PPT

Saxophones Choosing a New Saxophone, Thoughts and Musings.

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
Some background. I have ended up with 2 Yamaha Alto's. A YAS 23 and a YAS 275. The 23 was bequithed to me and is of great sentimental value having been owned from new by a dear friend so I will not/could not part with it. I bought the 275 a matter of days before the 23 was gifted. Both are in superb condition, have been serviced by the respected tech, Graham deVere White and in his words, both are in fabulous condition especially the 23. As far as playing, I get on so much better with the 23. To me it sounds more rich and although the 275 has a newer mechanics the 23 is just "friendlier" some how? Can't explain it any better. So, the thing is I am getting to the point where I find the pitch of the Alto is beginning to grate on me. I find myself hunting out music that is the lower register and avoiding tunes that go above High F#. Not because I cannot play them just because I dont like the way they sound. So I am serious abpout moving on the YAS275 and buying a Tenor. I understand that older vintage Tenors produce a warmer, fuller, smokey sound but, as Graham advised, they are like owning a vintage classic car, always need work, especially when you want to enjoy them and the best ones are expensive. I have read Stevens reviews, watched hours of comparison videos, listened to many recordings and as visiting shops is not ever likely to be as it was pre March 2020 for test blows, what other options are there. I have made several decisions. Budget £900 to £1500 in total, must have a mellow tone, must be a known brand, favorites are Used or new Yamaha 23/25/280, Selmer Liberty USA, Trevor James SR or SR Evo Tenor or Classic II
all of which got the thumbs up from Graham. So now the dilemma is do I go for new or take a punt on used? Sorry for the length of the post, I just find it helpful to get it written down. Opinions welcome
 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
So the notion that vintage horns 'always require more upkeep and work'...is pure bunk. 100% Malarkey.

If you buy a vintage horn which has been refurbished, or even just upkept well with regular tech servicings...OR...

one which has received a significant tech servicing to bring it up to speed BEFORE it ever hits your lips....

...a vintage horn 'requires' no such thing. These are musical instruments, not Edsels.

It is ONLY in situations (common, sometimes) where someone insists they are a wily deal-hunter.... and therefore can 'land a deal on a vintage horn for less' than what market value actually dictates...that folks get into a pickle.

This Forum is littered with such tales, actually...oftentimes in instances where good advice and warning was given by other members far before the purchaser went ahead and did what they were inevitably gonna do anyway....and
voilà...got stuck with an old horn which they are now gonna have to invest a significant amount of repair in.

 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
So, indeed...buying a vintage horn which has been refurbed, repadded, overhauled, or just well-cared-for by its seller....

you will be in good shape.

And indeed....for the most part, older horns have a different tonal paradigm; they tend to be darker, warmer-toned.

I say all of this only because if you are to nix the idea of a vintage instrument...nixing it because "ohhhhh...they will always need more repair and upkeep, they'll be in the shop often"...

...is the wrong reason to base that decision on.

Better reasons:

1) I am used to the feel, action, ergos of a Yamaha-esque horn

2) It's important to me for the horn to be brand-new and covered by a manufacturers/store warranty

3) I really like shiny, pretty saxophones
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
Oh....also...compared to a new , contemporary tenor.....'the best ones are very expensive' is also, um.....

.....inaccurate.

A new Yamaha student model costs around $2300 usd.

A refurbished late King Super 20, Martin Committee 3, Grassi Professional 2000, B&S 2001, Keilwerth-Couf Superba I, Buescher Big B, Beuagnier/Vito Duke, some Buffets....(I can easily think up of another half-dozen if given another minute, but...shall I go on ...???)

...all cost .... less....(or perhaps a truly cherry condition one might cost the same).

Not necessarily trying to convince you of anything....if you want a contemporary horn with a sorta throwback, vintage tonality...there are some candidates out there.

BUT, we can sorta kick some of these 'reasons' you mentioned to the curb...if for no other reason than to just dispel some oft-bandied-about but off-the-mark rationales....
 
Last edited:

mizmar

Senior Member
Messages
1,851
Locality
Trondheim, Norway
older vintage Tenors produce a warmer, fuller, smokey sound
the other day my Vito / YTS23 was producing a nice warm, sound. The next day it produced a thin, whining sound. So I chucked that reed.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
Buffet 100

Buffet 400

Keilwerth ST90, series I, II, or III (used)

Keilwerth EX90 (used)

Jupiter Artist (8XX series) (used)

Jupiter Carnegie (used)

Eastman 640 (used)

Giardinelli by Eastman GTS-10 (same horn as above, stenciled) (new or used)

B&S Blue label, 1000, or 2001's (used)

some good-quality, 'modern' horns with that sound....off the top of my head

(I am not sure why new/contemporary Yamaha student tenors are on your list, honestly. These are bright-toned horns...they do not possess the sonic attributes you say you are interested in....respectfully to the above comment, playtest a Yama 23 against any of the horns on the above list...the sonic difference is apparent - put one up against a Conn 10M, Martin Comm, old Keilwerth, Kohlert, King, Buescher....and the difference is even more apparent).

here's a nice vid which illustrates a variety of tonal signatures which are out there - and these are mostly just contemporary horns - we don't even get into the old American or Euro makes
(I know, most of those horns are out of OP's price range....the point is...one can hear how different current-production Tenors can sound based on what model):

View: https://youtu.be/b-Uo8UhIK9M
 
Last edited:

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,285
Locality
UK
Budget £900 to £1500 in total, must have a mellow tone, must be a known brand, favorites are Used or new Yamaha 23/25/280, Selmer Liberty USA, Trevor James SR or SR Evo Tenor or Classic II
The SR is the standout among that list. The Liberty is a possible - Conn-Selmer are putting out some interesting stuff of late...I particularly like the Avant 200. A used Hanson LX would be a nice option too.
If you wanted to go cheap, a Chinese Bauhaus Walstein would be your best bet. Those things pack a huge low-end punch - and you'd have some cash left over to have someone give it a once-over (which it'll likely need).

That said, I used to get a nice smokey tone out of my old YTS23. Just popped my modified Vandoren T25 on it and away I went. Quite a few MkVI players use them as backup horns. Such a tone doesn't come on a plate though, you'll have to put the hours in.
 

eb424

Senior Member
Messages
2,591
Locality
london
its a shame that you cant go up a bit there's a great TJ raw on ..bay.. rave reviews...I know of someone selling a great YTS 52 1980s original receipt great condition...
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
(Note I never said, nor implied... "one cannot get a warm smoky tone on a Yamaha 23".

What I stated is the horn is intrinsically bright, when compared to most horns which are typically described as 'dark', 'smooth', 'wide'. That's because the specifications of the neck and body tubes make them this way.

A player can massage a horn one way or another, certainly. But, if an experienced player has enough embouchure control to 'blow dark' on a a bright horn....'blowing dark' on an intrinsically dark horn will produce something quite different in tonality...)

I don't wanna digress the discussion, which seems to be "what modern Tenors have a darker, smoother tonality ?"..which is always an interesting discussion to have as over time, oftentimes new/not previously mentioned models are introduced to the discussion.

Just wanted to put my 2 cents in on some rationales and comments which my experience as a player and refurber disagrees with rather significantly...
 

JamesOxford

Member
Messages
308
Locality
Oxford, UK
I was in a similar position, going from alto and now have the Conn Selmer 380v shown here. It was on FB second-hand at £1000 less than shop price with someone living close to me. It was someone's second horn and not much used. With the lockdown situation, it's difficult to buy second hand as you can't travel far or test something that basically is a home for water droplets. I disinfected it and left it a couple of days before playing. Seeing this video helped convinced me it would be okay. I think some luck with what is available is needed. Good luck!
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
Café Supporter
Messages
7,979
Locality
Bristol, UK
I recently bought a used Yamaha YTS 62 for £1200 on eBay. I would not describe it as bright sounding - it has a lovely deep bottom end.
There are lots of 62 tenors for sale for a lot more, but they are not necessarily selling, so it’s worth making an offer. I’m sure you could get a good one for £1500. Mine is not particularly pretty - well used - hence the lowish price, but it was in fine playing condition.

An early YTS-32 would be another option. I have heard that they have the same body tube as the 62’s.

Or if you want to go the vintage route there is a Martin Committee II on eBay that has been sitting unsold for quite a while, so a lower offer might be successful. The problem with it is that it may need work, and it’s not clear how much work needs to be done to bring it into good playing condition. If I was going to buy it I would budget at least £300 for setting up.
 

turf3

Member
Messages
893
Locality
Earth
I think all the negative stuff about old horns stems from several things:

1) Until maybe around 1990 or so, almost no one was interested in old horns, so they tended to get used as marching horns, never repaired properly, etc., so they were often in bad shape/abused. Technicians who considered older instruments beneath them would botch repairs to get them done as quickly as possible (there have been some techs who refused to work on anything that wasn't a Selmer, for example).

2) The offerings from Conn and Buescher got "student-ized" in the 60s and 70s and though the basic tonal qualities remained, quality of construction did decline. So it was noised about that "Conns and Bueschers are crummy student horns" and this was applied to professional instruments from the 20s through 50s that didn't deserve it.

3) There was very little information - most players got their information about saxophones from the local tech or a respected older player, neither of whom had any reliable information sources either. I was told with great confidence that a particular horn was "a real Martin, not one of those made by Wurlitzer" - it was a Dolnet stenciled "Martin Paris".

4) Music stores then and now want to sell new stuff. They'd much rather sell you a new $2000 horn of modest quality than do a $100 repair on your 90 year old professional quality instrument. I have been told many times that my old instruments were "obsolete", "out of tune", "not suitable for modern situation", etc., etc., etc.

As to the myth of "requires more frequent service" - a 90 year old Conn has an almost perfectly identical mechanical design to that of a 2021 saxophone. Point screws, hinge tubes, posts, needle springs, pads, pearls, rollers. If the point screws of a 2021 saxophone won't wear unduly, neither will those of a 1921 saxophone. Yes, you have to take up any wear that's occurred over its life, but once you're there, you're at the same place as the new horn.

What people don't want to accept is that a saxophone is a VERY SIMPLE mechanical device using no exotic materials or tight tolerances. For all the supposed mechanical improvements, the differences between the mechanical design of a 1920 saxophone and a 2020 saxophone are vanishingly insignificant compared to the differences between, say, a 1920 and a 2020 automobile, or a 1920/2020 telephone.
 

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
So, indeed...buying a vintage horn which has been refurbed, repadded, overhauled, or just well-cared-for by its seller....

you will be in good shape.

And indeed....for the most part, older horns have a different tonal paradigm; they tend to be darker, warmer-toned.

I say all of this only because if you are to nix the idea of a vintage instrument...nixing it because "ohhhhh...they will always need more repair and upkeep, they'll be in the shop often"...

...is the wrong reason to base that decision on.

Better reasons:

1) I am used to the feel, action, ergos of a Yamaha-esque horn

2) It's important to me for the horn to be brand-new and covered by a manufacturers/store warranty

3) I really like shiny, pretty saxophones
So, indeed...buying a vintage horn which has been refurbed, repadded, overhauled, or just well-cared-for by its seller....

you will be in good shape.

And indeed....for the most part, older horns have a different tonal paradigm; they tend to be darker, warmer-toned.


Better reasons:

1) I am used to the feel, action, ergos of a Yamaha-esque horn

2) It's important to me for the horn to be brand-new and covered by a manufacturers/store warranty

3) I really like shiny, pretty saxophones
1) that’s a fact
2) not really important, also dont really want to take the hit on depreciation.
3) never had the opportunity to own anything els.

Plus I tend to be guided by the man who is going to look after it.
 

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
the other day my Vito / YTS23 was producing a nice warm, sound. The next day it produced a thin, whining sound. So I chucked that reed.
I use Legere synthetic for that exact reason.
 

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
Buffet 100

Buffet 400

Keilwerth ST90, series I, II, or III (used)

Keilwerth EX90 (used)

Jupiter Artist (8XX series) (used)

Jupiter Carnegie (used)

Eastman 640 (used)

Giardinelli by Eastman GTS-10 (same horn as above, stenciled) (new or used)

B&S Blue label, 1000, or 2001's (used)

some good-quality, 'modern' horns with that sound....off the top of my head

(I am not sure why new/contemporary Yamaha student tenors are on your list, honestly. These are bright-toned horns...they do not possess the sonic attributes you say you are interested in....respectfully to the above comment, playtest a Yama 23 against any of the horns on the above list...the sonic difference is apparent - put one up against a Conn 10M, Martin Comm, old Keilwerth, Kohlert, King, Buescher....and the difference is even more apparent).

here's a nice vid which illustrates a variety of tonal signatures which are out there - and these are mostly just contemporary horns - we don't even get into the old American or Euro makes
(I know, most of those horns are out of OP's price range....the point is...one can hear how different current-production Tenors can sound based on what model):

View: https://youtu.be/b-Uo8UhIK9M
I understand your point exactly and I have watched that video endlessly with my eyes closed. The one I prefer most is the second one. a Selmer Paris I believe?
 

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
its a shame that you cant go up a bit there's a great TJ raw on ..bay.. rave reviews...I know of someone selling a great YTS 52 1980s original receipt great condition...
Starting price on that auction is £2250! Bit out of my league this time round. Lol.
 

BigT

Member
Messages
147
Locality
England
“The SR is the standout among that list. “The Liberty is a possible - Conn-Selmer are putting out some interesting stuff of late...I particularly like the Avant 200. A used Hanson LX would be a nice option too.
If you wanted to go cheap, a Chinese Bauhaus Walstein would be your best bet. Those things pack a huge low-end punch - and you'd have some cash left over to have someone give it a once-over (which it'll likely need).

That said, I used to get a nice smokey tone out of my old YTS23. Just popped my modified Vandoren T25 on it and away I went. Quite a few MkVI players use them as backup horns. Such a tone doesn't come on a plate though, you'll have to put the hours

Stephen what is your view on the TJ SR Evo? Quite a bit cheaper than the SR
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,467
Locality
New Mexico, US
I understand your point exactly and I have watched that video endlessly with my eyes closed. The one I prefer most is the second one. a Selmer Paris I believe?
Well yeah, the second one...that would have been the VI....right ? The Grail Horn of all Grail Horns.

But even there some people say it isn't the greatest example of a VI's tone.

I just found it interesting that there was so much sonic variety, again THIS WITHIN a sampling of primarily CONTEMPORARY models (completely steering clear of all the other big, legendary vintage models - no S20, no Committee, no 10M, no THC, no Couf, etc.) ...

....and that in a number of instances, the tonalities were really significant.

(Toggle back and forth between the Yamaha and the Keilwerth, for example...anybody claiming there is not a pronounced sonic difference between those two saxes....either has very poor ear development....or is lying in order to carry on an argument :rolleyes: )
 

Featured

Top Bottom