SYOS

What should a beginner buy? New Saxophone

tristinh

New Member
Messages
2
Hi All,

I have been lurking on this site for a while and have now decided to post.

I have been learning to play for a bout 3 months and I am looking at purchasing a Alto Sax. My tutor has advised me to look at the YAS 275 which from what I have read are a good place to start.

However, whilst looking for review etc. on the we I came a Selmer La Vie..

Is this too godd to be true. Any comments comaprisons etc. would be much appreciated.

Thanks Tristin:)
 
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Mikec

Member
Messages
201
Location
Buckinghamshire, UK
Hi, welcome to the forum. I don't know those particular saxes, but saxophones.co.uk is a well-thought-of knowledgeable dealer with a very good reputation. One of their employees, nachoman, is a regular contributor here.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
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1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Tristin

Welcome. There are a lot of these 'what tenor' or 'what alto' threads so have a dig around and you'll find them. The Yamaha 275 is a pretty sound starter/student sax but I'd say it's as much about where do you want to end up, how determined are you and what is your budget. Many people start further up the 'food chain' so they don't feel the need to upgrade.

So if cash is an issue or you're not sure you'll make sax playing stick long term, then a Yam is a good bet as I guess they are good sellers second hand. You can also get one on a 'rent to buy scheme' at many places. Another similarly priced sax that get a strong following on here is the Bauhaus Walstein alto and they are great value.

As for the Selmer La Vie - I don't know them well enough to comment but they aren't quite the Selmer Paris saxes many crave (and others hate) . I wouldn't get over excited about the "65% off list" until you check out what the normal selling price is. Many places including sax.co.uk sell many saxes well below list anyway. Incidentally if you can it is normally a good idea to try several before you buy .
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
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5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
The La Vie saxes are OK, as are the YAS 275 but you would be better off IMO getting a Bauhaus Walstein Alto (Woodwind & Brass) for less than £400 or a John Packer JP045 Alto for £405 - both very satisfactory instruments indeed. If I was starting out again I certainly would get either one. The Curved Soprano I have is generally rated at a similar level to the Yanagisawa equivalents costing well over £1000 more

Welcome to the world of Alto saxes - easily the best of the lot!
Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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SteveK

Member
Messages
149
Location
Guildford, Surrey
I'd be surprised if Selmer USA can sell at £2000 so the 65% off is not that surprising. Quite different to the Paris Selmers, of course. I took a new starter friend of mine into sax.co.uk in London a few weeks back. We tried a few entry level horns including the Yamaha 275. It sounded and felt great for the price. We also tried a Satsuka - it's their own branded asian import. I'd say it had the edge on the 275 and I believe the price was lower. The only reason I'd have chosen the 275 is because the name will make it easier to re-sell as you probably will in a year or two when you go to upgrade.
The Bauhaus's certainly are competitive and judging by the support they have on this forum they look like a great buy - although I haven't tried them.

We all have our own drum to bang and mine is Yanigasawa - I'd say they are worth every penny but I won't have gone out an bought one when I first played.

Steve
 

Justin Chune

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2,983
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The Athens of The North
There is a firm advertising the Yamaha 275 on this site for £699. They claim this to be a saving of £250. There was a time when Yamaha used to boast that no one ever needed to upgrade from their student model saxophone unless they wanted to. You could send for the Bauhaus or the JP and let your teacher play test it for you. If he didn't like it just send it back under the return policy.

Jim.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
I'm interested as to why people buy "student" saxes, especially when they seem clear that they will upgrade. Is it primarily money or are there other reasons. I recently bought a cheaper John Packer/Rath tenor trombone (£360) which is a larger bore (0.525") than the ones I normally play (0.500") as I wanted it as an occasional option. At the same time it is rated alongside a number of Pro grade instruments costing up to £2000.

Similarly the BW saxes are rated just below Yanagisawa at over £1000 less. I'd be happy with one as my main instrument on Tenor/Soprano but not entirely sure on Alto (my fave sax). So my thinking is that I might shell out on my main instrument, but unlikely to on others. Further, I can't imagine buying something when I imagine I am likely to want to upgrade it (which seems to be the received wisdom of earlier times, before lower end instruments went up in quality) unless it was a money issue. Presumably that is why I have never bought a silver car, because it would have a higher resale value, than buying a car I actually liked the colour of and wanted to keep!

Just some random thoughts late at night. A final thought is that I personally am more likely to buy a used BW alto sax than a Yamaha YAS 275, having studied the market/reviews on such things.
In olden times I think Yamaha has built a reputation and is generally a sign of quality and reliability. I do think those times have changed, however, and that there are many other options often at better value.

Rant over.
Night night
Tom:cool:
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
I think the reasons that most people are advised to start on something like a Yamaha/BW/Jupiter, rather than a no name starter go as follows, but not in any special order:

1 - Choice is highly personal and you won't know what suits you for a long time after starting.
2 - They play and easily properly and the student won't be fighting the instrument as he/she learns
3 - Resale value is good, so the cost, especially if you get a good used one, is not that high.
4 - They're made properly, so you don't get bits dropping off or other repair issues
5 - They sound OK or better.

I go back to our experiences of getting a clarinet for our son a few years ago, when I knew a lot less. We looked at the cost of a good student model. It was in the 1000 region. Rent to buy gave us a cost in the first year of about 400. A Stagg was (then) about 200. I bought the Stagg. The music shop assuerd us that it was well made and set up in their workshops. It played, but not very well. When the keys got bent, the instrument repairers didn't really want to know, but my wife sweet talked them into sorting it. Cost her a lecture on what was wrong with the way it was made. Net result was that once we were convinced he'd stick at it, towards the end of the first year, we bought a good, overhauled Uebel for him from the instrument maker. The Stagg was garbage, not because of the plastic body, but because the keywork was so poor. Pads were shot even before the end of the first year. Four years later the Uebel is still going strong, has only needed mechanical damage repairing. And it sounds wonderful. It may be a 40 + year old student model, but it's solid. And sounds great, even on the ubiquitous Yamaha mouthpiece. And when he upgrades, we'll probably end up with a cost of ownership in the region of 50 or so a year.....
 

TomMapfumo

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5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi Kev!

I would never advise anyone to buy a "No Name" saxophone, certainly. I do detect that certain teachers who advise younger learners are a bit set in their ways and are likely to recommend Yamaha RATHER than BW/JP or Jupiter etc. It is very similar in the Brass world, where Yamaha/Vincent Bach are the only ones thought to exist, apart from "No Name" Chinese instruments which should be used as lamp stands rather than played.

I guess that your post particularly addresses issues for younger learners where it is uncertain as to whether they will stick with it. Regarding other instruments I simply want to distinguish between "No Name" (I guess they all actually have names, but not necessarily a reputation) and other, well made instruments NOT made in Japan or USA,which can be lumped together as somehow inferior (as Mauriat seemed to be when they started). I do think that this sort of prejudice does remain in certain circles, and lots of teachers are not that up to date when it comes to developments in the field. This is OK up to a point but can mean that students are routinely advised to purchase a student model (Yamaha, Bach etc.) at twice the price of a newer, equally good, professionally set up instrument.

Anyway, have a good day
Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Just north of Munich
Yep Tom, agree - and one has to ask the question 'How many music teachers have the time (or wish) to keep up with the myriad of no-name names that keep cropping up. And if they make a poor recommendation, it backfires on them.

There's an old saying in my job (IT) - 'No one was ever sacked for buying IBM, but plenty for not buying IBM'. It applies to instruments as well. And I think many guys, quite understandably, take the safe easy way forward.

Funny thing is, many of the teachers at the music school have extensive and expensive instrument collections. Many go out gigging. And many of them use no-names on their gigs, rather than risk an expensive instrument. Cheaper to replace a 300 euro sax, than fix it if it gets a nasty bang.... Strange thing is they sound good on the rubbish... Not as good as they would on the expensive stuff, but gigging in noisy situations tends to mask all the subtleties and some big differences....

And big retailers like JP, and Thomann can get reasonable chinese stuff and brand it themselves... still no name to me, but better than 'xyz' brand.

Too much choice can be a real problem.

Going to be interesting when inflation sets in in China, their currency appreciates and suddenly goods they were selling on cost become overpriced. At the moment, the top end BWs represent amazing value, but as exchange rates and labour costs change, so will this. Perhaps one should invest in a couple of the top end BWs, and put them away as an investment....

What I failed to address was the other end of the market - the guy who's well heeled - or has been saving really hard to get the best he can afford. And I won't go there.
 
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