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Saxophones I must be rubbish! Or is it all hype? Selmer vs.62 vs. ...Vito?

DavidUK

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o_O

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For the first time, I did a side by side test last night to decide which to keep - the newly acquired minty SA80II alto or my current "keeper" the YAS-62 MkI Purple Logo alto.

SA80II is just back from a "set up" by Charlie Connolly, the 62 was tweaked by him 6 months ago.

Before doing this, I thought I'd just check the "time capsule" 1990 Vito (YAS-23), which I'd just had Charlie set up last week, was playing well as he'd found the lower stack keys slightly out of adjustment. Strange that even on this student model there are adjustment screws all over. I don't recall this on the Yamaha version? Perhaps they're there too. Charlie used to import Vitos into the UK, and regaled me with a story of going to Vito's house in Kenosha. Anyway... the Vito sounds great now!

So, Selmer next, same tune, ah... another tricky Eb to low C shift. Maybe I'll get used to it... OK, not bad, but not significantly better than the Vito? In fact the Vito sound is very nice.

Next, my 62. Do I prefer the Vito? This cannot be? 62 sounds brighter than the Selmer, but brighter than the Vito too?

Picked up the Vito again. Am I trying to convince myself to keep the cheapest horn here? No... I actually prefer it! How can this be against two icons of the saxophone world? My mind starts to wander to what Steve Howard said about his YTS-23 beating all comers for 20 years. Is the 23 a force to be reckoned with? Does the Vito version have something extra again? Charlie had said the Vito was more expensive that its Yamaha badged stable mate. But why was this? I'll have to ask him next week...

Meanwhile... lesson on Tuesday, so I'll be taking all three to my tutor. He's heard the (pre set up, G# leaking) Selmer against the Yamaha and couldn't make up his mind as to which I sound better on.

Of course, I want the Selmer to be the new keeper, for its badge and "stature", but so far I prefer the 62's key work, and the Vito's sound.

It surely must be me, not able to get the best out of the Selmer?
Tell me I'll "grow" into it, please?
o_O
 
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fibracell

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what about the intonation (C#, D) , subtone. altissimo, overtones?

lots to consider !!
 

Bolding

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I'd tend to say go with the vito, make money on the rest! Vito seems a desireable choice as it has only been played by johnny hodges, and let's just say, he did okay?
 

jonf

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I've had loads of altos, including Vito ones, and the Vito's have all been great. they do sometimes come with additional features over the contemporary YAS saxes.

Of all the altos I've played, the one I prefer out of them all - and this includes Selmers and other such fancy pants stuff - is my Yanagisawa. My Yani isn't a shiny, classy one, it's an Astro Yani stencil which I bought for eighty quid, in a state, with no neck. It got seventy quid of Griff expertise and an underslung Yani neck bought in Howarth's sale. It looks really ropy and a bit of a hotch potch, but man, it plays so well. So much better than it looks, so in my experience, it's the way the individual sax plays that matters, not the reputation of the brand.

Incidentally, when I decided to treat myself to a new tenor a few years ago (got a tax rebate!) I tried the tenor Selmer Series 2 and the YTS62. I was distinctly underwhelmed by both!
 

jbtsax

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The Vitos made in Japan are a great value. They are structurally and mechanically identical to the YAS-23, often with a darker lacquer which many find attractive. Yamaha got it right when they designed this student sax. The ergonomics and intonation beat every other "student sax" at the time hands down. The only things lacking in my opinion would be a fully articulated LH table, and a low B to C# closing arm. From a tech's standpoint, adjustable bumpers, and a G#/Bis closing mechanism on a separate arm would be nice, but these things can be worked with as they are.
 

DavidUK

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@jbtsax - when you say "adjustable bumpers" whereabouts are you referring to them being?

I guess the Vito is more familiar as it echos the 62 layout, both without the fully articulated LH table, but the Vito sound isn't a bright as the 62, which I quite like. Not sure why this would be?

The Vito also has a nicer octave key touch wrapped around the thumb rest rather than just to the right of it. No high F# though, but no great loss to me.
 

Colin the Bear

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Every horn has a little something. Some little somethings you can live without. Some feel as if they are tailor made for you. If you keep the one with the label and sell the one that touches your soul, you'll have a hole in your heart that only that one thing fits.

The bumpers are the felts under the guards that the cups rest on when open.

You can adjust the sound by the way you play and altering your set up but a horn that leads the way you want to go will satisfy more than another that doesn't.
 

kevgermany

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Vito's were made by quite a few makers. You need to check which you want. Then start hunting.
 

majordennis

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I have always liked the Beaugnier marque and was a bit sad last year when I sold my Noblet tenor, I was lucky enough to come across a Beagnier manufactured Kenosha assembled Vito alto, because of the cheap purchase price investing a few quid into a top set up gives you a first class horn. I have no knowledge of the Japanese models but I get the impression that Mr Pascucci was very diligent in his early sourcing of parts and assembled horns which make them the hidden gems that they are. The Doctorsax website is very good reference.

Other makes and models are available.
 

DavidUK

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Had another go just now...

...the Selmer is growing on me! Different day, different mood, many tunes on all three...

I'd could be happy with any of them. But the testing will continue... :rolleyes:
 

MMM

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I think at this point instead of switching from one to the other you should just play one exclusively for two weeks, then switch to another for two weeks and note the differences/preferences and so on. It may help you in your decision. Hope this helps.
M.
 

Tenor Viol

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Deciding between instruments is not easy and a key pint is that what you hear is not necessarily the same as what an audience member 15 or 20 feet away will hear. Challenges with this process include: subjectivity, the impossibility of equal performances; the variability of so many parameters - reeds, mouthpieces, how you feel...

My original Chinese cello (which I still have) is quite resonant and projects well. My late C19th German cello, which is currently with a luthier (pick it up later today) when I bought it sounded very 'boxed in' especially in lower register (the cello's bottom C is an octave (ish) below the bottom of a tenor sax). The top end was sweet though. I have had work done on the German cello: a good quality bridge cut and fitted, good quality top 2 strings fitted, replaced lower 2 strings, sound-post adjusted, new tail piece and tail gut, new end-pin unit. End result of that is that it is much more open and resonant across the range. Today it will have the bottom two string replaced with good ones ata cost of about £170 and it will have been thoroughly cleaned and polished.

So on Thursday, I had to play Chinese cello at orchestra. The instrument is still resonant, but it's interesting that it now seems bright to me - it never used to. This demonstrates how subjective it all is.
 

griff136

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Wise words from Manny ( MMM) There are a lot of factors for deciding which horn to keep out of the three. The overriding factor(s) for me would be how well they play in tune, and how it feels under the fingers. Price/Resale value and brand name aren't real factors unless:
a. You have a budget or
b. You worry about what people think when they see you're not playing a big hame horn.

Go for the one you like the best.
 

aldevis

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You just reminded me that at some point in life (1992?) I sold my SA80II for a Buffet S1...
Then went back to Selmer a couple of times.

The main question is:
"On which instrument have you spent more time doing the donkey work of scales and long tones?"
If the answer is "Vito" that explains your preference. developing a familiarity is not an obvious thing.
Also some horn/mouthpiece matches work better than others.

My advice? Give some practice time to the Selmer and put the other two politely in the cupboard.
In a couple of weeks you can make a better judgement.
 
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