I'm in the market for a new alto sax, and rather than spend about $500 repadding a student class Yamaha YAS, I've been weighing the option of buying one for that much from eBay. Now, I realize all of the new ones in that price range are Chinese knockoffs, but surely there must be one or two of them with better quality and sound.
My question is this: has anyone purchased a $400-500 eBay sax and really enjoyed it? If so, what brand did you get, and would you recommend it to a fellow player?
If you go new, $500 won't get you much of a sax. Some of the stuff coming out of China is getting better, but for $500 you could get a used Yamaha of the same kind you have and it would be a significantly better horn. If nothing else, I've yet to see any Chinese instrument made with decent brass that will actually hold up.
Right now, I see an old used Buescher alto on Ebay that is currently in your price range. Buescher was a pro-level company, and that horn is going to be a major step up from anything new at that price. I'd get that or wait for a better Yamaha to turn up used at a good price. Otherwise, re-pad your Yamaha. It'll still be better than a flimsy Chinese knockoff.