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Saxophones Purchasing a Tenor sax- opinions please!

joeyjoejoey

New Member
Messages
9
Hi,
I am relatively new to the world of sax, I have previously played the clarinet and my good friend gave me her buffet alto sax which is a dream to play and the craftsmanship of it is amazing. But like want to try the tenor for a bit and I am also on a budget of around 200-300. I know there are few cheap sites like g4m and studentsmusicsupplies where they have some good deals within my price range.

Has anyone purchased a tenor from the above? I am keen on knowing how ergonomically the keys are placed as for some reason it really bothers me!

Also I have found a john packer JP042G tenor at £274 (only tried in the shop).
In everyone's opinion is JP a good make?

I would love to buy a yamaha but I just can't afford it, nor do I want to buy one and play it for a year but decide I want to sell it and not be able to because it's an unknown make.

Also I have seen a selmer prelude and a jupiter for simular money but I am not sure what the best make is, or doesn't it vary much.

Sorry for all the questions and thanks.
Joe
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Hi Joe!

John Packer seem pretty solid instruments - I have a JP 231/Rath Trombone (a joint venture with Rath trombones - one of the top manufacturers anywhere) and it is excellent. They produce Trumpets in collaboration with Smith-Watkins, another top quality brass manufacturer, and area solid, reliable retailer/manufacturer in my opinion. Saxwise I think that the JP Tenor seems to have a good reputation, and the price you quote is exceptional. Yamahas are available used (you should be able to get a YTS 62 - pro quality) for about £800, and the Bauhaus Walstein's are also good.

But, if your budget is below £300 it would be silly not to get the JP you mention IMO.
Kind regards

Tom :cool:
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
BTW Do introduce yourself in the appropriate section above - I would be nice to get to know a bit about you in addition to what you have written about your clarinet and alto sax exertions:w00t:

Welcome to the Cafe from Skabertawe - land of the button free tenor sax. Mine's a Double Espresso Macchiato ;}

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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J

joeyjoejoey

New Member
Messages
9
Thanks Tom for your comments. I will properly introduce myself in the near future!
I really love playing my alto but it feels almost to small for me! Holding a tenor felt much more comfortable.

I'll most likely go for the JP in that case, they seem to be quite popular but would love to hear a comparison to a sax from gear4music or sms academy.

I'm going to purchase a yamah 4c mouthpiece and rovner ligature once the sax is ordered as I really hate the standard ones oh and a copy of a new tune a day for the tenor. Seems to be the best teach yourself book as I am still learning.

Are the mouthpieces from the alto and tenor any difference in size or is it just inside? Also is the hole the same size which the crook pushes into? Might try and use my pad saver I already have although it will be too short but just enough for the higher parts.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
There are quite a few tutor books out there. My favourite is the "Jazz Method for Saxophone" by John O'Neill, which seems to have an appeal for adult learners particularly. Many others seem designed for teenagers IMO, but all have a use.

I imagine that the JP sax is a safe bet, and there are not many reputable saxes for under £300. The Bauhaus Walstein Tenor has a very good reputation and you are probably not going to do much better for under £1000 unless you buy a used sax. An oft quoted view is that the Yamaha 5c is a better choice for Tenor, and also that the Rico Graftonite mouthpieces (stocked by Trevor Jones in Bristol for example) are also worthy alternatives in the under £30 bracket. Tenor mp's are quite a bit bigger than Alto ones in most dimensions, and the hole is bigger too.

Good luck, and keep us informed of how you get on!
Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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Moz

Senior Member
Messages
841
Location
North of Liskeard, Cornwall
At 2-300 quid you are at the very bottom end of tenor saxes. Some would say (as I might) that you are below the bottom; anyone who can knock up a sax for less than three hundred quid is really cutting corners. The John Packer really does seem to fit your bill and you can rent them -- £15 per month!!! For your three hundred quid that's 20 months, nearly two years, there are no maintenance costs as they are covered in the rental agreement and if you buy the thing around six months into the agreement you get all your payments deducted from the purchase price. Do it, do it now and get the Gear for Music smoke-and-mirrors out of your head.

No I do not work for JP. I bought a sax from them many years ago but have no affiliation with them whatsoever, in fact I find them a bit stinky in that they don't sell sheet music, you have to go across town to Gillian Grieg for that (and they DO have LOTS of music!!).

Cheers

Martin (who plays a Yanasigawa T901 tenor sax and a Selmer (USA -- cheapo but good stuff) alto.
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,982
Location
Just north of Munich
Just to add, not only are the mouthpieces different, but the reeds are as well. Reckon on starting with a slightly softer reed for the tenor than you use on alto, but a lot will depend on how the tenor mouthpiece compares to the alto. Can add my support for the Graftonite, I started with a B5 on tenor, worked relly well for me. So much so that I've just bought a Graftonite B7 to learn alto with. (I upgraded to a PPT for tenor and thought the B5 opening on alto would be too restrictive).
 
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joeyjoejoey

New Member
Messages
9
Thankyou all for your advice.
I'll have a look at the yamaha 5c and Graftonite (which is cheaper than the yamaha) , I am playing with Vandoren no2 reeds for the alto. Being I am still a novice the easiest the better! So any suggestions on that would be great and also the type of ligature. The BG custom I have used on the alto seems to be a good model so perhaps that for the tenor.

Thanks Moz I know what you mean. I have seen a used Jupiter 787 (although ten years old). I could extend it to £350 if there are any other makes which would be better. I have seen a Bauhaus Walstein tenor on the bay but I reckon the price will go up to around £450+.
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
I noticed a Trevor James Classic Tenor (used) on www.musicalads.co.uk going for £250 - they cost about £750 new - maybe worth a look. The owner is upgrading to a pro sax. They are a pretty solid make, though have not played one myself.

Kind regards
Tom
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
Location
Sweden
JP, BW, Selmer Prelude, Jupiter, Yamaha, Vito ... I think they are good for beginners. It's just a matter of the price. But I think you should put away some money so you can send your sax to service to a woodwind tech. A bassic service (cleaning, oiling, inspect and changing up to 3 pads, inspect corks and felts including neckcork, adjusting the keys,) is worth the money.

Thomas
 

FullDrive II

New Member
Messages
3
Location
Somerset, UK
No I do not work for JP. I bought a sax from them many years ago but have no affiliation with them whatsoever, in fact I find them a bit stinky in that they don't sell sheet music, you have to go across town to Gillian Grieg for that (and they DO have LOTS of music!!).
I happened to walk from GG to JP earlier (without the car for the morning) and it took 10-15 minutes - would take no more than 5 in a car unless exceptionally busy. So it's not that bad :p.
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
The JP's have got some good press recently (Jazzwise review). I don't have experiences of them but G4M got some bad reviews a while ago.

I have experienced alto’s from both SMS (2 of them) and also check out Karacha (I’ve had one of them). They're identical, just a different name on them.

They're both good although the Karacha had very poor positioning of the strap ring which put the instrument out of balance (ring was too far round the body so you were fighting to hold it central) whereas the SMS had a very wobbly octave mech after a few months. In fairness they sorted it out no problem, but I had to send it away for a week or so to get it done.

The other SMS I’ve still got at the moment was second-hand (ebay) and it's amazingly good. That probably sums up these instruments - you get a mixed bag in terms of quality and it's a lucky dip as to what turn ups in the post!

Not a big problem if you know what you're after as you have get seven days to return it if it's not good enough, so bear that in mind.

I loan them to students so I tend to buy a couple at a time and sell them on after a year or so - that's why I've had a few of themn. Next one I get will probably be a JP - look out for their ex-demo offers for an even better deal.
 
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joeyjoejoey

New Member
Messages
9
Thomsax/Phil,
Thanks for your comments. I have purchased the JP tenor on the bay for £274.50, reason being they seem to have a good following and good reconmendations and where possible I like to buy from new. Hopefully I will see for my self on Tuesday. I'm sure the quality will be up to it. One thing I have noticed on some cheap saxophone models is the left hand spatular keys are really poorly made among a few other niggles but you can't complain for the money.

Can somone reconmend a good student mouthpiece, lig and reeds. Again so much choice!!

Student mouthpiece I am looking at as reconmended from users is a yamaha 4c/5c or a Rico Graftonite 5b.

Thanks
 
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joeyjoejoey

New Member
Messages
9
Hi,
Going off of what advice I recieved here and on other forums, I have gone for the yamaha 5c, BG L13 Standard lig and Vandoren Trad no 2. The standard mpc may be fine but I do like the 4c I have on the alto, one thing I can't stand is the standard lig of any woodwind.
Hopefully the tenor will arrive soon. I'll post a short review and some pics if anyone is interested.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Sounds like an exciting time, having decided on a set up to get you going on tenor, and hope it works out well for you!:w00t:;}

Do let us know how it sounds - look forward to a review when you have arrived at some conclusions. I'll have to get my Tenor out, and have a break from my Trombone exploits.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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