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Beginner Sax Hi All and advice needed


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Hi All

I've loved the sax for years, and am now about to take the plunge and look to learn this wonderful instrument. I have many questions to ask, but I'll start at the beginning.

What alto sax would people recommend for a complete beginner as their first sax. Im not to bothered about neccessary sell-on value, however I do want to get the best sounding sax (although I wont make it sound that great at the beginning!). What sort of budget do I need to be looking at for a sax and and any neccessary accessories (case etc) and does anyone know a recommended dealer.

Thanks all



Apologies if Ive posted this in the wrong place.
Hello and welcome to the cafe, I am new to the sax myself so will not even try and give any advice, however I am sure somebody with more experience will soon see your post and have plenty of advice to give.

For some weeks ago I had the same question from an older person (been playing for a year on a rented sax) that wanted a good used alto sax. She bought: Vito alto sax with case (made by Yamaha) for c £ 230.00 in very good condition, new Rico Smart Pak (Graftonite mouthpiece, ligature, cap, reedgard) for c £ 38.00, a care kit (swabs, polishing cloth, cork grease, oil ..) for c £ 19.00. I gave her a Neotech neckstrap that I don't use (I hope she will join the Rocksax collective!!!;}). The Vito sax went to a woodwind tech for a service (cleaning, check felts and corks, oiling, leaksearching and maybe replace some pads, up to 4 pads) for c 100.00. So for c £ 387.00 she got a nice alto sax with good playablity. The sax was bought private here in Sweden. The other stuff in a musicshop.

Hello and welcome!
When I started playing, I rented a sax from the music school. That's always a good thing to do if you don't know whether you are going to like it etc. There are also shops that you can rent a sax from, and if you decide to continue, the money you have paid to rent will go towards the purchase. My first sax was a Keilwerth Ponzol, I got it after I had been playing for about a year and I was sure that I wanted to continue playing. There are many reliable student saxophones around and many good places to buy them from, but we need to know where you live..
Hi Mark
and welcome to the Cafe. I'd agree with Juju's advice about renting from a shop that would then give you up to a year's rent back if you buy a sax from them.
My first alto was a Jupiter 500 - it wasn't too bad, it did me fine for about 12 months, but then a) I progressed at a very fast pace and b) I got the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome) so upgraded it to a Yanagisawa 901 (definitely not a beginner's sax nor price!) But the Jupiter was good. The keys were a little clunky but the tone was quite nice. I paid £150 for it from a friend of a friend, never had it seviced and when I came to buy the Yani, the shop I went to gave me £150 in part exchange. That shop offer the one year rental deal discussed above.
There'll be almost as many opinions on beginners saxes as there are members of the Cafe, though. But I hope you find some useful information.
Hi Mark and welcome to the cafe

I to would recommend the hire option if you can, as you never know if the sax is suited to you if you buy new and don't take to the sax you will lose too much money on resale.
2nd hand buy, you need to know who you are buying from or feel confident you are getting a good sax from the seller.

Good luck and happy blowing

What alto sax would people recommend for a complete beginner as their first sax ?

That's a very sensible question but it might be easier to answer if you were find a sax that's for sale in
your price range and then ask what sort of reputation that make and model has. Is there a music shop near where you live ?

Do you fancy buying an instrument outright or hiring one ? If you're buying, would you prefer one that is new or secondhand ? If secondhand, do you know an experienced player, or maybe a teacher, who could play test it before you bought it ? Most people start playing an alto but you don't have to.........I didn't. I bought a good quality secondhand tenor because I preferred the tenor sound and knew I could get my money back if I wanted to sell it.

Playing the saxophone........or any musical instrument is a really terrific way to waste huge chunks of your life so the sooner you get started the better. Good luck.
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Depends too on whether you are rich or not. I bought a chinese job for 160-00 15 months ago, still have it, play it every day and have been really happy with it. Splashing out this year because I think I will stick with it and though my Chinese is fine, I reckon a bit of quality might not be wasted on me now. I had no idea what I was buying, but I thought 160-00 for an alto was a bargain. I covet things so hiring would not have been for me.
hi i have been playing for a short while i bought a boosey & hawkes for £ 120 it came with a case ,mouth piece. i got it from ebay but you have to beware there is a lot of rubbish on there ,it turned out the mouth piece was to open for me i could not get a note out of it ,
that's when i found the caffe looking for advice every one chipped in and and i ended buying a yamaha 4c mouth piece which is prefect i can play and hit most notes , so i thought i was buying a set to play out of the box but it still worked out cheap as the mp only cost me £16-00.
i did have a small problem with my sax i could not hit notes above the octave key then after asking on here again i realised a spring was in the wrong place which held me back, but all sorted now ,
i hope this may help,
cheers pip
If budget isn't an issue and you want a horn that you can play a year or two down the road, then I would seriously take a look at the Yamaha YAS-275. It is supplied with a strap which in my opinion should be upgraded immediately!, cork grease, a decent 4c Mouthpiece, Ligature & Cap and a polishing cloth.

All you'll need is:

Stand £25
Pull-through £5
Body Pad Saver £15
Padded Strap £10
Box of Rico Royal #2 (Box of 10) £20 have a new YAS-275 in for £808

Another sax to look at is the Bauhaus Walstein (BW) Range! but you can't go wrong with the Yamaha to begin with!
Best value really superb Alto sax that I can find in UK is a Bauhaus Walstein currently for sale at (Abergavenny) for about £299 (normally approx £600). The other comments above are helpful, but a pad saver is not a good idea as it can get entangled in the bodywork. Other saxes at £299 can be found at (Oxford) where they have a new BW at £399 and a used Yamaha at £425. Many of these saxes are used (barely, and all serviced so definitely playable). have starter packages for saxes at good prices. Getting started does involve acquiring a few items, but once you are under way, then you will be underway!

Kind regards
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Your question has been asked many times (do a search and you will find similar ones) that might be helpful
I myself rented one initially (Alto) and was impressed and it encouraged me to continue, After a while I decided to keep it and the rental I had payed was taken of the price.
I learn't a lot from that first sax but found I was leaning more towards the Tenor so I have gone down that route, something I had not considered in the beginning. (not connected with them) do a beginners rental package consisting of Sax/Stand/MPiece/reeds/and Instruction book etc. this is at a modest rental price and if you find its not to your liking you can return it and are hardly out of pocket.
This is a route I would seriously recommend as the retailer will also offer advice and help.
Good luck and keep at it.

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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