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Hi Everyone, I'm in Somerset looking for advice

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
Never played an instrument in my life apart from a recorder about 20 yes ago for a brief period whilst encouraging my nephew to learn. I've had a few puffs at a local dealership saxophones Inc a Chinese one at the right price, yet I do like the Yamahas esp the sound of the Tenor 280, yet the weight and size of the Alto. Any ideas that can help me decide would be good. Plus where I can get a used 275/280 as I see advertised for nearly new prices. Thanks in advance.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,552
I cannot offer advice onwhere to find used horns near you, I am across the Pond, I am sure others will chime in.

FWIW, I would stay away from cheapie Chinese horns. Note: this isn't saying ALL China-made horns are cheap or bad, but am referring to the ones which are like £250-300 Alto or £300-350 Tenor. These are very enticing to first-timers, they often LOOK quite attractive and their price points are VERY attractive. But for just a bit more of a budget you can start to find some newer, inexpensive horns which have some repute and a better track record.

Of course your bang for the buck (pound) is much better if buying used...IOW you can get a very good, reputed model for far less $ used.

So to the next question...Alto or Tenor ? Which one 'moved' you more when you playtested it ?

Was the Tenor actually 'cumbersome' for you, scale and weight-wise ?
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,614
If the tenor simply felt too heavy, then you could get a Jazzlab SaxHolder, which gets rid of the pressure on your neck.

One possibility would be to hire an instrument for a few months. Then you could decide later whether you would prefer the other size, and you would be able to try some out with a bit more knowledge.

I have heard good things about this chap:
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,789
I agree with Nigel - altos in my experience are OK on a standard sax sling, but I find tenor too heavy for that. Something like a Cebulla strap or the Jazzlab sax holder which take the pressure off the nape of the neck make a big difference.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,516
Welcome to the Cafe. You've got some good advice already. I would just add that the sound of the saxophone you choose is very important. You're going to be hearing it a lot! I'm an alto player. The first time I tried a tenor, it felt very heavy. I got a good neck strap and got used to the extra weight. Having small hands, I can't get around on a tenor quite as nimbly as I do on alto. But the reason I play alto is the range and tone.

Hiring, as @nigeld suggested is a great idea. You can see if you are able to get accustomed to the tenor. Good luck!
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,120
I will chime in with what I have found to a universal truth despite my relatively short saxophone experience. It's not a good idea to buy a cheap knock-off of anything. Not only are they not made to exacting standards, but you may have two other important problems; parts and repairs. If possible it's best to buy a name brand from a reputable nearby dealer, because they'll be able to service your purchase, even if it's used and even if they have to send it out.
Because these products are not always made to best standards, some of them will be ok, others will have serious faults. I recently bought a mouse for my computer. It was half the price of all the others. After two days of intermittent bluetooth connections and seeing that the build quality wasn't good, I returned it. It you buy a used instrument, that's a good bargain but you'll need someone who knows what they're doing to check it for you. Otherwise, used from a store who will guarantee it isn't bad.

In the end, though, I wouldn't buy a musical instrument with no experience but recommending renting it as others have. Even though I have been playing other instruments for decades, I rented an alto to make sure I had the breath and hand and finger muscles to practice and play for hours, rather than the few minutes in a store. You can usually rent to buy, although after 6 months of rental I bought a new instrument.

Welcome to the forum!
 
Last edited:

Zugzwang

Member
Messages
545
Welcome Rob, saxes are definitely a “try before you buy” commodity, so in these stay-at-home days I’d add my +1 to the people who are suggesting you rent. I rented a 280 tenor from Dawkes (hopefully they’re still doing mail stuff). They’d probably let you try one then the other. Don’t let ideas of weight affect your decision beforehand - I really believe choice of sax is a sonic attachment more than anything (I currently have an alto on loan from a friend and it feels heavier than my tenor, though I’m sure it isn’t.)
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
Subscriber
Messages
5,789
Just to add that instruments vary a lot in weight. I recently picked up a vintage tenor to try out in a shop expecting a really heavy instrument - it wasn't at all.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,999
There used to be a strong case for avoiding the very cheap saxes. They're certainly made down to a price. However they can play and sound well.

If you can get an experienced player to test playability, then there's much less risk with cheapies. But you should do this on any sax you buy. Even high end saxes can need attention straight out of the box, as did my Yani. Parts? Not really an issue. Saxes are hardly high tech and the bits that usually need replacing are common to all. Something big? Usually fixable, it failing that sell it on for spares. Many rental saxes are low end Chinese and you end up paying more to rent than buy.

Yamaha starter level saxes are excellent and good value and retain value well. But can be improved. There's an excellent article on the forum from Ads on this.
 

randulo

Playing alto 2 ⅓ years
Subscriber
Messages
4,120
Under current conditions, you probably can't even send back a defective sax!
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
I cannot offer advice onwhere to find used horns near you, I am across the Pond, I am sure others will chime in.

FWIW, I would stay away from cheapie Chinese horns. Note: this isn't saying ALL China-made horns are cheap or bad, but am referring to the ones which are like £250-300 Alto or £300-350 Tenor. These are very enticing to first-timers, they often LOOK quite attractive and their price points are VERY attractive. But for just a bit more of a budget you can start to find some newer, inexpensive horns which have some repute and a better track record.

Of course your bang for the buck (pound) is much better if buying used...IOW you can get a very good, reputed model for far less $ used.

So to the next question...Alto or Tenor ? Which one 'moved' you more when you playtested it ?

Was the Tenor actually 'cumbersome' for you, scale and weight-wise ?
Hi thank you for your reply, I agree with all your points.

Ive made a few enquiries about a used sax, and ideally I need to ensure that it should have had a recent service because of potential costs up to £250 putting things right! So buying used privately is certainly not easily and rely on sellers honesty.

Unfortunately my local dealer is not supplying used at the moment due to the current pandemic, and I wish to avoid Chinese made as a cheap alternative.

Alto or Tenor? I wish I had another opportunity to try them ..! I do like the idea of Jazzlab that couple of guys have suggested to try

Thank you, be safe and take care

Rob
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,552
Yes that is the added complication with used horns. You, indeed, have done your homework....most folks will think they have gotten a good 'deal' on a used instrument only to find it needs 100 quid or more of servicing (this MAY or MAY NOT be the seller's fault in not adequately describing....some sellers don't really know much about what they are selling, others - the musician type - may well be able to PLAY the horn themselves but this doesn't mean it is necessarily in solid playing shape).

Given the current situation where try-before-buy isn't much of an option, as stores are closed and such....if you were eager to get going now you could try to find something brand-new; there are a few inexpensive brands which have been around the block a couple of times and so far have received decent accolades. Perhaps @Stephen Howard may have some suggestions (?) as he has put many a new-ish horn on his workbench...

Thanks for your wishes. Same back at ya'.
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
If the tenor simply felt too heavy, then you could get a Jazzlab SaxHolder, which gets rid of the pressure on your neck.

One possibility would be to hire an instrument for a few months. Then you could decide later whether you would prefer the other size, and you would be able to try some out with a bit more knowledge.

I have heard good things about this chap:
Thank you for your reply, the Jazzlab looks an interesting solution and have given Richard a call at Uksaxhire whos been very helpful, hes going to send some prices over for me to consider

Thank you, be safe and take care



If the tenor simply felt too heavy, then you could get a Jazzlab SaxHolder, which gets rid of the pressure on your neck.

One possibility would be to hire an instrument for a few months. Then you could decide later whether you would prefer the other size, and you would be able to try some out with a bit more knowledge.

I have heard good things about this chap:
Hi Nigel

Thank you for your reply, the Jazzlab looks an interesting solution and have given Richard a call at Uksaxhire whos been very helpful, hes going to send some prices over for me to consider

Thank you, be safe and take care
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
I agree with Nigel - altos in my experience are OK on a standard sax sling, but I find tenor too heavy for that. Something like a Cebulla strap or the Jazzlab sax holder which take the pressure off the nape of the neck make a big difference.
Thank you for your reply, ill take a look at the Cebulla strap too

Thank you, be safe and take care
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
Welcome to the Cafe. You've got some good advice already. I would just add that the sound of the saxophone you choose is very important. You're going to be hearing it a lot! I'm an alto player. The first time I tried a tenor, it felt very heavy. I got a good neck strap and got used to the extra weight. Having small hands, I can't get around on a tenor quite as nimbly as I do on alto. But the reason I play alto is the range and tone.

Hiring, as @nigeld suggested is a great idea. You can see if you are able to get accustomed to the tenor. Good luck!
Thank you for your tip, certainly one of my concerns would be the size of my hands/butter fingers and avoiding pressing two keys at once so I guess spacing is worth considering..I am considering a hire basis and doing a swap if i dont get on with it tho

Be safe and take care

Rob
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
I will chime in with what I have found to a universal truth despite my relatively short saxophone experience. It's not a good idea to buy a cheap knock-off of anything. Not only are they not made to exacting standards, but you may have two other important problems; parts and repairs. If possible it's best to buy a name brand from a reputable nearby dealer, because they'll be able to service your purchase, even if it's used and even if they have to send it out.
Because these products are not always made to best standards, some of them will be ok, others will have serious faults. I recently bought a mouse for my computer. It was half the price of all the others. After two days of intermittent bluetooth connections and seeing that the build quality wasn't good, I returned it. It you buy a used instrument, that's a good bargain but you'll need someone who knows what they're doing to check it for you. Otherwise, used from a store who will guarantee it isn't bad.

In the end, though, I wouldn't buy a musical instrument with no experience but recommending renting it as others have. Even though I have been playing other instruments for decades, I rented an alto to make sure I had the breath and hand and finger muscles to practice and play for hours, rather than the few minutes in a store. You can usually rent to buy, although after 6 months of rental I bought a new instrument.

Welcome to the forum!
Hi thank you for your reply

Ive approached my local dealership who are very helpful, they only supply their own branded sax on a hire basis being a John Packer, Yamaha etc available for purchase only, so unforunately ill have to go further afield if Im to hire..

Thank you again, be safe and take care
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
Welcome Rob, saxes are definitely a “try before you buy” commodity, so in these stay-at-home days I’d add my +1 to the people who are suggesting you rent. I rented a 280 tenor from Dawkes (hopefully they’re still doing mail stuff). They’d probably let you try one then the other. Don’t let ideas of weight affect your decision beforehand - I really believe choice of sax is a sonic attachment more than anything (I currently have an alto on loan from a friend and it feels heavier than my tenor, though I’m sure it isn’t.)
Thank you..Ill check out Dawkes too
 
OP
R

RobH

New Member
Messages
10
There used to be a strong case for avoiding the very cheap saxes. They're certainly made down to a price. However they can play and sound well.

If you can get an experienced player to test playability, then there's much less risk with cheapies. But you should do this on any sax you buy. Even high end saxes can need attention straight out of the box, as did my Yani. Parts? Not really an issue. Saxes are hardly high tech and the bits that usually need replacing are common to all. Something big? Usually fixable, it failing that sell it on for spares. Many rental saxes are low end Chinese and you end up paying more to rent than buy.

Yamaha starter level saxes are excellent and good value and retain value well. But can be improved. There's an excellent article on the forum from Ads on this.
Thank you for your tips, im definitiely looking at Yamaha ..ill take a look at the forum as you suggest

Thank you, be safe and take care
 
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