...or anyone else who has an opinion. I’m looking for a baritone for my nephew. He’s starting 6th grade, and this is his second year in band. So, he’s into it enough that he deserves a decent student horn to bring him up to high school, but not so far along that I can afford a shiny new Yamaha or King. I can find used Yamaha, King, or Holton horns that are pretty beat up but still (supposedly) have good valves for under $1,000 on Ebay.

I can also find some brands I don’t know much about, like Hawk or Mendini. These are marketed as beginner student horns, and that’s not bad in and of itself. However, a horn with poor tone quality or problems hitting the low register is a false economy because this is the time for the kid to train his ear as well as his technique.

So, are there some lesser brands that might still be good if I buy him a decent Bach mouthpiece to go with it? Or, do I pony up for a better horn with a few dents and pay some more?