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Buying an alto.

jeremyjuicewah

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Going to uk in three weeks to buy an alto. I am a bit bothered by it now. My plan is to try anything which is priced within my budget without prejudice. I plan to spend up to 1000 pounds. When I try one I may or may not like the sound, how it plays. Presuming it comes with a mouthpiece how much of what I like or dont like might be mouthpiece and how much horn? I thought I might take along a couple of mouthpieces I am familiar with too. But maybe those mouthpieces dont seem the same with that horn. And maybe the reed is a variable too. Its bound to be really. I have never played another instrument but the one I have so I dont know. Also, you cover the mouthpiece with something when you try. Never seen one. Should the shop have this or should I take my own? Do they sell them in Boots?:))) I am joking, of course. Seriously, I dont want to spend a week touring the north east music emporia (ums? here we go again) but I dont want to drop a clanger either. Any advice much appreciated, as always.
Mike
 

Pete Thomas

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I would only ever try a horn with my own mouthpiece and reeds, it cuts out a variable that you really don't want to deal with and most mouthpieces that come with the horn aren't that good.

Unless it's a vintage horn, then there shouldn't be a mouthpiece mismatch.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
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1,179
Hi Mike,
I've just been looking at the Hanson Music site. Admittedly they are not one of the popular brands (I have a Hanson tenor which plays very well and is well made). At the moment they are offering an ex-demonstration SA8V ('V' for vintage) alto for £840, complete with a 5 year warranty (price new £1,899). Might be worth a look. What do you think Pete ;}

John.
 

Pete Thomas

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I played some Hansons years ago, they were extremely good compared with the competition. However since then there are many other importers of Asian horns that may be better.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
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10,281
A few months ago i tried the BW AS-PD Bronze and it is a lovely lovely alto, the one i will be buying later on in the year :) and only £635 new from Curlymusic http://www.curlywoodwind.co.uk/altosax/bauhaus_bronze_AI_alto.htm worth a try and maybe a bit of bartering to get the price down. :)
 
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jeremyjuicewah

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1,890
That is a real swizz. I just wrote this reply and got told I was not logged in, though I was. I logged in and lost it. Happened a few times when I tried to post a recipe. I seem to go time expired. So here we go. Appreciate the tips, but MUST try before I buy. I may never buy another sax so this one has to love me. I would much rather buy online because I know it will cost me a couple of hundred more to buy in a shop. I can stretch the budget so if I do find the one for me I will have it. Bauhaus and Hanson are both makes my teacher has mentioned, but this one has to be right for me.

Pete´s comment about only using your own mouthpiece is of course sensibly but of my three, none is just so for me. The one I like best gives a beautiful tone but is very hard work. With a weaker reed it loses its tone. I would if neccessary buy a sax and a mouthpiece, if it gave me what I want. Still, Johnboy has rashly said he will get that sorted for me before I go. So, right here right now, no place to run, no place to hide, your place or mine? Cant do this weekend but what if you and Mrs. Johnboy came up and had a bite with us in the near future? If not, we can just get together and whittle away at reeds and chew tobacco and spit. Or I will happily come to yours. Lets sort it out cos her indoors thinks you are my imaginary friend.
Cheers all
Mike
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
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1,113
That is a real swizz. I just wrote this reply and got told I was not logged in, though I was. I logged in and lost it. Happened a few times when I tried to post a recipe. I seem to go time expired.

Did you tick the check box when logging in 'Remember' if you don't you'll get logged out automatically after a certain time of inactivity. Hence, writing a post.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Hi Mike,
Just had a word with 'Boss Carole', and we can come to you any weekday next week. I will bring a couple of mouthpieces and reeds, so we can try and sort something out. I've just got the Hanson ST6 tenor out of the cupboard where it's been hiding for over a year (supposed to be a MkV1 copy, HA,HA!). Will bring that along too, so you can see the workmanship and have a blow.
If you PM me (don't want these nosey bu##ers knowing where you live) your Lat/Long from Google Earth, my navigator will sort it out.
As its 35degs. in the shade, I've just drunk my last bottle of Mahou Negra (tastes a bit like Forest Brown), so I'm off to Carrefour to replenish stocks!

John.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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3,562
Umm... if you don't have a mouthpiece/reed combo that you already feel comfortable playing, then I'd wonder about the point in going in search of a new alto at all?! that isn't meant to sound harsh, just a "food for thought" devil's advocate sort of comment, because something you may like the sound of could be a completely different animal when you finally find your mouthpiece / reed set-up.

I took my own mouthpiece and reed when I went to buy my alto. I tried every alto within my price range that the shop had at the time, and the one just leapt out at me as being better by far.

I had got my head set on a Yamaha as being "the best" somehow, but of all the instruments I tried, it was the one I liked least. I loved the sound of the Selmer, but I couldn't get the whole range of notes out of it. Yet the Yani, sounded great and I could play the full range - lower Bb to upper F - so that was the one I went for in the end.
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Hi Mandy. Point taken but I have only my Chinese 160-00 pound alto that my wife bought for me nearly two years ago when I first expressed an interest. I have been very patient with it because it actually sounds quite good. I am quite attached to it but I have dropped it twice and it is not what it ought to be in the low C# dept despite some very clever work with the pliers and the mallet. I do not believe that a 160 pound instrument is worth repairing and anyway I cannot do wtihout it. Also I am quite sure that a better sax will be worth it to me now. Besides I DESERVE one, I WANT one, and I shall HAVE one. Also, just now I can afford one. I think better to have the good sax and find the mouthpiece than find the mouthpiece for the old invalid.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
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Sounds like a good enough reason to me :-D
I had a £150 second hand alto, which was also absolutely fine, but I WANTED a new one and I had the money to buy one. I had GAS and I was jolly well going to treat it!
Fortunately, my teacher had loaned me a Selmer C* mouthpiece for the old alto, and I got on really well with it, which is why I took it with me to try the new one. I still play with the C* - the yani mpouthpiece has never been out of the packet.

Which reminds me... I really should offer her some pennies for the mouthpiece she loaned me 2 years ago! I'm guessing she'd rather not have it back now!
 

jeremyjuicewah

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Thanks Paul. I will remember that.

Mandy, I bought a Selmer C* at e bay and there is nothing wrong with it, it is good, serviceable, better than my cheap one and I am happy to have it. But I know there is something better out there for me. I will take the Selmer with me just because it is a decent mouthpiece. I have an open mind on good/bad saxes. I have to have. My cheap alto is not strongly made but it has good tone, good intonation, and overall good behaviour, but I cannot wait to get slobbering on some of them pedigrees. We will see. By the way, I paid 54 euros for my mpc. I would just avoid your teacher for a few more years if I were you.
 

TomMapfumo

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5,219
Hi JJW!

In your price range a BW would be probably the best going. Sax Heaven in Oxford have 2 priced at £499 & £599 respectively, as well as a used Borgani and used Buescher True Tone Alto at £450 and £399 respectively. I am sure many stores would let you try a few mouthpieces so that you have an overall sense of the sound that you want, even if you also take the Selmer C* with you.

Most BW saxes include a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece also, which would be worth a blow.

Kind regards
Tom
 

jeremyjuicewah

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1,890
Thanks Tom. I will be in the north east buy it may pay to visit Oxford. I used to work there and have another visit I would like to make too. A cheaper sax would pay the journey and hotel.
 

jazzdoh

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2,382
If you are in the north east then the shop you really need to visit is Woodwind Exchange in Bradford.You will find new and vintage saxes there and Stuart is a great guy,you will have a good choice of saxes and mouthpieces there.

Brian
 
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