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Saxophones 'Professional' saxes?

Lucille

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I have been looking at tenors on Ebay. Some sellers characterize the saxes they are selling as 'professional'. What is it exactly that makes a sax 'professional? I had always thought it was the skill of the player, no?
 

Pete Effamy

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I have been looking at tenors on Ebay. Some sellers characterize the saxes they are selling as 'professional'. What is it exactly that makes a sax 'professional? I had always thought it was the skill of the player, no?
I suppose whatever are an accepted quality of materials, finishing and design philosophy so as to hinder the player the least possible?
 
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Wonko

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From what I have read (here and elsewhere) it's just a trick by the marketing department to give the impression that their saxes are so good that even profesionals would use them.
Within one brand the different saxes are sometimes classified als student saxes (the cheaper models), professional saxes (the more expensive models) and the intermediate models (for those in between).
But the student models of brand A could very well be a lot better (in all aspects) than the profesional models of brand B.
 
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nigeld

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Mainly it's just what the marketing department call their most expensive saxophones. The idea is to offer an upgrade path from "student" to "intermediate" to "professional" so that people will want to buy the next model up..

Yamaha and Yanagisawa call their second-most expensive instruments "professional" as well. And Yamaha's "student" models are better than the "Professional" instruments from some other brands. Cheap Chinese instruments are often labelled "Professional" to make them look less crap.

I suspect that if you look at what professional saxophone players actually play, you will find a wide variety, depending very much on what they can afford. Charlie Parker was famous for borrowing instruments from anyone and then pawning them. My impression is that lots of professionals play Selmers if they can.
 
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thomsax

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A professional sax ...
... played by a professional player?
... made by the best guys on the line at the factory?
... a sax that don't need to be so ofen at the tech?
... that fit in in with other professinal saxes (Selmer, Yamaha, Yanigisawa ...).

I know som very professional musicians that are playing on school,beginner/student saxes.
I've seen young players or non-professional players with good jobs on professionals saxes.

A real proffessional player is a player the plays a beginner sax with studens or beginners and a professsional sax with professional players. The real professinal players have 2-4 saxes that are set-up as it was done on the factory. To be the first call means that you do it on on the first take. No intonation or gear problems.. Do your job and get the the next studio.

I play a G4M tenor and Martin Tenors. The G4M is a good sax fr the money. But I don't understand why I should pay more for a used YTS 23 than a "The Martin Tenor". YTS 23, a professional student sax?
 
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Stephen Howard

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In very general terms it relates to the build quality; the choice of materials, the precision with which the parts are made and fitted and hopefully some aspects of tone and playability.
You would expect a professional quality instrument to be able to tolerate a lot of hard use over very many years.

And in the past this would have been more or less accurate - but with the advent of modern production methods the lines have becomes somewhat blurred.
For example; in years gone by, student horns would often have been markedly different from pro horn in terms of key layout and design - but over the years things have become rather more homogenous. These days it's not uncommon to see pro players using instruments that many would consider to be 'student grade', simply because they offer something the more expensive models don't.

And then there's marketing. Back in the '70s the Yamaha 62 was proudly touted as Yamaha's premier professional model - but as time wore on and they brought out more expensive horns, the 62 was quietly rebadged as an intermediate model...despite very little having been changed about its design and build quality. This was simply in order to reinforce the idea that a 'professional' horn costs a certain amount of money.

One thing still remains true though: Once you get to around £2000, anything extra that you spend gets you less and less - and when comparing top-end horns you may find that the (say) extra 3% you might get in terms of playability isn't necessarily worth the extra 50% in the price.
 
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jbtsax

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At one point in time, "professional" model saxophones had many of these features while "student models" did not.
With the onset of less expensive "copies" of professional saxophone made in Taiwan with those features, those differences between "professional" and "student" models no longer exist.

Removable Individual Key guards
Detachable Bell
Octave Key Rocker Assembly
Rib Mounted Posts
Adjusting Screws on Key Guards
Adjustable Oversize Thumb Hook
Large Octave Thumb pad
Ribbed 3 Point Bell Brace
Adjustable G# Lever
High F#
Metal Pad Resonators
Fully Tilting L.H. Spatula
G#/Bis adjustment on separate arm
Stack Key Adjustment Screws
Removable Fork F# Guard
Blue Steel Springs
Adjustable Front F
Low B to C# Closing Arm
 
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turf3

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I have been looking at tenors on Ebay. Some sellers characterize the saxes they are selling as 'professional'. What is it exactly that makes a sax 'professional? I had always thought it was the skill of the player, no?
Thing is, most of those Ebay saxophones labeled "PROFESSIONAL!!!" are cheap Chinese made instrument shaped objects created to separate gullible buyers from their money.

There are actual "professional" saxophones, as distinguished by the quality of construction, the fineness of the mechanism, accurate intonation, quality of tone. However, these are almost always referred to by their make and model, as those who know something about saxophones recognize these, and there aren't very many.

Buescher True-Tone, Aristocrat, 400
Conn M series, New Wonder
King Zephyr, Super 20
Martin Committee
Selmer Super, Balanced Action, Mark 6, Mark 7, Super Action 80
Yamaha 62, 82, Custom
Yanagisawa (not sure of the model numbers here
SML
Buffet Dynaction, Super Dynaction, S-1
Keilwerth Tone King, SX, H Couf
Any of the recent Rampone and Cazzani, Borgani
And a few others.
 
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Jules

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I have been looking at tenors on Ebay. Some sellers characterize the saxes they are selling as 'professional'. What is it exactly that makes a sax 'professional?
On Ebay- probably not that much. Having said that I've always had it in my head that a 'professional' sax is one that a top end pro isn't likely to be limited by.
 
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Colin the Bear

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Applying the term to other items,
Professional knives, tools etc and it may become a little clearer.
Many players I know, who don't do their own maintenance, use Selmers. They seem to cope with handling and the rigours of the gigging scene (remember that?) better than others and the tech doesn't pull his face or suck his gums when you put it into the shop for maintenance.
On ebay some manufacturers look at the most expensive items in their group and borrow the terms to describe their product and the photographs may be of something they aren't selling.
I wouldn't buy new off ebay and I play G4M horns.
I got a nice watch for a fiver though. ;)
 
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majordennis

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I have 2 French altos, both manufactured late 60's early 70's in the same area and assembled in the US, one after a partial re-pad and set up cost about £300 the other considerably more, I sound very much the same on both.
 
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