All fees from subs and sales are given to special needs music education charities

Saxophones Best soprano model

Kenken

New Member
Messages
3
Hi first time to cafesaxophone. Need to hear some suggestions on best saxophone soprano with the less intonation challenges. I know all SOP have intonation issues but looking for the one that typically have the least. Budget is not an issue. Thanks
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,108
From experience and reading Yamaha and Yanagisawa are pretty good in this respect.

But I'm sure others will have some more recommendations.

Welcome to the café :)

Jx
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
12,561
I use a gear4music. I had massive intonation problems till i found the right mouthpiece for me and it. A few years on and all is sweet. Mouthpiece position is critical. 1mm can throw things out.

Having said all that, if money was no object I'd be having a Yani. A Yani everything. I've never come across one I didn't like.
;)
 

La Chèvre

New Member
Messages
20
I think there is more reliable brands than others as said previously. However even high end models can have intonation problems. The soprano is also a tiny beast which requires good tech skills to be set up properly : cups levelling is crucial. Any leak can also be an issue on the whole register.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,163
If budget is not an issue then I would go for a top-of-the-line Yanagisawa or Yamaha.
 

spike

Old Indian
Subscriber
Messages
2,230
And . . . as always -
You do need to try before buy - a couple of reasons why:
They come in bendy and straight versions.
Straight versions come with either straight or curved neck.
I like straight ones and play a curved neck version.
I have intonation as well as embouchure problems with a straight neck.
It's a case of what suits you best.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,266
I concur with trying before buying. It’s a personal choice. I have a Yamaha YSS-475ii. The intonation is very manageable. No more tricky than on my alto.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,402
In my experience playing a soprano is a lot like playing the oboe or singing. You have to hear the pitch in your mind first and then make whatever adjustment needed to play that pitch on the instrument---especially when playing longer tones.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,776
Total agreement with jbtsax. The higher pitched instruments require you to hear the note or it's not possible to play in tune. The above recommendations are good and I'd add to the list Rampone and Cazzani as having a bit more "character" to the tone. The Japanese horns are technically excellent, but lack that je ne sais quoi. If you want mellow the older Martin horns have a beautiful tone, but more difficult ergos. If you want to go cheap(er) buy a good quality Taiwanese horn like a Barone or Kessler.
 

RobBari

New Member
Subscriber
Messages
24
If money is no problem...
buy 5, sell 4.

RC, Selmer, Yam, Yani, Keilwerth,

"Je ne sais quoi" is a good approach - my Mark VI was effortless but boring. That may reflect more on my then-competence than on the horn, but it wasn't right for me at that time.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,163
Hi first time to cafesaxophone. Need to hear some suggestions on best saxophone soprano with the less intonation challenges. I know all SOP have intonation issues but looking for the one that typically have the least. Budget is not an issue. Thanks
In terms of intonation, my Sequoia soprano is more dialled-in than my alto and tenor saxes.
However, when I got it I had big intonation problems, because I had unconsciously learned to compensate for the vagiaries of the soprano I had before.
 
OP
K

Kenken

New Member
Messages
3
Thank you everyone for taking time to provide advice. Bottom line is there are brands and also personal preference. I am still looking for a low out of tune ratio from a factory instrument, I know I will have to work on getting some notes in tune myself, but again the least the better. I once purchased a high end alto that 33% (11 /33) of the notes were out of tune vs tuner 440. I returned it and received one that had 7 out of tune, which was a great improvement, as I have to worry less about this and could concentrate on other areas of the instrument. :)
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,266
Bottom line is, no matter what brand you buy, if you want to be a good saxophone player, you have to concentrate on intonation. There are no saxophones that have a 100% ratio. None.

We gave you brands because that's what you asked for. We went with personal preferences because personal experience is all we have. We have no way of knowing how any of these horns would work for you.

As I said, I have a YSS-475ii. I don't find it exceptionally hard to play in tune. No harder than my altos. Would you find it the same? Who knows? You would have to try it.

Some good suggestions here. If you can, get to a good shop and try out some sopranos. Find what works best for you. Good luck.
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,008
I have to worry less about this and could concentrate on other areas of the instrument
Good plan, though you will still have to worry a bit... the sax isn't known for its accurate tuning

Neither is the sax, unlike your tuner, supposed to be equal temperament... that will always be something to think, if not worry, about
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,528
Many good sopranos out there. I'm with Nick W. I think to play soprano needs more work compare to alto or tenor. A teacher or an advanced soprano player can help. I'm a terrible soprano player but I really like to blow the soprano sax. I play old traditional sopranos like Buescher TT, Conn NW, Kohlert and Keilwerth (stencil). One piece sopranos. I play Selmer "Classic" D mouthpiece. My freinds are playing Yanigiswaxa S-800, Yamaha YSS-62, B&C S1, Selmer MKVI and they sounds fantastic ... . The old sopranos use to go for less money. But maybe needs alternative fingers to play well?
 

Hipparion

Member
Messages
148
Since we are throwing taiwanese horns in the middle, I may add GB (Gilbert Bouton) soprano.
Mine sounds fine to me intonation-wise (but I am not the best judge about intonation, so...), and it will not break the bank either.
Actually, with any modern soprano, the main issue will probably be better addressed with a good mouthpiece, and... practice. A lot. As usual...
 

malteof

Growing a beard
Subscriber
Messages
84
Yamaha's YSS-82Z(R) is not too bad. Chris Potter said he can play it in tune, which is pretty high praise :p
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,128
Here's the thing, here:
I am still looking for a low out of tune ratio from a factory instrument, I know I will have to work on getting some notes in tune myself, but again the least the better. I once purchased a high end alto that 33% (11 /33) of the notes were out of tune vs tuner 440. I returned it and received one that had 7 out of tune, which was a great improvement, as I have to worry less about this and could concentrate on other areas of the instrument. :)
What is "out of tune" to you ? Because threads on intonation, can go for pages before the OP actually specifies this...and it is important.

Some folks sorta obsess on their electronic tuner device. So, IMHO, if you are talking about a horn which has a variance of like...30 cents up and down....THIS is one thing. THis can be improved upon by the choice of horn.

But if, by your definition, 'poor intonation' = ohhhhhhh, 10-15 cents variance up and down....then you need to shift your expectations. Because (as others have intimated), you may be thinking the piece of hardware is the primary answer to your concerns.

If you returned that Alto which had 1/3 of it's notes at, say, only a 12-15 cents variance across the registers...brooother, there was nothing wrong with that horn which a couple of weeks of playing it (and perhaps trying 3 or 4 mouthpieces) wouldn't have very likely resolved. If the variance, again, was like a consistent 25+ cents, then that's a different thing...

So, if you have a soprano which has a 10-15 cents variance up and down - and saaaaay, even a couple notes on it actually hit 20 cents variance....I think most sax players would say such a sop does NOT have bad or challenging intonation, actually....
 
Last edited:
Saxholder Pro
Help!

Sign up to the Mailing List

Top Bottom