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Should I upgrade my beginners sax?


New Member
First of all,hello to everybody at cafe sax,this is my first thread so bear with me please.Just before christmas I traded-in my guitar for a 1986 Boosey and Hawkes 400 alto sax,I played clarinet at school,MANY YEARS AGO! Well I bought a copy of Pete,s DVD,and sorted myself out a qualified sax tutor and have been really enjoying myself,(can play all of "Fly me to the moon"allready)Now despite having had the Boosey checked out by both my tutor and a friend who runs a music shop,who both assure me that mechanically it works fine,I feel that ergonomically and tonally its lacking.I really fancy a Bauhouse Walstein AP-D,and before anyone questions it,yes I will be sticking at it,I,m hooked .What does anyone think about upgrading to a more intermediate type of instrument so soon?


One day i will...
Go for it :) if you feel it will improve your mindset, then why not ! Also go for the best you can afford in the BW range

Good luck


Busking Oracle
If you feel the horn is holding you back then go for it. What have you got to loose?

(Welcome to the forum by the way)


Well-Known Member
Hey Hey Marty ... Welcome to The Cafe ... (())

My "considered" advice would be to wait a while ... You only started a few short weeks ago ... :)

You will be surprised how quickly your chops will begin to shape up with lots of regular practice and plenty of coaching ... :thumb:

But it does take time mate ...

Be patient and wait a while - you will be in a much better position to select a sax to suit your particular fancy - but from a better position of strength and understanding ...

When you do decide to buy ... I'd say try as many as you can ...
Like other say mate - get the best you can afford ... You don't wanna keep buying sax's too often ... :sax:

But then again ... my "instinct" would tell you - Go get what you want ... >:)

Life's too bloomin short ...


Senile Member
Sunray's advice to 'try as many as you can' is very wise!

Woodwind Exchange at Bradford is almost within crawling distance of you (yes, I'm very jealous as my nearest sax shop is about 200 miles away - maybe a good thing!), so I'd suggest you spend a day there, or somewhere similar and find something that you're REALLY happy with....... you might prefer a sax which isn't a BW!

Don't get me wrong - I love BW saxes (have a couple myself), and I upgraded my Yamaha alto to a pro model within a few months of starting to play. But I haven't got superb sax shops on my doorstep to try out alternatives:verysad

Enjoy the looking/buying/playing....and the forum!



Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Hi Marty from up the road in Ilkley.
I'd wait on a bit before your upgrade. Give your self time to develop your technique before you go out trying more instruments.
You need to learn how to play a bit before you can realistically assess what your requirements are. Having said that "Fill yer boots" if that's what you want.


ex Landrover Nut
Mixed advice here.....

Learn to play, really work out what the horn/mouthpiece can't do, and what's you. Fix your part.... Then think about it.


Senior Member
I traded-in my guitar for a 1986 Boosey and Hawkes 400 alto sax

So the sax you have is a boosey and hawkes 400
I dont know what sort of sax this is ?
If its only a beginner sax then maybe you could ugrade after all a new one will be nice and shiny and
but will it make you play any better or give a better sound from that relatively new umbouchure of yours.
I found reacently by simply upgrading my mouthpiece and reeds i have improved my sound.

Does youre teacher say you need an upgrade?
There are many things to consider
All Im sayin is dont rush into anything! but then again I guess it wouldnt hurt to blow some other horns
for research purposes of course.


Hello Marty and welcome. Clearly you won't get consensus her but it is a very personal thing. I'd been messing about on an old Corton for years before deciding to get a teacher an do it properly. I'd always avoided any tune with notes below low C as I could get them to play - so that ruled out quite a lot. I just thought all saxes were like that. At the advice of my teacher I had it re-padded at great expense and it was actually no better although sounded good in the rest of the register. I was getting very frustrated and as I had a bit of cash, I gave Sax. a call and asked for advice (not having discovered this forum at the time) and then ordered a Mauriat 66UL. What a revelation - just fantastic. This has kept my enthusiasm very high and every time I play it I really think what a good decision.

In retrospect I just think the Corton was probably leaking and could easily have been easily fixed but I didn't have access to a tech and didn't want to be without my only sax far a couple of weeks (early signs of GAS - gear acquisition syndrome).

I don't really understand the concept behind so-called student ie cheap saxes. I think adult who are motivated and able to care for their instruments will get much more enjoyment out of a good sax- like the BW. They play more easily and sound better and they have generally have better re-saleability.

Having said all that, being so close to such a great shop as Howarths - go and have a play and see what you think. If your current sax is playing well, you may not notice much difference at this stage of your sax playing career - in which case stick with it!!


Well-Known Member
Two points!

1. As you feel your sax lacks something ergonomically then abetter sax should help this.
2. Getting equipment that you are proud of owning does provide significant motivation to learning and playing the thing. I started on a Selmer Ref54 Alto, and feel excited everytime I pick it up to play, and also make sure that it remains in excellent condition.


Senior Member
From one beginner to another, may I suggest getting your teacher to play your sax with his/her mouthpiece, I have long lost my want to upgrade my sax after my teacher played on mine, especially when compared to his. It underlines the fact that my saxophone is capable, I am not :)

Welcome to the forums!


Try Hard Die Hard
Hi Marty B

My advice would be try to avoid GAS if at all possible,I avoided going to a shop to try out different saxes when I was in your position because I didn't feel capable of playing well enough to tell wether one sax was better than another,and until your playing is quite relaxed and you feel comfortable with it I would advise you to do the same.

That said if your mobile and you fancy popping over here I could let you have a blow of a couple of quality saxes in a relaxed atmosphere where there is no presure to buy because they're not for sale and you could see if the sax makes the difference.

All the best ...john


Hi Marty, I started on a Trevor James Classic Alto, and after just six months made the rather foolish decision to purchase from the internet without trying it, or anything else, I got a Yani 991, and guess what, I sound just the same.(awful)

I think, stick with what you've got until you feel confident that you will make the right decision, based on information that you will glean from the very nice people here at the Cafe, your own experience, and 'Try before you buy' not like this numpty.

All the Best Glyn


New Member
Thanks very much,didn,t know about Woodwind Exchange,but I,m sure I,ll enjoy checking out such a sax mecca!!!


From one beginner to another, may I suggest getting your teacher to play your sax with his/her mouthpiece, I have long lost my want to upgrade my sax after my teacher played on mine, especially when compared to his. It underlines the fact that my saxophone is capable, I am not :)

Very good point, I would give it at least a year of good solid practice every day. You really need to become acquainted with the horn before you can judge whether it needs to be traded in. If the horn isn't suitable, your teacher or an experienced player will know immediately.


New Member
I think you need to try out ONE sax first so that you can get your taste and ear for it. Once you have been playing for a while you will then realise what it is that you want out of a sax (which wont necesarily cost the earth). The upgrade will mean more to you if you hold out for a while in my opinion


I agree with the others and give yourself a little time before jumping in and getting a new saxophone. It does take time to develop your sound, stop worrying about key positions and play constantly.

With time you will start to recognize why you may be having a bad day. For example recognizing your reed needs adjusting or it's just a bad one or just worn out.

Mouth pieces also make a different and maybe a cheaper option than a saxophone replacement. I found moving to a wider opening mouth piece, even a cheaper one, gave me a nicer/fuller sound, but came with the price of being less forgiving.

Anyway, welcome and enjoy your saxophone journey. It's lots of fun, although very frustration at time.
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