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Saxophones Tenor upgrade? Is it worth it?

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
I have a Yanagisawa T901 tenor sax. I am very used to it and 'as far as I know' it does everything I want of it. I say 'as far as I know' because I also have a Daewoo Matiz with 100,000 miles on the clock and while that does all I require of it I know that there are better vehicles out there which will allow me to do more but I'm just not aware of it (speed, power, capacity etc).

So, my point is (yes, there is a point) if I don't buy a baritone sax (see other thread "Starting to panic now") I may upgrade my tenor sax. If I moved from the Yani 901 to, say, A Yani 992 or a Selmer (Paris) or some such, what would I get?

What IS the difference between an entry level quality sax and a top-end one by the same maker. Many of you must have made the switch, why did you and was it worth it?

Cheers

Martin
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
This is a contentious area. In the case of Yanagisawa there are people who say that the 901 series instruments are not inferior to the 991s, but others have found a noticeable difference. Subjective factors such as your proficiency, choice of mouthpiece, reeds and peer pressure also come into play. As so often, the answer probably is that playing them will help you (probably) make up your mind.

In the case of Jupiter there appears to be broad agreement that the 9XX series is quite superior to, for example, the 5XX series.

Assuming that you are buying new, you will find that as you go higher (say from a Yamaha YTS-275 to a YTS-62II or an 82z), some of the things you get have nothing to do with with improving your playing. These include a fancier case, more elaborate engravings, etc. Manufacturers' sites usually offer convenient comparisons.

What makes the business of comparing instruments even more difficult is the emergence of high-quality Taiwanese instruments that seem to deliver much the same as the big four at half to two-thirds the price or thereabouts. The one thing that is certain is that going higher up does not guarantee you greater satisfaction.
 

milandro

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,484
I really don't think that you will get much of a " upgrade" by going for a 901 model to the so called " pro" strain 991 , I have owned (and sold 901 and 990µ , which is almost identical to the 991 with the exception of the thumb rests ) both types and frankly speaking there is not much of a difference among them when it comes to sound and very , very little in terms of keywork. It is not like having a Yamaha 275 and upgrading to a 62 , there you have substantial differences (less so if you have a 23 and would buy a 61)
So I wouldn't invest money in any such upgrade if you already own a 901.

If I were to upgrade a 901 I would look for something very different and see if I like it better. Indeed there are some Taiwanese instruments out there with a very pronounced personality and especially if you buy something secondhand (best value for money because the secondhand price of Taiwanese horns is sometimes half of their new cost) you are bound to be able to sell your 901 and have enough money to buy a secondhand Taiwanese horn.

Of course try before you buy is paramount. I would also consider buying a Keilwerth , they tend to be priced very nicely when second hand and I really love them.
 
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thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,787
I am very used to it and 'as far as I know' it does everything I want of it.

Why upgrade? If your Yani T901 works for you, I think you should keep it. It's a fine sax. But If you're going to play more Rocksax I think you should consider some other brands, like Keilwerth. Also King, Beuscher, Martin ... . But then you're are upgrading with older saxes.

What IS the difference between an entry level quality sax and a top-end one by the same maker. Many of you must have made the switch, why did you and was it worth it?

I guess there are differneces. What's interesting for me is the playablity of sax. I have both "The Martin Tenors" and one "The Martin Magna Tenor" and there are differences. Silver touches, adjustable octave key, differnt thumb rest, adjustable Bb and B keys ..... . When it comes to playablity I think it's roughly the same. Both models are made out of the same tube (bore and taper) so the sound/tone is simular. The Magna had a sterling silver neck as an option. Maybe it made a difference?



Thomas
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Only you can answer that question, surely? Just get into a sax-shop and blow a few. You may find something that floats your boat, you may not, and the boat-floater may not turn out to be an "upgrade" at all, just an equivalent, or even cheaper, sax that suits you.

(The sensible money is on it costing a shed-load more, to be honest :))
 

ManEast

Member
Messages
203
If I moved from the Yani 901 to, say, A Yani 992 or a Selmer (Paris) or some such, what would I get?

What IS the difference between an entry level quality sax and a top-end one by the same maker. Many of you must have made the switch, why did you and was it worth it?

Cheers

Martin
Hi Martin
IMO. To move to a T992 or a Late Selmer (i.e. late MK7 and after) You would not get much more than a cosmetic inprovment.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,949
The only time I've done this was to go from a tenor Keilwerth EX90 (German variety early 90s) to a Shadow. I've still got the old one so I've done a lot of comparing. It really boils down to the sound - I prefer the Shadow. It's a bit easier to play but it's marginal. Tuning's the same. I did it because I could.

Your problem will be that, if you upgrade your tenor, you still won't have a baritone.

Going back to Yanags - I tried a load of modern Yanag baris against my B900 recently. I preferred the B900.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
Moz

You obviously have wisdom - you don't **** about wasting money on cars when there are saxes to be bought.

When I bought my T992, I also tried a T901, as well as loads of other saxes. I preferred the T992 to the T901 (and all the other saxes I tried) but I can't say it was better, just that I preferred it. I'm pretty certain that if the T901 was all I could afford, I'd be very happy with it, for life. In your situation I'd stick with the T901, as it's a great horn, and get a bari as well. You could get a bari for the same sort of cost as the 'ugrade' of your tenor, and I think that having both would give you more smiles for your £££s.

Oh, and one other observation. Personally (and this is just my view) I found the Selmer Paris Series 2 to be considerably less of a sax than the T901.

Jon
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
Moz

You obviously have wisdom - you don't **** about wasting money on cars when there are saxes to be bought.

When I bought my T992, I also tried a T901, as well as loads of other saxes. I preferred the T992 to the T901 (and all the other saxes I tried) but I can't say it was better, just that I preferred it. I'm pretty certain that if the T901 was all I could afford, I'd be very happy with it, for life. In your situation I'd stick with the T901, as it's a great horn, and get a bari as well. You could get a bari for the same sort of cost as the 'ugrade' of your tenor, and I think that having both would give you more smiles for your £££s.

Oh, and one other observation. Personally (and this is just my view) I found the Selmer Paris Series 2 to be considerably less of a sax than the T901.

Jon
Thanks for that Jonf. Decision made (as far as the tenor is concerned), the 901 stays if a tenor stays.

Well, that's one thing out of the way, now back to the bari decision...life used to be so simple.

Martin
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I had a Yani T901 which I traded in for a System 54 U/L Superior Powerbell - based on a Selmer 1954 Balanced Action (which cost me just £200). I am so much happier producing the sound that I wanted on a larger bore tenor. To me the T901 just felt too much of a compromise and I'm glad that I made the change.

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works but I have now started playing the tenor sax so much more regularly, and really enjoy the experience.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
I had a Yani T901 which I traded in for a System 54 U/L Superior Powerbell - based on a Selmer 1954 Balanced Action (which cost me just £200). I am so much happier producing the sound that I wanted on a larger bore tenor. To me the T901 just felt too much of a compromise and I'm glad that I made the change.

Sorry to throw a spanner in the works but I have now started playing the tenor sax so much more regularly, and really enjoy the experience.

Kind regards
Tom
Now this is where I am probably going to upset some people. My opinion, right or wrong, is that some saxophones are investments and some are good saxes. The important thing to me is that a sax has to be a good sax and also a good investment. My Yani 901 tenor will give me back what I paid for it anytime I choose to sell it so, inflation aside, it is as good an investment as a bank account in these days of crappy interest rates. I might find the greatest System 54/ BW / Jupiter etc. sax but when it comes to trade-in time only Yani's, Selmer (Paris), top-of-the-range Yamaha and Keilworth's are going to hold their value. If saxophones were in the price range of Irish whistles the differential wouldn't be important but they are not. Saxophones are expensive and I don't want any new one to halve it's value the minute I get it out of the shop.

I know this to be true because a little while ago I bought a Yani soprano. I kept the infernal thing (this attitude applies to all soprano's 'cos in my hands they all sound crap) for a year. I paid £1280 for it and after a year I put it on Ebay and sold it for, you guessed it, £1280. I can't say for sure but I suspect that if that sax had been a Jupiter and I had paid £700 for it I surely would not have got more than (an optimistic) £500 for it after a year of use.

No, for me any sax has to be a really good one otherwise I could never justify, for my own peace of mind, buying an additional one in the first place.

Martin
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Martin!

I understand your logic, just don't share it.
Kind regards

Tom

2 years ago I paid £320 for a new BW curved soprano. I bet I could get more than that if I sold it now. The thing is I do not imagine ever wanting to sell it as it is brilliant.
 
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Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
A point to bear in mind is that nobody is actually interested in what saxophone you as long as it plays in tune and you play to the required standard. Nobody will offer or refuse a place in an ensemble on the basis of what you own. I suppose things are a little different once you play at a professional level. I could imagine that all members of an SATB group, for rexample, would have the same brand of instrument, partly because it might make tuning easier. It might also attract some sponsorship. But none of this is of much concern to me now.

It really boils down to whether you like what you now, and whether there is genuine potential that you could do better with something different. Plenty of players reply to this question in the affirmative, and there is nothing wrong with that. If I were in your shoes, I would hold on to the 901 (it is a very good instrument), and I would investigate whether a suitable baritone is available. BTW, I assume that you are reasonably familiar with the bari.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Only you can answer that question, surely? Just get into a sax-shop and blow a few. You may find something that floats your boat, you may not, and the boat-floater may not turn out to be an "upgrade" at all, just an equivalent, or even cheaper, sax that suits you.

(The sensible money is on it costing a shed-load more, to be honest :))
I suppose that it is good for any of us to elicit opinions from others about a personal dilemma, even if we cannot provide a final answer for anyone. Decision making is a complex head/heart process so having a few different ways of approaching a dilemma can be extremely helpful. For me, just getting into a sax shop and blowing a few is not a straightforward process - it costs both time and money and most sax shops do not stock every sax going, and can often be some distance. So deciding whether this is necessary could be a reasonable consideration - Moz is in Cornwall, after all, so only John Packer is particularly near, and there may be folks near by that have a used sax that would fit the bill, providing that Moz knows what the bill is.

Kind regards
Tom
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
Great theory Tom, but reliant on there being some consistency in the opinions coming back. Saxes aren't like cars, they perform differently for every player. (We should be grateful for that - imagine Jeremy Clarkson putting the new Keilworth through its' paces....."phwooar, just LISTEN to that ALTISSIMO!!" Etc......)

Sorry, gone off on one a bit there.....
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
855
Opinions from others are important. In the end, the purchase of anything will depend on the finances and fancies of the buyer. Many times I have heard a sharp intake of breath when I announced that I bought A over B and sometimes they have been justified so it is better to have elicited those opinions before laying out large amounts of cash.

I value everyone's opinion in this forum (even if they're wrong ;}) and long may these opinions continue to be stated.

I am on a couple of other forums (fori ??) unrelated to saxophony and they too have been a fount of knowledge; I'm a big fan of them all.

Your assistance all, has been much appreciated on this tenor matter and the other matter of the bari.

Cheers

Martin
 
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