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Hello Everyone from Yorkshire

YorkshireSax

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Hello Everyone

I started learning the alto sax six years ago (age 53) but unfortunately I had to stop for a rather bizarre reason. We had an elderly English Pointer at the time and whenever I played the sax he would start howling. This wasn't good as he had breathing problems and would soon get into difficulties. Harvey has now sadly gone which has allowed me to get the sax out again and start learning again. Covid-19 and self isolation is another good reason to learn. I bought the saxophone from a young woman and it is a Gulf. Its serial number is GAS - 50247

I'm very much a beginner but I am now at the point where I can play some well known songs. I do love the blues so that is a direction I'd like to progress with. Although we lost Harvey I'm afraid my wife doesn't always appreciate my playing while she's trying to watch the TV. To reduce the chance of a costly divorce I've recently invested in an Aerophone GO. The volume control and use of headphones definitely allows me to practice a lot more.

My saxophone has, to my knowledge, never been serviced and I've no idea how old it is and I'm not too sure what quality it is and at times it doesn't sound as nice as I'd like. Maybe that's just me though!

Having also struggled in the past with a cheap and badly set up acoustic guitar I know what difference a good new instrument can make to one's learning and enjoyment.
I'm therefore starting to look around and do some research on treating myself to a new sax. My budget will be £800 and the one that appeals most at the moment is the Elkhart Deluxe SXAB which is around the £600 mark. The other one that is on my radar is Yamaha YAS-280 which always seems to get good reviews and seems like the 'go to' sax for the beginner. What is now putting me off this though is there seem to be issues with the pads sticking. I've seen this in online reviews and also speaking with someone from a well known sax retailer. I really would prefer hassle free ownership of any instrument I purchase and play.

I'd therefore be very grateful if someone out there could advise me on my exciting search for a new saxophone.

Many thanks, David
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,971
Welcome David. Sorry to hear of Harvey's passing but you certainly were a conscientious human friend to him.

OK, so your question is two-fold.

1) You have a Gulf and it has never been serviced, or at least it's long overdue. So....
....if you intend to keep it for a bit, get it checked out by a tech. I am certain it's leaking (any horn left 8 years no service will be leaking)
If you wanna exercise THAT option, I am gonna guess with around £150-200 of investment you can probably get it playing decently...so this is a much cheaper option than buying a new one, FWIW.

Some may argue that you would have invested more than the horn's value...
I'd counter: while this may be true....you have also saved yourself 400+ quid and you'd have a usable horn for a while....

2) IF you wanna ditch your Gulf (BTW it is not a particularly good brand, it's an asian cheapie - BUT sometimes those, when put into good tack, can serve their purpose for a few years)....keep in mind it'd have almost no market value as-is. An old Gulf needing servcing ? Perhaps worth 100 quid (perhaps, but doubtful).

3) £800 is a good budget for a replacement. I will honor your desire to buy a new horn (many, including myself, would argue you get way more for your money if you purchase a second hand one, but that also brings with it some related risks, especially for a newbie).

The Elkharts are very popular in UK (not ever seen on THIS side of the Pond), and while I have no experience with them (either as player or repairer) myself, enough folks here say decent enough things about them that they have some repute and are not a bad choice, it would seem.

A new Yama 280 student model puts you at the top range of your budget. Also a valid choice.

So, you have landed yourself upon 2 decent choices there (better selections than most newbie horn buyers might come up with, actually).

I suppose, then, a Q would be, is the Yama worth the add'l £200 ?

Again, not having tried the Elkhart, I will defer to others on that.

Welcome to the cafe.
 

YorkshireSax

New Member
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14
Thanks for the detailed and informative reply.

I've pretty much decided that I'd prefer a new sax but still open to suggestions about what particular manufacturer or model to go with. A budget of £800 would get me the Yamaha 280 but I have reservations about the possibility of sticking pads.

Regarding my Gulf. If it was leaking how would that manifest itself in the playing and would I easily notice it?

Funny that you reckon it's worth about £100 as that's pretty much the figure I paid for it 6 years ago! It has served a purpose though in getting me through the basics and confirming to me that the saxophone is an instrument I want to learn and stick with.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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I have owned a Yamaha YAS 280 and an Elkhart Deluxe equivalent, and although the Elkhart is a good sax, I would choose the Yamaha every time. I thought it was a lot more fun.
 

YorkshireSax

New Member
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14
I have owned a Yamaha YAS 280 and an Elkhart Deluxe equivalent, and although the Elkhart is a good sax, I would choose the Yamaha every time. I thought it was a lot more fun.
That's useful to know. Any thoughts on the sticking pads as that is the issue that's bugging me about the YAS 280.
When you say Elkhart "equivalent" what do you mean by that? Is it the same sax with a different name?
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,971
A budget of £800 would get me the Yamaha 280 but I have reservations about the possibility of sticking pads.
???? why in the world would that be a concern particular to a Yama 280?

I am assuming you read this somewhere online ????

I am a repairer. I have never heard of a particular Yamaha model having a problem with sticking pads.
Sticking pads happen from time to time on horns. It isn't a model or mfr-based problem...

This comment perplexes me, a bit....
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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6,332
That's useful to know. Any thoughts on the sticking pads as that is the issue that's bugging me about the YAS 280
I don’t remember having a problem.
Maybe other Café members can comment.

When you say Elkhart "equivalent" what do you mean by that? Is it the same sax with a different name?
Yes, a Sakkusu “tick logo”. Essentially the same saxophone, made in the same factory.
 

YorkshireSax

New Member
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14
???? why in the world would that be a concern particular to a Yama 280?

I am assuming you read this somewhere online ????

I am a repairer. I have never heard of a particular Yamaha model having a problem with sticking pads.
Sticking pads happen from time to time on horns. It isn't a model or mfr-based problem...

This comment perplexes me, a bit....
Thanks for the reply. As I said in my opening post I've seen various mentions online, in forums and replies to Youtube videos, about 280 sticking pads. When talking to a member of staff at one of the big sax retailers he also confirmed that they knew about the pad issue with the 280.
 

YorkshireSax

New Member
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14
I live less than 10 miles from Hanson music so it would be nice to support a local retailer.

I know I said that I wanted a new saxophone but looking on the Hanson website they do seem to have a selection of used ones too. The advantage of buying used from a retailer like Hanson is that they will have checked it to make sure it's okay.

It would be useful if you could have a look at the range they have and suggest if any would be a good purchase. Budget up to £800.

Thanks

saxophones alto saxophone instruments | Hanson Musical Inst
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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6,332
It would be useful if you could have a look at the range they have and suggest if any would be a good purchase. Budget up to £800.

The ones that stand out for me in the Hanson list are:
Secondhand Yamaha YAS-25 - very well-regarded saxophone, they call it a student model, but it's better than that - made in Japan, good ergonomics, reliable. Though £629 sounds a little bit expensive to me.
New John Packer JP245 - I think this is Packer's more expensive range, made in Taiwan. I have not played one, but I have heard good things about them.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,971
Thanks for the reply. As I said in my opening post I've seen various mentions online, in forums and replies to Youtube videos, about 280 sticking pads. When talking to a member of staff at one of the big sax retailers he also confirmed that they knew about the pad issue with the 280.
Interesting, I had never heard this before...
I live less than 10 miles from Hanson music so it would be nice to support a local retailer.

It would be useful if you could have a look at the range they have and suggest if any would be a good purchase. Budget up to £800.
Well...their prices are pretty high, even for used. I would assume the few used horns they have available (Yama 25, modern Evette Buffet, Elkhart, Bundy I) would have been repadded for those prices. But I am gonna doubt that they have been; they likely have just been spot-serviced.

Those aren't market value secondhand prices. But IF you were OK with spending 125+ quid over market value in order to support a local biz, the Yama 25 would be the one to get, The Evette is NOT a bad horn at all, either, I have refurbed 3 of them and they were actually surprisingly decent.
 
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YorkshireSax

New Member
Messages
14
So in the absence of being able to physically get to any retailers due to this awful virus I'm spending a lot of time online and looking at various reviews and online retailers.
While I originally said I'd narrowed it down to the YAS-280 and Elkhart Deluxe I realise that there are a few other possibilities out there that would probably serve me well. The Trevor James Classic II seems to get good reviews and is priced nicely too. The Buffet 100 seems nice as well and I've found good information about it on here too.
 
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