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Beginner Sax Buying a saxophone after grade 5 - The Bank of Mum and Dad!


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I have something of a “how long is a piece of string question” but maybe some of the Sax players in this forum may be able to help me.

My daughter is a very keen Sax player – she plays alto sax in the junior academy of one of the music schools and is currently grade 5 but she is expected to be around grade 8 in the next few years. She is also talking about studying music when she leaves secondary school and so will continue to receive Sax lessons there too.

Her current instrument is a Trevor James ‘Horn’ Revolution II.

A couple of questions –

At what stage do you think we might need to get her a new alto Saxophone and what sort of price would we need to be thinking in order for it to make a difference?

So far she has only been playing the Alto Sax but wants in the next year or two to get a Soprano Sax as well. We will hire a good quality one for a few months for her to get used to it but when she comes to buy Soprano she is likely to be around grade 6 or 7 on the Alto and so presumably a beginners Soprano may not make sense? So what sort of price range would make sense for the new Soprano?

If anyone can give some pointers then it will give me and her mum something to think about and we can start saving! I will be sitting down when I read the replies!


Hi Johnny,

welcome to the Cafe. :D
I possibly can't help you much on prices, but when I was looking round for my new sax, I discovered the shop that I eventually went to to buy my Alto also did instrument hire. Their web-site says: If when you return the instrument you wish to purchase a new one of the same type All the rent paid (within one year) will be allowed against the suggested selling price.
This was Trevor Jones Instruments in Bristol. You might be able to find something similar where you are? At least this way if your daughter decides she definitely wanted to play the soprano, you'd not actually be wasting the money by renting for a year first.


This would be a hard one to answer. Your daughter is obviously well on the way towards becoming a handy player. It seems to me that she is probably moving around an environment where there is a fair bit discussion of the merits of various types of saxophones. An obvious question to ask would be: in what way is her current instrument holding or likely to hold her back. Answering that might give you one or two pointers as to where you should look.
This from someone who's been playing for a year.... Hiring the Soprano is a good idea, apart from the blowing it's very like an alto and once she gets that
right, she'll be playing at the same level as alto.

I guess you're really asking how much - and when.... Have the same issue over my daughter's cello. Best thing would be to discuss with her music teacher, but I'd guess that a pro level sop (assuming she sticks with it after the hire period) is a good idea at this stage, sounds as if it'd be false economy to get a student model. As for cost, you're assuming she's going to keep this, play it hard - and feel and sound will be important, so would be a good idea to get in touch with one of the good sax dealers (there are a couple posting here - Jules and Birdman) and talk to them.

One way of extending the life of a sax is to experiment with better/different mouthpieces, they have a big effect on playability and sound - but they do nothing to improve the keywork.
Congrats to your daughter on doing so well at the sax. As she is very committed to the sax it would be silly to get a beginners model. A Bauhaus Walstein straight or curved soprano sax would be an excellent choice IMO - professional quality, at student prices (should be able to get one for £400 or so). I have one as do many others on the forum.

Regarding the Alto matter it sounds a safe bet that your daughter will continue with the sax so it would be a good idea to get a pro quality horn. There are many out there which are recommendable (new and used) such as Yanagisawa A901, Yamaha YAS 62, and many others - it would be worth doing some independent research to see what turns up. Again Bauhaus Walstein make excellent quality saxes at around £500 or so, and you should get something very desirable below £1000. Let us know what part of the country you are and it may be possible to suggest places you could visit.

Also, as above, it may be an idea to look at mouthpiece/ligature/reed set ups as they can develop/change the sound significantly. It would be useful to get an idea of what sort of sound your daughter wants to produce - brighter sound, mellow sound, dark sound, and what music she wants/prefers to play - classical, pop, rock, funk, jazz etc. Lots to think about but can help you narrow down what you/she are looking for.

Kind regards for now

For example "Preloved" has a used Yamaha YAS 62 for sale at £1000 at time of going to press..
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Some good advice here - one supplemental thing though...
If you do decide to buy new as opposed to 'pre-loved', arrange to buy the instrument through the school (music or secondary) before she's 18! Students of school-age don't pay tax and therefore you can save VAT and effectively get 20% off by doing this if it's going to be a sax for your daughter exclusively (i.e. you're not allowed to play it yourself!). The school should be able to buy the sax from the dealer, then you pay the school. Easy!


You can imagine the trouble I had trying to persuade my 15 yo daughter to commit to trombone lessons........:shocked:;}

Buying through a school could mean you get a new pro quality Yamaha/Yanagisawa for about £1200.
Worth considering. Also a Howarth Chiltern (at approx. £1000) would be about £800, for example.

Kind regards
When I looked at the US Prowinds site (a music retailer) the other day, I noticed that the Trevor James Revolution II is listed under "professional saxophones". Now, I know nothing about the TJ Rev II, but if the classification is anywhere near right, this suggests that the instrument has a lot of potential worth exploring. Just a thought.
I just wanted to say thanks very much for all the replies above. They have all been very helpful. At the moment we are thinking of getting the Soprano and I was suprised at just what good value the Bauhaus Walstein appears to be. I am going to post some questions about them in the Saxophone forum. Really impressed by the helpfulness of the replies and the friendliness of this site - thanks again Johnny.
Hi Johnny!

Glad you have got somewhere, and the forum members have been of some help. When you check out SOTW and other forums do bear in mind that they will generally know very little about BW saxes - most comments, I suspect, will be ones posted by members of Cafe Saxophone, though several of those players based in the States may well have imported one from the UK (they have not normally been available in the US). Pete, the man behind the forum, plays a BW straight soprano professionally and is one of their many advocates. I would certainly buy one as soon as you can before the price goes up any further. When I bought a curved bronze one in November 2008 they were £325; www.woodwindandbrass.co.uk currently charge £600 for said instrument, but have straights for £430 upwards at different specifications. The BW is good value as it is a professional quality instrument at student prices.

Hope it works out well for you!
Kind regards
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