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What should a beginner buy? Advise please - Which alto to start with?

Oliver

New Member
Messages
2
My son is ten and has longed to play the saxophone for the last three years. He has been learning the clarinet for the past three years and now I'm told he is big enough to change to an alto.

I'm think he will keep it up so would like to buy him something reasonably good. I know very little but it appears the Yamaha's have a good reputation so I was looking at a 62 series. Is this suitable?
 

SteveK

Member
Messages
149
Location
Guildford, Surrey
Agreed the Yamaha range is great. Mind you in that price there is a great deal of choice so do look around and if you can get to a well stocked sax shop try a few out. You might even find some of the higher priced horns on special offer or some ex-rental deals.
I personally play love Yanigasawas but the starting price is a little higher - they are of a similar genre to the Yamaha. I also think that the P.Mauriats are fantastic value. They seem to come in two price ranges - £800-1000 and £1500-1900. Really worth checking out as whilst they are not as established as companies like Yamaha so they are competitively prices - With people like Andy Sheppard and Mornington Locket playing them they will rise in prestige.
I have been into a couple of shops where they have stencilled saxophones made from the same factory (?) as the P.Mauriats - they claim to be the same quality. But I disagree with this - The P.Mauriats really stand out in terms of tone and finish and are very comparable in tone quality to Selmers, Yamaha, Yani's, Keilwerths etc.
My next purchase will likely be a P.Mauriat and I really don't work for them!

Are you considering adopting as I could do with a baritone?

Steve
 

johnyp

New Member
Messages
4
Location
bolton
hi ive been playing the tenor saxophone for a couple of years now and for various reasons would like to switch over to alto and was just wondering what was the best student model to buy, im interested in the yamaha 275 series which is around £780 but is this model actually made in japan? ive heard most saxophones less than the £1000 mark even if there japanesse, german etc are still made in china or taiwan.
Ive looked on the sax.co.uk website and they say the cheap evette, jupiter and prelude saxes are built in china but are acceptable and that the cheap trever james and sakkusu sax's are built in taiwan and are good student saxes, but im willing to pay that little bit extra for a yamaha if there made in japan and live up to there name, does anyone have any info that could help? thanks john.
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
As Pete says there's a big choice of very good instruments if yuo're spending up to £1000 or even £750. Search arouund and you'll find a regular selection of threads asking similar questions, although some of those are budgetting only £300-400 and you'll still find a selection of good instruments nowadays at that price point.

Here are a couple to look through 9tenor.s in these cases, but it's the same makes that crop up if you substitute tenor for alto)

http://test.cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?2476-Which-upgrade-instrument

http://test.cafesaxophone.com/showthread.php?2495-Purchasing-a-Tenor-sax-opinions-please!

Phil
 

johnyp

New Member
Messages
4
Location
bolton
Thanks for the feedback ive been out and looked at some saxophones and the yamaha 275 and trevor james horn revolution 2 seem to be what im looking for just cant decide between the two? i want the saxophone to last me all the way up to grade 8 so the cheaper chinese models might not be good enough to take me all the way through my intermediate stages, by the time ive saved up my money hopefully i would have made my decision.:confused:
 

Der Wikinger

Member
Messages
188
Location
Silvis, IL USA
Thanks for the feedback ive been out and looked at some saxophones and the yamaha 275 and trevor james horn revolution 2 seem to be what im looking for just cant decide between the two? i want the saxophone to last me all the way up to grade 8 so the cheaper chinese models might not be good enough to take me all the way through my intermediate stages, by the time ive saved up my money hopefully i would have made my decision.:confused:
Have you ever heard the phrase "you get what you pay for?" Sometimes a good used horn from a reliable dealer is better than cheaping out. A good used horn can be the best deal because as time passes, it looses up to 75 % of its cost new.

Barring that, I can make some American recomendations that you can trust: http://coolreedpipes.com recommended by Dennis Gwizdala (you have no idea who he is) http://dennisgwizdala.com. Dennis has been a minister of music in a large Baptist church in Michigan, US, and is currenty a iterant musical evangelist on a U. S. nation wide basis. His word can be trusted.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi There!

Both John Packer and Bauhaus Walstein produce excellent saxes at about £500 or less, and are easily good enough up to grade 8 and beyond. Japanese instruments may have the edge at pro level but Taiwanese instruments are generally better value and at least as good as Japanese below £1000. I play a Selmer Ref54 Alto, but if I was starting again I would happily go for one of the above instruments. I would otherwise go for a used Yanagisawa or Yamaha 62 and above as alternatives.

Best value Bauhaus Walstein Alto I've found is for £399 at Sax Heaven in Oxford, who also list the new Yamaha YAS 275E (at £849) which is made in Indonesia. Funny old world.

The rest is what you put into the sax, but you could either save yourself significant money new, or get real quality used.
Kind regards
Tom:cool:

In fact Woodwind & Brass have several BW altos starting at £370! Excellent folks!
 
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Rogerb

Member
Messages
766
Location
Costa Blanca, Spain
I have some anecdotal evidence from my teacher that the pads on the Packers are inclined to be sticky.

I had no problems at all with my Hanson SA-5, which has an excellent servicing plan, and of course am rapturous about my 'one-off' BW (which has similar characteristics to the silver-plate model, plus rolled tone holes)....but that cost a bit more.

If you live anywhere near Hanson (between Huddersfield and Oldham), I'd say their SA-8 would be worth a try.
 

rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Location
Løten, Norway
Hi John,
reasonably priced new or used? No matter what, try before buy. I bought a cheap Chinese alto as a substitute for a severely leaking Yanagisawa. It sounds just like any other great alto. In fact, it sounds (almost) better than the Yani. But when it comes to the key-work, it gave evidence of why it was cheap (around 300£). Sticky pads, key alignment mismatches. I had to bend the octave shift lever a quarter of an inch to the left to have the neck (of the sax obviously) in a comfy position and still have the upper octave key close. It was just a push with the thumb to get it done. That says inferior quality to me. Nothing lasting in other words. So, what ever you do, try before buy.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
Hi John,
reasonably priced new or used? No matter what, try before buy. I bought a cheap Chinese alto as a substitute for a severely leaking Yanagisawa. It sounds just like any other great alto. In fact, it sounds (almost) better than the Yani. But when it comes to the key-work, it gave evidence of why it was cheap (around 300£). Sticky pads, key alignment mismatches. I had to bend the octave shift lever a quarter of an inch to the left to have the neck (of the sax obviously) in a comfy position and still have the upper octave key close. It was just a push with the thumb to get it done. That says inferior quality to me. Nothing lasting in other words. So, what ever you do, try before buy.

My Corton De Luxe alto (Yanagisawa stencil, A-5 model) would be perfect back up sax for you!!! I think a used sax is a better than buying a new low price. You could get the Corton for roughly the same money as you bought your low price sax. Needs a a basic service, but that seems to be the case with your new sax as well!

Thomas
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
766
Location
Costa Blanca, Spain
I recall Stephen Howard's doing a check on the key 'elasticity'/resistance to bending of a BW versus other more prestigious makes(Yani was one, IIRC).
The BW more than held its own and out-performed saxes costing much more, in this respect. I cannot recall the exact details, which may be on Stephen's website.
(And, of course, Stephen checks BWs from Woodwind & Brass before they go out, so you can be confident about their playability).

Just a very satisfied owner of two BW saxes from WW&B/SH :)
 
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rudjarl

Senile Member. Scandinavian Ambassadour of CaSLM
Messages
657
Location
Løten, Norway
Hi Thomas :)

My Corton De Luxe alto (Yanagisawa stencil, A-5 model) would be perfect back up sax for you!!!
In a few weeks I'm popping over to old Blighty and have griff do his magic on my Yani. Meanwhile I only need a working horn on Constitution Day so the Chinese bugger will suffice. As I'm not a member of any band and only play for my own amusement, there's usually no need for a back up sax. But thanks for the offer :)
 

johnyp

New Member
Messages
4
Location
bolton
Hi ive been searching the internet looking for local music shops which are selling the saxophones im interested in at a decent price and have managed to find the yamaha 275 for £630 and the yamaha 475 for £950 both brand new, which i think is a bargain compared to other places ive seen them retail at. I might be tempted to spend a little more than i want to and get the yamaha 475 which should last me a lifetime as ive heard how good they are and i wouldnt lose alot of money if i decide to sell it either.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi John!

It sounds like you primarily want a Yamaha, in which case buy a Yamaha. I would personally rate the 6 or 8 series, but not less than that from Yamaha. Choose what you feel happy choosing, however, and enjoy your purchase!

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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