My son is in the 6th grade and wants to play the alto saxophone. I am looking for something used (?) that will hold up and won't cost a lot to begin with. This child already has a cello, 2 guitars, a keyboard, and a banjo that he started to play and now just toys with. Please forgive me for being one of *those* moms, but it gets expensive. I am hoping to start with a small investment. I have a cousin who played alto sax in middle school. He had a Bundy (II?) He offered to sell it to me for $150. It's in pretty good shape. minor scratches, no dents, the keys don't stick, and the pads look new. The mouthpiece is **** so I will have to replace it (looks like it was chewed on). Is this a good deal? Are they a decent enough horn? Is there something that I could find inexpensively (like under $500) that may be better? I wanted to get him a Yamaha Y23 but they are too expensive if he is going to quit. I would rather upgrade next year or so. Does the brand of mouthpiece make a difference? Do you have any suggestions about that?
Considering his track record, I would say that the Bundy in question is more than adequate for him to test the waters so to speak. I would definitely take it to a good tech to insure that it is sealing properly and in peak mechanical condition.
If the horn is in the condition you describe, $150 is a good price. If it turns out it needs an entire repad, then the total cost will add up quickly, and likely exceed it's worth.
If he sticks with it, you can look into upgrading to a Yamaha YAS-23 later.
You might look into renting a horn first, to insure he isn't simply going to add the sax to his growing "display" of lost interests.
I have considered a rental instrument (Yamaha), but at $60/mo. I will have more than paid for this one in 3 months... As long as there are no major problems, it seems to make more economic sense to purchase this one. I just needed to make sure that I wasn't going to be sending him in to his Middle School Band with an instrument of **** quality. (I know that when I played, 20 years ago, Selmer Bundy II was the way to go b/c they were hard to kill, but a lot may have changed, re: quailty of sound and manufacture, since then.)
If he decides to quit I will just list it on eBay with no reserve to recapture some money on it. I may do that anyway when we go to buy the Yamaha to add to the down payment.