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Beginner Sax Selmer Series II - for Middle School?!?! Help!


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I have a question. My 11-year-old son has signed up for middle school band, and has been assigned alto sax. He will be taking saxophone lessons through the school and as band elective for the next three years, and will need to buy his own alto saxophone (if he gets moved to tenor or baritone, the school would provide the instrument due to cost).

The band director sent home a sheet explaining how cheap saxophones should be avoided and will likely not last the three years he will be in middle school band, could be made too cheaply to properly repair without damaging further, and/or will simply break down. Obviously, they don't want kids buying $400-500 horns that crap out - (this is a huge middle school and I guess over time they would see that constantly). And then the sheet recommended two saxophones that would make a good purchase. The second one on the list is the Yamaha YAS-26, an obvious choice as the current version of the 23, which from my research appears to be one of the most widely used student saxophones. But the FIRST one on the list was a "Selmer SA 80, Paris Model Series 2 (52)", which I take to be a current Selmer Series II.

Everything I read says this is a professional horn. Today I went over to one of the larger, respect music stores, and when I mentioned that horn was recommended to my son for middle school band by the band director, he looked at me like I was crazy. He went and pulled out the big binder with all the school's recommended instruments for band and couldn't believe I was right. We checked a bunch of other high school and middle school programs, and in his book, about 40-50% of them recommended this model first, also, which also surprised him, since he claimed to sell mostly the Yamaha or the Selmer USA AS-500.

My question: Is this just way too much horn for a beginning student (even if they are committed to a three-year school program)? Or is this teacher giving sound advice to purchase quality now and avoid buying a second saxophone 18 months down the line? Does this sound crazy to you, or reasonable?

I tend to be the kind of person who is not afraid to spend more money upfront for something top quality that will last as opposed to something only cheaper in the short run. I also have a feeling that if both the Yamaha student and the Selmer Series II are properly cared for that the Selmer will retain much more re-sale value. But a few things I've read and a few reactions I've gotten have me thinking this is a off-kilter recommendation for the situation. While a few other things I've read have me thinking it might be a well thought-out long-term recommendation. So which is it? Thanks!
The Selmer is overkill. Not too much for the kid to be able to play, but a lot of money that's probably going to be abused. The Yamaha is a good recommendation, try looking around at used ones to see how they hold up. But there's good stuff around for less, trouble is telling the difference. Ask the guy in the shop what he rents out and why. This'll be a good indication of robustness as well as playability/acceptability/repairability.

Similar threads... or are they? Maybe not but they could be worth reading anyway 😀

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