Buying a used soprano saxophone requires the same attention you would give if you were buying any used instrument. There are many things that can go wrong with an instrument like a soprano saxophone, and repairs can be costly. Saxophones have many keys and moving parts, and these can suffer damage. Pads and corks can be damaged, too.
A saxophone can be either straight or curved. The straight ones look something like a short, fat, shiny clarinet. The curved ones look like a small saxophone. Both are B-flat instruments and are played in the same way. The soprano sax has a high wailing sound that is common in modern popular music.
When evaluating a used soprano saxophone, one thing you can do is try wiggling the levers and keys. Hopefully they will be solid and not yield to pressure. They should not be easy to bend, either. The pads should be soft. If you do not know how to play the soprano sax, it is necessary to take someone along with you who does know how to play. A great looking instrument is sometimes next to impossible to play. This is especially true if the soprano sax happens to be a cheap Asian import.
This is not to say that just because a used saxophone is an Asian import it will be cheap or poor quality. Several of the top brands of saxophone come from Japan, and there are good horns that come from China, as well. Knowing some basic information about the different brands of saxophones can help you wade through the choices when looking at used instruments.
A good used soprano saxophone represents a major investment. Sometimes it makes more sense to just buy a new sax, but there again, you need to do some research in brands in order to not accidentally get a lemon.
All About Soprano Saxophones.
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