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Saxophones Opinion on the brand LA sax?

Lastbluesun

New Member
Messages
4
I was recently approached by my band director (yes i'm that young) about upgrading my saxophone due to the fact that it is a yas-23. Although i bought a meyer 5m specifically to upgrade the sound a bit to make it more jazz oriented, it does not seem to be enough for him. (He is quite spoiled, he plays on a custom 24k gold plated yangisawa, more expensive than his car) I do not have very much money to spend, if at all, and it is going to take me a while to be able to buy one, so I decided to start researching brands that made better quality saxes than my own but for a more reasonable price. I stumbled upon the brand LA sax and not only does it seem legitimate, it also has beautiful finishes and quite modest pricing. Does anybody know anything about them or can anybody extend any opinions or advice?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Frankly your band director is wrong. I'd be a lot ruder, but this is a family forum.

Welcome to the wonderful world of sax snobbery. You'll get it with anything - cars, cameras, handbags..... Brand A is better than brand B and brand A can't possibly do the job. So he's got a custom gold plated sax. So what. Is it the sax that makes him a good player, or is it expensive male jewelery to brag about? No doubt he's told you the gold plating improves the sound and without gold plate, no-one can sound good...

Nothing wrong with the YAS 23 and it's capable of outplaying many other saxes. It's one of the best student saxes the world has seen. You may need something better in the future, but this is more than good enough for advanced students and marching bands. Might be difficult for you, but tell him you're not upgrading for now and save your cash for something you need.

You need time and practice. Not flashy kit. But I'd also book the yamaha it in to the local tech for a check over. Just in case...
 
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old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
You need time and practice. Not flashy kit. But I'd also book the ymamaha it in to the local tech for a check over. Just in case...
Agree with Kev and trust you did not buy the mouthpiece from the director. Only difference with Kev is his use of the OHYGEDictionary's spelling of "ymamaha".
 

llamedos

Senior Member
Messages
431
Agree with Kev and trust you did not buy the mouthpiece from the director. Only difference with Kev is his use of the OHYGEDictionary's spelling of "ymamaha".
We are so fortunate - there can't be many websites with a built in spillchucker!

Dave
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,273
Only difference with Kev is his use of the OHYGEDictionary's spelling of "ymamaha".
We use "ymamaha" in scouse land very often when we are laughing at our mates mum !!

LBSun, keep your ys23 and tell your cheerleader to keep his horn outta your business >:) well not literally
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Frankly your band director is wrong. I'd be a lot ruder, but this is a family forum.

I agree with Kev about the YAS23: it is a great horn, and it deserves a proper setup (money usually well spent).
In my world of snobbery, it would be suspicious to see a player with a Yanagisawa 24k gold plated horn.

And by the way, which part of the world are you from? Could you please remind other posters your age? This could prevent some of the jokes from floating around this forum.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
great advice from all you guys.
However,......... could I just point out that you didnt answer the question lastbluesun asked?
Allansto.
 

Lastbluesun

New Member
Messages
4
Gosh, i haven't laughed so hard in forever, you guys are hillarious. I will say however, I do know the yas 23 is a high quality student horn and is capable of great things, however I do know that my band director is extremely prestigious in the music world having performed with earth, wind and fire, the tommy dorsey orchestra, the marine corps band and many others. I think you guys are right, and I really don't have the money to spend to begin with. For the people asking, i'm from Virginia. Either way I do still need to weigh my options, so does anybody know about this brand LA sax?
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Gosh, i haven't laughed so hard in forever, you guys are hillarious. I will say however, I do know the yas 23 is a high quality student horn and is capable of great things, however I do know that my band director is extremely prestigious in the music world having performed with earth, wind and fire, the tommy dorsey orchestra, the marine corps band and many others. I think you guys are right, and I really don't have the money to spend to begin with. For the people asking, i'm from Virginia. Either way I do still need to weigh my options, so does anybody know about this brand LA sax?
I still say he's a snob. My teacher and big band learder are both good pro players and have no problems with me playing on much cheaper instruments than yours, as long as they work. Band leader in particular has been very complimentary about my sound on my cheap Chinese baritone.

The fact that nobody on this forum seems to know anything about LA sax suggests to me that you'd be better off with your YAS 23, with some work done if needed.
 

Lastbluesun

New Member
Messages
4
lasax.com is the url. I honestly think i sound relatively decent with my horn and Meyer 5m so I think I'll just tell him to stick it for now until I get to college and buy myself a vintage horn or a laquerless custom Z.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I haven’t played the latest models of the LaSax but people that have says they are good and worth the money. So I don’t know so much about LaSax instruments of today.

For me LaSax was the company that supported and took Rock & Roll Saxophone out in the front in the early 90’s. John Laughters books, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Saxophone” and “Contemporary Saxophone”, had some LaSax endorsers as listening samples. LaSax had, still have, spectacular lacquer/finishes. Ex-president Bill Clinton received a LaSax tenor lacquered in stars and banners style. They also sold mouthpieces and other accessories under their own name.

Later LaSax also began to sell a saxline from sopranino to contrabass sax. I think the odd saxes were made by Orsi in Italy. LaSax also developed a straight alto and tenor.

I think all their saxes, beside the Orsi, were/are made in Asia. I’m not sure about the early models. They have some details that I don’t associate with Taiwan sax production.

Thomas
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
After reading Thomsax's post i remember i had John Laughters books as well, and remember the add's for L.A Sax's. Maybe John would be the best person to ask, he might know a lot about them. John is a member of the Cafe, Hope that help's.
Rob.
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,147
My first soprano was an LA sax. I bought it new from a dealer here in New Zealand who had recommended it. Well, having never played a soprano, and knowing that it would be somewhat difficult, I put up with the awful intonation and sound hoping that I would get the hang of it. More than a year passed with little improvement. I then had the opportunity to play a Yanagisawa basic older model soprano. Suddenly I could play perfectly! That LA brand was the worst built sax on the planet at that time. I don't care what finish or how many bells and whistles it had, it was total crap.

One would hope that they have smartened up their act since, especially as there are now some very cheap and decent playing saxes that come out of China (I own a few cheap Chinese saxes that are all excellent). I would NEVER buy a LA sax. You are paying for a name and glitz that (in my experience) don't stack up. There are numerous cheaper saxes that will be their equal or better at a fraction of the cost.

Your Y23 is an excellent sax that should see you through more than a few years of practice and learning. As said by others, if it's giving you problems have it checked out.

Don't know where you're from, so can't give you advice on where to check out other brands and compare. If in the USA there are lots available for you to check out and try. If from UK then all get to be a bit expensive due to VAT.

The new mouthpiece is often a good place to start with giving yourself a different sound (which you tired). If you or your "leader" think you need more volume then you could look at a mouthpiece with a high baffle that cuts and projects more.

Very sorry that you have to suffer an "authority" with attitude. Don't let him bully you into anything, just smile and let him think himself right and righteous, and keep to yourself the truth that you know. I would not recommend giving him crap (although it sounds like he deserves it). Knowing the truth and keeping it to yourself gives you knowledge and personal power that braggarts will never possess. When someone needs to brag/show off it's usually because they lack self esteem so try to suck it out of others (emotional vampires). So, he played with so and so. Well he's not playing much as a professional now is he? After doing his best as a pro he's wound up teaching instead of playing. Have pity, be yourself, and do the best you can with what you've got as it's more than an adequate sax. Unlike your “leader”, you potentially have a bright future ahead of yourself.
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I am at a disadvantage in that I come into this without knowing the OP, his or her ability or the quality of the instrument in question. It seems, however, that OP is a promising player inasmuch as the band director recommends upgrading to get a better sound. So far so good.

Now, whether or not the band director play as a gold-plated instrument is neither here nor there. He is the show business, and it may help him to secure the engagements he likes. People can be quite peculiar when it comes to choosing an instrument. Why, for example, should an unlacquered 82z be better than a lacquered one? Maybe the looks are better in a given setting, but if either is set up properly, it should not be possible to hear a difference.

Something worh considering is the chance, admittedly rather emote in the view of some the earlier contributors, that the band director may be on the right track: maybe your sound could do with a change. You have more than one way to deal with this. First, you could work on your sound, and I assume that you are already doing that. And in increasing order of cost you can change your reeds, your mouthpiece and your instrument. Somewhere in between is the option of having your Yamaha looked at by a good technician. I frankly don't know what would be right in your case.

Good instruments come in all sorts of price ranges. And it seems that at the moment your budget would lend itself better to the bargain basement. Getting something good in that range takes time and luck. So, why not check out whether your Yamaha does need some attention? And, why not find out from your band director what exactly the problem with your instrument is.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
LA Sax isn't sold in Europe, where many of our members are.

My impression, based on reading only, is that they're currently in the OK range, but older ones are to be avoided. Finish is, LOUD. Trouble with fancy painted finishes is that they don't wear and if solder repairs are needed, the finish gets wrecked. So you're paying for looks, which are transient at best (remind you of anything ?).

You'll probably get more info from here: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/forumdisplay.php?240-LA-Sax

If I was in your position, I'd be looking around for a 50s/60s Julius Keilwerth, with metal angel wings. Quite a few stencils around, and not over expensive in the US. Something like this: http://bassic-sax.ca/blog/?p=32332 Lots of bling, and it won't sound like yet another Far East Clone...

But.... stay around and tell us more about your band director, sounds like there are some interesting stories you could tell us.

I'll make one more observation (as a crap player). It's not the horn, it's the player. I see lots of kids play at the local music school. Some are brilliant. Most not. The brilliant ones usually play on the same instruments as the others. And they're mostly Yamahas.....
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,807
I can't say if the La Sax is the worse sax ever .... or the best. But some saxplayers use(d) thier horn. Players like Scottish-born Richard Elliot (Tower of Power ...) Jay Davidson (Cinderella ....) played La Sax. But try as many horns you can. Your Yamaha is a great horn. So no need to buy another horn.

Sometimes a player shows up on our Rocksax meetings with an early "black" La Sax tenor. Sounds ok to me. Not better or worse than the other players. And his horn is also blending well with the others players who are on Keilwerths, Selmers, Yamahas, Yanagisawas, Martins, Conns.

Here is a video clip with Richard Elliot:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aQVGMH5iX5U&feature=related

Thomas
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
Messages
13,993
Hi.
Some info on LA sax's on www.shwoodwind.co.uk, but only on the Tenor, but should give you some idea. Go on Reviews to find section on Tenors.
And compare what Stephen Howard has to say about yamaha YAS23 (or YTS 23) compared with LA Sax.

I have played LA Saxes, and I have played Yamnahas and I have played Yanagisawas. I think your band director is wrong. I know professionals who are happy with yamaha YAS23s. I would be, In fact, when I made the saxophone instruction DVD I used a YAS23.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Sometimes I wonder how these stories end. Maybe the teacher is on the run to France with his new Selmer, maybe in LA, gold plating reeds...
 
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