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Saxophones Buying Soprano saxophone

Matthew Meador

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Houston TX, united States
Hey everyone,
I’m looking into buying a soprano sax in the near future, but I can’t figure out which one to buy. Being a primary bari player and doing a decent amount of work on alto and tenor, I am not a serious soprano player and am only purchasing one for the purpose of high school solo and ensemble saxophone quartets and minor jazz or solo work. I know that in the saxophone world it is well known that a bad soprano will be simply awful in terms of intonation, but I’m not willing to sink $3000+ Into getting a high end Yamaha or Selmer Paris. The two that I have mainly been looking at are the Jupiter JPS-547 and the selmer ss-600. While I am aware of the amazing reputation that the selmer company has received in its years, based off of reviews the 600s are just adequate. Intonation is sometimes off, springs are not attached or not present, and workmanship is not amazing. On the other hand, despite its significantly lesser amount of information, the Jupiter 547 has no complaints and is said to be comparable to a Yamaha yss-475, which is regarded as one of the best intermediate soprano saxes on the market. Besides quality, the prices of both are fairly different with the selmer coming in at $1300 and the Jupiter at just around $800-$1000 new. I personally think that the Jupiter would be a better choice due to the idea that I could use the extra money left over to purchase a good mouthpiece to make better tone quality and improve intonation on the horn, however I am still no expert on soprano saxophones and was wondering if anyone had any advice.
Thanks everyone,
Matt
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,366
Location
The Malverns, Worcs
I don’t know either of the Sops you suggest, but my Jupiter 500 series alto might have been comparable with a Yamaha 23/25. It was playable and sounded OK, but when I replaced it with my Yano 901, the difference was noticeable.

I’d struggle to believe it was comparable with anything more.

Is there a Jupiter 700 series around? Or a Yanagisawa S901?

If you have a good ear, you will have less issues with the Soprano than some people would suggest.
 

nigeld

I think I need a different ligature
Subscriber
Messages
4,406
Location
Bristol
I would go for a second-hand Yamaha 475. I don’t know about the Selmer, but the only Jupiter soprano I have ever tried was not good - not remotely in the same class as a 475. However, that one may have been a lemon.

In the UK it is possible to find surprisingly good used sopranos very cheap (Elkhart Deluxe, Bauhaus Walstein). These are low-end Taiwanese or high-end Chinese. But the intonation can vary quite a lot from one instrument to the next, so you have to try it.
 

pknight11

Member
Messages
39
You may not be able to find them locally, but I recently purchased a Chateau 80-series soprano that is excellent. The same model is sold by Kessler and Sons as the "Handmade." It is made by Tenon Industries, a Taiwanese company.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,546
Location
New Zealand and Australia
How about an older pro Yanagisawa curvy in top condition. I have one for sale and can do the donation thing for this site. PM me if interested. This is a lifetime horn that's had excellent maintenance. Fits well under your budget.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
1,546
Location
New Zealand and Australia
Not sure I read the initial post properly as it's certainly under $3000, but definitely not an $800 horn. Certainly (IMHO) a lot better horn than a older Yamaha or Selmer for over $3000. If playing in an ensemble the curvy is preferable as a straight (played properly) projects the sound in the direction that it's pointing, which can be a problem for blending, but the curvy sop puts the sound up in the air (like all the other saxes). Yanagisawas are known for excellent intonation and good ergonomics. This one is a particularly interesting one as it's a "transition horn" between the 880 and 900 series and has no designation. Serial number is 00169996. Tone is 880 like and ergos 900 series. Best of both worlds. It's collector clean with 99% lacquer.
 

Phil

Member
Messages
503
Location
France
I prefer a curvy. Coming from Tenor and Alto it was MUCH easier. I dont play clarinet and I just found simply holding and playing a straight sop really uncomfortable. The curvy was small but felt natural to me. Id buy a good used horn any day over an over priced lesser new model.
 
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