The tenor sax is a great jazz instrument. A used tenor saxophone can appeal to those who enjoy jazz and rock music, and it can appeal to classical musicians, too. Buying any used sax, however, requires a certain amount of skepticism and scrutiny. The first parts to examine are the keys and pads. The levers should be strong and not easily bent, and they should cover the holes properly. The pads should be soft, too. The pads should always rest on the tone holes and never on the body of the instrument.
Another thing to look for in used saxophone are places where the soldering had come loose and had to be redone. Perhaps there are places where the soldering is currently loose and needs to be redone. Look carefully at the braces, thumb rests, and other places where the parts are soldered together.
You might be able to tell whether or not the used has ever had a major dent restored. If there is such previous damage, one sign is the presence of vertical lines in the lacquer. This occurs when a repairman pushes out the dent with a metal ball. Plated saxophones don't show this damage as well as the lacquered saxophones.
Another consideration when choosing a used tenor saxophone is the type of metal it is made of. The finish might make some difference in the sound of the sax, but the type of metal makes more difference. Silver makes a bright sound that is good for marching bands. Brass differs in tone based on the amount of copper in the alloy. You can tell a silver toned used sax is silver plated if it has black and tarnish on it, especially around the posts. If it lacks the black tarnish, the saxophone is probably plated with nickel.
All About Tenor Saxophones
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