Saxophones New alto's tested... some surprising results (for me)

sax slobber swabber

New Member
Hi all, proud owner (even more so now) of a 1924 TT alto which is my only horn, and now ready to get another. Cannonball is my fav player, though my fav genre is swing era. I just posted this basic post on another forum, so sorry if it is a repeat for anyone.

I have been thinking I wanted a brand new horn, just to have one modern, and one vintage, so I tried some new altos with some unexpected results. Specifically I went to try the Yamaha 82Z, and the damn thing would only play 5 notes! ha... drove all the way there and the horn was defective in some manner. Would play from middle C# up to F#, then once the left hand notes were deployed, nothing but air. Supposedly they are to get another 82Z in as well as 'fix' the doinked one. I am no tech, but myself and the store owner both looked and could see nothing obvious at all as to why.

Also tried a Yam 62, really liked it. Tried a Selmer 80. Great feel, HUGE sound, but somehow i liked the sound, feel and look of the Y62 better. Why are the Yamaha's so much darker looking? The Selmer was kind of dull yellow and the Yamaha's were this vivid copper-ish gold... very nice. I used my Meyer5 w 3.5 v16 reed on all.

But, really I was surprised how well my Buescher True Tone held up to them. It certainly has a great dark-ish tone, which is my preference.

I expected to be blown away by the newer ergos, and while the newer keywork felt slick, I was not really "blown away" by it. In fact the left hand little finger cluster felt kinda large and cumbersome after getting used the the teeny keys on the TT.

I took my tuner along, and found the Selmer impossible to play in tune, and the 62 much better, but once again the True Tone outdid them both... maybe I am just more used to the TT, but it seemed to me it arrived at my house playing like that from day one (and that with me just coming back to sax after 20 yrs).

I was able to pop the low notes out with ease on the Yam62, not so the Selmer and here my TT fails finally. I can get them, but with work... they jump outa the Yamaha which is real nice. So I did really like the 62, but for some reason am hesitant to drop my money on it. The few notes that did come outa the 82Z sounded great, notable diff from the 62.

So, this kinda left me scratching my head and wondering if I should not simply pursue another vintage Buescher, or should give the Yamaha 82Z another chance. Assuming they can fix the bad one... would you all stay away from it since it came outa the box like that (bad omen?), or is that just part of a new sax, and I should expect an adjustment period?

Hi Sax Slober Swabber (That's going to be shortened soon).

What you didn't mention was why you're looking for another alto. You seem pretty happy with your TrueTone.
If the modern ones didn't knock you out with slick ergo's/ ease of playing then don't buy one. You'll soon get tired of them and go back to the Buescher. I love the YAS62, a friend has one and it makes me itch for one myself, but haven't played an 82Z so can't comment.
Don't dismiss the 82Z just find another supplier that won't waste your time coming to try a faulty instrument.
No rush, there's plenty of saxes out there. Just find the one that makes you smile.

Welcome and relaaaax

Try more horns before you dismiss the idea,there is also Yanagisawa and the Taiwanese horns like Mauriats and Cannonballs,i just bought a Signature custom RAW and that did blow me away.

It is quite possible that the new horns in the shop had never been set up properly - doesn't sound like there was a woodwind technician on the staff - so it might not have been a fair comparison....

if the Buescher's giving you trouble in the low notes, get it checked out by a sax repairer for leaks - a good overhaul should have it playing like new.
If you're happy with the True Tone, stick with it, you don't have to buy a new sax

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