If you find this guide helpful, please click on the button below!There are a lot of used flutes and Saxophones on ebay. They can be a great deal, and you may do far better buying a used flute or sax that is of high quality than a new flute or sax of inferior quality. There are some shiny new instruments out there of inferior quality!
There are, however, some things to be very careful about with s used flute or sax. Flutes and Saxes have pads that can go bad. A new pad job can range from $100-$300 for a flute and $400-$900 on a sax. Make sure you know the condition of the pads, and also the neck on saxes. Also springs and corks may need replacing and there may be other needed adjustments, so take into consideration the possibility of needing to shell out extra bucks to get your purchase into playing shape!
For a very old sax, say from the 1920s, make sure it is low pitch, as there were different tunings, and also make sure the seller knows if it is a C melody. They used to make C Tenors, and sometimes C Sopranos, which can be fun (I have one), but getting the right mouthpiece and reeds for these can be more difficult, so if it comes with the proper mouthpiece, that is much easier.
Another thing --do some research on serial numbers. There are web sites that can tell you when a sax was made if you know the serial number. Sometimes brands were bought out, so some serial numbers reflect years when these were great saxes and others when the brand was bought out and exists in name only without the old quality. Also, some great companies made what are known as stencils. In other words someone else put their name on a sax made by a great old company. There are some helpful sites about that sort of thing as well.
Flute and Sax Serial Number Sites:
A Great Vintage Sax Seller! There is some helpful info there: