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How to save money and get a great new student Flute, Sax or clarinet!

The most reliable way to purchase a new woodwind instrument made in Asia.

One of the most common questions I get is “which student instrument should I buy?” If you have searched for an inexpensive woodwind instrument made in Asian such as Flute, Clarinet or Saxophone, you know that there is a lot of information out there. You are probably also aware that there are many different opinions in regards to which instruments are well made and which are not. There are just too many manufacturers, too many brand names and too much hype when you are looking at the instruments manufactured in Asia. The search can be maddening. It can also be risky. Purchasing an instrument that is an unknown brand without knowledge of instrument manufacturing or the opportunity to play-test may result in wasting money on a poor quality instrument that will probably cost more in the long-run to repair than it originally cost you to buy.

I believe I can help you find a quality instrument at a good price. I can find you an instrument that plays great and is well constructed for less than you can expect to pay elsewhere.

First you need to understand the Asian instrument market: works closely with many Asian manufacturers. We visit with these manufacturers while attending numerous music related trade shows. As a result, we have gained a solid understanding of the Asian instrumental market; who is making which instruments; who is using which parts in their own manufacture.

One thing I have come to realize is that many businesses in the US who sell Asian manufactured instruments do not know where the instruments they buy are produced. Although there are many brand names, there are surprisingly few manufacturers of complete saxophones. Factories will often import parts for instruments they produce. There are some companies that only make certain parts; bells, necks, etc. There is an incredible amount of trading going on at various levels. Businesses involved in this trading call themselves manufacturers even though most of them do not manufacture anything. They just purchase parts and assemble the instruments. So the question, “Where is this instrument made?” becomes very difficult to answer. The question, “Who makes this instrument” is even more difficult to answer.

Something else to keep in mind is there are US companies that buy these instruments and private label them. This compounds the aforementioned questions. In addition, there are companies in the US and abroad who buy from various manufacturers, assemble, label and sell instruments. Some of the US companies that buy these private-labeled instruments are not aware they are buying from a distributor, nor do they know who built the instrument they are selling. They have been lead to believe that they are purchasing from the manufacturer, when in fact, they are purchasing from a distributor. They may not even know in what country the instrument was made. The company they purchase from may not know where the parts were actually made. Purchasing an inexpensive, well-constructed Asian made instrument is extremely difficult.

“If I try a certain brand of instrument can I be reasonably assured that this Brand is OK?”

If you buy a "brand x" instrument made in China, it may have been made anywhere in China or Taiwan; possibly both. If 2 years later you buy another "brand x" instrument it may be made in a different place. “Brand-X” may insist (and believe) that their instruments are made by the same factory they used for the past 2 years. In short, the answer to this question is, “No, you cannot assume the instrument is in any way the same as the one you tried.” You need to play test every instrument you purchase. This is true now more than ever.

“So, why can I trust an instrument from” is in the unique position of having an intimate knowledge of instrument manufacturing, a staff of professional players for testing instruments and an established relationship with many manufactures. We are also a professional repair shop.

This year I will be meeting with many manufacturers at various trade shows. I know most of these manufacturers personally. I am a working professional woodwind player, as well as the owner of both a world renowned instrument repair shop and woodwind repair tools and supplies distributor. When I go to the largest trade shows, I will have at least 5 woodwind players and 3 repair techs with me. We will be play testing every instrument we can get our hands on. This alone effectively cancels the risk I have outlined above. We will play test the various instruments at the shows (and there are many to try) purchasing only the instruments with good tone, intonation, and quality craftsmanship. When possible, we will purchase from manufacturers we know. This further assures us and you that we are buying good quality instruments.

The names on the instruments we purchase will all be different but many will be from the same factories. In the past I have had very good luck with the instruments I bring back and have never had one returned.

“What is the process for purchasing one of these instruments from”

Instruments are purchased on an 'as needed' and 'as available' basis. If there are not enough good instruments at the show to cover the demand, those who do not get an instrument will be given the option to keep their place in line and wait for the next show or have their deposit returned.

When we return from the show we send the instruments through our repair shop to be properly set up. Then we play test them again. Once this thorough process is complete, the new instruments are sent to those that have requested them. You will get an instrument that is well-made, play tested several times and regulated in our shop.

To purchase a woodwind instrument with our service:

1. Fill out this questionnaire located here:
2. Contact with any questions.
3. We will contact you via Email to pay your deposit. See deposit schedule on the horn form.
4. We will find an instrument that is right for you at the show. Hurry, the next show is just around the corner.
5. When we find a good instrument, you will be asked to pay the difference between your deposit and the actual cost of the instrument.
6. The instrument will go through our shop where it will be tested for leaks and play tested again before it is double boxed and shipped.
7. Enjoy your new instrument!