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Saxophones What alto sax to follow beginner's sax

teegee

Member
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35
My son is making fantastic progress on the sax, is now up to grade 5 at the age of 11, and plays soprano and alto. The alto, however, is a pretty basic beginner's sax and comparison with a borrowed sax shows that it's definitely letting him down. Time to move on. A Yamaha YAS-275 has been recommended, but I don't really want to have to upgrade again in a couple of years' time, so I'm wondering about a used Yamaha YAS-475 or indeed a used YAS-62 (at a budget of under £1,000). Does anyone have any thoughts, recommendation or advice?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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You must be very proud of him!.

You won't go wrong with a YAS-62, so long as it's in good condition and not in imminent need of an overhaul. Sounds like a good price. But you could also get a new Bauhaus Walstein for that price. May be an idea to take him along to a sax shop and let him play a few different instruments.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
In addition to the Bauhaus Walstein I would give a top recommendation to the new Buffet Crampon 400 which is stocked by several UK music stores (Howarth, Ackerman Music, Trevor Jones) at around £800 - it has had superb reviews,and along with the Bauhaus Walstein would be a superb choice.

Lots of teachers recommend Yamaha saxes but they are often not aware of what else is available, and Yamah instruments can be relatively expensive compared to some others which are often given better reviews. I play a Selmer Ref54 Alto, which costs over £3000 new, but would happily play a Buffet Crampon or Bauhaus Walstein.

The whole idea about uprading every so often seems primarily to sell more saxophones. It is perfectly possible to get a very high standard sax to start off with, rather than go through an artificially created series of unnecessary steps. Well done on your son's enthusiasm and development. I do think that the Yamaha YAS62 is a very good horn; I just think that it is not necessary to follow a sort of preordained path from beginner sax, to intermediate sax, to pro quality sax, and think that parentscan end up spending much more than necessary on equipment as a result.

Good luck
Tom
 
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Saxlicker

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1,932
Really your son will benefit from trying a few out for himself within budget rather than buying one on pure recommendation.
But hey you have to have a starting point I know!

On that thought, at least there are plenty to choose from.
Though they are very capable, I don't think 275/475 are what you have in mind.
Here is a link to an Ebay auction for a purple logo YAS 62. I can't not recommend one it's what I play!
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Yamaha-YAS-62-alto-sax-/170728222598?pt=UK_Woodwind_Instruments&hash=item27c031ef86#ht_1682wt_82

The silver plated neck is not standard and I want to investigate that further but....
There is a certain urban myth about the era of production regarding the purple screen printed logo. It's commonly thought of as the best era. Changes where obviously made after this period. The 62 was no longer top of the range and the object of those changes (straight from a yamaha acoustic-ions mouth) was to keep the 62 affordable when a new pro range was introduced.
So just something to bear in mind but the newer 62's still have a good reputation.
 
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teegee

Member
Messages
35
Thanks very much for your advice, Kevgermany. I am talking to a private seller (who's a professional musician) about a YAS 62. Its over ten years old and is a bit scratched. I am presuming that neither of those things is necessarily a problem, but how does one go about telling whether it's in imminent need of an overhaul?
 
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teegee

Member
Messages
35
Really helpful advice, TomMapfumo, thank you very much. Do you have any particular Bauhaus Walstein alto sax in mind ?
 
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teegee

Member
Messages
35
Thanks very much Saxlicker. What's the theory on the purple screen printed logo - that the changes in later versions were for the worse ? Is the logo on the bell? How can you tell that the one you link to on ebay is a purple logo ! (Maybe your eyesight's just better than mine!) What colour is the later logo? Do you know when the change took place ? Also do you have any experience of how safe it is to buy a sax on ebay ? And finally, any thoughts on the best sax shops in Hampshire (or Wiltshire)? Sorry about the barrage of questions Thanks!
 
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Saxlicker

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1,932
Thanks very much Saxlicker. What's the theory on the purple screen printed logo - that the changes afterwards were for the worse ? Do you know when the chnage took place ? Also do you have any experience of how safe it is to buy a sax on ebay ? And finally, any thoughts on the best sax shops in Hampshire (or Wiltshire).
The silk screened Purple 'Yamaha' logo simply shows the Era for the build. The later builds had a Stamped 'yamaha' logo.
Regarding that era, it was Yamaha's top range offering. Don't lose sight of the fact that just because that is the case, it will not be for everybody.
Some of the changes were to replace cosmetics for cheaper alternatives.
For example the key touches changed from 'Mother of Pearl' to plastic.
But there was a change in the neck design which had nothing to do with economics.
Sorry I don't have all the changes too mind but over all there were savings made in production to keep a place for the horn in the yamaha line up.

In a nut shell, the reputation of the Purple Logo is as solid as it comes. Some will say the yas 61 is better or the later yas 62 is better. That is how it is in our world and they are also proven horns. Perhaps I feel the purple logo to be better but as long as the price is appropriate, I wouldn't lose any sleep going for a later one except to say in that case I'd also look at other brands.
I think the change happened early to mid 90's.

As for buying from Ebay?
Well I have done OK but it helps to have experience of the product on offer and of course the credibility and trustworthiness of the seller will be your own judgement.

Sax shops in Hants/Wilts?
No many that I know of.
You would have to do your pricing homework first to negotiate a reasonable deal I guess but....
I do know of Hayse Music in Totton

Woodwind and Brass

I'd be tempted to travel.

On the note about the second hand one, age shouldn't matter if its well serviced or price adjusted and in good structural shape. Scratches?...just part of a horns individual personality.
If you trust the seller its a better route than ebay in my opinion.
I think the one in the link I posted sounds OK except you be sure to dig out the facts surrounding the story on the neck. It is probably keeping the price down.

Good Luck!
PS... The Purple logo 62 is described as a modern classic
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
Thanks very much for your advice, Kevgermany. I am talking to a private seller (who's a professional musician) about a YAS 62. Its over ten years old and is a bit scratched. I am presuming that neither of those things is necessarily a problem, but how does one go about telling whether it's in imminent need of an overhaul?
Best way is to take the sax to a good repairer for an assessment. He'd check pad condition, play in the mechanism, corks, adjustment/regulation, springs, pad sealing and so on. Pads are a bit unpredictable - if the leather's cut, then the pad is clearly shot, but worn pads can go tomorrow - or last a couple of years.

One good assessment is how the sax plays. If possible, get your son to test it using his mouthpiece. Full range of the sax, any dificulties getting specific notes, key movement and so on.

Scratches don't matter. Dents may, depending on where/how big. Bent saxes are to be avoided.

Whereabouts are you? Someone may be able to recommend a repairer to do an assessment in your area.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Thanks very much for your advice, Kevgermany. I am talking to a private seller (who's a professional musician) about a YAS 62. Its over ten years old and is a bit scratched. I am presuming that neither of those things is necessarily a problem, but how does one go about telling whether it's in imminent need of an overhaul?
If the guy is a pro musician he should be honest enough about the condition of the sax and whether it needs any work doing to it. It is perfectly possible to buy decent stuff off ebay, but you need to know what you are doing and not be naive - contact with the seller is always agood way of establishing whether a person is legit and honest. I am always wary of people who charge a fortune for postage or seem to be clueless about their instrument. I bought my Tenor Sax through ebay and experienced exceptional service - the person concerned even sent me a tenor sax box so I could send him mine in part exchange and offered an excellent price.

Regarding Bauhaus Walstein sax recommendations - if your budget is up to £1000 then buy any one that you can afford - they can all be seen at www.woodwindandbrass.co.uk - just give Martin a ring - excellent bloke!

I'd still go for the Buffet Crampon 400 though, at £700+ http://felixssaxophonecorner.blogspot.com/2010/07/saxophone-review-buffet-400-alto-sax.html
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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21,947
One warning - a pro can often blow a sax that's unplayable for normal people. And they tend to have used their saxes hard.
 

Jack

Member
Messages
123
Buy a new Bauhaus Walstein and forget about it! (use new york accent for last part of phrase) I own soprano, alto, tenor and bari all from the same factory that makes bauhaus walstein. I am a retired pro and very happy with them. Goin' for a "curvy" next. My hors have been compared to very high end horns for not so much money. I believe your son will be very happy also, but what do I know? I'm a Yank! (although I do mean you very well).
 

nlancaster

Member
Messages
36
I would actually say buy what you can afford. I find the more you spend on it, the nicer it is... That being said, old conns and other makes are great too at quite reasonable prices. however, if it has to be brand new and your son is going to use it for his life, get the best you can and you'll find he wont need new saxophones as much (unless he puts a major crack in it).

I know it sort of conflicts as well, however get him to try lots and lots of altos and let him choose which one he likes. When I was upgrading my Tenor in year 10, I tried MKVI's, Yamahas, Yanagisawas, REF 54 etc and found the Series 2 SA80 to be the nicest for me.

With my alto I chose a Keilwerth over a MKVI.

I do tend to have strange setups to give my the sound that I want (i used to use a berg 110 sms/0 with 2 strength legere synthetic reeds for my classical, soft stuff. I played zagar pieces and links with standard rico 3.5's for my hard hitting stuff). It's a lot to do with personality. Stick with the known brands as they wont fall apart in your hands, but get your son to choose it, he'll keep it for longer then
 

teegee

Member
Messages
35
OK, I'm trying to condense what I see into something relatively coherent, remembering that we are aiming to upgrade from a beginner's instrument to a good quality sax, maybe pro quality, which will be played by a seemingly pretty talented boy player, but which won't have to be upgraded again in a few years time. What I think I'm getting is something along these lines:
1. Try everything and see what works best for you.
This is fine when considering new saxes in shops, but it obvously ain't straight-forward when it comes to considering second-hand instruments. And obviously one needs a starting point.
2. If considering a used YAS-62, the Mark I (and preferably purple printed logo - which not all are) seems to have the edge on the Mark II. It is possible to find second hand YAS-62s, Mark I and Mark II, in good condition.
3. The recommended new saxes for under £1,000 are the Bauhaus Walstein (no specific model recommended) and the Buffet-Crampon 400. (nlancaster also referred to some others he'd looked at; but I'm not sure whether they fall within this budget).

My follow up question has to be whether the Bauhaus Walstein and the Buffet-Crampon 400, which are far cheaper than a new Yamaha YAS 62 or YAS 475, really are of comparable quality to them?

What do we think ?
 

teegee

Member
Messages
35
And another thing ... A music shop in Manchester, keen to sell us a Trevor James SR (which is beyond our budget), has just told us that the Bauhaus Walsteins and Buffet Crampon 400 are 'too heavy' by comparison. Does anyone know whether they really are heavier than comparable saxes (including the YAS 62, or even the Trevor James SR for that matter)?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,947
What's heavy to a strong young lad? Sounds like b/s to me.

If you're inclined to drive a little, quite a few forum members are really satisfied with these guys, and I believe you'd get straight, not conflicting advice as well as a chance for your son to try the instruments out. Take a known mouthpiece and broken in reeds as well:

http://www.woodwindexchange.com/
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
And another thing ... A music shop in Manchester, keen to sell us a Trevor James SR (which is beyond our budget), has just told us that the Bauhaus Walsteins and Buffet Crampon 400 are 'too heavy' by comparison. Does anyone know whether they really are heavier than comparable saxes (including the YAS 62, or even the Trevor James SR for that matter)?
In my (admittedly limited and not particularly current) experience, Manchester is not the best town for music shops. But Bradford is pretty close. Everyone who visits Woodwind Exchange speaks very highly of it. Why not spend an afternoon there?
 
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teegee

Member
Messages
35
Thanks very much guys, but the Manchester thing is a slight red herring - my wife happens to be there this week, but home is west Hampshire and work is (normally) London.
 

Saxlicker

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,932
TeeGee,
Not sure where west hampshire means exactly but..
If you have seen anything online in the shop in Totton (Hayse Music) or possibly the one in Havant that sort of takes your sons fancy and want to go.
I would be willing to travel with you, your son, his sax, my sax (YAS 62) and go and try some others. Maybe that will help get the foothold you are looking for.
Even then each sax has its own little something detectable mainly to the player but Yamaha's tend to be pretty consistent and I've tried a few 62's to vouch for that so you'd have a good chance for appraisal.
I have plenty of shifts off between Dec 8th and Xmas.
 
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