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Beginner Sax Too soon?

iamacup

Member
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46
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Canberra Australia
Hi all,
At the moment I am yet to purchase a saxophone, I have been borrowing a YAS 23 for the few months I have been playing, at the moment there is no reason for me to have to purchase a sax as the owner has no interest in playing and has owned the sax for nearly 10 years. It is a great sax and is currently being serviced for the fist time in many years. Instead of being without a horn I have borrowed a friends alto that is for sale. A Beuscher 1922 True Tone alto low pitch, wow what a difference in horn, and here the trouble starts.

My question- is it too early to buy a vintage horn? Or should I continue to borrow the YAS 23. I said to myself I should carry on borrowing until I can hear the difference in tone between horns. I can tell the difference and the Beuscher fits my hands a lot better. I might just be clutching at straws.
The bottom line is that I really would like to own a saxophone and I thought it was the YAS, now I think its the Beuscher. Then how do I convince the fiancé.

Looking forward to the insight.
Cheers,
Cup
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
708
There is no hard and fast answer to this question. The main determinants, apart from whatever budget you may have, are that the instrument is in good condition (particularly that you are not up for new pads as this is expensive), that the intonation is good and that it feels good under the hand. It will be a little while until you actually can tell tonal differences.

Some players absolutely love vintage models. I myself tried one and after a while changed it for a YAS-62II. Much more appealing to me. It really depends on what feels good for you. BTW, are you confident enough to be able to discriminate between the various offerings. If not, find yourself someone experienced.
 

Jeanette

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Try as many more as you can and if the Beuscher still feels right go for it :)

If you love your sax you are much more likely to keep playing

Jx
 

iamacup

Member
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46
Locality
Canberra Australia
Planning on taking the Beuscher along to my lesson on Wednesday to show my teacher, I think he will be quite on board with the Beuscher.
Still have to convince the love that purchasing a sax is a good idea.
 

Pete Thomas

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Planning on taking the Beuscher along to my lesson on Wednesday to show my teacher, I think he will be quite on board with the Beuscher.
Still have to convince the love that purchasing a sax is a good idea.
This is the best idea. It is important that you can play it with reasonable intonation and that it will not Be needing a lot of work in the near future, as an overhaul in one of these may not be much less than the value of the instrument.

You also need to be happy with the keywork, compared with better ergonomics you inevitably get with a modern instrument.
 

jonf

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Betelgeuse
I have both a YAS2 and a Buescher True Tone (as well as three other altos, but that's another story). I like both, the Buescher has a lovely creamy tone, whereas the YAS is much brighter and better for rock stuff. The big difference is the ergonomics. You say the Buescher fits your hands better, which must mean you have small hands, as I struggle a bit with the Buescher's keywork, the palm keys in particular being tiny and low. I have to use risers to be able to play at all, as I have big hands with long fingers.

If the Buescher fits your hands, bearing in mind all keywork, if it needs little or no work, if it's a reasonable price and you like its tone, then you might want to go for it. Do bear in mind that over time it will require more maintenance than the YAS. The Yamaha is very well built, and has screw adjusters whereas the Buescher has corks for all adjustment, and of course it's a very old instrument. That said, I haven't had to do too much to mine in the ten years I've had it.
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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I've got a Buescher True Tone alto, and I love it. If there are no problems with it and you prefer it in sound and feel to the Yamaha then go for it!
Taking it to your teacher is an excellent idea. Here's a list of some things you should check.

1. Intonation. This can be an issue with vintage instruments, though it's not a problem with my Buescher.
2. The left hand pinkie keys can be quite heavy on a Buescher. Check that B and C# are reasonably comfortable. It won't have a C#-G# linkage. This means your little finger will have to do a bit more work than on a modern instrument. You need to be able to move between the C# and G# keys quickly.
3. MyTrue Tone is softish - lovely for classical and ballads, but it's probably not the instrument I would have chosen if I wanted the horn to scream in a funk band. (Though it's possible it can scream with the right mouthpiece - I've never tried.)
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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You say the Buescher fits your hands better, which must mean you have small hands, as I struggle a bit with the Buescher's keywork, the palm keys in particular being tiny and low. I have to use risers to be able to play at all, as I have big hands with long fingers.

The palm keys are too low for me too, but with palm key risers it's fine. I made them myself with Sugru.
 

iamacup

Member
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46
Locality
Canberra Australia
Yeah, its that beautiful softness that i like, it sounds so very smooth and really accentuates the articulation which is currently off and on, when I hit it though it is so very sweet.

I find the palm keys much easier to reach, they seem to be in a better spot for me. Thisnis the first day of playing so we will seemhow we go.
It does need some cork replacing on the octave key, I can hit f down, the rest i have to overblow.does this need to be cork or will Sugru (I have plastimake which is the same I think) work?

Regards,

Cup
 

Pete Thomas

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It does need some cork replacing on the octave key, I can hit f down, the rest i have to overblow.does this need to be cork or will Sugru (I have plastimake which is the same I think) work?

Octave key is generally a small leather pad, but cork is fine as is Sugru probably. Make sure that is the only thing causing the issue. The octave mech may need adjusting or there might be problems elsewhere.
 

iamacup

Member
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46
Locality
Canberra Australia
Octave key is generally a small leather pad, but cork is fine as is Sugru probably. Make sure that is the only thing causing the issue. The octave mech may need adjusting or there might be problems elsewhere.

I am pretty sure it is, the mechanism moves well, there is just no cork at the interface with the ring on the neck, it has the remnants of cork (or leather) and glue, no cork (or leather) though. As its not mine I am not going to fiddle with it, my teacher also mentioned he probably had some cork knocking around, and wouldmlook at it.

Cheers,

Cup
 

Pete Thomas

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I am pretty sure it is, the mechanism moves well, there is just no cork at the interface with the ring on the neck, it has the remnants of cork (or leather) and glue, no cork (or leather) though. As its not mine I am not going to fiddle with it, my teacher also mentioned he probably had some cork knocking around, and wouldmlook at it.

Cheers,

Cup
I think there may be a misunderstanding. Do you mean the octave key that closes the hole on the neck, or the mechanism that engages behind the tenon?

I answered thinking you were talking about the key/hole.

If it is where it engages the entire neck lever, then it would not be a pad of course, however leather, cork or a plastic sleeve (e.g. ballpoint pen ink supply tube) are usually OK. I'm not sure how well Sugru would stay in place.
 

iamacup

Member
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Canberra Australia
The mechanism behind the tenon, the lever has no cork on, it moves when the octave key is engaged however does not move the ring, it just touches it instead.
I think, if it were my saxophone i would want to keep it as traditional as possible, so i would wait and find cork to go on it.

Cheers,
Cup
 

nigeld

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The mechanism behind the tenon, the lever has no cork on, it moves when the octave key is engaged however does not move the ring, it just touches it instead.

On my True Tone there is a thin piece of cork on that lever.
 

jonf

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Agreed. On the True Tone the lever is not round in profile, it's flat. Simple matter to glue a bit of cork of the appropriate thickness on it. Eleven minute job at most, and that includes ten minutes waiting for the contact adhesive to go off.
 

kevgermany

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There should be about a millimeter between the ring and the lever. Thin cork is good here. But you may still need to bend the arm/ring to get the correct clearance. It's the spring on the neck that forces the body pip to open.but if there's too much play, this can't happen.
 
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iamacup

Member
Messages
46
Locality
Canberra Australia
This all sounds spot on with what I can see in the tenon area. About a 1mm gap when not engaged then. I will have a play around and see what I can make happen. I mean I won't as its not my sax, you know what I mean. Still completely undecided on the issue ;)
 

iamacup

Member
Messages
46
Locality
Canberra Australia
Okay, a slightly different angle of attack to this question (read dilemma), will going to a vintage saxophone limit my development if I do it this early on. It's missing a few keys compared to the modern altos, high F# I think. Is this going to be a major issue or is ergonomics and fit the bigger concern at this stage?

The owner is happy for me to fiddle with the cork at the octave key, which I am going to let my teacher do on Wednesday, if he fancies it. At the moment I am okay playing in the lower range and I find (with a it of effort) I can blow up to high C without the octave key.

Otherwise I am just loving this alto, it feels alive when I play, it just glides around the music and feels like it wants to be unleashed. Just played for an hour and a half, the longest session I've had to date and it felt like no time at all, aside from my lips turning to jelly.
As always, look forward to your thoughts,

Regards,
Cup
 

Pete Thomas

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Lack of high F# is no issue at all. More useful is the front auxiliary top F key. I believe the earlier Truetones (and 1922 is earlier) did not have this key, and without it then learning to play altissimo range (notes above the standard range) will be tricky.

However that is not something for beginners to worry about, but may become important later depending on whether you want to play in that register.

You can tell if it has the aux F - it is an extra key above the top B key.

This is also a consideration regarding the value of the instrument, as people prefer the later ones with aux F I believe.
 

iamacup

Member
Messages
46
Locality
Canberra Australia
Okay, that has lost me a little. Does this help?
 

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