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Saxophone/Jupiter 969 Silver Series alto sax

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Question
Hi, take a look at the alto sax in this listing:

http://vancouver.en.craigslist.ca/rds/msg/4447001916.html

I've had the seller come to my home so that I could try this alto yesterday, and one thing that I've noticed is that this isn't the 969 model. On the back it says 869 (or was it 896)? And I couldn't see Silver Series printed there (I only briefly looked), unless it's SS, although I didn't look thoroughly enough to find out if SS is printed anywhere on the horn. Also on the back it says that it is made in Taiwan, and upon play-testing the instrument the neck was very loose because as mentioned in the ad, a screw is missing in the receiver, and the seller did tell me something about intonation problems because of this. Also the button for the G-key fell off. I told the seller that I would prefer to find out more about this model before I made the purchase. What are your thoughts on the above? If I contact the seller again what questions should I ask him to verify that this is a quality horn? Also note that I will not be interested in this horn if it is for beginners. I play at a semi-pro level and am looking for such a horn to reflect the quality and demands of that level.

Also if this is an artist model should I look for the word "artist" printed anywhere on the horn when I go to inspect it? Also I recall yesterday that the thumb-rest (where you rest your left thumb), is black plastic. I was just wondering about this because this is the very first time I have seen a pro horn with this feature, if this is a pro horn.

Thanks for your time.

Answer
George,

The intonation problems are not because of the missing screw (which can be easily replaced by the way). The are inherent in horns of this ilk. If you're playing at a 'semi-pro' level, this is not really the horn for you. It is definitely not a 'pro horn' although it is designed as a "knock off" of the collegiate or even pro level Yamaha horns.

If as you say things are "falling off" it's probably a sign of marginal craftsmanship at best. This horn is a decent starter horn and not much more - regardless of what it's called, 'artist' or 'silver' 'pro' etc. It is pretty and seems to have been well maintained for the most part - however I am not a fan of those 2-toned finishes.

(PS- a black plastic thumb rest is no biggie - my Selmer VI has one and that's about the best horn you can find!).

I can't think of any questions I might ask the seller save for, "would you take $350?"  :) Good luck - and keep searching.  You are on the right track in playing before buying for sure!

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Eugene Cantera

Expertise

I have been a music educator for over 25 years and have taught on many levels from young children and school agers on through to college level, professional players and senior citizens. My main areas of expertise are saxophone(s) though I have taught many instruments including, guitar, bass, piano, oboe and drums to name a few. I have also done research on horns both vintage and new.

Experience

I have been in music education for 25 years and I have written and published in the subject of professional music education.

Publications
The Dallas Morning News, Dallas Business Journal, Marketing and Higher Education Newsletter.

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Music Education, Hartt School of Music - The University of Hartford.

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