This is a cheap saxophone and I’m going to make a bit of a PSA out of it. The build quality isn’t great, it’s not fun to work on and it will likely be in a shop again some time soon. This kind of work is hard to guarantee and ends up equalling the value of a higher quality instrument in the long term in a couple of ways:
- The saxophone returns to the shop so often that the repair bills rival the initial cost of a used student Yamaha. Some repair people won’t even accept the work because it seemingly reflects poorly on them since these instruments just keep coming back, as if the job wasn’t done right the first time.
- The student learning on the instrument gets so discouraged by not making any gains in practice and play that they stop playing altogether. Of course some students find that they don’t care to pursue music in a long term way, even if they have good instruments available; but in the case of these cheap eBay horns, you are more likely to turn students that would otherwise pursue music.
- An aside to this point is that you are now left trying to sell this horn to a nearly non-existent local market for less than you paid, as opposed to a used Yamaha sax which will often return the same value you put into it.
‘Chinese’ isn’t necessarily the variable to worry about, I don’t have a lot of experience with this but I am learning that Chinese instrument productions are actually making huge improvements in some ways. The variable is the price, as in “you get what you pay for”, often you find the cheapest of these instruments coming from China but your first clues are:
- This horn is sold exclusively on eBay/Amazon and certain pawn shops
- The price is 200$ or less
- It is in some gaudy colour like purple, blue, green, pink… that respectable makers don’t seem to use. (Black is a wild card here)
- They seem to throw every gadget in with your instrument (a tuner, reeds, mouthpiece, multiple necks, it has a high F#, flashy looking)
Cheap eBay Mouthpieces
I also want to tack on a warning about extremely cheap metal mouthpieces that come from Chinese eBay stores. There is some concern that some of these carry health risks in the plating (which wears during use, meaning some ingestion), or perhaps in the metal itself. These worries are not actually proven, but I always urge anyone that is interested in these to be cautious about them. A 30$ metal mouthpiece will most likely not be a great player and the added health concerns just make it a complete non-starter for me.