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What should a beginner buy? Where to go next?

tyo

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Mass, USA
Hi! I currently play an early Selmer Bundy tenor which needs at least a repad, maybe an overhaul. My local techs said it's not worth going through with that.

I've decided to purchase a different instrument, and would like to ask your opinions on how to best go about it.

My goal is to invest in an instrument that is worth maintaining and will take me through the next 3-5 years, and possibly beyond. Ideally it would have a voice similar to the Bundy, with ergos that are better suited to larger hands, and a bit lighter weight. Specifically, because of the size of my hands I have to really contort to hit any of the side keys, and the balance of the horn causes strain to keep it pivoted correctly.

I'm currently looking at somewhere between $500 and $1500 (US), either a common/less-sought vintage or an intermediate level modern. Examples on the one end would be the YTS21/23 or a Vito, vs something like a Trevor James Horn, a YTS 280, or a Buffet 400. Is there one in this admittedly broad range that I should be looking at over others?

I am shopping mostly online since my local area has an interesting mix of >3k instruments, but a very limited variety of ones under 1k. I would spring for a pro-level modern or a more famous vintage but I'm not comfortable spending that much with so little experience.

Thank you very much for reading, any input would be really appreciated!
 

Zugzwang

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Subscriber
Messages
403
Location
United Kingdom
I have test-played many saxophones because of problems with having v small hands (and therefore difficulties getting around the palm keys etc), and found the YTS 21 better for me… Not to say don’t try one - it is light - but maybe don’t buy sight unseen …
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
4,848
Location
Bristol, UK
If you are a beginner, then I would recommend a modern saxophone for now, rather than a vintage one, but opinions differ.

I have large hands, and a Yamaha is fine for me.
My teacher plays a Yamaha YTS-475, and he sounds pretty good on it. You might get one within your price range, or a YTS-32.

In my limited experience, I much preferred a Yamaha alto to a Trevor James The Horn, but I haven't compared the tenors.
 
OP
T

tyo

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Mass, USA
Thanks for the feedback!
I've tried playing a YTS 62 III and Custom Z, a few Cannonballs, and a handful of rental/student instruments like an Allora. Of those I really enjoyed the 62, the Z was ok, and the rest didn't really spark much. I quite enjoy the sound of my Bundy, but it's becoming painful to play as I go outside the C scale. I should probably go for a YTS-2x, though there's a Beaugnier stencil that's caught my eye for no reason other than being well vouched for and somewhat different. In my other hobbies I definitely lean to the older/odder makes.
Apologies if my question was either too broad or too specific - this is really the first forum I've joined and I'm still learning how to phrase things.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
891
Location
New Mexico, US
Hi! I currently play an early Selmer Bundy tenor which needs at least a repad, maybe an overhaul. My local techs said it's not worth going through with that.

I've decided to purchase a different instrument, and would like to ask your opinions on how to best go about it.

My goal is to invest in an instrument that is worth maintaining and will take me through the next 3-5 years, and possibly beyond. Ideally it would have a voice similar to the Bundy, with ergos that are better suited to larger hands, and a bit lighter weight. Specifically, because of the size of my hands I have to really contort to hit any of the side keys, and the balance of the horn causes strain to keep it pivoted correctly.

I'm currently looking at somewhere between $500 and $1500 (US), either a common/less-sought vintage or an intermediate level modern. Examples on the one end would be the YTS21/23 or a Vito, vs something like a Trevor James Horn, a YTS 280, or a Buffet 400. Is there one in this admittedly broad range that I should be looking at over others?

I am shopping mostly online since my local area has an interesting mix of >3k instruments, but a very limited variety of ones under 1k. I would spring for a pro-level modern or a more famous vintage but I'm not comfortable spending that much with so little experience.

Thank you very much for reading, any input would be really appreciated!
Not to be a shark....but I refurb vintage and modern horns. I messaged you my contact info, just FYI.

If you are a beginner, then I would recommend a modern saxophone for now, rather than a vintage one, but opinions differ.

I have large hands, and a Yamaha is fine for me.
My teacher plays a Yamaha YTS-475, and he sounds pretty good on it. You might get one within your price range, or a YTS-32.

In my limited experience, I much preferred a Yamaha alto to a Trevor James The Horn, but I haven't compared the tenors.
And here's a differing opinion:

OP stated that he already plays a Bundy.

So the 'vintage vs. modern' ergo thang...a 'debate' far overstated to begin with....is pretty much moot.

One can certainly find a step-up or two in a vintage horn which would suit the player quite well...OP has the budget to do so.

Martin Indiana or Comm I
King Cleveland
King Zephyr
Buescher 156 or 157 Aristocrat (the richer cousin of a Bundy, really)
Beaugnier-associated horn such as a Noblet or Vito
Kohlert, Germany
Keilwerth stencil
Grassi, Italy
B&S Blue Label
Buffet 100
A mid--upper shelf Jupiter

are a bunch which jump into my head as possibilities....
Not to say don’t try one - it is light - but maybe don’t buy sight unseen …
Most reputable online sellers will have a return policy. If they offer no returns, then yes...don't buy.
 
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jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,168
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
One more to add to the mix that I am personally familiar with. A used Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series tenor can be bought for around $1500 or less if you watch for a good deal.
 

MarkSax

Member
Messages
111
Location
UK
A Martin Comm 2 (lion and crown or searchlight versions) in pretty good condition would be within your stated budget, has the vintage sound of the Bundy and is suitable for large hands. I don’t think an Asian horn will give you the sound you’re after. Plus it will appreciate with time.
 
OP
T

tyo

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Mass, USA
Thank you everyone for all the input, I've certainly got a lot of leads to chase down. Browsing for some of these names, not a lot pops up. There seems to be the occasional auction listing in need of repair, or a much more expensive posting on more reputable seeming shops which are fully repaired.
I'm not sure if linking is allowed, but there's a Buescher Aristocrat on saxquest for what seems like a reasonable price, though I'm not sure what the extra cost gets me over one of the cheaper models like an Indiana or a Vito.
 
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