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Saxophones Buying an Alto Sax

cannonballer

Member
Messages
38
Hello,
I am currently looking into getting a new professional model sax. So far here is what I have tried at my local music store:
Yamaha YAS 875EXW
-the action and keys feel just about perfect
-palm keys sound amazing
-pitch is very good
-the tone is a little thin

Yamaha YAS 62II
-bright sound
-action and keys are okay
-tone and pitch are both amazing

Cannonball Raven
- very bright
- perfect amount of resistance
- low C and down come out great and are in tune!
- high Eb is very flat and requires a lot of adjustment

Out of these three, the Raven was my favorite. I am curretnly waiting on an 82z to get shipped in and I am very excited. Anyways, what do you all recommend? What companies are most trusted? What do you all play and are you happy with what you have?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Go for the feel of the keys and tuning. Tone can be sorted by the way you play and the mouthpiece/reed combo.
 

Juju

Senior Member
Messages
280
I am very happy with my Yamaha YAS 62. Alto is not my main instrument, and I wouldn't want an alto that is difficult keywise and/ or intonationwise. It's nice to get it out of the case and being able to play it straight away. It's a very reliable instrument. Having said that, I find the sound somewhat boring, so I'm actually quite tempted to try some vintage horns...
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
I play a CB Raven tenor and am very happy with it. Like the alto you tried, great bottom end. I can't say that I have had an issue with the top, but I've been playing it for over 2 years now so maybe I just adjust automatically.
 

McSax

New Member
Messages
13
if I were you id have a look at some keilwerths. I play a SX90R alto myself and found it one of the best horns for its price when I went and tried some out. (i tried about 40, vintage and modern).

I think that the keilwerths are a bit like yamahas and yanigagsawas in the fact that they're fairly free blowing and responsive, but ive also found that they have more character to the tone than the yamahas and yanis.
 

MMM

Senior Member
Messages
912
Well out of the altos mentioned, the closest I've played was a 62 purple logo (which I should not have sold!), it was great and the new ones should be close to same quality. My only concern would be that when the 62 was the top of the range, you knew Yamaha would take exrta care before releasing them into the wild, now that Yamaha makes the Custom and Custom Z as their pro offerings... cannot say, but make your own conclusions.
If I were you I would wait for the Z: I played a silver plated Z that was in for repair and I almost wanted to go out and get one! Beautiful tone, extremely powerful and Yamaha's keywork! It would be top of my list if I had the dosh.

...however I would also try a Yanagisawa...
hey that's what I think!
If you're concerned about quality, it would be hard to beat a Yamaha or a Yani (I play both a sop and tenor), cannot vouch for Cannonball.
Hope this help a little!
Cheers,
M.
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
655
Hello Jake
Have you thought about a Mauriat? I have one and believe it is the finest Saxophone I'll ever play (I'm getting on a bit now).
It very much depends what sort of alto sound you are looking for, but it suits me, and I prefer it to the Yas-62, MkVI, MkVII, Bueschers, Martins etc. I've had.
Certainly worth considering in my view.

Have fun.

ps. For Juju, you'll be lucky to get a vintage alto without the associated drawbacks concerning easy ergonomics and intonation.
See above re: the Mauriat range. Big rich sound with bags of character, an easy blow, rapid keywork, solidly built etc...
Unless you are interested in buying a Buescher or Martin from me, of course ;-)
 
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Juju

Senior Member
Messages
280
ps. For Juju, you'll be lucky to get a vintage alto without the associated drawbacks concerning easy ergonomics and intonation.
See above re: the Mauriat range. Big rich sound with bags of character, an easy blow, rapid keywork, solidly built etc...
Unless you are interested in buying a Buescher or Martin from me, of course ;-)
I don't know the Mauriat altos, but the tenors are not for me. Buescher or Martin sounds interesting, are you anywhere near London??
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,806
For some years ago i tried to play more modern tenor saxes. I tried Yanagisawa (800 and 900 models) and Yamaha 62. They were great when it came to ergonomic and pitch/intonation. The quality was also overall good. But the tone/sound they produce???? So predictable and boring!! My Dukoffs and Rovner mouthpieces didn’t play well on these saxes as well.

So I sold the modern saxes and to be frank I don’t miss them at all!! I missed the tone/sound of my Martins (Comm I-III). But I also like the sound that King (Zephyr and Super 20, early models to mid 70’s), Conn 10M (prewar models from the early 30’s), Beuscher (Aristocrat and 400) and SML (rev D, Gold medal and Std model)

I’m into Blues-, R&B-and Rock ’n’ Roll Saxophone so it may explain my weakness for these horns!! The modern saxes are fine instrument but nothing for me.

Thomas
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I don't know the Mauriat altos, but the tenors are not for me. Buescher or Martin sounds interesting, are you anywhere near London??
Unfortunately Northern California is in the States... so a trip to London may be costly. Have you tried a Selmer Ref54 Alto - lovely tone and comfortable to play. Agree that a vintage model may suit you better if you want some character to the sound - Martin/Conn/Buescher are all worth investigating. Final recommendation would be for Rampone and Cazzani/Borgani, but they may not be readily accessible to you.

Good luck
Tom
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,048
Tom's point re the R &C and Borgs is spot on IMHO particularly the Borgani Jubilee and pre jubilee model. A thick beefy sound with modern and familiar ergonomics IMO.
 

Nick Martin

New Member
Messages
18
Picking up on Thomsax, interesting that he recommends SML Rev D or Gold Medal as a good vintage option. I have a Rev D alto from '56 in mint condition, essentially unplayed, original pads with flat metal resos sealing brilliantly following a quick once over from Wille Garnett (had to replace the G# pad only), original worked Riffault Artist blank unused, original cork grease!!, mint tan leather case with brass locks and keys. Bought it 5 years ago and have hardly touched it (clarinettist). Amazing sound, the Rev D is definitely rounder in tone than the Gold Medal, but with enormous power and a broad tonal palette. Unlike anything I'd ever tried before, the sound just jumps out! If anyone's interested, I may be persuaded that it needs to be played...am London based.
 

Juju

Senior Member
Messages
280
Unfortunately Northern California is in the States... so a trip to London may be costly. Have you tried a Selmer Ref54 Alto - lovely tone and comfortable to play. Agree that a vintage model may suit you better if you want some character to the sound - Martin/Conn/Buescher are all worth investigating. Final recommendation would be for Rampone and Cazzani/Borgani, but they may not be readily accessible to you.
Good luck
Tom
Ohh, that's a bit far away... I just had a chance to try some vintage altos - I fell in love with a king zephyr :D good ergonomics and easy to play in tune!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Ohh, that's a bit far away... I just had a chance to try some vintage altos - I fell in love with a king zephyr :D good ergonomics and easy to play in tune!
Lovely horn, my teacher has one. Try it with an old Brilhart tonalin personaline if you can find one..... Warm, smooth, creamy..... Fabulous sound.
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
1,440
Hi. A weary one. Mondays i play at full tilt. Kinda set a tone; pardon the pun, for the week. I am new still. Browsing about. I have noticed this thread. I am gonna read it all through. Get the Lowdown.
 

Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
1,440
Hi again. Hmmm. An opinion? It is exactly and only that. Yamaha, and Yanigasawa are boring. No character. Cannonball? Never played nor seen one. I beleive they are made by Mormons, and have a weird stone in the mix. Rampone &Cazzani? AMAZING. One day i will go to Italy and get my own. Phil Barone. Closest modern horn to R&C. Why i got one. Though i play tenor. Borgani. Dont know enough to comment. Mauriat; no comment. Zephyr, again i have owned tenors and baris. Great great horns. If i wanted an alto;...If i had the foldin R&C 2006 AG'first choice. Barone second. Vintage? I would try to raise a little more for a 20. Couf Superba I, is a killer vintage tenor. Dunno if they do an alto. Probably no help, but the best of luck man.
 
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