Question about buying musical instruments

I’m interested in obtaining a soprano saxophone at some point. I would like to use it to play classical music, to play in Mass, etc. I have an alto saxophone, but would also like to have a soprano.

However, many student-end saxophones made in China and Taiwan are based off of high-end saxophones. This means any or all of the following could be copied from a high-end saxophone: the bore of the instrument, the tone hole placement, the keywork, etc.

The high-end professional saxophones generally cost over $3000 new. The lower-end ones based on or copied from professional models cost a lot less. There are some on ebay for as little as $200-$250.

Even thought the lower-end ones are based on or copied from high-end saxophones, they are generally not as good.

It is apparently not illegal to have these lower-end instruments made and sell them. I’ve heard that very little of the saxophone is patented or patents have expired.

Also, the low-end products are not bootlegs or counterfeits. They don’t claim to be the high-end horns (though there are some bootlegs and counterfeits).

So, would it be a sin to get a lower-end saxophone that’s based on a high-end saxophone?

Please see this thread I started on the Sax on the Web forum to get more info:!-!-!-!-!&p=2091636&posted=1#post2091636


Ha. Concise.

Thanks for your reply.

How’s the saying go? The best form of flattery is imitation :smiley:

But yes 1ke is right there is no sin here. It’s like someone making a copy of a Stradivari violin, he is using a template of a successfull instrument. Most musical instruments are not covered by patents their designs being soo old that if they had applied for them they are no longer valid.

Hope you have good luck in your search of that instrument.

Peace :thumbsup:

Enjoy your new instrument :smiley:

Thank you for the replies! :slight_smile:

And now for some nice soprano saxophone performed in the beautiful church of Lilienfeld Abbey. Lilienfeld Abbey is a Cistercian monastery.

It’s a Bach piece arranged for soprano saxophone and organ. It was originally a choral piece, I think.

Awesome video! :thumbsup:

I’m glad you liked it. :slight_smile:

So is it not a sin to take ideas/designs that aren’t patented, copyrighted, etc?


Two years ago I bought a Jinbao euphonium, which is a copy of the Yamaha YEP-642 instrument. I have never heard or read a word of complaint from Yamaha about the Chinese cloning the 642. And my horn is probably 90% of the quality of the Yamaha, for 20% of the price.

But just because the company of the original doesn’t complain, does that mean it’s okay to copy their product?

There is an old adage which is applicable here, you get what you pay for. As an insider in the industry, you have to distinguish between Mainland China and Taiwan in terms of quality. Taiwanese quality is pretty good. Most people go to mainland for production because they want it made cheaper. It’s not that the Chinese can’t produce quality; it’s just that most companies who want horns made go to mainland China when they want copies of something made really cheap.

The big differences occur in quality of materials and manufacturing tolerances. Metal alloys, the absence of power forging for keywork and less than tight tolerances all lead to mechanical failures in less time. Design is one thing and that is often copied because it can’t really be patented. But the difference between a pro horn in its performance over its lifetime is always found in the quality and preparation of the raw materials and attention to mechanical precision. Taiwan has developed a pretty good reputation and makes fine horns built to last and perform (variations noted) China can produce great horns but really hasn’t been asked to. So there is a glut of cheap horns out there that play well with a relatively very short usable life spans from Mainland China.

But If that suits your needs then by all means go for it.

Joe B

My official titles:
QC Supervisor KHS America, Pro Flute Specialist (Altus Flutes, Jupiter Band Instruments, Walden Guitars, etc…)

Formerly with Pearl Flutes
Past Vice President of NAPBIRT and Current National Repair Clinician.

What you say was generally true, but is becoming less so. The earlier products from the Jinbao factory weren’t all that great, but they have really pulled their socks up. The “pros” who have played horns from Jinbao’s last few years have pretty uniformly said that they are really good bang for the buck, especially for students and amateurs (like me).

(BTW, I grew up about 3/4 mile from the old C.G. Conn factory in Elkhart, Indiana, and my only horn for 50 years before buying the Jinbao was a 1923 86I upright-bell euph. Going from that to the Jinbao was like going from a Model A to a brand new Taurus. It’s not a Lexus or a Beemer, but it’s still a pretty good car.)

Like I said, For the money it’s good for what it is: a good bang for a cheap buck. And all that will be at the present time is “pretty good”, but not quality. And also like I said, if it is good enough for your purpose, then so be it. We should not confuse a quality horn with an adequate one…

Joe B

Trust me on this – if I suddenly fell into $6-7k of “free money,” I’d be ordering myself an Adams Custom :smiley:

Let’s hope your dream comes true someday. I know Trent, Miel and Franz from my days at Pearl/Adams. I can always put in a good word for if your “free money” ever comes in.

Joe B


My teacher is an Adams Artist. I’ve played his horn; it is awesome. Adams instruments are quite in demand as a result of the discussion about them on the Tuba-Euphonium Forum where I am a denizen. According to recent purchasers, the waiting period is now several months.

Thanks for your reply. I didn’t expect to get a reply from someone who works for such a well-known instrument company.

Are the Jupiter soprano saxophones based on anything in particular? (I know I could look it up, but I’d rather ask someone from the company itself! :slight_smile: )

The soprano I’m looking at is a Kessler. It’s Taiwanese-made. It’s based off of a Selmer Paris Series III soprano saxophone. The actual Selmer Paris model costs much, much more.

Actually, I’m not sure if it’s Taiwanese.

Our saxes are based on the Selmer design. You can ask Chuck Kessler where he’s getting his made. Chuck’s a great guy and pretty knowledgeable. If you call and ask for him, tell him Joe B told you to call…

Joe B

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