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Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
Hi all,
I'm not new to Woodwind or music in general but i am new to the world of the Saxophone!
Ive spent a long time away from music all together due to life taking over, jobs and work getting in the way and me not prioritizing it due to circumstances.
Now im going to take off where i left off and play as much as i can again!

I havent picked up a horn for myself yet, but im going to have a read on the forum to help answer a few questions that i know will have been asked on here a million times!
My wife has suggested i buy second hand to start with, but Im reluctant due to the issues this can introduce! Leaks etc.
Its my preference to buy new! which leads me to my first issue!!!! There are very few good music shops in my area that sell woodwind or know much about it! they all specialise in string instruments which means im going to have to travel to get to a shop where i can test a few out and try a few out!

What mouthpiece do you recommend for a beginner? Im currently using Vandoren B40 mostly for my Clarinet, would consider paying decent money on mouth piece that will help the sax too!
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,560
OK, so first off....

1) your wife is correct in that you get WAY more horn for your $ buying secondhand. I mean, just as a general example, you could pick up a professional model horn with a stellar reputation, secondhand, for the same price as a new student model which has only a so-so reputation.

The danger, as you have noted, is you don't wanna buy a used horn which will need significant servicing in order to get it to play. So, my advice here is: buy from a seller who will accept a return and will guaramtee the horn is in good playing condition. If they do not give you those assurances, pass on it.

OK, so with that out of the way...

2) IF there ARE shops which are OPEN now that you can get to....then a person with at least some very basic skill in blowing into a sax mouthpiece and getting a horn to play some notes... should go to a shop and playtest in person - it is the best thing to do.

For many newbies who have no idea what thet are doing and really do not feel you can adequately playtest a sax...folks suggest bringing alon a sax player to help.

But as you play Clarinet, my guess is you can playtest a sax acceptably enough.

3) Typical starter mouthpieces:

Yamaha 4C or 5C - (personally I say 'no' to this suggestion....yes, they are a default choice and they are reliable and consistent and user-friendly....but they do not make your horn sound very good. As you play clarinet, you don't quite need this level of 'training wheels')

Bari Esprit - a better choice IMHO, they blow just as easily as a Yama but the produce a richer tone

Brilhart Ebolin (I suggest a #4) - same to say as above.

Clark Fobes Debut - ditto above

(Undoubtedly I will get some flaming due to my opinion of the Yamaha, but again...you are a woodwind player already....and if one had a choice between two equally-priced mouthpieces of equal quality and performance...would not one choose the one which makes their horn sound fuller, richer, better ? It's sort of a rhetorical question, really).

Best of luck, keep us posted on your sax search !!!
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,660
Another possibility is to hire a sax for 6 months to be sure you like it.
By that time
a. Hopefully more shops will be open again
b. You will be able to play-test horns more competently
There are places where you can hire a sax, and the hire fee will be deducted from the price if you decide to buy it.
e.g. uksaxhire.co.uk

If you are going to go to a shop, then taking a good sax player with you would be an excellent idea if possible, but usually the staff will test-play the instruments for you, and having a honk will give you a notion about whether a horn feels comfortable.

Have you decided whether you want to play alto or tenor (or one of the others)?
Do you have a budget in mind?

The choice of mouthpiece depends on what sort of sound you want (e.g. classical, screaming rock, smoochy ballads, . . .). Vandoren make good mouthpieces, but there are lots of others too.
 
OP
H

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
OK, so first off....

But as you play Clarinet, my guess is you can playtest a sax acceptably enough.

Bari Esprit - a better choice IMHO, they blow just as easily as a Yama but the produce a richer tone

Brilhart Ebolin (I suggest a #4) - same to say as above.

Clark Fobes Debut - ditto above

(Undoubtedly I will get some flaming due to my opinion of the Yamaha, but again...you are a woodwind player already....and if one had a choice between two equally-priced mouthpieces of equal quality and performance...would not one choose the one which makes their horn sound fuller, richer, better ? It's sort of a rhetorical question, really).

Best of luck, keep us posted on your sax search !!!
JayeNM, Thank you for taking the time to reply and address the points! (i have cut the quote short just to save scrolling time) I will take these points on board when deciding on what to do ultimately!
I haven't decided on a budget of what i wish to spend yet! That all depends on economic position when it comes time to buy!
Your opinion on mouth pieces has also been verified in a few things ive been reading in other places recently too! the Yamaha ones normally suggested for someone with less / no experience of woodwind instruments doesn't always improve the sound (direct quote from another source)
The Bari Esprit & Clark Forbes were also suggested in this source!

Unfortunately i dont know too many sax players or I would be taking them with me for their suggestions and opinions when selecting a horn! and the ones i do know unfortunately live a long distance away which would make it preventative!

Ultimately my goal is something that will play well in a dark exotic blues tone or Jazz tone so i may end up with a couple of different mouth pieces also
 
OP
H

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
Another possibility is to hire a sax for 6 months to be sure you like it.
By that time
a. Hopefully more shops will be open again
b. You will be able to play-test horns more competently
There are places where you can hire a sax, and the hire fee will be deducted from the price if you decide to buy it.
e.g. uksaxhire.co.uk

If you are going to go to a shop, then taking a good sax player with you would be an excellent idea if possible, but usually the staff will test-play the instruments for you, and having a honk will give you a notion about whether a horn feels comfortable.

Have you decided whether you want to play alto or tenor (or one of the others)?
Do you have a budget in mind?

The choice of mouthpiece depends on what sort of sound you want (e.g. classical, screaming rock, smoochy ballads, . . .). Vandoren make good mouthpieces, but there are lots of others too.
Thanks for the reply,
I’m not sure what companies offer a 6 month hire in Ireland but would probably go that route if it was available! I’ll start with either alto or tenor based on feel and sound when I try them out! But will most likely end up with both eventually
 
OP
H

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
So to move on a bit further,
Ive contacted a local company (in Dublin) that do a rent to buy thing!
Ive asked them about a couple of different options and am awaiting a response.
One option is the JP042B S
Maybe someone knows it and can give me an opinion of them?
Paul Ryan Woodwind & Brass
another option is the Yamaha YTS-280 (nearly double the price tho) so with 4 young kids in the house, Id be wary of spending a big wad of cash without knowing that i can keep it safe from them or that it will get used enough to warrant the outlay!
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,660
The John Packer sax is a low-cost Chinese-made instrument. It should be fine as long as the shop has checked it carefully and dealt with any possible manufacturing defects.


But if you can afford it, the Yamaha is a better instrument. Better made, and will quite likely sound better. It is called a “student“ instrument, but it is better than some so-called “professional” ones.
 
OP
H

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
The John Packer sax is a low-cost Chinese-made instrument. It should be fine as long as the shop has checked it carefully and dealt with any possible manufacturing defects.


But if you can afford it, the Yamaha is a better instrument. Better made, and will quite likely sound better. It is called a “student“ instrument, but it is better than some so-called “professional” ones.
Thats an extremely handy website you have sent the link for! Thank you..... Im going to spend hours and hours reading on that now!!!! And thank you for your input! It makes alot of sense!
I'm waiting on a reply to the emails i sent to him, so ill see what he comes back with and decide from there!
 
OP
H

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
51
In the absence of a reply to my email from the lad i tried to contact yesterday,
I have found another supplier in Dublin that will do 6 months rental and take the total off the purchase price!
So im now looking at a budget of between € 800.00 and € 1,200.00
In that budget they have a:
Saxophone CONN SELMER Avant Tenor ATS180 Tenor; lacquered
Saxophone TREVOR JAMES Classic Tenor, Lacquered (with High F#)
or
Alto Sax. YAMAHA YAS 280 Alto; lacquered

if it was you which way would you go and why???
 

Zugzwang

Member
Subscriber
Messages
548
I have no breadth of experience, but just to say: returning from a couple of centuries away from playing I rented a Yamaha 280 (tenor) on the basis that it was the highest value sax I could rent, and so I didn't have to worry about issues being me or the horn - I could be confident they were my problems!
I disliked it quite a lot at first (some 'race memory' of Selmer in my hindbrain/muscles), but I ended up with a lot of respect for them, definitely a 'what it says on the tin' kind of instrument.
 
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