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Saxophones The more $$$ the easier to play?

Jazzaferri

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2,631
Years ago, I had to play test through a shipment of saxes. There were differences in key response (feel) intonation and note response in saxes of the same make and model. It takes me days of Playing to get to really know a new sax or new mpc.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
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2,231
I think its important for a beginner to have a setup horn, mouthpiece and reed that doesn't hold them back because fighting with a poor unregulated setup only adds to the difficulty.
That said there are downsides for a beginner to having a top pro sax too early.

1, How is a beginner going to pick from the many choices that there is available, they will still more or less sound the same as they did on the beginner sax as they won't be able to understand what makes the pro horn better.

2, Many beginners give up playing in the first couple of years so then may have lost a considerable amount of money when they sell because its not for them.

3, If the player continues to play and then realises this pro horn in 5 years is not for them because they favour another brand or maybe wants to go down the vintage route they again lose a lot of money on the horn and have to pay lots more on the horn that they want now they have more experience in choosing what's right.
There are ways round the downsides like buying secondhand although that's a minefield in itself and of course money might not be a problem for some.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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2,285
The main crux of this is whether a pro horn will allow faster, easier progress for a student. In many cases the answer is no. It won’t help the basics much if at all. It also won’t help someone play in tune better, although possible that it will negate the need to a little more, but it’s still not a help to learning.

It won’t help tone production or breathing - a student not filling a cheap instrument won’t fill an expensive one either or suddenly play with good tone.

It won’t give you a vibrato.
It won’t cure flat high notes.
Or duff articulation.
Or uneven fingers.
Or cure poor note choices over G7#9.

cheap instruments work pretty darn well in the most part these days, we’re not talking about something that is a leaking tube, as that could also be the expensive sax too.
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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2,285
In fact, thinking back, I’ve had students turn up to a lesson with an expensive horn having not mentioned it before and certainly not sought advice.
Often, they wear an air of “I’m a much better player now”.
 

Halfers

Finger Flapper
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2,089
In fact, thinking back, I’ve had students turn up to a lesson with an expensive horn having not mentioned it before and certainly not sought advice.
Often, they wear an air of “I’m a much better player now”.
Just out of interest. As a Teacher, have you ever had a student (who had a fully functioning horn that wasn't falling to bits or completely inadequate for the job) who you advised needed to upgrade their Sax because their ability exceeded the horns ability to keep up with their playing (not including accessory upgrades for increased volumes in band settings etc)
 

Pete Effamy

Senior Member
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2,285
Just out of interest. As a Teacher, have you ever had a student (who had a fully functioning horn that wasn't falling to bits or completely inadequate for the job) who you advised needed to upgrade their Sax because their ability exceeded the horns ability to keep up with their playing (not including accessory upgrades for increased volumes in band settings etc)
Rarely, unless it was a second hand old cheap one falling to bits.
Mouthpieces more-so.
 

Stephen Howard

Well-Known Member
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1,854
Just out of interest. As a Teacher, have you ever had a student (who had a fully functioning horn that wasn't falling to bits or completely inadequate for the job) who you advised needed to upgrade their Sax because their ability exceeded the horns ability to keep up with their playing (not including accessory upgrades for increased volumes in band settings etc)
It's something I've done, from time-to-time.
The usual scenario is a kid coming in with a parent to have a student horn fixed, and on hearing the kid play it's clear that they've put a lot of a time and effort into practising...and they're still kicking around on this cheapo horn.
It's not so much that the horn is holding them back, rather it's more than I can hear they're at the stage where they'd benefit from the feedback and consistency of a better horn.
There's also the aspect of 'Better the devil you know' - which is to say that you put a lot of hours into moulding your technique around a horn's response...and it's more cost-effective in the long run to do that on a horn that's going to be with you for many years.

Plus it's also the case that parents sometimes need to be told that their child deserves some acknowledgement for all the hard work they've done.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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5,862
I had a cheap soprano once with intonation issues at the top end. I learned play it fairly well in tune, but when I tried another "better" soprano I had a big struggle with intonation, because I had developed a technique to cope with the first one. It wasn't just a matter of adjusting a few notes, it was the whole approach.
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,631
Every once in a while I haul out my approximately 30 year old YAS 23 that my kids played in school.

other than preferring the sounds I make on my SML and Keilwerth, It’s well setup, plays well and the action is slick.
 
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