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Saxophones Advice on first sax

Dfor

New Member
Messages
8
Hi all,

I am looking to buy my first ever sax at the ripe old age of 56 (hope I've not left it too late) and wonder whether anyone can advise on one that I have seen. It is a Belatone tenor in what appears to be very good condition. I have no experience to go on but everything looks fine on it and the owner can make it sound pretty good. It is approx 10 year old.

I have tried googling Belatone but come up blank. Does anyone know whether they are a decent make or otherwise? Should I be looking for something else? I don't want to spend a fortune in case I can't get on with it but I intend to give it a good go.

Thanks for looking,

Dfor.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Well, I can't help you much with the Belatone. I see there is one for sale in the UK. The owner says that it is Italian, and he has listed it on just about all of the free sites. May be hard to shift.

From this distance all one can say that it may good, it may be rubbish, or it may be something in between. I wouldn't jump into this without expert advice.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
I have used some obscure web crawler search engines and can find no reference to Belatone saxes. I would look for something a little more well-known unless this sax is seriously cheap and you can afford to throw it away if it's rubbish.

Martin
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
Personally, I would hold out for a Yamaha student model if possible. One that's either new, or recently setup and regulated. Student Yams have a solid intonation, good ergonomic keywork and should be easy to find new or secondhand.

The Belatone tenor may be perfectly fine, or it could have a lot of issues that the owner can easily overcome with their experience that you just won't have as a fresh starter. It might prove extremely frustrating and disheartening.

As a late bloomer myself I know that my first few days/weeks/months with my new, tech checked YAS-275 alto put me in good stead for the long fun road ahead. The horn was very forgiving and when the time came I moved onto something more unique sounding... my SML!

Good luck :)
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
Check out the John Packer range of new or ex-demo saxophones. You could also do a rental deal from a local music store just to see if you are going to keep at it. Saxophones are expensive to repair and some not worth repairing. My advice is to get a new or nearly new student sax from a reputable source. You are not too old, so get a tenor and have some fun. Do you have a budget?

Jim.
 

Dfor

New Member
Messages
8
Thanks for all the replies. It's really what I expected to hear but just thought I'd check in case it was likely to be a very good instrument.

As for budget I was hoping to get a good name model of decent quality and condition for about £500. Second hand preferred as should get more for my money.

I like older things (vintage) in gereral but I suppose this could be a bit of a minefield for a complete novice. I've looked on ebay but I'm a bit wary about buying a dud on there.

Any chance anybody knows of a good tenor going for a reasonable price.

Thanks, Dfor.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Dfor!

My tech - Richard Hamer has a vintage Conn 16m going for £550 - fully serviced and all. He has commonly loaned it out to local pro's while their own saxes are being serviced. He is a top bloke, based in South Wales on www.woodwindsalesandrepairs.com under "used instruments". Nick's suggestion is an excellent one also.

Kind regards
Tom (52)
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Dfor

New Member
Messages
8
Nick, thanks for the link to Woodwind Exchange. I gave them a ring and it sounds like it will be well worth going over which I will do one day this week.
Tom, I've emailed Dick re. the Conn 16m, it sounds like it could be a good instrument. It seems that there are some slightly mixed reviews on the 16m but I suppose that's true of most things. I could well be tempted by it but will wait until I've been to Bradford and had a talk to them. If as you say, Dicks a good bloke and he says it's right mechanically and sounds good too then that's all one can hope for, especially when starting out.

Dfor.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
The mouthpiece will be an important thing in the overall sound - what sort of sound are you after, particularly: vintage smoky sound, contemporary hard hitting, funk? The common beginner recommendations (cheaper, but very good quality so you don't run before you walk) are Yamaha plastic, Rico Graftonite & Metalite, and Runyon 22 - all below £35 or so, with Rico Graftonite cheapest at £15.

Good luck with your hunt!
Tom
 

Dfor

New Member
Messages
8
Hi Again,

Well I went to Woodwind Exchange and had a great couple of hours there. Stuart is a great person to deal with, very enthusiastic, knowledgeable, patient and not at all pushy. I looked at, and tried out a fair number of vintage tenors and was very surprised at the differences. Some felt a bit heavy or awkward, some I didn't really like the look of and then a couple really stood out.

I really liked a Conn 10m but it was too much above my budget. The two that I had left on the table after lots of looking and blowing were a Conn 16m and a Gretsch Commander (Buescher Aristocrat) from around 1939. The Gretsch won out as it just seemed that bit nicer to play somehow. I was possibly swayed by the fact that it was about 30 years older than the Conn as a true vintage sax was what I had in mind from the start. It has been repadded by Stuart and he threw in a yamaha mouthpiece, some reeds,a sling and all the cleaning gear, plus an appropriately aged Buescher hard case.

I'm very happy with my purchase, just got to learn to play it now.

Dfor.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Great!

I've a Buescher 23A alto, supposedly an inferior student model, but it's almost as good as my Kohlert. (Much tattier, though)
 
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