Saxophone/Jupiter alto sax
Hi, take a look at the alto sax in this listing:
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.
PS...the seller has now agreed to sell me this horn for $500. Is this a good or bad deal?
Thanks for your time.
If I was you, I would call the seller right now and tell him to bring you that horn. Tell him you would gladly pay any speeding tickets as well.
What you have here is Jupiter's 800 series of saxophones. The 500 and 600 series is their student lines, the 700 is the intermediate and the 800 was their original pro line. However about 5 years ago, they made a few very subtle changes started calling them "Artist" and moved the numbers up to the 900 series. Other than the engraving and the logo design they are the exact same instrument. This horn is silver plated brass. It should have a solid silver neck or it may be just a silver plated neck. If the neck is solid silver it will say "Sterling Silver" on the neck. I believe at some point Jupiter started including silver plated brass necks instead of the Sterling Silver due to a huge increase in the price of silver. Jupiter stopped making the 800 series about the time the XO series came out and the 900 series became the XO's. They then got an option to be silver plated which replaced the 800 series. Same horn just a few different cosmetics. Just to let you know I play the soprano version of this exact same model and it is the JPS-847.
You can read more about these models at this link
Your concern about the left hand thumb rest (under the octave key) being plastic is of no concern. Many pro horns have used plastic here including the legendary Selmer Mark VI. So don't worry about that. The missing screw shouldn't effect intonation unless there is something else wrong with the horn. Keep in mind a players lack of ability can result in intonation issues as well. So play it with a tuner before you make a decision. If the neck is loose you can insert a shim of paper between the neck and tenon and that should tighten it up a bit. The screw is easily replaceable. Any technician should be able to contact Jupiter's Nashville distribution center and obtain the proper screw for this instrument. When you say "button" for the G# key I assume you mean the pearl has fallen off. If the seller still has this than it can easily be reattached with a few drops of super glue. If he does not have it, again it's easily replaceable from Jupiter.
These horns are made in Taiwan. Currently 90% of the worlds saxophone are coming out of the far east and of those 60% are being made in Taiwan. There are many brands being made in China and most are sub par. However Taiwan is not China. I would gladly play any instrument being made in Taiwan and I do. My soprano(Jupiter) and my Bari(Chateau) were both made in Taiwan so don't let this concern you.
Jupiter has come a very long way the past few years and I'm very comfortable with their instruments. If all goes well I plan to be a Jupiter dealer by the end of 2015. Back in March, I attended a repair seminar hosted by Jupiter at their Nashville distribution center and I got to see and play some of their prototypes that are coming out in the next year or so. These are going to be some fantastic horns when they hit the market.
So yes this is a great horn for an advancing student to a true professional. Tell the owner to run not walk this horn to you or you run to him to get it.