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TM Custom Unlacquered Tenor Saxophone 500SL by TenorMadness

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The good folks at TenorMadness have been putting a lot of work into developing a new saxophone for several years now, and when one came up for sale, I just had to get it just to see what was up. Randy at TenorMadness generously offered to do an additional setup on this horn, together with adding the various improvements that he has been developing over the last year or so. That work is just completed, so this horn is just like all the current TM Customs now.

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The good folks at TenorMadness have been putting a lot of work into developing a new saxophone for several years now, and when one came up for sale, I just had to get it just to see what was up. Randy at TenorMadness generously offered to do an additional setup on this horn, together with adding the various improvements that he has been developing over the last year or so. That work is just completed, so this horn is just like all the current TM Customs now.

This particular horn was bought by a fairly picky guy who made three trips to Iowa and played every horn they had, picked the best one, and then matched it with a neck, trying multiple necks (he said around 40 different ones) before settling on this particular combination. It does play very well, with a darker, more spread tone than most other modern horns of this type. The neck seems to add some Selmer-like complexity to the tone that really adds some density to the core of the tone (which can be missing on something like a Cannonball, for instance). It also TUNES better than most other modern horns of Asian origin, and this is pretty crucial for classical and small ensemble work.

The pad work is very good, as expected, and this is VERY IMPORTANT to the end result on any saxophone. Randy spends most of his time these days setting these horns up. This job amounts to something close to a full overhaul in most cases, and it leaves the horn in truly top playing condition. Randy tells me that each of these fully American-assembled saxophones gets on average 23 hours of bench time at TenorMadness. This includes not only a full pad job, but also fitting all of the keys and making sure that the tone holes are level. The detail-oriented key fitting that these horns have is what you only normally get on full mechanical overhauls. Having perfectly fit keys is what makes these horns hold up well over time and need less adjustment down the road. The bell is also soldered to the bow, like an American-assembled Mark VI or SBA. I should also mention that this horn is custom hand-engraved by Sherry Huntley of Artistic Engraving, which adds beauty and value down the road.

This horn ships in the original case in great condition. If you’re looking for a modern horn with an interesting tone and a top quality setup, this would definitely be worth trying out!

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