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Saxophones Considering buying a new saxophone v.s. better mouthpiece, reeds, etc. Advice?

Addison

New Member
Messages
2
Hello people of Cafesaxophone,

I have been playing the alto saxophone ever since elementary school. I am now in high school and quite active with it, in regular band class, jazz band, and marching band. When I first started my parents bought the cheapest sax they could find as we still were not sure if I would continue, a Suzuki brand alto sax (if you haven't heard of one, that's because they are not very popular at all and I don't exactly remember the name, although it might have been Concertino). They do not sell them any more, and I can't find them anywhere online (a bad sign?). It isn't really that bad, as I have used it to attain first and second chairs (out of not many people though :p), get superiors in MSBOA Solo and Ensemble, etc, however I have had problems with it's durability and playability. For example, the aluminum case has come apart in the corners more than once, the key protectors have bent, the cork is too thin, and sometimes it refuses to play at all until after about an hour of squeaks. I have been using it with Vandoren/Rico Royal reeds (right now I'm playing 3 1/2 and 4) and the generic mouthpiece/ligature (I chipped my 4C which was given to me by my teacher in marching band :/)

The reason I haven't bought a new, better instrument is because originally, before high school, I was planning to drop band class and just play in the marching band, however I got into a different school in which band is required. Now, I would like to upgrade my saxophone in order to play better, however I have a question.

Is it better to get quality accessories (i.e. a 4C mouthpiece, better ligature, Vandoren reeds, etc) or to simply buy a better quality student saxophone? (I'm not really looking for an intermediate sax as I don't want to spend too much money). Also, if a new sax is the better option, do you guys have any suggestions? I was considering an Allora Student Series AAAS-301 or a Libretto by Antigua LSA 2500. I would consider slightly more expensive saxophones as well.

Advice is much appreciated. Cheers!
 

QWales

Senior Member
Messages
722
I guess it depends on how much money you have to spend but it does sound like you are ready for a better Sax and upgraded accessories. Prices for intermediate Saxes have gone down quite a bit of late and you can get everything you need quite cheaply but I guess that is relative to your idea of cheap. I would suggest looking around the forums on this site, you'll probably find all the information you need.
 

Ivan

Undecided
Subscriber
Messages
7,339
When you say you want to 'play better'...

If you want a horn that's mechanically more efficient then an upgrade could do it

If you want to improve your tone then a change of mouthpiece might be the first step and a Yamaha 4C is much lauded on this site
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,063
A cheap horn isn't necessarily a bad horn and a replacement may not be an upgrade. There's lots of information about suzuki instruments on the internet and the saxophones are widely available. It would seem they are made in China as so many saxophones are these days. I can't imagine a company with the world wide reputation that suzuki have would produce a piece of junk. In the motorcycle world their reputation is for reliable andefficient machinery at the econmy end of the market.

Sounds like you need a better case. Key guards bending is probably down to the sax rattling round and getting knocked. It might be worth letting an experienced player or a tech take a look at your instrument to see if any problems you have can be adjusted away. Poor regulation can cause so many problems that can be easily and simply rectified. And a lot cheaper than a new instrument. Have a word with your teacher or band leader.

If you're set on a change of instrument, a lot of schools can get deals through the school. Talk to your band leader or music teacher. You might even pick something up second hand if someone has changed their mind or is leaving the school.

The yamaha mouthpiece has a good reputation. It comes in different lays. As you've been playing a while a 4 may not be ideal and you may need a 5 or 6. It would be good to try before you buy. Again have a word with teacher or band leader.

Reeds and ligature aren't good or bad in themselves. They are either right or wrong for you and the mouthpiece you're using at the time.

And whatever you decide, keep playing.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
A cheap horn isn't necessarily a bad horn and a replacement may not be an upgrade. There's lots of information about suzuki instruments on the internet and the saxophones are widely available. It would seem they are made in China as so many saxophones are these days. I can't imagine a company with the world wide reputation that suzuki have would produce a piece of junk. In the motorcycle world their reputation is for reliable andefficient machinery at the econmy end of the market.
.
Hi Colin

Clearly you've never ridden a GS500!

Seriously, though. I agree with almost all you say, but the Suzuki Musical Instrument Corporation is totally unconnected with the car and bike company. Coincidentally, it is the company which now owns Hammond Organs, and they make or use there name on a wide range of musical instruments.

Jon
 

Addison

New Member
Messages
2
Thanks to everyone for your helpful advice. I will definitely take your advice into account when considering future purchases, and I think I will as my band director a few questions. Thanks again!
 
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