Buying a cheap saxophone may seem to make sense at first glance, but does it really? Just what do you get for your money when you buy a low-priced horn. Many experts state that the shiny new saxophones available on eBay and elsewhere for under $300 are basically worthless. They are not only cheap, but downright bad, these sax experts warn.
Sometimes a cheap sax is advertised as "just as good as the best brands," but that is rarely the case. Instead, there are some recurring problems that show up in these cheap instruments. For one thing, they tend to have poor intonation. This means that they do not stay in tune properly.
Another problem is that the metal tends to be soft and of a poor quality. A cheap saxophone can bend out of shape easily if you happen to drop it. Even worse, the keys can bend even with simple playing. In addition, the keys are often misplaced so that they are uncomfortable to use, unlike even a moderately priced saxophone, which will probably be designed comfortably.
Finally, these saxophones are simply made bad. They are not made to last. Sometimes the solder joints fall apart. Cheap pads might not seal right, and the neck might not fit right. The corks and felt parts are often falling apart, too. The lacquer might look good, but not last. These problems simply make these saxophones hard (or even impossible) to play.
To keep from getting one of these worthless saxophones, you need to find out where the instrument was made. The worst ones are from India and China, although there are some good ones from China, such as the Jupiter, Arbiter, Evette, and Prelude brands. Taiwan is acceptable as a country of origin, because there have been good quality student instruments made there for many years.
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