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Saxophones Another alternative budget sax

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I've got my hands on a different alto, an Odyssey OAS130. This is a basic student sax, made in China (of course) and sold from between £240 and £300. the example I've got is used but only barely, and is essentially as new.

Out of the case, initial impressions. Case itself, cheap plastic, not great but acceptable. Mouthpiece = crap, of course. Accessories (sling, cleaning kit) surprisingly good.

In the hands, quite weighty, feels solid. Weighs 3 1/4 kg. Action tight, firm, maybe a bit too much so, but feels very well put together. Has high F#, double arms on low C, metal adjustable RH thumb rest. No rough edges or evidence of real corner cutting. All so far, so good, and very typical of the genre.

Playing? Plays just like a saxophone. Actually, plays just like a saxophone which costs a lot more than this one did. Slightly bright, but decent tone, intonation very good. After playing it for half an hour I found it to be flexible, able to play soft or sleazy, and surprisingly loud too. Sounds very clearly from bottom Bb to top F#. In contrast to the BW alto I had a while ago, no sticky pads.

So, broadly comparable to any of the other new wave Chinese student saxes. Still very cheap. Miles better than the student saxes I started on (I remember a Boosey and Hawkes Powertone as being particularly bad). Buy one of these, get it checked over/set up, add a Rico Graftonite mouthpiece and you'd have a really good sax for well under three hundred quid. Bargain.

I have no financial or other interest in Odyssey or the importers of these saxes. I just wanted to post this short review as a way of illustrating that the range of good cheap saxes continues to expand. I'd still recommend an absolute beginner buys from a decent shop such as sax.co.uk, Myalls or Howarths, but there is another option if shop prices are just out of reach.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
I tried the Odyssey premiere alto sax out at the Gear4Music shop in York. Unfortunately I was a complete novice then (not far off now) and didn't know what motor boating was or how to fix it, nor that brand new saxes can have sticky pads, so I was put off at the time and bought something else. Other than those things though it certainly seemed a very solid and well made sax.

Since then I've tried an Odyssey premiere tenor which has been my favourite tenor so far (out of a very small number sampled). I found it very comfortable under the fingers and with the kind of tone I was hoping for. Again it seemed very solidly built and was by FAR the heaviest tenor I've ever held.

I still haven't bought a new tenor yet but so far the Odyssey premiere is the best (for me) that I've tried but also the most expensive (at around the £550 mark if memory serves)
 
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daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
I wanted a curved soprano again for leaving in the car for the odd practice when sitting about at gigs.I went back to straight sop i while back.I got the Thomann curved sop and its freaky good.I love it.Even sold my Yamaha sop and just kept this.£300 and its great.They came on big time.Theres lots of great cheap choice now.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
That was what I was thinking of, too.

I'm not the world's greatest player, but I have been playing for over thirty years, so I guess I'm not a beginner.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
I wanted a curved soprano again for leaving in the car for the odd practice when sitting about at gigs.I went back to straight sop i while back.I got the Thomann curved sop and its freaky good.I love it.Even sold my Yamaha sop and just kept this.£300 and its great.They came on big time.Theres lots of great cheap choice now.
Never even heard of that brand.
Yamaha is a Japanese maker. A friend of mine had one, once. Thomann is a virtual shop orbiting above Germany.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Just got my paws on another budget sax - this time it's a Hanson Gulf, their cheaper line they ran until a year or so ago. It's got fully ribbed construction (oo err Missus, better say no more or Kev'll rap me across the knuckles), other than that, bog standard, high F#, adjustable thumb hook, etc. Cheap but OK case, poor mouthpiece, all as expected. Feels heavy. solid. Nice action, bit firm but that suits me.

But something different. All the cheapo saxes I've played recently tended towards the bright, but this is really full and mellow. Very nice indeed, sounds like a far more expensive horn. Off to play it again now.

OK, this model is not currently available, but the point of posting is to emphasise again that a really good sax can be had for very little money. That really is joyous.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
You see a good few of these at very low prices on Ebay Jon.
I haven't played one but have heard they are a decent starter/backup instrument.

Hanson do seem to cover all needs from beginner to pro.
I couldn't be happier with my ST8.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
I couldn't be happier with my ST8.
But i could be happier with your ST8 next to my SA8 ;)

Hanson's are good sax's before i got my SA8, i had the SA5 and was happy with it, to be honest sorry i sold it as it would if made a good back up. Missed out on a TJ horn the other day i was watching, went for £87 !! Gutted
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,851
Anyone heard of Montreux saxes?

Or Carmichael saxes?

Any comments?

:confused:
 
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ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,088
I have a Fremont tenor sourced from the john Bilham shop in Norwich. Awesome sound in the right hands - £330 in mint condition from eBay. I believe their altos are as good as well. Worth looking out for.
 
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