Looking to purchase new Bass Clarinets, Tenor Saxes and Bari Saxes. These would be for Middle School and High School. Suggestions on quality/value and durability. School kids, ya know…
Yamaha has always been my choice. They are very good instruments, holdup well and if repairs are needed, parts have been easily obtained by repair people.
Of course you know Yamaha horns are the standard. Cannonball saxes might also be worth looking at. Price, it may be under Yamaha. I haven’t looked in a while, but I think White House is a dealer. Several schools around here have the Cannonball bari. Cannonball also usually come with decent mouthpieces. Nothing spectacular, but not cheap plastic either.
RS Berekely is another brand worth investigating, at least their top end Virtuoso line. Probably like other made in Tawain horns (like Cannonball, I think). @Klarnax plays them, and I think Dennis Najoom might have a contact within the company.
Store brand Kessler makes a great bass clarinet. So good, there’s usually a waitlist, as you can’t get a bass with a low C for that price. They also have an Eb model, but again you’ll be on a wait list. I lucked out and picked up a low C a couple years ago. The lower joint did arrive with damage, but they fixed it under warranty. I imagine these are Chinese made so key metal tends to be softer. I can’t speak of their tenor saxes, but the price looks nice.
I can vouch for the RS Berkeley Virtuoso. Very good for the price. Intonation is excellent, but the tone falls a little short of high end saxes like Selmer, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa.
I’m talking sax here, not clarinet/bass clarinet.
I’ve read good things about newer Jupiter instruments but never tried one. I have an Allora Baritone Saxophone and am not to satisfied with it. I would not recommend Allora.
One thing to bear in mind is that many repair people may not wants to work on certain off brand instruments that thet feel are badly made. Likewise, parts may be impossible to get for some off brands. This can be an important consideration when trusting instruments to often careless kids.
Note that Jupiter horns were initially in this category as were, for that matter, Yamaha horns many rears ago. Personslly, I am a fan of any horn that plays great. My soprano sax is an awesome Chinese horn that stays in adjustment for me, but nevertheless would be inappropriate for kids because the metal is a little soft.
And you really can’t go wrong with Yamaha horns if they are within your budget.
Yamaha student saxophones are now made in China. Got an used Yamaha Alto for nephew last month. It appeared well made and played well when I tried it.