I'd like to buy an Alto sax,I am 57 years old,I am a beginner, and my budget is under $ 500. Can you give me some tips ?
Please do not tell me "buy it used" because I am not expert enough to distinguish a good used from a bad one. More over, the music shops in my area (Marshall, Anderson) sell used (pre-rented) stuff at outrageous prices.
Be careful! It's easy to be lulled into the sense that instruments that are not frustrating to play (maintain intonation, keys not bending) can be cheap. After all you only want a beginner's horn, right? Think about it very carefully. There are many quality instruments made. Some may even be available for that amount. My recommendation after 30 years of playing in bands (and I'm not trying to sell you one), is to buy a new horn at a reasonable music store. That's not one with the lowest price. You want to buy a horn that needs no work at all. Avoid being talked into one to be shipped to you. A lot can happen in travel. The shop should carry more than one brand. Bundy, Selmer, Yahmaha, Conn are all quality manufacturers and supplied to shops in selling volumes. You should be able to buy the one in front of you. If you trust someone enough to give you their time, it's a good idea to have someone who plays try it in a practice room at the shop. Here's the bad news. Realistically you should expect a bill of about $ 700. I would reccomend other manufacturers, but they will cost more or need work.
try going to WWBW.com
they have lots of stock both new and used...and they sell used instruments that are rated (working or otherwise)
if a (working) instrument isnt in good condition..you may return it...
im sure you could find a nice one there...