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Student models

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
Why do sax manufacturers make 'student models' -- or manufacturers of anything else for that matter?

A student model (of anything) could be considered an item in which not too much care has been taken. It will not play, act, behave, be as powerful as, a model for which you would pay a lot more and in general may be considered not really up to the job of a 'proper' item. We all know that isn't entirely true but manufacturers continue to make slightly less than perfect items for the student market and charge correspondingly less for them. My concern is that it cannot take much less time to make a functional 'student' model than to make a top of the range model so are we being seriously over-charged for 'top' models?

A case in point is that of cars. Ford may, for example, make a small car with a 1100 cc engine in it, call it the Ford 'Peach' and charge £10,000. If they make that same car but put a 1600 cc twin-turbo in it and call it the Ford '1600-f**-off fast B******' they will charge £22,000 but with addition of just two grand's worth of engine parts.

Are sax manufacturers doing that?

I do like Yanisgawa for their apparent honesty (and the fact that I have one) in that they don't do cheap. Selmer are the same (except that there is Selmer USA so they have kinda played the game here).

Just chewing the fat,

Martin
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Interesting point Martin. I think the best case study in this respect is Yamaha, as they are the only manufacturer i can think of which makes a range that covers all bases, from student (275) through intermediate (475) to pro (62) and 'pro de luxe' (82, 875 etc). What you get as you go up the price range iss progressively better build quality, better fittings such as pads, better quality accessories and a nicer finish. The value problem is that, as with all examples, you get into the law of diminishing marginal returns. A Yamaha YTS 62 might cost twice what a YTS 275 would, but is it twice as good? No. However, the player might enjoy playing it a bit more, might prefer the sound a bit and it might prove more durable in the long term.

The principal way in which manufacturers make student models for less than pro ones is at manufacture. Lower grade materials, lesser quality control standards, but above all, cheaper sources of manufacture. Yamaha 275 models are made in Indonesia where labour costs are lower, land costs less, costs of building factories less, etc etc. All of this means that it genuinely does cost a lot less to make a 'student' model than a pro one.

The other thing is that saxes are niche market products with far less brand snobbery than something mass market like cars (with the notable exception of the SOTW Selmer Mk VI snobs>:)). As a result, I think there is less potential for 'badge engineering' with saxes.

Jon
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Would not the production quantity also affect prices?

Mind you, if you saw Jon's photographic collection, you would know he is an expert on student models.>:)

Apologies for being serious.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I am not sure whether the expression "student model" conveys all that much meaning in this day and age. It probbably meant more when schools had some funds to buy instruments, bought according to the rules of departments of education, but found that saxophones could be quite pricey. It would definitely have made sense in Japan. Schools there bought Japanese products, and Yamaha and others made into a good market through the provision of "no-frills" instruments. Hence the ubiquitous 21s, 275s, etc. An added attraction would be that sooner or later a student would consider going more upmarket.

Today, "student model" can mean anything from cheap and nasty to very good, as long as it is reasonably priced. So, if I had to buy for one reason or another an instrument falling into this category, I would disregard the student tag altogether. Instead, I would try to find a good budget-priced instrument either new or used.

It is worth bearing in mind that lots of low-priced Chinese instruments enjoy the word "professional" somewhere in their marketing. But there is a big difference between a professional saying "I could work with this, if necessary" and "This instrument, regardless of price or origin, meets my needs exactly". I suspect that when the Chinese saxophones reach the level of the top Japanese and European saxophones, they won't be anywhere nearly as cheap as they are now.

In any case, a good topic for discussion.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
They do this with guitars too. My first electric was a Squire. This is a Fender product made in China, without the Fender logo. It looks just like a strat or a telcaster and plays really well. It plays so well that they now make different grades of Squire and they can cost a few hundred instead of the hundred odd that mine cost me a few years ago. I still dont think that many musicians would turn up for work carrying a Squire. Defineatly thats part snobbery but just like saxes, for all its general suitability, there will be things that are not quite right about it, for the individual. The body is not the best wood. The neck has skinny frets. The tone is a bit harsh. It doesnt have a respectable logo on the neck. So, to get what you want, you are going to have to pay. I think most of us are happy to, the feeling of owing that GENUINE whatever is great. Plus those little things like it feels right, it does this or that that the beginner model did not. My Squire is now like Triggers broom. Three new handles and two new heads but its still going strong. It is now my favourite guitar but it cost me about 400 to get it how I wanted it. Thing is, without the Squire cheapy, without my cheapy Chinese sax, I dont think I would have started out with the learning. 150-00 for a gamble on a new hobby is lot different from 500-00, so keep on churning them out I say.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
They do this with guitars too. My first electric was a Squire. This is a Fender product made in China, without the Fender logo. It looks just like a strat or a telcaster and plays really well. It plays so well that they now make different grades of Squire and they can cost a few hundred instead of the hundred odd that mine cost me a few years ago. I still dont think that many musicians would turn up for work carrying a Squire. Defineatly thats part snobbery but just like saxes, for all its general suitability, there will be things that are not quite right about it, for the individual. The body is not the best wood. The neck has skinny frets. The tone is a bit harsh. It doesnt have a respectable logo on the neck. So, to get what you want, you are going to have to pay. I think most of us are happy to, the feeling of owing that GENUINE whatever is great. Plus those little things like it feels right, it does this or that that the beginner model did not. My Squire is now like Triggers broom. Three new handles and two new heads but its still going strong. It is now my favourite guitar but it cost me about 400 to get it how I wanted it. Thing is, without the Squire cheapy, without my cheapy Chinese sax, I dont think I would have started out with the learning. 150-00 for a gamble on a new hobby is lot different from 500-00, so keep on churning them out I say.
I have to agree 100% with your final comments,if I hadn't been able to get my elkhart for £350 but had to pay £1500 to £3000 for my first sax or take a chance on buying second hand with no experience I may never of started playing sax at all..john
 
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