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Buffet Crampon 400 Series Alto Sax

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Not long ago, I was in a New York City music store, listening to a sales clerk haggle with a confused-looking customer over the purchase of a vintage Selmer Mark VI alto. The clerk reminded me of Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons; the customer was older than Lisa Simpson, but not by a whole lot-certainly too young (in my curmudgeonly opinion) to require such a precious instrument, unless she was the next Charlie Parker and carrying a Blue Note recording contract in her pocket (she wasn’t). Comic Book Guy quoted a price in the neighborhood of $5,000. I had to butt in. “Excuse me,” I said to the kid, “but why don’t you save a couple grand and buy a new horn?” Comic Book Guy-clearly unhappy that I’d jeopardized his commission-blew his top. He expressed his displeasure in colorful and abusive language, whereupon I vowed-in similarly vivid terms-to fulfill my saxophonic needs elsewhere.

My point was this: In general, only an accomplished professional has any business spending that kinda dough on a Mark VI, especially when there are so many good new horns being manufactured today. Buffet Crampon’s 400 Series alto is a case in point-a quality sax in the intermediate “advanced student to professional” category that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, yet delivers excellent performance. The alto lists at $2,750, making it a relatively affordable option for the serious saxophonist on a budget, young or old.

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