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The reputable manufacturers for beginner/intermediate saxophones are companies like Selmer, Yamaha, Jupiter. "Thomann" or "Startone" that you mention are likely to be made-in-China garbage that most music stores will not be able to repair for you if something goes wrong. If Thomann themselves have a repair shop and they'll support your purchase, that would change my mind, but otherwise, find the shop that will be supporting your instrument, and ask them what their beginner/intermediate saxophone is. – NReilingh Sep 26 '12 at 13:46
thank you for the guidance. I don't think that the store offers a repair service. – gion_13 Sep 26 '12 at 14:29
In my opinion, "made in China" doesn't always mean "garbage" these days. There are some brands of Chinese-made instruments, such as Bauhaus Waldstein, that are of excellent quality for student- or intermediate-level instruments. Of course, there is also still garbage out there, so try before you buy and look for reviews from other players; but don't dismiss a horn out of hand simply because it was made in the PRC. – Dalbergia May 12 at 20:20
up vote 5 down vote accepted

I picked up an excellent second hand one for £200, so I would suggest looking in pawn shops and second hand shops as well as new.

Things to look for in a 2nd hand one:

  • all the keys work smoothly
  • each note is in tune
  • no dents or dings
  • consistent tone across the full range

That's about it really - I tried 3 different tenor saxophones, which were all fine, before settling on the one I picked up. My decision was on quality of finish - I got the one that looked newest.

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