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Beginner Sax Best Alto sax

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,279
Ok Ladies/Gents

I started alto sax Feb 2010 with the alto sax my kids bought me, it is a stagg same as this one http://rainbowmusic.co.uk/shop/syst...hop_param=cid=1&aid=77SBL&position=position1&

It does have a good sound according to my teacher, sounds good when he plays it, anyhow i'm looking to upgrade to a quality Alto sax very soon.

Can anyone give me a recommendation of a quality sax at around the £300-£400 mark, i don't mind buying 2nd hand, if i'm honest i would prefer to buy 2nd hand as long as it's been cared for,(tight git) :blush:

any help would be much appreciated
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Hi Trimmy
If you've only been playing since Feb last year, and you and your teacher like the sound of the Stagg I'd say stick with it for a while longer, perhaps spend a bit on a new mouthpiece as this can make an awfully big difference to the overall sound of the instrument.
I'm still playing my original starter tenor bought in 2001 and I'm still improving on it as regards to tone development.
It's easy to think that a new instrument will suddenly make you a better player and it probably will because you'll want to play it more.
But there is more in the Stagg if you bring it out. Having said that if you want a new horn then get stuck in mate.
Lots of forum members swear by the Bauhaus Walstein alto and at £475 or so it seems like a steal, but I wouldn't know others can give you this advice.
Hope this is of help
Andrew
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Trimmy!

Do have a look at www.saxophoneheaven.com - a shop in Oxford that has three saxes that you may be interested in, bearing in mind Andrews comments above. There is a new BW Alto at £399, and two used Saxes at around £500 - a Buescher True-Tone, and a Borgani (top class Italian hand made sax - a new one would cost around £3000 plus). Any sax sold from them will have been properly serviced - excellent firm.

Kind regards
Tom
 

les3716

Member
Messages
181
Ok Ladies/Gents

I started alto sax Feb 2010 with the alto sax my kids bought me, it is a stagg same as this one http://rainbowmusic.co.uk/shop/syst...hop_param=cid=1&aid=77SBL&position=position1&

It does have a good sound according to my teacher, sounds good when he plays it, anyhow i'm looking to upgrade to a quality Alto sax very soon.

Can anyone give me a recommendation of a quality sax at around the £300-£400 mark, i don't mind buying 2nd hand, if i'm honest i would prefer to buy 2nd hand as long as it's been cared for,(tight git) :blush:

any help would be much appreciated

Hi Trimmy, My thoughts are you would need to find somewhere you could try different Alto's out - Are there any retail outlets near you, that would allow you to do this?

May be a trip to sax.co.uk would be worth considering!
I wish you luck,
Les.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,279
I do like the look of the Bauhaus Walstein, done some research and they do get very good write ups
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,279
Hi Trimmy, My thoughts are you would need to find somewhere you could try different Alto's out - Are there any retail outlets near you, that would allow you to do this?

May be a trip to sax.co.uk would be worth considering!
I wish you luck,
Les.

We have a few music stores in Liverpool one is Curly music who are a official dealer for Bauhaus so i'll go and try one out
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would back that up. Packers are great people and an ex-demo student alto will set you back about 200 quid. Saxophone Heaven? Well, sorry Tom, the guy doesn't get a very good press around these parts.

I am aware of others experience, but have pointed several people in that direction who have been very satisfied with their experience, so just after a balanced view - he may be a reformed character for all I know, but am awae that some have found him a little crusty etc.

Love to all,\
Tom

I'd still buy the Borgani if it was me.........
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I would back that up. Packers are great people and an ex-demo student alto will set you back about 200 quid. Saxophone Heaven? Well, sorry Tom, the guy doesn't get a very good press around these parts.

It's not how he sells, it's what he's selling. I have no complaints about the guy (I have bought a good sax there) :welldone
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Best price I can find for a BW Alto is £299 for a Bronze Alto - used, and serviced at www.studiosaxophones.co.uk - run by a Cafe Saxophone member Pete Scaddan. You could buy yourself a superb mouthpiece and still spend less than £500!

Kind regards
Tom
 
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trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,279
Thanks for the link Tommy, iv'e emailed for some pics and extra info, it's also good listening to the music on the site when your searching :D
 
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trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,279
Just an update on me purchasing a new alto, i visited curlymusic today and tried 3 saxes Yam YAS275 and 2 BW's, the AS-Y and the AS-PD "AI"

Without going into all the details, remember i'm a novice in this field, i liked the yam it played good, felt good then tried the AS-PD "Action improved" WOW, i loved it the sound was great, played very easy, felt good and was quite heavy. Then went to the AS-Y which was lighter in weight and also played very well, had a nice sound, i was very impressed with both BW's.

I favour the Action Improved BW, but i'm going to ask my sax teacher and see if he can come with me next week and try them again, and get his opinion.

This is the one i favour :)
http://www.studiosaxophones.co.uk/Data/Pages/bauhauspages/BW delux.htm
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Trimmy!

Teachers have only heard of Yamaha instruments - depends how cool they are. I would hope that the teacher appreciates the difference in quality as you clearly do, between the YAS275 and the BW options. As Pete Thomas once famously said - it is a no-brainer! (quote supplied as required!).

Now just get a mouthpiece that is NOT the good old Selmer S80 C* - a Runyon 22 6 tip opening would be great!
Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Nothing wrong with the Selmers... And they play well. A bit pricey, though. But I think Tom's hinting that others can add more to your sound for less money. I'm playing a Pillinger soloist copy on the alto, brilliant!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Kev!

Nothing wrong with Selmers. It is just that some set ups are regularly recommended which do not involve much thought or up to date knowledge on the part of certain individuals. As the S80 C* is usually seen as suited to classical music it would be nice to think that any recommendations took note of what music someone would like to play - jazz, blues, rock or other, for example. As an adult I have just done my own research about what is out there,and started on a Selmer Super Session with my Selmer Alto, but was really pleased when my teacher offered to let me try all his available mouthpieces to see.

So it is just a post recognising that a lot of teachers (not all) started as 12-14 yo and can often recommend stuff suited to teenagers who end up playing classical tunes in the school windband, which may not be appropriate in all cases.

Kind regards
Tom

BTW I am aware that the Selmer Soloist always seems to get high praise - will have to try one sooner than later!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
We're dragging this OT, but it's sort of relevant.

Late last year I bought a cheap chinese sax, simply because it had a Selmer mouthpiece (but no specs given) and the buy it now price was about what the sax was worth. Had no intention of keeping the sax, or the mouthpiece, but wanted to split and sell on. (mercenary, but Bari GAS needs to be funded). The sax arrived, with an S80, C* and it's original mouthpiece. Just for fun I tried the sax, on a few mouthpieces. Sax was really difficult to play on all except the Selmer, kept jumping an octave, and you never knew when you blew a note, what was going to happen. I stuck the Selmer on, and it blew clean from top to bottom. Still a touch tricky on a few notes, but nowhere near so bad.

Speculation, but as far as I can tell, the sax had been bought for a girl to learn on, and she'd given up quickly, the sax was like new. Pity, I bet she was completely disillusioned by the stock mouthpiece and the problems with the instrument, and by the time the Selmer arrived it was too late.

So I tried the Selmer on another cheap chinese alto. Same story. Tricky with other pieces, but reasonable on that.

So I tried the Selmer on the Kohlert, which is set up well. Blew cleanly and easily..... But compared to the modern Soloist E I was using, very poor sound. But a much easier blow. And the hardest blow was the mouthpiece that came with the Kohlert, a vintage Brilhart Tonalin Personalin S5. But what a sound. I'll stick with the soloists for now, but when I improve, that Brilhart will become my main alto piece. Warm, round, rich, but not overdark or harsh. Warmer than the Meyers. I'm beginning to think I shold get that copied, with an easier to play facing.

I repeated the exercise recently when the Pillinger copy arrived. No real change. But it was interesting to hear how close the Pillinger copy was to the modern piece. In some ways I preferred the modern one.

I came to the conclusion that the S80 C* is very sax friendly, very player friendly (from the number of recommendations) and a good, if expensive, choice as it hides a lot of faults that would otherwise impede progress. One other thought was that the S80 doesn't have such a characteristic sound, allowing the player more control, but less extreme results. Only downside is the price. Imagine buying a cheap sax for less than 200 and then being told by your teacher that the mouthpiece is rubbish, and you need to spend another 100 for a better mouthpiece. No wonder Yamaha get so many recommendations. Like the Selmer and the Ricos, they work.....
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
On the subject of mothpieces

There's no doubt that the 4c mouthpiece that comes with the YAS-275 is a great mouthpiece. However, I think for adults its tends to be a bit on the small size. Maybe an option of either 4c or 6c should be offered by Yamaha. The Yani come with a 6# which I think is better suited of an adult.

The stock 4c mouthpiece that come with the BW Saxes are as good as the Yamaha's but again too small.

I think for someone starting out you can't go wrong with either of the following ebonite mouthpieces:

  • Yanagisawa Ebonite 6# - Currently £63.00 from sax.co.uk (usually £126.00)
  • Yamaha Plastic - £30 (bargain)
  • Vandoren Optimum Ebonite AL3 - £130 (Easy blowing for a student and sounds great)
  • Runyon 22 6# - £31.00 (Awesome mouthpiece and great value)

All four are easy to blow for the beginner and can play everything you'll be learning in lessons. I don't recommend the Rico Graphonite I have tried three and they were inconsistent and are less free blowing (Not a novice piece in my opinion).

If I was to pick one then I would suggest the Yani 6# but if price is an issue then the Yamaha or the Runyon would be superb options. The Vandoren is a great mouthpiece on the YAS-275 I've found and played that for quite a while.
 
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Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
On the subject of Alto's

The Yamaha YAS-275 is a cracking horn to learn on (I have one myself that I use for lessons) and I don't think you can go wrong with it. Solid reliable horn!

The BW Horns are really nice :D Beautiful and well priced. If you can stretch for the better keywork I would recommend it, but either horns will serve you well. It's okay to ask to guidance from your teacher but at the end of the day its you that is paying for the horn and be playing it day after day so get the one that you want and enjoy the most.
 
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