All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
SYOS

Saxophones Considering an Alto.

What

Member
Messages
314
I love my Tenor, the more I play it the more fun I am having. However, Altos have started to catch my eye now too. As I check out my goal horn(s) for Tenor, and as I listen to more jazz, big band, blues and rock, the Alto is gaining interest for me.

Am I nuts? Shouldn't I learn to play my tenor first? But, maybe I might enjoy the Alto more. Is this how you all got started? Have I been duped into a crazy world of sax buying and playing that I will never get out of? Is the sax really the Devil>:)? What should I have for lunch? So many questions so little funds.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,312
I love my Tenor, the more I play it the more fun I am having. However, Altos have started to catch my eye now too. As I check out my goal horn(s) for Tenor, and as I listen to more jazz, big band, blues and rock, the Alto is gaining interest for me.

Am I nuts? Shouldn't I learn to play my tenor first? But, maybe I might enjoy the Alto more. Is this how you all got started? Have I been duped into a crazy world of sax buying and playing that I will never get out of? Is the sax really the Devil>:)? What should I have for lunch? So many questions so little funds.
I think you should get to grips on the tenor 1st.Switching about at your stage will only mess with your blowing,embouchure.You will miss important time just going from 1 to the other ,at least with some time under your belt and a stronger lip,playing time you will be more ready for the alto but hey if you fancy 1 lifes short and get it :w00t:
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
The saxophone is a family.

If you get an alto, you'll want a baritone, and then won't be able to live without a sop, and then someone will introduce you to a sopranino... It never ends.

But seriously, you may be better at this stage, adding another Bb instrument. I think a soprano or a clarinet would be the way to start your collection.

I have sop, alto, tenor and bari now. I started on clarinet. I find that what you learn on one, helps you with another. I also find that practicing on different instruments makes you very aware of which one you're playing.

You need to alter your embouchure for each instrument. With a full set there's so much difference, you get comfortable adjusting your mouth.

I went from clarinet to alto, added a Bari, tried tenor, didn't like it, acquired a sop, then went back to tenor.

The tenor and alto are very different. A soprano feels like it has more in common with a tenor.

If you buy well and don't pay too much, you can always resell.

Some are happy with one horn and invest in a good one. Some spread their investment across the range.

Personally I like having a set. Currently looking for a cheap bass.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
I've never really considered a sop. It sounded like a much more intimidating instrument to play then the others, though the breath controll it takes to hit the low notes on a bari looks like it might be a challenge too. I always pictured those as the last two of the main family I would pick up.

But you do have a point, if I do take on another member of the family at this point another Bb might be a way to go.

Though for now perhaps I should stick with what I have. I have a life time to adopt the rest of the family and other instruments that catch my interest. I can always save up, play a few at the sax shop that I recently found and buy well. Besides if I don't watch it the new land lord will put me out on my butt.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I started on tenor, and wanted an alto for pretty much the same reasons as you. Davey makes a good point, but I now have sop-> bari and love all of them. Generally hthe smaller the sax, the tighter the embouchure, less air and higher pressure needed.

Playing loose enough for bari anfter blowing a sop is tricky. And vice versa... Sops are really mouthpiece critical. And harder to make sound nice. I'm tending more toward bari, but picked up the sop for the first time in a couple of weeks yesterday and was blown away by it.... Mr Fickle, that's me.
 

C_Claudemonster

Formerly saxgirl22
Messages
399
I agree with above about sticking to what you've got at the moment. Sopranos, I find, are little buggers to play and keep in decent tune. It's not my favourite! I am at the moment taking part in a 'pass around' exercise, which is where as many players as possible trial a new saxophone on the market and if they want to they write a review about how they found it. The one I'm using is an Academy 'Jericho' alto sax, it's brand new and I think last night when I played it was possibly the very first time it's been played. It is indeed a nicely built instrument that is easy to play with a good tone. I'm taking it to my big band on monday so will hopefully be able to start a proper review of it! But, if you are looking for an alto in the future then so far, this would be one I could recommend :)
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
If you want one, buy one. Life's for living.

(So says a man sat in a room surrounded, and I mean surrounded, by saxes)
 

What

Member
Messages
314
If you want one, buy one. Life's for living.

(So says a man sat in a room surrounded, and I mean surrounded, by saxes)
Well my second sax is on the way and I do have my eye on a cheap vintage King Tenor on eBay. I think it would take divine intervention to stop my spare room from becoming a Sax room, with the odd keyboard and recorder or two.
 

Zeus

Member
Messages
156
I would go for a King Tenor with a silver neck if i wore your boots now.
Because if you choose to go for an alto, you will start to compare, and then get into the dillema what if i didn't buy a cheap/student one, instead of a vintage one, or a more expensive one, and what if i should have bought a more quality sax, than the one you already have in sights?
While collecting paper money for a Silver King Tenor, use the Yard, and get a vintage for the great low prices they are sold, and satisfy your curiosity, what if...since What, you choose the nick, stick by it, and discover now, because if the alto vintage, becomes your favourite, then your next expensive purchase might as well be a King alto, instead of the tenor.
For me it happened, so far, although i love the tenor sound, as a beginner, the alto is easier to handle, and for me easier to blow too. If that happens with you too, you may end up with 3 horns...
If yes...then welcome to the club....which club? the BGAS Club

Beginner's Gear Acquisition Syndrome Club...Opened 24 hours...

I am Zeus...
and i am a Saxaholic:)
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Well my king is gone somebody wanted it about 200 dollars more then I did. Perhaps it is a sign that I have enough saxes for now and should be glad that my current tenor is good and should stick with it and restoring the C Mel I have on the way... Though there is that other cheap sax just over there.>:)
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Well, I decided to follow my gut and I have a 300 dollar bid on a Yamaha YAS23. It's on bill me later so paying it off will be easy so long as I don't blow my money out on smokes. If I win I figure I will have a good alto and if I don't like it I can sell for a good price. I just hope I don't play so poorly that Charlie Parker's ghost decides to haunt me.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,096
$1500 new. They seem to go around $500 for a good second hand. It'll be a bargain if you get it for that.

I was playing so poorly the other day I got a haunting from Johnny Hodges.
 

What

Member
Messages
314
Well lost my bid on the alto, a few more in that range hanging about. The vintage tenor I was looking at tripled in price. Looks like the auction gods are against me. Tomorrow is another day!
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
Even though I'm a total newbie on the tenor (less than 4 months into playing now), I like the chance to blow out a few notes out of the alto every now and then. The alto is a bit quieter too, so that's a bonus. Some days I don't even touch the tenor at all (particularly when I've been listening to Dave Brubeck / Paul Desmond), even though it's my "main" sax. It's a nice option to have.
 
Saxholder Pro

Staff online

Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom