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Saxophones I need an Alto, help and advice needed please.

BeBopSop

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Hi all, I have been away from sax playing for a while now (got into banjolele) but comming back to my sax playing, I have a Yanigasawa soprano 991, but find that I can play and sound better with an alto (I borrowed my uncles selmer mk 6) I find it more comfortable and easier to play, and my wife says I sound so much better playing the alto. So I have to sell my sop and buy an alto, I can only afford one sax.The question is which one?
Stephen Howard says in the Haynes manual he would recommend the Yamaha 275 series the 23 model, would you agree? Thanks for your help in advance.
 

Sue

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Hello John, welcome to the cafe and back to sax playing.

I love the Yani sopranos but if you really can only have one and it's to be an alto, you might try a Yani alto. I have no experience of Yamaha so can't say but I know there are loads of Yamaha owners and lovers on here who can advise you. Stephen Howard, definitely knows much more than I can ever hope to!

Perhaps you could go to a local stockist and try a few different horns.

Enjoy :)
 

Jamesmac

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I have a Yanagisawa S880 that I would never sell, but I owned an A901 Black for a while, and preferred my back up a YAS 23 which are great student players, but the pro S/H YAS62 is certainly within your budget when you sell the Sop. The YAS62 go from £800 to about £1200 on eBay.
Last year I got one for £800 plus postage, which was a great sax, in fact was very similar to the Custom YAS855 I have at the moment. S/H Yanagisawas don't turn up very often, compared with the Yamaha Altos, and the benefit of buying a Yamaha, you will most always get your money back or better if you decide to sell it. I paid £800 for my YAS62 and sold it on for £950. And the buyer was very happy.
 

BeBopSop

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Yes the Yas62 does look a good buy, now all I have to do is sell mine and then find a Yas62.....here we go again lol
by the way looking on ebay there is a lot of saxes being advertised from USA?
 

thesaxman71

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Yes the Yas62 does look a good buy, now all I have to do is sell mine and then find a Yas62.....here we go again lol
by the way looking on ebay there is a lot of saxes being advertised from USA?
go for the yamaha, even the student models are better than a lot of other brand pro level models, Yamaha all the way, i had mine over 20 years and nothing has come near it for sound, all round consistency and durability.
happy hunting!
 

TomMapfumo

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Buffet Crampon A400 is a superb alto sax, and my preferred choice under £2000. Read what DavidUK says about it in comparison to a Yamaha 275 - no competition. An online review placed it above the Yani & Yamaha competition. I've played the 275 and don't rate it highly - expensive student instrument costing around £1000. Of course Bauhaus Walstein are also superb but you do tend to go for Yani and Yamaha s so I'll shut up at this point, though a Yamaha 23 is also pretty good.

Nice to hear from you, by the way!

Some youtube footage of alto saxes:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lPi6jFP5bNE ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=judfyU9VI3w ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqcK5iN6OVQ ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MJumxFmHnJ8 ;http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTxMOsaRTFY
 
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Andrew Sanders

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Careful with the USA horns as you'll get clobbered with taxes and duty John.
Just go and play some altos and you'll find one to love. Keep an open mind and ear.
 

BeBopSop

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Yamaha YAS 62 Alto (Mk 1) purchased now, very pleased with it,plays like a dream....all notes playable from top to bottom,using a borrowed Selmer C* M.P. and a Rico royal 2.5, which seems a nice ballance for me,could do with advice on which M.P. to buy though,is there anything better than the Selmer C*? it seems to do the job,Thanks all who helped me here with their advice...
 

Colin the Bear

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C* is the lay. Is it an S80 or a Soloist or what?

The S80 is quite a marmite mp but if it plays well and easily for you, then I'd stick with that for a while till you get used to the alto and know more what you're loking for.

Some good cheapies to experiment with are the Bari Esprit II and the Rico metalite.

The Bari has a square chamber like the S80 and the Metalite has a high baffle for that brighter sound.
 

TomMapfumo

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Alternately you could look at a Fobes Debut for £36 at Howarth, or the Windcraft HR Etude for £49 at Dawkes. Both will walk over the Selmer S80 quite happily - having compared them all at some length. The Bari Esprit II is amazing at £14 and will mellow the Yamaha slightly if that is what you need.
 

BeBopSop

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Its a new S80 C* It is easy to play, a tad stifled/stuffy perhaps,It dosnt 'sing out' like I prefer, say like Phil Woods sound.
 

BeBopSop

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worcester england
A Bari Esprit 11 M.P. for £14.00 sounds amazing! it must be plastic for that price? Nothing wrong with plastic though thinking of Yamaha 4C. I can spend out a bit on a M.P. though, as I am selling my Soprano, so dont mind spending on one fantastic M.P.
 

Colin the Bear

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I believe the S80 is the mouthpiece that comes with a new selmer. A lot of people find them stuffy. I love mine on Baritone and dabbled with one on tenor. A deceiving sound. A full, round, rich tone which sounds like it's not putting out much volume till you try to record or play with other instruments and there you find it's chucking out plenty of volume. It's also a very forgiving mp and will play through leaks and give good intonation with poor technique.

Trying different makes of reed on it is the easiest and cheapest way to experiment with your sound. They go second hand in good condition, on ebay, around the £50 mark so you could sell it to fund a new piece


The Bari Esprit II will give you a brighter tone for little money and a sound that belies its economy price.

I contrast the Rico metalite is also very cheap and with its high baffle will give a very bright raucous sound, letting you see if that's the way you want to go without spending hundreds of pounds.

Beware though. This mouthpiece hunt can take a lifetime and cost the price of a second hand car.
 

BeBopSop

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worcester england
Perhaps to avoid the slight stuffiness I could go to a selmer C** ? I do like the more rounded full rich tone, as opposed to the 'raucous sound'
 

Colin the Bear

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Going for a different (larger or smaller) tip opening won't alter the nature or the basic sound of a mouthpiece. It may suit your embouchure better and be easier for you to play. It may allow you to use a harder or softer reed giving you more feel and expression allowing you to be more you.

I'd stick with the S80 till you're embouchure develops and gets where it's going or back to where it was. A trip to a good store is then in order to try out in person different mouthpieces.

The 2 mouthpieces suggested are bargain basement prices and offer completely different types of sound to experiment with to give you an idea of what you want from a mouthpiece and can be mail ordered without trying them first, without breaking the bank. A new S80 retails in the £100 region and is by no means an expensive mouthpiece. Selmer do other mouthpieces. Soloist, jazz etc. You may even want to go vintage. I did.

There are scores of manufacturers to chose from but bear in mind, all that a mouthpiece does is allow you to become you. The time to change is when you feel the mouthpiece you're using is holding you back.
 

Justin Chune

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So far as I know the Selmer C* alto mouthpiece is still the most popular mouthpiece out there. The lead alto player in our dance band plays one and he sounds great. He produces just the sound you want. You'll be fine with your Selmer mouthpiece, enjoy it.

Jim.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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John,
I've recently returned to alto playing and had a C* to start me off. A good piece if not a bit "socky".
I bought an E. Rousseau Studio Jazz 6 and it has opened the sound up nicely without sounding raucous. I know Pete (Thomas)
rates the Rouseau JDX7 so I would give them some thought. They can be found at quite reasonable prices.
The SJ6 is free-blowing and seems to handle anything I can throw at it.
 

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