SYOS

What should a beginner buy? Decision time - Any advice?

Which one should I go for?

  • Elkhart Deluxe

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
    3
  • Poll closed .

NicholasCBV

New Member
Messages
18
Hi lovely CafeSax people,

In isolation, I have picked up my alto again for the first time in a good few years (I had put it on the side to focus on singing opera, but that’s a longer story) and after blowing for a couple of months, I have well and truly fallen in love with it again and have decided I want more horns.

I’d quite like a tenor and have spent a good few weeks weighing up different options. I don’t have a big budget, but I’ve found two used saxes which hopefully will tie me over for a few years. The first is an Elkhart Deluxe early 2000s, the second is a Trevor James Signature which I imagine is around the same age.

I’ll probably always be a hobby player, but I guess as my first tenor, I’m looking for a horn I can grow into and has decent enough build quality to last.

Any advice gratefully and warmly received!

Best wishes,

Nick
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,861
I think you're taking the sensible route and looking for a decent second-hand horn. Like many beginners, I started on alto (a basic Elkhart) and after a couple of years tenor became my main instrument. I don't have personal experience with either of the horns you mention.

The ergonomics and keyword of modern saxes are generally similar, but they do vary somewhat so you really do need to try them out (personally, I am 'sensitive' to the height of the palm keys - some are too low (and yes you can adjust that with mouldable plastic stuff (sguru???))).

Your safest route would be to buy from shop rather than purely online. I know for example that Curly Woodwind in Liverpool are still operating online. I suspect Hanson over in Yorkshire are too.

I recently opted for a secondhand Yanagisawa T992, which is very good.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
I agree with @tenorviol about buying from a shop, particularly at this moment in time. I'm not sure what your budget is - £500? The sax techs on here will know these horns and possible alternatives inside out. I don't think that either horn is a bad one, and if your budget is indeed £500 then I guess that any Yamaha would be dipping into possible "techie tinkering" territory though if bought from a shop one presumes that it would be roadworthy.

Would a Jupiter not be on your list?
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,043
You could also consider one of these...


I have one of the first generation Walstein tenors as well as the soprano, and for inexpensive Chinese made horns play very well indeed, now called Bauhaus Walstein...might be able to pick up a good pre-loved / second hand example at a good price.

Happy saxophoning...

Greg S.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,833
I think you should be OK with either of those two.
I've played an Elkhart Deluxe alto and a soprano and they were good, so I'm guessing the tenor would be also. They are Taiwanese instruments. The cheaper Elkharts are Chinese-made.

Personally I would prefer a Yamaha (23, 25, 275 or 280) if possible, but that would cost more.

Your choice of mouthpiece is probably going to make more difference than the saxophone.

Remember that a used sax will probably need some tlc from a good repairer.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,582
Before one can really give you a concrete answer....how much are the sellers asking for those horns ?

They should be quite low-priced, really. If they aren't, then it could be your quid can buy you something better, used.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,625
Careful of TJ "Signatures" - they may not be what you think they are, with a few differing versions over the years. Best to post a photo (the bell logo especially) and we'll advise further.

I drove to buy an Elkhart DeLuxe alto a few years back. Played well enough, but didn't float my boat. I went away empty handed. Had a TJ Signature Raw brand new too. Played once, sold. Again, not for me.

At £500 (if that's correct) you have a fair amount of choice but could make the wrong one if you don't try a fair few and compare. A YTS-23 is probably the safest bet for a blind buy though.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
Messages
2,270
Careful of TJ "Signatures" - they may not be what you think they are, with a few differing versions over the years. Best to post a photo (the bell logo especially) and we'll advise further.

I drove to buy an Elkhart DeLuxe alto a few years back. Played well enough, but didn't float my boat. I went away empty handed. Had a TJ Signature Raw brand new too. Played once, sold. Again, not for me.

At £500 (if that's correct) you have a fair amount of choice but could make the wrong one if you don't try a fair few and compare. A YTS-23 is probably the safest bet for a blind buy though.
Definitely agree if a YTS-23 can be bought for that price - and I guess they can as I had one from new when they were knocking about and I think I was 16...
 
OP
NicholasCBV

NicholasCBV

New Member
Messages
18
Thanks all for your advice - it’s really helpful. That is correct they’re both around the £500 mark, with a little haggle room I’m sure.

I’ve decided I’m going to travel (safely) and test out the TJ on Thursday. Here’s the picture of the bell for @DavidUK.

I have been keeping an eye on some Yamahas, but the YTS-23s don’t have the top F# key which is so engrained in my fingering I would definitely miss it! I’ve also kept my eye on a few Jupiters as my alto has done me a great service.

0BB71A27-5E3D-4183-B568-BCCD50660DDC.jpeg
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,625
That may be OK. It's not the famously good (not for me) Signature of recent times, but see how it plays.

Thinking about it I had a new TJ SR Tenor, again bought - played - sold. Nothing special. I can do this because it cost me nothing to buy new and sell on, nor the TJ RAW alto. That's what I do... bargains!

In different times I'd invite you to pop in and try my mint Fremont Mirage (never heard of it?). Yours for a quarter of its new price, just serviced by Paul Carrington. Others here would advise against it but I did more than believe the first (bad) review before buying it. Still that's an aside...

Let us know how you get on Thursday. :thumb:
 
OP
NicholasCBV

NicholasCBV

New Member
Messages
18
Thanks @DavidUK, I’ll definitely let you all know how it goes. I have come across the Fremont brand, as I’ve eyed up a cheap “Rio” soprano, I’ve read that they’re surprisingly well built and characterful horns - which would be my biggest concern with a cheap sop, but the dealer is asking a little much at £340 and I’d rather it came down a bit.
 

SeaVegMark

New Member
Messages
10
I have one of the earlier signature Tenors (bought quite recently), had been well looked after but pads a bit dry from lack of recent use so leaky from low D down - probably needs a service or played a bit more , I have had their signature alto for years and definately better than the cheaper Yamahas, just make sure you take a mouthpiece with you that you can actually play, as sellers often have mouthpieces completely unplayable by beginners, or even longstanding learners. I myself have a great collection of unplayable mouthpieces (and reeds) collected over the years. If the price is right (at around £500) and you like it I would just grab it whilst you can as its probably a bargain if it works properly. They are very forgiving instruments, and as they retailed at more than twice the price of cheaper ones thay are harder to find, and not so often bought as a first sax - too many cheap sax-shaped-rice-cans sre sold as first instruments which can put people off for life. They are quite robust and easy for service techs to fix - and I guess I should also mention Hansons, theur service rates are published on their website - will be sending mine soon as the workshop answers the phone.
 
OP
NicholasCBV

NicholasCBV

New Member
Messages
18
Thanks everyone for your advice and help! I travelled down to view the Trevor James today, taking a Otto Link Ebonite that I picked up earlier in the week, and it felt like sliding into a very comfortable pair of shoes. The horn resonated perfectly, the action felt crisp and the intonation was excellent throughout the keys. Suffice to say it came home with me and I’ve struggled to put it down since! The only niggles were a little bit more damage to the lacquer than I was expecting (but still a good looking horn), and the bumper felt has come off the low C, but I can fix that myself. When everything opens up again I’m going to take both my saxes in for a tune-up. Final cost was £474, which considering the decent build quality and feel, I think was a good price.

0C811003-7BFC-4D21-B921-D04DC7A805C6.jpeg
 

Nikki

Formerly SaxyNikki
Subscriber
Messages
739
Congratulations Nicholas. It appears like you did real good. The sax’s look great. :thumb:
Happy playing.
 

Greg Strange

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,043
Thanks everyone for your advice and help! I travelled down to view the Trevor James today, taking a Otto Link Ebonite that I picked up earlier in the week, and it felt like sliding into a very comfortable pair of shoes. The horn resonated perfectly, the action felt crisp and the intonation was excellent throughout the keys. Suffice to say it came home with me and I’ve struggled to put it down since! The only niggles were a little bit more damage to the lacquer than I was expecting (but still a good looking horn), and the bumper felt has come off the low C, but I can fix that myself. When everything opens up again I’m going to take both my saxes in for a tune-up. Final cost was £474, which considering the decent build quality and feel, I think was a good price.

View attachment 14607
Ah, cool clarinet...what brand is the liquorice stick? You'll have to buy a flute next or a soprano sax, then a baritone, and then...and before you know it...:rofl:

Greg S
 
OP
NicholasCBV

NicholasCBV

New Member
Messages
18
@Greg Strange It’s a Selmer clarinet I picked up for £10 at a boot sale about three years ago. The sop is definitely next on the hit list and I am keeping an eye out for a cheap flute too, but only cuz I’ve got a peg for one :w00t:!
 

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
119
Great to see you got what you wanted! I love the Clarinet, and am on the look out for another 1! (proper wooden one this time)
Ive just bought a Keyboard "for my Daughter" and am picking up musically where i left off years ago!
Nearly took the plunge and bought a Violin the other day but when i picked it up, it didnt feel right!
The seller was surprised to see a heavily tattoo'd guy with a shaved head turn up and know what he was talking about haha.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,223
Glad you found what you wanted.
David didn't get on with his Signature Custom RAW alto, but I have had mine for around 8 years and its one of the best horns I've owned.
 
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