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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:41 am 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 6:03 pm
Posts: 213
A reader writes:
Hello, I just purchased a Lafayette Soprano Saxophone and it is coming in the mail this week. I just saw your review for the first time and am nervous I made the wrong decision. I played tenor and am familiar mainly with Yamaha and Selmer. Should I quickly return it?

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I wrote:
On Thu, Jun 9, 2022 at 3:17 PM racep <racep@donet.com> wrote:
May I ask how much you paid?
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I paid around $300. Im not looking for a professional one. More for a recreational use when im away in school.

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I wrote:

These were made in Japan or Korea (mine was from Japan) for Sears in the 1970s and 1980s before they were discontinued. Mine is much better than the $300-$500 ones coming from China these days.

About the same period, several Italian makers were offering cheap sopranos for much more money than the Lafayette, but no better quality. Today those instruments go for $500-$1000.

The only issue with your Lafayette is if it's been abused. If all the keywork seems intact and the pads are good, you should be in good shape. If you have a sax repair guy take a look at it just to be sure as soon as you get it, that might help.

The big problem with cheap '70s-'80s sopranos is intonation. Some will not play in tune across the scale no matter how much you lip them. My Lafayette is better than most. That said, I had a 1918 Martin soprano that was far worse than my Lafayette. I felt silly selling off a name-brand horn and keeping the Sears Roebuck horn, but it played better.

Back to the stuff coming out of China today. You'll see $200-400 Mendinis, Cecilios, etc. offered on eBay. But they are made of soft brass and literally fall apart if played very much. The Lafayette is much more solid, built to the construction standards (at least) of 40 years ago.

So, if the horn has been abused, you may have trouble getting it fixed up enough to play. If it has spent most of its 40 years on the shelf, you may have something that will outperform your expectations.

Hope this helps,

- Paul


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:48 am 
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Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 6:03 pm
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The reader replied:
Thank you again! I just got it and it has a nice sound. The issue I have is that my entire left pinky key registers are broken. I can't play Low C, both D, E, F, F#, G#, low Bb because of it.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:50 am 
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I replied:
That's terrible. Do you have someone you can take it to for an estimate? It might be just springs or screws missing and those are standard. If any KEYS are missing, though, you may be out of luck.

Also, the seller had NO BUSINESS charging you $300 for a horn in that condition. Can you still return it?

Please keep me updated.

Paul


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