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Saxophones YAS280 or Horn 88

Will

New Member
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4
Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade from my cheap sax (rikter) - which even others on the forum have labeled lousy . It's gotten me far enough in my learning but the kinks are showing and I've sold it!

So, I'm not looking to break the bank and was looking at the 900 mark (which is still a LOT if you ask me). But hey, you get what you pay for! Thus, I have settled on the Yamaha YAS280 or the Trevor James Horn 88. The problem is, which one?!

The 88 looks sexy but the Yamaha has the rep (and the name). I can get a better deal with the Yamaha (case, stand, box of reeds -which I sold with my sax). So leaning towards Yamaha , but what's everyone's opinion?

TL;DR - Yamaha YAS280 or Trevor James Horn 88?
 

Jeanette

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Not quite the same thing but I much prefer my Yamaha 62 sop over the Trevor James Rev 11. It is lighter, action feels better and I prefer the sound :)

So my vote would be Yamaha but I've not played either of those a lot. I'm pleased with my YAS25 though, if that helps.

Have you played them?


Jx
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
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Try going to Woodwind Exchange in Bradford, or Alistair Hanson isn't much further and try a few saxes before you decide. You'll probably find they've got some used horns in good condition that ate much better for the same price.
 

Jeanette

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I second Kev's suggestion, both very friendly places with no hard sell. I'd ring Woodwind Exchange first as when I was looking they didn't have many second hand cheaper altos in, Hanson's did though :)

You should consider the YAS 21 23 25 you might have money left over to play with mouthpieces :)

Jx
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
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Kev's right Will. You'll end up with a really nice sax for your moolah.
Stuart at Woodwind Exchange has loads of great instruments and loads of advice too.
And you'll see that I play a Hanson Tenor. It's worth a ride out to Marsden.
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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The basic answer is that you should get the sax you like best. You have to try them and see which one appeals to you.

Either of the ones you mention would be a fairly safe buy, but in your price range, I would also want to try out Antigua, Elkhart Deluxe and Bauhaus Walstein.

A lot depends on whether you really want a shiny new sax or you would be happy with a used one. Personally, I wouldn't buy a new Yamaha, because they are so well made that I would feel confident getting a second-hand one for less.

I've never been to Woodwind Exchange in Bradford, but I have only heard good things about them. I agree with @kevgermany - why not pay them a visit and try out a few saxes? Even if you don't find one you like, it will probably help you be clear what you are looking for,
 

Stephen Howard

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Not so many years ago I'd have said the 280, hands down - but times have changed. Yamaha have dropped the ball somewhat, and other's have picked it up and are running for the goal.

The 280 is a still a force to be reckoned with - it has a clean, incisive tone - but they don't build 'em like they used to.
The Horn 88 has a more complex tonal canvas, and the build quality is now the equal of what Yamaha used to be.

So it's a tricky choice.
On paper I reckon you'd have more fun with the 88, but the 280 will retain a better resale price if you decide to sell on within the first few years.

And then there's the issue of second hand horns - and at the sub £1000 mark there'll be a reasonable amount of choice.
Decisions...decisions....

Bottom line - either/or... no shame in either.
 

sdt99

Member
Messages
177
Agree with Jeanette - don't overlook mouthpieces. To me the mouthpiece makes more difference to the sound, the flexibility and the overall playing experience than the sax does - assuming the sax works.

Got to put a plug in for my favourite old alto the conn 6m (or transitional). If you can get one in good condition from a reputable seller they're fabulous.
 

GJ77

Senior Member
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I'd definitely contact either Woodwind Exchange or Rupert Noble. There are some great horns around for that budget, and either of those guys will sell you something that's well set up and they'll give you a guarantee. It's a win/win situation.
 

Tomasz

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Mount Erebus, Antarctica
I second Kev's suggestion, both very friendly places with no hard sell. I'd ring Woodwind Exchange first as when I was looking they didn't have many second hand cheaper altos in, Hanson's did though :)

You should consider the YAS 21 23 25 you might have money left over to play with mouthpieces :)

Jx

I agree, you should definitely consider a YAS-21, 23, or 25 as options. All 3 are viable alternatives. Why? Because they are very similar to the YAS-280 - but you'll pay a lot less. They were also made in Japan i.e. high build-quality. If you're prepared to take a chance and buy via eBay (yeah, it's risky, I know) then you can pick one up in good condition for around £300 to £400. Fit a good mouthpiece and tweak the springs, and a YAS-23 or 25 will really shock you re. what it's capable of. Here's a video demo of one:-

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EYu2f6rLXVY&list=PLnNY3dnmhke4SWmdOYXBhbN0xVKk6N1SH&index=7


Incidentally, for ethical reasons you shouldn't really try out a YAS-23 in a music shop and then buy one via eBay. Shops charge more because they have higher overheads plus rates/taxes - but also offer you an all-important money-back guarantee if things go pear-shaped, not forgetting expert advice re. the pros and cons of a particular option. Buying via eBay is a much more risky proposition.

If you buy a second-hand YAS-2x via eBay, it leaves open the possibility of buying an aftermarket neck to upgrade the sound in future. Fitting the neck from a YAS-62 Mk 1 (circa 1980s) to a YAS-2x improves the sound quite a bit.

If I had £900 to spend on an alto, I'd be tempted to buy a pre-owned "purple label" Yamaha YAS-32 and still have some change left over. Shop around and you can pick one up in excellent condition for approx £600. The YAS-32 was Yamaha's so-called "intermediate grade" alto during the 1980s. However, don't let the "intermediate" label fool you because I've play-tested one and (apart from having plastic key-pearls and non-ribbed construction) it felt and sounded very close to my YAS-62 Mk 1.

You can also go down the vintage horn route, but that's a double-edged sword. You can get yourself an alto (e.g. Buescher Truetone Series IV from 1929) which will sound so gorgeous that it actually hurts - at the expense of unfriendly ergonomics which may or may not leave you floundering. Therefore, if you do go down the vintage route, it will require *LOTS* of research - or there's a danger of you having "buyer's remorse". Therefore, and regardless of whether you buy a modern or vintage horn, don't rush into buying something quickly. Take your time to decide. Remember:- "you don't pick the horn, the horn picks you." In other words, when you find the right one, you will know it.

One thing's for sure, having £900 to spend on an alto is a pleasant problem because you've got plenty of latitude there. It would be a different matter if your budget was £300 maximum - the options would be much narrower. You'll find that deciding what to buy will be lots of fun and highly enjoyable! :)
 
Last edited:

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
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I bought my YAS 62 mk 1 some time ago for £800 that seemed to be the going rate then,on fleabay it was immaculate and it was about 4yrs old I love it to bits still maybe you should aim a little higher than a YAS 280
 

Will

New Member
Messages
4
Thanks for all the helpful tips everyone. After a lot of consideration, and "ums/ahs", I bought the YAS280. I wasn't too bothered about the mouthpiece (though the Yamaha isn't that bad) as I've got my own Selmer metal one that I love!

I was very tempted by all the suggestions, especially for the second hand ones. I plumped for the brand new as I wanted something that I could keep for a long time but not have to worry about too much. Plus, as many pointed out, the 280 largely holds its value. So if I get bored then I know it'll be a good starting point for a new/old improvement.

Ultimately, anything was going to be an improvement on the one I already had! And after a bit of practice to get used to it, I played an old favourite and WOW what a difference!
 

Tomasz

Member
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544
Locality
Mount Erebus, Antarctica
There's a fair chance you may never sell your YAS-280. That's because for many players, a YAS-2xx or YAS-2x is all the alto sax they'll ever need. It does the job very nicely - no matter what genre of music you're into. Quite a few pros have them as their back-up horns. The action is ultra-fast, and will never hold you back:-

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVXdTavNAUs
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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I'm still getting used to my new YAS 280. It was a bit of a shock after my Buescher True Tone. But it sits really well under my fingers and the tone feels as if I could do a lot with it.
 

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