Brandon Vigil, saxophone technician at Boomer's Music in Fort Collins, Colorado, gave us great advice for what to look for when buying a used saxophone. Brandon is featured in our video, shown below.
What to look for in a used saxophone:
- Brands: there are many quality brands, and many poor quality brands. Brandon recommends Yamaha, Cannonball, Vito, Selmer, P. Mauriat, as well as other brands. Poor brands have limited durability, require more repairs, have inferior quality and action which makes it more difficult to play and harder to get a good sound.
- Mechanics: This includes key action and body condition. Look for smooth action with tight fitting keys. Dents: generally, dents closer to the mouth piece have a bigger impact than dents further towards the bell, but all dents can have an impact on the sound. When looking at the finish, look for smooth lacquer. Make sure it doesn't have corroded finish (also called red-rot). Look for tight fitting neck and body, with round tenons (openings).
- Organics: Organics include pads, corks, felts. Pads deteriorate with age. Poor pads will result in poor seal and poor sound. In the video below, Brandon demonstrates the light tube technique that he uses in the shop to look for poor pad seals.
A complete pad job on a saxophone starts at $600, so it's important to consider the condition when evaluating the total cost and value of a used saxophone. Buying a used saxophone that has been checked and serviced, like the ones at Gina's Flutes and other reputable dealers, is a smart and economical choice for owning your saxophone. Gina's Flute's checks each saxophone for sound playing condition. Our satisfaction guarantee allows you to buy the saxophone at no risk.
Brandon's expertise with saxophones and passion for music is evident throughout the video, but especially in his closing comments. A quality saxophone, new or used, brings out the best in the player, whether student or professional!