Suitability and Condition

What do our Suitability and Condition Ratings mean?

Here we indicate the level of player we feel an instrument will work best for. The condition of the instrument is rated after careful examination and play testing.


  • Everyone
    Instruments of this type are recommended for most players and most playing opportunities. They offer professional performance qualities which easily justify their additional cost over novice models. These instruments are recommended for professionals, advanced grade school and college students, adult enthusiasts, doublers, and anyone looking for an instrument that will suit them now and well into the future. This type of instrument offers many dimensions of tone, intensity and volume, providing a feeling that the instrument is ready to give whatever you ask for.
  • Novice Players
    These entry level instruments offer easy response, additional stability and in some cases lighter weight. Some have all the keys, some have a simplified key system. This type of instrument is most appropriate for beginning players through the fourth year of experience.
  • Collectors/Museums
    This type of instrument is suitable for museums, private collectors, or enthusiasts who wish to own a part of history. A collector rated instrument is not for use in daily practice or performance in most cases.


  • New
    These are brand new instruments and not previously owned. We play test and adjust all instruments before they are shipped to you. Generally, Fox instruments are wonderful right from the factory. Exceptions to our play test rule include those instruments that are shipped directly to you from the Fox factory.
  • Mint/Exceptional
    These are usually instruments that have been used for only a few hours over a few weeks or months and bear no significant signs of use. They can also be fully reconditioned instruments in superb condition in every way. They have the same life expectancy as new instruments and often come at a much lower cost than new.
  • Excellent/Above Average
    An excellent condition instrument shows only minor signs of wear, well below what would normally be expected based on its age and usage. Some refurbishing may have been done, and while not in mint condition, these instruments are above average. Some of these instruments have been used for only a matter of months or maintained with fierce dedication.
  • Good/Average
    These instruments are in good working order and average condition for their age. They have been well maintained during a number of years of use. You can reasonably expect this level of instrument to last for many more years with reasonable care and maintenance. Some minor defects that do not affect tone and play-ability may be present.
  • Fair/Below Average
    These instruments have seen their fair share of use, and possibly some abuse. There may be defects in appearance, but they have gone through our shop and are fully functional. Extensive repairs may have been done, and while long term reliability cannot be assured, they do often turn out to be excellent bargains and long lasting, good playing instruments.
  • As-Is/Not Playing
    This designation is for project instruments which may need extensive repair or be suitable for parts. If you’re a ‘do it yourself’ kind of person, or a repair tech, this might be for you.