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Saxophones Need help selecting a Tenor

Stephen Howard

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(BTW...Grassi 2000's are excellent saxes. In every way. I have refurbed a half-dozen of them (not to mention another 20 other Grassi models), - nothing mediocre about either mechanics, action, build, blowing response, or tone of a model 2000 in good tack.

The key guards are too small across the top, the pillar fitting is often sketchy, acid bleed is common, toneholes come with lovely burrs (and aren't level), point screws have an ineffectual taper - so act like parallel ones, octave mech's basic, top stack all on a single rod.

Bell brace is meaty and the rounded key cups give it a nice look (and the keys are very tough).

But excellent? Not in my book. YMMV etc.
 

DavidUK

Well-Known Member
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5,041
@DavidUK thank you for taking the time to provide some great feedback. I read the reviews of the 23 and also looked at the Grassi 2000 Professional. I'm curious about what made the grassi such a better instrument in your opinion? @nigeld do you still have the instrument? What do you like about it? To answer your question, I've not played any of the Yamaha's. Is the 23 considered an intermediate or pro level instrument?
Why did I like the Grassi? This may help (bit of a saga): Saxophones - Should I save her? Grassi 2000 Professional Tenor - Restoration?

But apart from anything, it was Charile Connolly (now retired, of Connolly-MIR) who spent two and a half days overhauling it from a box of bits and "setting it up like a MkVI" whatever that means, which I think made it superb.
 

swhnld

Member
Messages
62
Remember that you need more embouchure for a tenor, so keep practicing while searching.

I certainly would go to a shop and try first. For you I would try a Cannonball, which I think might be a match for the sound of your alto.
 

Tinncupp

New Member
Messages
14
Remember that you need more embouchure for a tenor, so keep practicing while searching.

I certainly would go to a shop and try first. For you I would try a Cannonball, which I think might be a match for the sound of your alto.
@swhnld Thanks for your recommendation. I would love to go to a shop and may just wait until I can but with Covid-19 limiting the ability to do that, I'm stuck "window shopping". Curious though, I don't know much about Cannonball (heard of the brand before) but what do you like about them? Any particular model to look at?
 

swhnld

Member
Messages
62
I used to play a tenor Cannonball Stone Series, the Raven. Beautiful big sound. Good looks. Smooth solid mechanism. Sound wise very impressive. Now play a Selmer which better fits the classical group I am with.
But with your Buesher alto I gathered you would be fitting for this sound.

Not sure how long the lock down will last where you live, here in NL it is mostly lifted. News today is band practice is allowed as well as long as we keep 2 meter distance, maximum 30 people in a room and everything gets disinfected before and afterwards.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
687
Hi Clive, good to know! I'm curious as to what your buying criteria were and what specifically you liked about the Yamaha compared to any other makes you may have been considering/tried out.
I wanted a pro horn that I could play for a lifetime without barriers. I wanted new as I had previously had second hand and I wanted to treat myself. The 62iii is Yamaha's most popular pro horn. As such, there is a lot of store price competition and a lot of tech service price competition. In contrast, Yanagisawa are relatively rare and undiscounted. I bought mine for US$ 2187 new in box.(actually $A 3125). They hold their value really well. I couldn't buy serviced second hand for that price.

The 62iii comes with a 62 style neck with a narrow bore. I'm buying the Yamaha V1 neck (wider bore) for $US 349 that effectively upgrades the 62iii to an 82Z which sells for double the price new.

In summary, new pro horn for less than second hand and my choice of stores for after market service. Playing wise, it is perfect for me. I love the sound and the key action feels ideal. Yamaha publishes key heights and I have measured them all. The factory/store setup was as published. I get a free 3 month checkover service, too.

The only tangible difference with the 82Z is that the 62iii has plastic pearls. I don't care. I have an 82Z soprano and actually prefer the tenor's feel when playing.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
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2,330
I would also go down the Yamaha or Yanagisawa route both are very well made, i have owned a number of Yamaha's and Yanagisawa's although I have not owned a Yani tenor.
I have tried but not owned about 4 Grassi's non of them made me part with my money but that could be the one's I tried, but if you can you need to try as many horns as you can and make your own mind up, I know it might difficult at this time but its still the best way to pick a sax.
Go to Stephen Howard's site he has reviewed many horns comprehensive, it might help you decide.
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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1,647
The only tangible difference with the 82Z is that the 62iii has plastic pearls. I don't care. I have an 82Z soprano and actually prefer the tenor's feel when playing.
I agree with this. Both my altos have genuine MOP and it's really nice, but I have never noticed any difference in feel between MOP and plastic.
 

Tinncupp

New Member
Messages
14
I wanted a pro horn that I could play for a lifetime without barriers. I wanted new as I had previously had second hand and I wanted to treat myself. The 62iii is Yamaha's most popular pro horn. As such, there is a lot of store price competition and a lot of tech service price competition. In contrast, Yanagisawa are relatively rare and undiscounted. I bought mine for US$ 2187 new in box.(actually $A 3125). They hold their value really well. I couldn't buy serviced second hand for that price.

The 62iii comes with a 62 style neck with a narrow bore. I'm buying the Yamaha V1 neck (wider bore) for $US 349 that effectively upgrades the 62iii to an 82Z which sells for double the price new.

In summary, new pro horn for less than second hand and my choice of stores for after market service. Playing wise, it is perfect for me. I love the sound and the key action feels ideal. Yamaha publishes key heights and I have measured them all. The factory/store setup was as published. I get a free 3 month checkover service, too.

The only tangible difference with the 82Z is that the 62iii has plastic pearls. I don't care. I have an 82Z soprano and actually prefer the tenor's feel when playing.
@CliveMA Thanks for the additional details and answer to my questions. I'm not familiar yet with the difference a wider bore makes and was wondering if you could direct me to something that explains it or if you can give me an idea of the difference in a short reply. I'll definitely check out the 62iii based on your recommendation and others.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
687
@CliveMA Thanks for the additional details and answer to my questions. I'm not familiar yet with the difference a wider bore makes and was wondering if you could direct me to something that explains it or if you can give me an idea of the difference in a short reply. I'll definitely check out the 62iii based on your recommendation and others.
The narrower bore of the 62iii makes intonation easier and has a focussed darker tone. The wider bore of the V1 neck on the 82Z enables a broader tonal palette and a brighter tone but requires more advanced intonation skills.

View: https://youtu.be/ficEJd8LBb4
 

Zugzwang

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680
@Tinncupp , you’re getting great advice from professional teachers and players - but my 2p as a know nothing is that if you haven’t played them, you might dislike a wonderful instrument for purely personal/ergonomic reasons. But if you’ve only spent a few hundred ££/$$ on a horn then it won’t break your heart if it’s not to your taste ultimately.
 

David Roach

Senior Member
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655
@Tinncupp , you’re getting great advice from professional teachers and players - but my 2p as a know nothing is that if you haven’t played them, you might dislike a wonderful instrument for purely personal/ergonomic reasons. But if you’ve only spent a few hundred ££/$$ on a horn then it won’t break your heart if it’s not to your taste ultimately.
There's a certain logic to @Zugzwang 's advice, but bear in mind that a well made Japanese instrument will hold it's value a lot better than a cheap instrument: and I would be surprised if you disliked the ergonomics of either a Yamaha or a Yanagisawa. If you can afford the price range of a Yamaha 62 I would not recommend you go for an instrument in the 'very cheap' range unless you have had it checked out thoroughly by a repair technician and a good player. On that note, this clip from 'Better Sax' may be interesting to watch.

It's true that a 'know-nothing' may not be able to tell the difference between an instrument at less than £1K and one that is over £2K, but as you progress you will definitely start to notice the inadequacies of a sub £1K sax and will have trouble selling it if you want to upgrade. Having said that I completely understand that my priorities and expectations as a professional player are different and that everyone has to cut their cloth according to their budget.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,897
Cleveland and King XXXX were brands owned by H.N. White Company. I like Cleveland saxes. They are built with silver soldered toneholes. Both Indiana ("Martin") and Cleveland used to built thier saxes as the original saxes. But the King 6XX and 26XX models are with drawn tone holes, I think.

Some guys says the brand Cleveland is a second-line saxophones. That means the brand had it's own management and controlled by the parent company. In this case H.N. White. A second line sax was often a sax built with old inventory and with old tools. Nothing wrong at all. Often good saxes.

I'm not a professional teacher or player. But I know lots of sax players at different levels. Most of the professional players are on Selmers, Keilwerths, Yamahas ..... but there are also a guy who sold his Selmer and bought a Bundy II. He sounds great on that sax as well. When I meet my Rocksax friends is a cavalcade of differnt sax. From Amati stencils, Weltklang, Yani stencils, Conn Shooting Star, Kohlerts, Yamaha 23&25, King 26XX .... to Conn Artist 10M, King Super 20, Martin Comm, SML Rev D, Keilwert SX 90, Selmer Mk VI, Yani and Yamaha 61&62 ..... . The saxes are often not the limit. It's the player. The best player is playing a Louis Robert Classic tenor (Amati stencil) from the early 70's. I play Martin saxes. I bought them for many ears ago so they didn't cost so much. Still possible to buy good Martin saxes for less money due all the "bad" writing on internet. The last years I've been playing YTS 25 and G4M as well. Both good saxes. But the G4M is hard for me to play with my ordinary mouthpieces. Maybe it's possible to increase the key heights?
 

Zugzwang

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There's a certain logic to @Zugzwang 's advice, but bear in mind that a well made Japanese instrument will hold it's value a lot better than a cheap instrument: and I would be surprised if you disliked the ergonomics of either a Yamaha or a Yanagisawa. If you can afford the price range of a Yamaha 62 I would not recommend you go for an instrument in the 'very cheap' range unless you have had it checked out thoroughly by a repair technician and a good player. On that note, this clip from 'Better Sax' may be interesting to watch.

It's true that a 'know-nothing' may not be able to tell the difference between an instrument at less than £1K and one that is over £2K, but as you progress you will definitely start to notice the inadequacies of a sub £1K sax and will have trouble selling it if you want to upgrade. Having said that I completely understand that my priorities and expectations as a professional player are different and that everyone has to cut their cloth according to their budget.
If there were no personal preferences at every level, there would be but a single make of saxophone, with models from entry level to "professional player" .
I rented first, then spent an annoying amount of time having people tell me I should buy Yanigasawa before following @Stephen Howard 's recommendation and bought an YTS23. It may not be my 'dream' horn, but I have a great deal of affection and respect for it. Another person may feel differently - even as a beginner.
 

David Roach

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If there were no personal preferences at every level, there would be but a single make of saxophone, with models from entry level to "professional player" .
Well of course, but that's a truism. I don't understand what you are saying in relation to my post.

I rented first, then spent an annoying amount of time having people tell me I should buy Yanigasawa before following @Stephen Howard 's recommendation and bought an YTS23. It may not be my 'dream' horn, but I have a great deal of affection and respect for it. Another person may feel differently - even as a beginner.
Everyone has an opinion, which is why in the end there is no substitute for actual experience. Even @Stephen Howard 's is an opinion, albeit better educated that most, but there are reviews of his that I would take issue with.
I am giving mine as a professional player and teacher of 50 years but beyond that, it's only an opinion :).
One brand is not necessarily, empirically better than another. Philosophically, everything has 'quality' that someone will appreciate or not. My point is that a bigger investment in the beginning- if affordable and intelligently made - will reap benefits in the long run, whether by way of quality or resale value.
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
393
[/QUOTE]
I get your point, and I think it is valid. But if you would take it as an absolute statement, it might be a bad advice. People might understand it as "more money will get you a better deal". We all know cases where that is not true (I guess).
Rephrasing it as "If you can afford it, you should not shy away from an investement that is a bit higher. If that investment is wisely chosen, you will reap the benefits of it in the future" might be better.

When I started with the saxophone I asked my teacher for advice, andbased on her advice, I bought a YTS32. I still play that instrument, and it still plays better than I do :cool:
 

David Roach

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I get your point, and I think it is valid. But if you would take it as an absolute statement, it might be a bad advice. People might understand it as "more money will get you a better deal". We all know cases where that is not true (I guess).
Rephrasing it as "If you can afford it, you should not shy away from an investment that is a bit higher. If that investment is wisely chosen, you will reap the benefits of it in the future" might be better.

Yes, I agree, that's why I said
.....if affordable and intelligently made...
Which is more concise, but I suppose open to greater misinterpretation..........
 
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