Antigua winds sop sax? [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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05-11-2003, 09:13 PM
Hi, has anybody had any experience with Antigua winds soprano sax before? How's its quality? I was told that it is patterned after the Selmer Series III.

05-11-2003, 10:57 PM
They seem to be a copy of the Yanagisawa model more than the Selmer product. There have been good reports by respected players on this forum. I am interested in more reports also.

05-30-2003, 01:48 PM
I'd be intersting in hearing about these also. USAHorn told me that are a computer copy of the Yanagisawa 901. Has any one played one? I'm starting to think you don't always have to spend top dollar to get a decent laying horm. MY friend(a berklee student 4th year) just bought a Cannonball soprano. He paid 1300 for it. It sounds great and he can fly over that keywork.

05-30-2003, 06:50 PM
I've recently noticed on E-bay some Antigua Winds Sopranos and the Sugal version of that brand that have high"G" keys. Have I missed something... living way out here in the boonies. Is this something new or maybe I just don't get out enough??

05-30-2003, 08:26 PM
Sopranos have had high G keys for a long time now. Yanagisawa and Selmer both incorporate the high G key into their top-of-the-line sopranos.

05-30-2003, 08:59 PM
The three newest sopranos from Antigua, the 582 (a “best buy”!!!),
586, 590, have swelling in the palm key and upper stack region, not a straight bore. This corrects the octave to octave relationship of the sax, and was part of A. Sax’s design. It is quite apparent in the Vintage Bueschers, which have marvelous intonation.

This information is from Paul Coats.

05-30-2003, 09:49 PM
Forgot to say in my last post that Antigua Winds sopranos are damn good horns. Rivaled my Selmer Series III!

05-31-2003, 02:50 AM

Are you being serious about the Antigua being close to a serie III?

05-31-2003, 08:35 AM
BobD, actually, I am serious. Once I played it (the 582 model), I really started wondering about the benefits of paying $3k+, or over 4 times as much, for a name brand horn. The build quality of the Antiguas (speaking of sopranos here since I haven't tried any other size of Antiguas) are in short quite astonishing. Let's put it this way: it's a horn I wouldn't have to think twice about if I had to take it on stage with me. They're THAT good. Antigua very accurately reverse-engineered the Yanagisawa line of sopranos (582 is a copy of the 901). I'd like to try their top-of-the-line soprano with the two necks (a copy of the 991). I bet that's a sweet player. A cool grand for that horn - value's written all over it.

06-16-2003, 10:13 PM
Would anyone mind if I were to refer possible customers of the Antigua sopranos discussed to this thread? I would not quote it on a website but when asked for a review of the new models, I would simply e-mail them this thread address. Is this OK with all involved?

I do carry the new Antigua models and they are phenomanal.

What they did was actually reverse engineer and computer copy only the S991. The model 590 is the direct copy of this horn and is available in lacquer, silver & black nickel.

They then took the design and spec'd off the High G but left everything else the same. This is the 586 model and is only available in lacquer.

Lastly, they took the design and spec'd off the High G and the dual necks (which is essentially the difference between the S901 and S991). This is the 582 model and is only available in lacquer as well.

06-17-2003, 11:35 AM
I'm very tempted to get one, although I prefer a curved soprano.

Does anyone know why Antigua doesn't make a curved soprano?


Mike Ruhl
06-17-2003, 11:56 AM
They used to make a curved soprano - model 558-LQ. In fact, it's pictured on the main page of their website but it's not listed on their saxophones products page. Odd.

06-17-2003, 12:08 PM
What's the difference between the 586LQ and 590LQ besides the latter having the high F key, and the lower price of the former?


Mike Ruhl
06-17-2003, 01:00 PM
What's the difference between the 586LQ and 590LQ besides the latter having the high F key, and the lower price of the former?

What they did was actually reverse engineer and computer copy only the S991. The model 590 is the direct copy of this horn and is available in lacquer, silver & black nickel.

They then took the design and spec'd off the High G but left everything else the same. This is the 586 model and is only available in lacquer.

06-17-2003, 01:15 PM
The benefits :oops: of speed reading. Thanks.

The difference in list price, of $300 (Kessler's web page), just for one (G) key made me wonder if there were other differences.


06-17-2003, 05:14 PM
Interesting, isn't it . . . how things tend to come full circle. Yanagisawa seems to have gotten their big boost building a sax that many say was a reverse engineered copy of a Mk VI. I guess that was somewhere back in the pre-800 series models. Now they are the target. It would be quite a complement . . . if it didn't cost you market share.

06-17-2003, 05:28 PM
The benefits :oops: of speed reading. Thanks.

The difference in list price, of $300 (Kessler's web page), just for one (G) key made me wonder if there were other differences.


Actually, Those prices will be dropping as follows:

582LQ - $695.00
586LQ - $825.00
590LQ - $925.00
590BC - $995.00
590SPC - $1025.00

Those original prices were what my father wanted to sell them at but since I have been moving a large quantity of them, I lowered the prices to more "reasonable" levels to move even more of them. The old rule of "Quantity" in sales only helps everyone.

Bill, yeah, that is the only differences in the models. The case on the 590 is the best overall but the other 2 cases are not junk either. Heck, they even kept the engraving the same on all the models.

They do make that curved soprano but it is not anywhere as good as their current straight models. I am not aware of them making a new "Yanagisawa" copy curved anytime soon.

In my opinion, if you want a curved, just go all out and get the Yani because they are the only ones worth putting money into.

06-17-2003, 10:58 PM
I just purchased the Antigua Winds 590BC from Dave - yes, it's really a wonderful saxophone. And not just at this price point. It's a great sax period.

I shopped the 'big 4' - loved Keilwerth (SX90II) but not the price, loved Selmer (III) but not the price, liked (not loved) Yamaha (875, not the others) but not the price, and really loved Yani 901 and 991 - and was ready to live with the price. I was ready to buy the S901, which is the best deal going in the high end models.

Then I heard about the Antigua 590 from various posts here. I proceeded to ask Dave lots of questions (thanks, Dave!). He pointed me toward Paul Coats, who was VERY gracious in answering all of my questions (thanks, Paul!!). Paul really talked me into the 590 (well, and a couple of Runyon mpcs). And I'm glad he did.

Details: Intonation - great. Construction - solid, I mean really solid. Finish - the body is perfect, the keys are about 90% of what the Yani would do. Pads - no sticking, no leaks. Included mouthpiece - throw it away and buy a good one. The included ligature is made from foil, I think. (Okay, so Yani ships nicer mouthpieces!) Notes - they all play, easily. I've been enjoying playing high "G' - much to my dog's dismay.

Yup, this is a great sax. Paul and Dave speak the truth. If you've got your mind made up to buy a big 4 sax, then buy it, and help keep the economy going. But this one is FAR better than the Yamaha 475 or 675, better than the Selmer Series II, and in the same ballpark as the big 4 high end models. If you're a student, or play for your church, or don't yet have a recording contract with a major record label, you should at least give this one a try.

Mike Ruhl
06-20-2003, 05:50 PM
Paul really talked me into the 590 (well, and a couple of Runyon mpcs).
He's bad for that... :wink:

Great post! It's good to hear a story like that.

06-21-2003, 07:42 PM
If anyone wants to see the various models, I now have pictures of all the models as well as specs online. I will eventually put them all directly on my website but for now, I have all 5 models on eBay.

here is a link directly to my seller page:

Just scroll through it and I am sure you'll find them.

Paul Coats
06-24-2003, 02:39 AM
Sorry, guys, I missed this thread.

I have played the Antigua A558-LQ Curved (in lac) for about 3 years now, and it is quite good. Intonation, tone, all of it. The keywork is light and fast. I had to open the low C, B and Bb keys a little, just trimmed the bumpers, but I had to to the same to most of my other saxes, including my Mk VI when it was new.

I have had the Antigua Winds A590-LQ (the top model with high G and two necks) for almost a year now. It is absolutely outstanding, and I have playe most of the newer sopranos around now, in all price ranges. I played it side by side with the similar Yanagisawa 991, and I could not tell a difference.

I also test played, over a period of several days, and several different times, several A590's, 586's and 582's. I just could NOT tell a difference in tone, response, or intonation. They all played identically.

The fit and finish are the same on all three models. They differ only in the features... necks and high F# or high G range. So, it is like asking, is a Camaro with a sunroof a better car than a Camaro without? No, it is jut different. Same quality, just another feature added. Same with these three models.

Also check Bill08690's post. Yes, I wrote that to him.

If anyone wants pictures, there are pics available on the site, and I can send some closeup details if you write me and tell me exactly what view you want. But look at Dave Kessler's site first.

Yes, I think the A582 is a real bargain. The lack of a high G key is not really a disadvantage. BUT, the lack of fork or front F and high F# on the older (Mk VI, etc) sopranos IS a disadvantage, especially when it comes to playing high F#, G, and going on up to altissimo G# and A. Using the regular palm key F# and G fingerings puts the hands out of position to go higher. Using the modifed fork F fingerings for F# and G fixes this, and only a high F# key is needed for the "Fork high F#" and "Fork high G".

The keywork is great.

I just cannot describe how well these saxes play. And if you want something that is a step up from the bargain basement sopranos, but really can't afford something from the "Big Four", you really can't do any better than any one of these three Antiguas.

Negatives, one person mentioned throw away the mouthpiece. In reality, the mouthpiece that comes with these is a far sight better than the Rico Graftonite that used to come with many imported saxes. It plays well, good intonation, good tone. Do try it. Yes, there are better mouthpieces to be had than the mouthpiece that comes in the case, but that can be said of most any instrument. This one will work, and work well. Try it first.

I twisted their arms at Antigua, and talked them into trading DOWN on the case. The A590 case is a leather covered wood case, very nice, elegant looking. I traded for the nice gray plastic case from the A586. Flush latches, aluminum bezel, good handles and hinges, and rugged construction. I felt it would hold up better to tossing in the back of the van with 12 or more saxes, music stands, chairs, etc, when traveling with my sax ensemble.

The classy engraving is the same on all three models. You don't get a naked, stripped down looking soprano if you buy the 582.

Seriously, I really could not tell the difference. So, why did I get the A590? I could care less about a curved neck, or even having it removable. I don't need a high G key, the high F# lets me play fluently (well, as fluently as I can) up to high A. But when I first played the prototype, the only one of this new series was the A590. And right then I told the people at Antigua, I WANT ONE ASAP! The first shipment that came in was A590-LQ's. So that was it, I was not waiting any longer.

Then, as soon as I got mine, I called my sister, a very fine saxophonist/flutist, and said, "Sell your soprano now... you're getting a new one!" I talked her into getting one, and she did, just on Big Bro's say so. And she LOVES her new A590-SPL (silver plated).

Sounds like a sales pitch? You bet! But I have no financial interest in this. I don't sell new instruments, but occasionally I may sell a personal instrument, a very rare event, usually to finance another, better sax. I am just very enthusiastic about a fine instrument I really enjoy playing, and it is quite affordable to most players.


Hey, Mike, jgill2000 asked me what I was playing (and most of my friends) and recommeded. What can I say? Mikey LIKES it!

Thanks jgill2000!

06-24-2003, 03:40 AM

Maybe you can help me convince Georgia into trying to do a solid bronze model as well? I sent her an e-mail about it over the weekend and plan to call her about it.

Just a thought!

And the "Mikey likes it" comment.... baaaaadddddd. :roll:

06-24-2003, 11:54 AM
Ok heres a strange question in - Do Antigua do a Bari?


Paul Coats
06-24-2003, 01:59 PM
Their previous bari sax was OK, nothing special. Their new model bari sax is outstanding. I saw it test played by young students and seasoned pros, and everyone who played it liked it. This is really a company that in in constant improvement, they listen to their customers and dealers.

Dave, I don't know, I am sure that would be a decision of cost, ability to manufacture, etc. I know they have done copper plating in the past, and the black nickel.

06-24-2003, 03:55 PM
PaulC is right about the stock mouthpiece with the 590. I was a bit harsh - it's not bad. Yes - it's MUCH better than the Rico mpc that came with the Unison sop that I was renting. (Man, was that thing BAD). Btt I've got a Yamaha 5CM that I really enjoy (can anyone out there reface it for me? It needs openeing up a bit) plus a couple of Runyons that I'm adjusting to, so the stock mpc with my Antigua won't get any use.

After having the 590 for a couple of weeks now, I'm still totally happy with my decision. Yeah, if I wanted to save another $300 or so, the 582-LQ would have been just as good. (Maybe I should have done that - I could have bought more mouthpieces!) But the black nickel finish sure is pretty. I just love the tonal quality and the intonation of this thing.

Here's a suggestion for Antigua - modify the case so that there's a higher divider inside between where the reeds and stuff are stored and the saxophone itself. If the stuff in the storage bin is loose, it will fall 'out' and land on the saxophone. I use the polishing cloth to keep everything in there now.

Oh, and the stock ligature is REALLY soft. I've accidentally squashed mine a couple of times already. It won't last much longer.

Yup - that's all I can criticize. Paul & Dave - thanks again!!

06-24-2003, 05:05 PM
(can anyone out there reface it for me? It needs openeing up a bit)

I do have a really good mouthpiece guy here. He is the one who did my prototype designs for our Kessler Alto & (upcoming) Tenor mouthpeices.

He does all the mouthpiece refacing work for all the locals. He grew up about 5 minutes from Ralph Morgan and learned from him.

06-25-2003, 11:41 PM
Well, this thread "talked" me into ordering an Antigua soprano from Dave Kessler. After several email exchanges, and a few phone calls I decided on the 586-LQ. I ordered it on Monday and it arrived, at my door in New Jersey, today (Wednesday). Dave made choosing and buying easy and pleasant.

My expectations were high, based on the reviews (on this SOTW and the old SOTW), and I can easily say my expectations were exceeded with all aspects of the Antigua soprano.

I don't want to repeat what's already been written about its quality, but I'll add some small points. I really like the look and feel of the "pearls" (not real of course). It comes with a comfortable neck strap. The plastic case is very well made. It has a removable insert, so it can hold the horn with the neck installed.

The mouthpiece is okay, i.e., at least as good or better than my Yamaha 4C. It plays best with the Conn Eagle mouthpiece I use with my curved Buescher TT. I didn't expect this vintage Conn mouthpiece to work with it, and I'm very pleased that it does. My Morgan 4J plays well with it too.

This is my first straight soprano experience, except for a brief trial of a Yamaha YSS475. I was suprised at how balanced it is, i.e., easy to hold even with the straight neck.


Dave Dolson
06-26-2003, 12:46 AM
Bill: Congrats. Give us more critique when you play it more. DAVE

Mike Ruhl
06-26-2003, 02:21 AM
Ditto. Glad to hear your got a great horn for a great price. Threads like this are why I keep hanging around here.

06-27-2003, 02:10 AM

Where are you in NJ?


06-28-2003, 06:49 PM
Ligature Report:

The comment was made about the thinness of the metal ligature that comes with the Antigua soprano. I read this to be a negative, until I thought about it and tried the ligature.

I think it is an excellent ligature, and it may be the best of the four metal ligatures I own. The thinness may be a plus, depending on the timber you want. Also, unlike my rigid Bonade, it easily "assumes" the shape of the mouthpiece and reed. Without a doubt, its thumb screws are the best of all. They are large, and easy to grasp and turn.

Measurements of thickness:
Antigua: 0.42 mm
Bonade:0.48 mm
Vintage (no name): 0.52 mm
inexpensive wwbw (no name): 0.44 mm

Where are you in NJ?


06-28-2003, 09:07 PM

Do you ever get over to Harrys Road House in Asbury, Rooneys in Long Branch? There are several blues bands that play in that area?

07-03-2003, 04:21 PM
Do you ever get over to Harrys Road House in Asbury, Rooneys in Long Branch? There are several blues bands that play in that area? No, I don't :(

I've had the 586-LQ for one week. I've been playing it quite a bit, and really enjoy it. I used the curved neck for the first day or so, but now I'm hooked on the straight neck.


07-21-2003, 08:41 PM
Just a friendly reminder:

The Antigua Winds soprano saxes are Not Affiliated or Endorsed by Yanagisawa or G. LeBlanc (North American Distributor of Yanagisawa).

I was asked to clarify this standpoint by Leon Pascucci, President, CEO of G. Leblanc Corporation.

07-21-2003, 09:12 PM

Will there be a bronze model in the near future?


07-21-2003, 09:18 PM

Will there be a bronze model in the near future?



I am still trying to convince Antigua to do this. No answer yet from them though.

08-29-2003, 12:41 AM
I got my 586 soprano in today and it's awesome. I had no idea it could be so easy to play in tune without much effort. The curved neck is just a hair less in tune on a note or two compared to the straight but it's hardly noticeable. Effortless response, I can play up to F# easily and maybe could go further but I haven't looked up the fingerings.
The tone is nice with the stock mpc and a #3 reed, my Selmer SS is on loan to a friend so I couldn't try it. I'll get it back tomorrow.
The Yani must really be awesome if it is better than this.
I'm glad with my choice though, I'll use the money I saved to get some other horn later that I "need".
My friend has a silver Jupiter on order from WWBW, so I'll report how the side by side testing goes.
Dave was great to work with and was very helpful.
If you're in the market for a soprano, make sure you check these out.

08-29-2003, 12:36 PM
Someone wondered why there isn't curved soprano on the Products-list, but it is on the main page. Try

12-03-2003, 01:41 AM

Did you ever get around to comparing the Antigua to the Jupiter Sop?

12-03-2003, 02:37 AM
Yes, I played the Antigua and the Jupiter side by side.
As far as intonation goes, the Antigua is better. The Jupiter was good but not as spot on as most of my notes are.
In regard to tone, I think the Antigua may be a little more focused.The Jupiter sounded very nice as well, I like the way a silver sax sounds.Depending on the setup, both sounded very rich with my Runyon plastic Quantum.I had no preference over one in the sound department.
Both were nicely set up and had a nice action.Both seemed solidly built.
The Antigua I got was around $ 850.00 and the Jupiter cost my friend
$ 1300.00 I would choose the Antigua again without a doubt.

12-03-2003, 02:44 AM

Thanks for the review.

12-04-2003, 10:24 PM
I have been considering the Antiqua after all of the positive comments here. One question for anyone who wants to chime in: Is the 582 considered an "entry/beginner level" ? I would consider myself in the "intermediate" level, so I am looking for a horn that I will not only be very happy with now, but for years to come. (Or at least until I "need" another one) Would the 582 fit the bill? BTW, I am not interested in having 2 necks, I never use my curved neck now.

Also, are their alto's as highly recommended as the sops?

Thanks in advance.

Dave Dolson
12-04-2003, 10:51 PM
Coufman: I'd say buy the best you can afford and disregard the "beginner-intermediate-pro" marketing rhetoric.

While I don't care for dual-neck sopranos either, it was difficult for me to find a modern soprano without dual-necks, at least one I liked (and that includes Antiguas, Yanagisawas, and as I recall, a JK I've tried - all with fixed necks and none that I cared for). But if you can find a fixed-neck model and you like it, that should work.

I recently tried one new Antigua alto but did not care for it. It was okay, but it didn't impress me and I have better altos already (so with sopranos, but I'm obsessed when it comes to sops). DAVE

Paul Coats
12-05-2003, 01:01 AM
Coufman: The 582 differs in that it lacks high G, and lacks the two removable necks. As far as quality of construction, fit and finish, it is just as good. Dave Kessler says it has a few more intonation quirks than the 586 and 590, but I have not found them in my test playing. I have a 590, myself.

Entry level, not so much as just different features. I think you will be very impressed with any of these three models. Probably the "best buy" of the three is the A586.

12-05-2003, 05:47 AM
Coufman, I have a 582 and it sounds rich and powerful when needed, and soft and expressive when that's needed. I've used a metal Beechler, but my favorite so far is a Yanagisawa HR mpc with a FL lig and V16 2-1/2 reed. I owned a vintage Conn (side palm keys and thumb ring bothered me), a Unison S100GG sop with 2 necks (excellent quality and good player, but pricier than the Antigua a bit) and the Antigua 582LQ. Of these, I prefer the Antigua and consider it a keeper after a long search for one that meets my needs.

12-05-2003, 05:48 AM
Maybe I should have phrased my question differently. Is the 582 a student horn or better? I only want to buy one more soprano, so I want to make sure it is of a quality that I will want to keep it for a long time, but I would rather spend @$700 than @$2500. I don't need "the best".

I know many people use the "buy the best you can afford" suggestion (no offense Dave) but that is totally subjective. "what you can afford" depends on your level of sacrifice; what you are willing to give up to get what you want at that moment. I can "afford" more than what I am willing to spend. It's the same thing with my other passion (read: obsession) of flyfishing. I "can" spend $600 on a new Sage or Winston rod, but I would rather spend $150 on a good quality rod that is close enough.
Sorry to wax philosophic on everyone.

I am trying to find a local Antiqua dealer that has a sop in stock (probably when pigs fly) so I can test play one. Keep you posted.

PS Thanks for the input Dave and Paul.

12-05-2003, 01:13 PM

The Antigua web site ( lists 21 dealers in Oregon. Hopefully there is one near you with the 582 in stock.

12-05-2003, 02:38 PM
FYI, I don't know if this is a 590, but it might be. No bids, and no reserve.

12-05-2003, 02:55 PM
That soprano looks like the model previous to the 590. The new 590 has the name horizontal to the tube and has more engraving. Considering a new 582 costs $595.00 .........................

12-05-2003, 04:52 PM
The engraving is different, but the engraving on the 590 that I bought from Dave Kessler is different than the engraving on the photos on either his site or the Antigua site, so it is hard to tell. If anyone was interested they could email the seller. If it is a 590, it might be a good deal, since those go for $925.

12-05-2003, 05:07 PM
Thanks goodsax, that's the info I was looking for.

12-05-2003, 05:51 PM
Coufman - if that means you might be interested in getting a good deal on a new 582LQ, I got mine at
for $595 plus a nominal shipping fee. I have no connection with this company other than being a satisfied customer. For some unknonwn reason, it seems they don't offer the 586 or 590, if you were interested in either of those 2-neck models.

Best of luck in getting what satisfies your needs.


Paul Coats
12-06-2003, 01:44 AM
The one offered in that ebay add is not the A590, but the older A580, which is not nearly as good a soprano as this new series.

Again, the three new models, 582, 586,590 differ in features, but not quality of constuction, or fit and finish. Most of the keywork is interchangable, but for the octave mechanism (due to the fixed neck on the 582) and the high G key and mechanism of the 590.

12-12-2003, 11:29 PM
Well after reading this and many other threads I just ordered a 586LQ soprano. I can't wait to get it. I play a Prestini sop now and it has it's share of problems the first being intonation. I usually use a Bari 64 with it and I hope that mouthpiece works with the Antigua. I play a MK VI tenor and a great silver MK VII alto. I almost went with a Yamaha but the 586 seems to get some great ratings. I will report my findings on this horn as soon as I play it some. I have played soprano for at least the last 10 years and the others for mor than 25 years.

12-13-2003, 04:42 AM
danm- What are your intonation problems with the Prestini? I have a Prestini too and found I needed to open the lower stack to get the scale from going flat on lower D-E-F. This horn also needs a mouthpiece with a small chamber volume. I am using a Runyon Custom with pretty good results.

12-13-2003, 12:34 PM
Bill, I have had the same intonation problems as you have. I also have a Runyon Custom I play and it does help and it is a good mouthpiece. I did find it to not have the tone for me that I needed. It seems to be the world’s smallest mouthpiece and going from tenor to soprano with the Custom takes some getting used to. I play my soprano mainly in Church and volume control is important to me. I had the guitar player next to me actually hear me over his own guitar monitor volume when I play the Runyon. That never happens! The Bari has the sound but with the Prestini the intonation is a bit weird. I end up lipping every other note which gets old fast. My other horns do not need this kind of control and I am hoping the Antigua will not need it either.

12-16-2003, 12:00 AM

Your soprano shipped out today. I e-mail a tracking number to you through the e-mail provided here on the forum for you.

12-16-2003, 03:18 AM
Thanks David, I did not think that you knew that I was the same Dan that ordered the soprano. As fortune would have it I am playing sop on the Christmas eve service. I practiced the songs with the Prestini tonight and they sounded pretty good. I can't wait to try the Antigua. Thanks for the great service...DAN

12-20-2003, 10:26 PM
Well it came! My Antigua 586LQ arrived and here is my test report. This is a well made sax for any money. I must admit I am a little pro Selmer because I play a MKVI tenor (main horn) and a MKVII alto. I like the feel and sound that I get from the Selmer’s. This horn feels like a smaller version of my alto. The first thing I noticed other than the engraving was the ease of playing. It will play from Bb to F#+ clearly and with very little effort. My Prestini is much harder to cover this range easily. It does it but its more work. The Intonation on this horn makes it a pleasure to play. An out of tune sop is like fingernails on a blackboard to me. The intonation is quite good both by ear and on my electronic tuner. Quite a pleasant surprise. The tone is just a little bit better than the Prestini. Then again I tend to sound like me on whatever I play on. Just slight differences due to the horn. The Antigua is as good as everyone here says it is. It will be a keeper in my house. The pinky keys are nice and the side keys are close enough that they do not need risers on them like my Selmer’s do. I bought it from they were great on the phone and answered all of my questions. They know a lot about this horn. It was packed like a sax should be packed. In a huge box surrounded with packing peanuts with another box inside containing the case with the sax inside. The horn was well setup even for as fussy a player as I am. I would recommend one of these any days. The included mouthpiece is too closed for my taste. The included ligature is great with the oversize screws it is easy to adjust. I am playing either a Bari .64 or a Selmer D soloist mouthpiece with #3 reeds. This horn sure costs a lot less tham my others do but it plays real well....DAN

12-21-2003, 01:15 PM
Thanks for the informative information on the new Antigua and the relative differences to the Prestini horn. Recently I had a chance to try the new Cannonball Soprano and found similar experiences to the Antigua. Although, the lower stack could have been opened up for my tastes, the Cannonball felt nice in my hands, played with a slightly richer and more complex tone than the Prestini BUT costs many times the price I paided for the Prestini on Ebay. I will say that the only "uncorrectable" negative to the Prestini is difficulty in "starting a note". Compared to other horns it takes more skill to perform certain interval changes than the newer designs. I believe with careful setting of key heights and selection of mouthpiece that the Prestini can play acceptably. A friend of mine who is a professional was able to play rather nicely on the Prestini but like you say it's more work than other horns. These comments about the Prestini are posted in the interest of completeness of the subject matter and not meant to justify either horn. I am looking forward to obtaining an Antigua Sop myself. [trades Dave?]

12-21-2003, 01:36 PM
It's been my experience that Dave don't do trades. :cry:

12-22-2003, 02:07 AM
It's been my experience that Dave don't do trades. :cry:

Yes that is true as a general rule. Instead, I will sell on consignment for you.

Why dont I do trades? Simple... Its not a good deal for me and its not (overall) a good deal for you. Most dealers who do trade ins typically make so high a profit margin that even after they credit you the price for your trade in, they STILL make a profit on just the horn you are buying... plus then they have your horn that they then get to make 100% profit on.

You are Always going to be better off first trying to sell privately so that you can get the absolute most for your money.

12-22-2003, 01:44 PM

Thanks for the clarification on your business policy. I agree that the consumer can generally do better by selling on Ebay and looking for a nice discount on the new horn....

12-23-2003, 01:55 AM
After reading these posts, I decided to give Sop another try. Toward that end, I also order one from Dave Kessler based on the high recommendations for Antiqua and his store. I am looking forward to receiving it (hopefully before Christmas). :)

12-23-2003, 02:13 AM
rcwjd -
You won't be disappointed, I'm sure.

12-28-2003, 06:01 PM
After reading all of the favorable comments about the Antigua 590 Soprano, I find myself torn between the purchase of a one of Antigua's straight Sopranos vs. their curved 558. My preference would be for a curved Soprano, given the benefits that are noted by Paul Coats (, but I'm wondering if all of the favorable characteristics that have been attibuted to Antigua's straight sopranos carry over to their curved 558 Soprano? Can anyone make this comparison?

12-28-2003, 07:38 PM
I believe the 558 is an older model, and judging by reviews on older Antigua's, the new models are far superior. Haven't played one though.

12-29-2003, 06:20 PM
Yes, the 558 is an older model and in our opinion, does not compare to the newer straight models.

12-29-2003, 10:09 PM
I am currently renting a Yamaha YSS475. How would it compare with the Antigua 590 in terms of sound and overall quality ?
Thanks for your input.

Dave Dolson
12-30-2003, 03:10 AM
marc: Your question begs a very subjective answer. A good, tight Yamaha soprano will sound good and be well built, as will Yanagisawas, Selmers, and most any high-quality saxophone. Those who love Yamahas (Yanas, Selmers, etc.) would most likely choose those horns over the Antigua. If price is a consideration, then you won't go wrong with an Antigua.

I own several high-quality sops and have owned Yamahas and Selmers. I also own an Antigua 590LQ - mine is as good as any soprano I've owned. When considering the price of a new Antigua versus any of the top-four sops, there is no comparison. I think the Antigua will do everything the other top-four horns can do - at a much lower price. DAVE

02-01-2004, 07:20 PM
hi all

i just had a student come by with her new 586 antigua soprano she had purchased from kessler music.

i was VERY impressed with the fit/finish, appearance of this horn! the horn was set-up quite nicely as well.

sound wise, i thought it was outstanding, tuning was very good and the few notes that weren't great were completely manageable. palm key f# was wicked sharp...way out of whack with the rest of the horn. however, my double-secret fingering for high f# was spot on. :wink:

the horn felt really good in my hands, solid. keywork was comfortable and ergonomically good.

i a/b tested it side by side with my yamaha 675, and thought the antigua was a bit fuller and the tone was a bit more complex (more overtones??). i had no difficulty playing softly and when i let loose, the thing really wailed. extended range above high f# was significantly easier than my 675.

the student paid $850 for this instrument, and i dare say it might play better than my current yamaha 675 (which sells discounted currently for 2700+.)

i want to a/b test this antigua with a fellow saxophone player present and see if his perception as a listener is as mine was a player, then have him play it and have me listen.

i was VERY impressed!

anybody in the market for a very lightly used yamaha 675 soprano???? :twisted:

steve in ny

02-03-2004, 04:55 AM
I received my new 582 about two weeks ago. After seldom playing any sax in two years, I was having a difficult time with the horn. After letting a friend try it, to rule out a horn problem, my fears were allayed. It was me. The horn is getting easier to play every day. For the money, it can't be beat. My only complaint is the upper stack is sprung too stiff. So stiff I can feel the impact and sound of the keywork on the body as I'm playing. I believe I'll get use to this in time. Possibly a tech can lighten it up for me. I'm ony a hobbyist, so this horn fills the bill. A good purchase.

02-03-2004, 09:38 PM
Sergio, did you get yours from Kessler? My 586 from Kessler was adjusted perfectly for me. The upper stack was adjusted just right. I know they set up the horns before shipping thats why I am asking. I been playing mine on several gigs and it has been sweet. My tenor (MK VI) and my alto (MK VII) are pro horns and so is this Antigua as far as I am concerned. I have about 35 hours on the horn and it is starting to break in even better. Good luck with yours...DAN

02-04-2004, 02:46 AM

I thought I would comment on the Antigua 586LQ I bought from the Kesslers just before Christmas. First, let me tell you my total soprano experience with any soprano is about 5 hours tops. I primarily play Bari. My previous brief experiences with sopranos were not great. The Antigua came to me set up nicely, and for the price, it is a very nice instrument. Keywork and all is very solid. I have tried both the straight and curved neck, and prefer the curved just mainly for comfort. I bought the Morgan Protone mpc because I use a Morgan on my tenor. The Protone was just too closed for my taste. I use a Barone 6* and prefer it as a mpc (I use a Barone 8* on my Alto so that may also influence my thinking). Anyway, I am a long way from comfortable with soprano - I've played this one maybe 2 hours total since I got it, but I am impressed. If you want to hear my debut effort with soprano, and perhaps get an idea of how the Antigua sounds in the hands of a non-soprano player just trying it out, I have posted TANGERINE on my website playing the Antigua. Anyway, I would recommend both the horn and Kessler & Sons without reservation. :)

02-06-2004, 12:16 PM
I just got my brand new Antigua 590 LQ from Dave Kessler, LV.
The only thing I can say after few hours of playing is that this soprano goes beyond my expectations and is, without doubt, one one the very best choice one could make today.

Keywork is of top quality, intonation through the horn is very good. Full strong and rich sound (quite richer than the one I got with my Yamaha SS475). no leaks, etc ...

So, Thank you Dave and also thank you to all those on SOTW who made very good descriptions of the Antigua sop.

:lol: Marc.

Paul Coats
02-08-2004, 05:28 AM
And some guys thought I was kidding about these new Antigua sopranos! They are EXCELLENT!

02-08-2004, 05:49 AM
I didn't think you were kidding about the Antigua sop because I had one. But, I was a little concerned whether the Antigua 520LQ alto would measure up to the glowing description of your 530SP (same as a 520LQ but silver-plated with gold keys) and praise for its intonation. Well, I'm no longer concerned. My 520LQ is everything you said it would be. I like it so much I've asked Jason Dumars to engrave the bell and bow on it in his special way. If everything goes well, it should be done and back to me by the end of the month.

Jack W.
02-09-2004, 01:48 AM
I shouldn't have read this thread, I'm beginning to get second through eleventh thoughts about my Pan American (Conn) soprano, wondering if the grass truly is greener....

I prefer fixed-neck sopranos so I might have to look into this 582. At the price it seems silly not to give it a try! :)

02-09-2004, 02:20 AM
Jack, the beauty of the Antiguas is . . . how much money can it cost you to try them? The return policy at Kessler's can't be beaten. And besides, I just ordered a 590LQ because I wanted to have the two-neck option. I would gladly have paid someone 80-90% of new price for a used one(total incl. shipping), but all I found was a silver plate model and I really didn't want that.

In this world of brand rivalry, I haven't heard anyone who's tried one dis the AW's yet. Can't even say that about the big 4 . . .

Jack W.
02-09-2004, 03:43 AM
I think you're probably right. Alas the checkbook balance is mighty thin right now, but hopefully not for long.

It occurs to me that I played a silverplated Antigua alto at a local store some years ago, that I very nearly took home. It was one of my three favorites among the modern altos I've played, the others being a Cannonball Big Bell and an SX-90. The only thing that stopped me from buying the Antigua was that I knew that the Kessler Music price was significantly lower. And I didn't have the confidence then that I'd get another one just as good if I ordered one from Kessler Music, and since this was a few models ago, this lack of confidence was probably warranted. The set of testimonies here about the sopranos is very convincing however -- quality consistency seems to have gone way up over the past years.

The Pan American soprano? I had it out a few hours ago and the sound cannot be beat, but playing in tune ... soooo much work ... could it be easier? I had been entertaining thoughts of a YSS-475, but this thread is giving me serious pause.

02-09-2004, 06:45 PM
Dave (Dave Kessler or Dave Dolson for that matter)

Would you comment on the tonal difference between the 3 finishes. Also they describe the black as "black chrome" - Is that different from say the black nickel on a JK?.
I have an SX90II that I love the tone of , but am getting frustrated by the resistence of the upper palm keys.

Also Dave Dolson, how does the tone compare to your vintage sops?

02-09-2004, 06:53 PM
Do they use the blue steel springs or the cheaper ones ( I hope I have that right?)

02-09-2004, 07:02 PM
Lenny - and provide specifications for Antigua saxes. I believe black chrome is a more attractive finish than black enamel or other types of black coatings, and should be more durable, less impervious to chipping. As for whether the coating affects the sound, I'll leave that to the two Daves and maybe Paul.

Dave Dolson
02-09-2004, 08:08 PM
Lenny: Tone is subjective - and I doubt if the audience will detect any differences.

To my ears, the 590LQ is a good soprano. It plays extremely well over the whole horn, response is great, intonation is as good as it gets, and the tone is every bit as good to my ears as my vintage sops.

I had a chance to play another guy's MKVI this past nd and I felt better with the 590LQ (although HE played his MKVI extremely well, as did yet another soprano player at the festival). And, his band-mate had an old straight Conn. When their band played (they followed us), the only difference was in their style.

If I had to choose one soprano for tone alone, I'd probably pick my '23 Conn straight. But, as we all know, tone isn't everything. The 590LQ is as good as I've played . . . and as good as I own.

I don't know about the various finishes and designs of the Antiguas. I'm one who doesn't buy into the finishes-controversy. I think it has more to do with the individual horn than the finish on the horn. The black Antigua I played was described as "black-nickle" by Dave Kessler. I'm only repeating what he told me. Suffice to say I picked the lacquered-brass model with the two necks. DAVE

02-09-2004, 08:32 PM
Can't comment about tone - only ever played one soprano sax, and that today only. Just received my 586 BC from Dave Kessler. The 'black nickel' model.
This is one seriously beautiful looking saxophone. Very neat engraving. I must not say too much about tone, having just played it for an hour. It has a very pleasing sound, even with my tenor chops and raw sop inexperience.
I reckon there can't be too much reason not to try one, and I doubt, seriously, that anyone would be disappointed.
All this praise to Kesslers and Antigua is getting a little monotonous, but, hey, its deserved.

Or so it seems to me today :P

02-09-2004, 09:25 PM
The one thing that I do know about mine is that the intonation is much better than my MK VI tenor so I end up playing more soprano because of that. Hitting the C# right on in tune goes a long way in sounding better. Most of the music I play is with guitars in their key so I am always in 4 or 5 sharps. My Antigua plays all the sharps inclucing the C# in tune all the time. I think I'll go play it now.

02-09-2004, 10:07 PM
danm - I like your sign-off. It reminds me of the little boy that told his momma that when he grew up, he wanted to be a musician. She said, "Now darlin', you know you can't do both . . . "

02-10-2004, 02:28 AM
I have this discussion with a friend who plays all Yamahas and says tone is irrelevent - you can make any horn sound the way you want. Maybe if you're alot better than me you can. Seems like it bugs some people more than others, and you're right it prob doesn't affect the audience as much as the player.

I used to play a Jupiter which actually had a very nice tone and even among the pro horns I found it hard to equal the darkness of that horn's tone. I tried a Yamaha 62 that played like butter for me and I was really excited, but when I brought it to the gig my guitar player turned to me (with pain in his expression) and said - Man... that's bright what did you do. When I found my Keilwerth my bandmates never stopped tell me what a rich sound it had. I went for the JK over the other big three strictly on tone.
I agree though it is hard to know how much of the difference between horns is finish & what is the horn itself.
Anyway I assume you compared a black Antigua to the lacquer you bought. Where they both otherwise identical 2 neck horns? Did you try a bunch of them and notice much individual difference? Paul Coates mentioned that he thought they were very consistent.

A local store has the Antigua 590LQ so I'm gonna try one ASAP.

02-10-2004, 05:54 AM
Ignore my questions above. I just found your in depth discussion comparing the horns at Kesslers. Thanks for all the info.

- Lenny

02-10-2004, 05:32 PM
Lenny, sorry to disappoint but I bought the black nickel model because i liked the look of it and had read good things about it on SOTW!! ( I guess I should not admit that and will now be considered a real novice!). Buying from SA where even with import duty this sax cost me half of what I would have had to pay for a student Yamaha sop! I want to learn sop, not spend a fortune, so after some discussion with Paul Coats took a calculated risk. My other saxes are a Buffet S1 alto, Selmer slll alto and a Mk Vl Tenor!

I've played it a lot more today, with a tuner. I can keep that little light bright green across the octaves, top to bottom, with a little effort as I develop my chops! Nothing wrong with this little guys intonation. Promise.

Jack W.
02-13-2004, 03:18 PM
I'm just on the verge of ordering an A586LQ. I only want the tax refund and things like this to come in first, fiscal responsibility and all that stuff. I am strongly tempted by the A586BC since I've always wanted a black nickel sax, and I still might go in that direction. I do not need (nor even really want) the removable necks and very nearly decided on the A582LQ, but the comments on intonation differences (although mixed) and on how nice the case is for the 586 are winning me over.

I think Mr. Kessler will be receiving a phone call from me relatively soon! 8)

ralph lh
02-13-2004, 11:43 PM
I've been on a search for a soprano for a while now and have basically been waiting to find a used Yamaha for sale. So far, no luck. So, I find this topic very useful.

Firstly, I don't want to spend too much on a sop since it would be my third or fourth horn after alto/bari/ten. The Antigua 582 fits my price range and based on the comments, probably playability also.

However, all the comments here are about a new horn. Does anyone have any comments about this horn after a couple of years, or more??? I don't want to get an asian horn only to find that it needs a lot of work to maintain or begins to fall apart after a couple of years of use.

I would really like to hear any comments from the people who have used these Antigua horns and have actually played them reasonably frequently. My horn will likely get weekly use if not daily. It would be used in a jazz band that I play with.

Also, I'm in Canada and so far not too many dealers here. I'd be quite prepared to buy from the US [Kessler, for example] but it becomes an issue to buy and perhaps have to ship back across the border [a real hassle]. So, if I do buy one, I'll likely want to keep it.

Thanks for any info on this.

Dave Dolson
02-14-2004, 12:27 AM
Ralph: I recall your question was discussed elsewhere on SOTW. And, I recall that the Antiguas have not been on the market long enough to develop a history (at least the newest models, the "YS" series). I've been playing mine hard since last November and no problems so far.

For under $1K, how can you go wrong? In the early '90's, I bought a Yamaha YSS62S for $2K. A new Serie III I bought a few years ago cost me nearly $3K, as did a subsequent Yanagisawa S992. My Antigua is a better player than any of those more expensive sopranos.

Maybe even $1K is too much, at least to take a chance, but most well-known brands will cost you a lot more, even a used Yamaha. Good luck with your descision. DAVE

ralph lh
02-15-2004, 11:02 PM
Dave, I hear ya and thanks for the comments.

My problem is the longevity of the horn. From what I have read about Tiwanese-built horns, the material and workmanship is poor. While I may get a horn that sounds great for a year or two, if it begins to fall apart at that time, I've blown say $500/year on a $1000 horn today. Whereas, If I pay a bit more for, say, a yamaha, not only can I be somewhat more sure that the horn will still be playing several years down the road, but that it has some resale value [even if minimal].

It is encouraging to read the comments about these new Antigua sops and I gues that I'm still leaning in that direction but, you know a grand is a grand is a grand.....

As a comparable for this discussion, I can get a new YSS475 for about $1500 vs the $900 for the 582, both shipped to me from outside Canada. While the extra $500 is pushing things financially for me, considering the number of years that I might own the horn, I'm thinking that the quality issue may make the decision for me.

Having no experience with the sounds of these horns, I can't speak to that and I have no way of trying the Antigua sop locally.

Thus my dilemma.....

02-16-2004, 01:18 AM
If you're that concerned about durability, I recommend you get the YSS-475 and forget the stigmatized Taiwanese horn. Don't listen to those who claim the Antigua 582/586/590 sop's are the best value in a new soprano today when they don't have 5-10 years of use with which to provide facts about durability/realibility/maintainability. Go with your instinct and sleep better at night for it. In 2-3 years, the rest of us will let you know how we did with our high risk purchases if you're still interested. You may be right, who knows?

I just got back from listening to Dave Dolson play his Antigua 590LQ at a Sunday afternoon Dixeland jazz gig (and his brand new Unison S300 satin gold alto) and he put out a very satisfying sound. Actually, I liked it better than the last time I heard him play his vintage silver Buescher straight sop at the same club. So far, the Antigua is still holding up after heavy gigging and traveling with it for Dave, who used it at a Fresno jazz festival earlier this month.

But, it's probably safer to go with the YSS-475. You hear so many good things about them. Don't you?

02-16-2004, 02:06 AM
I had a YSS 475 - which I bought and sold used for around $900. It was a very decent soprano although there were a couple of notes with squirrely intonation. I thought it was light years better than the Monique I had before it. Then I bought a YSS 62 used - which despite its good reputation I never really was crazy about and I sold it for what I paid for it and bought a curved Yanagisawa 901. I really like the 901, but I'm using it in a doubling situation where the curved horn is a bit awkward. I have play tested several of the Antiguas in the last two years and been impressed with them quite a bit so I've ordered one of the 590s from Dave Kessler and expect to get it Tuesday. I just didn't want to spend the cost of a 991 or even a 901 for the relatively small amount of use I expect this horn to get.

The 590s that I have played have been superior to the YSS 475 that I used to own. Up until I tried the latest generation of Antiguas I have felt that a good and inexpensive soprano didn't really exist and hte 475 was the best of the bunch. I guess I'll find out how much I like it over time.

02-16-2004, 05:33 AM
Katysax - that's the best direct-experience review I've read comparing the YSS-475, YSS-62 and Yani 901 to late model Antigua sop's. Even Dave Dolson's comments didn't include the YSS models. If Antiguas prove as durable and reliable as they are in overall performance quality, they will be even tougher to beat in the sax marketplace at more than their relatively low price range. In fact, now might be the best time to snap one up before Antigua Winds gets wise and decides to increase prices.

Dave Dolson
02-16-2004, 04:38 PM
Rob's comment about comparing my Buescher TT to my Antigua was interesting. Last week, I played three of my sops at home and believed the Antigua was the best sounding and best playing of the sops I own. And before tha Antigua, folks would have had a difficult time convincing me that anything from Taiwan would outplay any of my vintage sops (or my newer Yanagisawas, for that matter - same for altos now).

I have had experience with the YSS horns over the years, having owned a silver YSS62S (now with my oldest daughter) and having tested several various Yamaha models over time.

Being redundant again (a redundancy in itself!!), but few sopranos I've tested over time convinced me to buy on the spot. The Antigua was one of those (but not most Yamahas - the way I came about my YSS62S is another story for another time).

I don't know how to address the longevity issues with Taiwanese horns. I know there are many folks out there who can't spend $1K every year on saxophones, so when they spend their dough, it must be a life-time deal. That is not my problem, obviously from the number of horns I own and have owned. Maybe it should be!

But I CAN say that regardless of whether a saxophone I bought was for huge bucks or a cheapie, they all required some adjustments over time. My new $2.8K Serie III soprano was probably the worst of the bunch as far as repair-needs. My YSS62S required very little service, but it failed to provide me with what I wanted. So, my best advice is to pony up the $1K for a new Antigua and enjoy it while it lasts - which may be forever. Who knows? DAVE

Jack W.
02-19-2004, 03:50 AM
OK, so I lied about the 586LQ. Instead I ordered the 590LQ. :) It should be on its way to me as soon as tomorrow, and I would think it would get up here to the Northland by the middle or end of next week. Review to follow of course! 8)

Jack W.
02-27-2004, 09:47 PM
Good news, bad news. The good news is that the A590LQ arrived this week. The bad news is that the shipping gorillas seem to have got to it, with the result that the retaining bar by the G# key touch (??? I don't know what else to call it) got bent slightly, leaving gaps in the four rods that go downward from the LH pinky table. Dave Kessler has been very prompt and understanding as apparently this type of thing happens every once in a great while. He immediately offered to ship out a new horn, and after thinking about it a few days, I have returned the horn to him (after he sent me a return shipping label via e-mail; he honored his policy about the return shipping) and asked him to send along an A586BC. Which should get to me in about 10 days or so as it is Friday.

The main thing I want to emphasize is that this little horn PLAYED in spite of the damage, and extremely well at that. I can corroborate all of the previous positive comments made by others. The scale was very even and the intonation was great throughout, except for the keyed high G which was flat in my hands. High G using front F + OK + high F# key + RH1 sounded fuller and was more in tune anyway, although I guessed at this fingering and am not sure it is at all standard. (Hence my decision to try the 586 model, without the high G key.) The curved neck seemed to my ear to make the sound maybe 5-10% warmer, but otherwise I could detect no difference in playability or intonation. If we manage to thwart the shipping gorillas this time, I have little doubt that the 586BC will be a keeper. I'm excited because I've always wanted a black nickel sax! 8)

Oh yes, the setup I used was a Lawton 6*B and RSJ 3S. I have no HR or plastic soprano mpcs at the moment, though I will try a Super Session on the 586BC when it gets here. I didn't try the stock mpc because I didn't want to get tooth marks on it.

I had two main worries about the horn (apart from it getting damaged in shipping!), neither of which came to pass. I was worried that the palm key notes would be difficult, which they are not (they pop right out and are in tune); and I was worried that the removable necks would be loose so that dealing with the mpc while the neck was on the horn would be tricky, which wasn't the case (the necks were tight as a drum). My tech was impressed with this horn and said that it would be an easy and routine repair to fix the shipping damage, but Dave was quite insistent that he felt better about my getting a truly as-new horn, and he eventually persuaded me to try a new one rather than have this one repaired.

03-01-2004, 05:58 PM
A few weeks ago I received my new Antiqua 582LQ. I was very impressed with the tone, intonation and just plain ease of playing. Then I noticed a problem with G#. The G# key rubbed against the Bb mechanism and would not open if the other keys were down. I called Dave Kessler and he said that he wanted me to be happy with my new horn and said he would immediately send me a new one and emailed me a call tag to send the other one back (That is what Customer Service is all about!!!). It was probably something that happened in shipping as they haven't had that problem before. Five days later I got my new horn. No problems!!!! It's a beaut!!! After playing for an hour my wife came in and said "I really like the sound of that sax, even I can tell it sounds good"

Then Dave surprised me again by calling me to make sure I received my horn and that I was happy with it. I can't express how pleased I have been with the level or service that Dave provides. If only others (WWBW, are you listening???) would run their business like Kesslers, we would all be happier. If anyone is thinking about buying a horn from Kesslers, do it!! Again, thanks Dave. Keep up the good work.
(I did not receive any compensation for this endorsement, but I would except any that was offered :wink: )

PS Cant wait to hear the reviews of those new altos!!!!

03-02-2004, 11:32 PM
I have a older series Antigua A580. I do like the horn but it does have some intonation problems. I have been reading the postings on saxontheweb and have almost decided to trade up to a 590 but I need a little reassurance. I can not find a new Antigua sop in the area to play. I was asking for prices at one music store they asked me why I would want to buy such a cheap instrument and would I consider a Yamaha.

So That leads me to my questions.

1) Is the intonation good. As good as a Yamaha 475? Better than the Antigua 580?
2) How does the A590 compare to the Yamaha 475?
3) Are these horns really as good as the thread says.

Thank for the help

Dave Dolson
03-03-2004, 01:20 AM
iflybycat: Call Dave Kessler and order one. I understand he has a return policy that is hard to beat. That's where I bought mine (590LQ) - I was at his store. Intonation-wise, mine is spot-on, top to bottom. It plays better than my Yanagisawas (SC902 and S992) and any of the other new and vintage sopranos I've owned and own now (e.g., Serie III Selmer, Buescher TTs, '23 Conn, King Saxello, MKVI, Buffet, WW&BW curved, Rampone tipped-bell, Dorado 600 [a Yana stencil], Yamaha YSS62S). Can't say much about the newer Yamahas, except I've tried several and was not impressed enough to buy. DAVE

Steve on the web
03-03-2004, 09:35 AM
Hi Dave,
How about the durability of the Antigua products? It's really a temptation to try Antigua after a glance on all the positive appraisal in this forum. For me, the consistency in tonal quality in the long run as well as the ability of its finish to endure for a reasonable period are equally important.

03-03-2004, 12:13 PM
Steve - this very question was just addressed on the second page of this thread. If you go back just one page you'll find Dave's answer about durability, and mine, of the Antigua sop's.

Steve on the web
03-03-2004, 12:38 PM
Rob - Thanks for your sharing! I just wonder if it can survive the gigs after few months, and please keep us updated on its strength and weakness later on. :o

03-03-2004, 12:43 PM
Thanks Dave- I will call Dave Kessler. Buying from a store with a good return policy seems to be the way to go and from the tread everyone seems happy with their Kessler's experience.

03-08-2004, 02:22 PM
What mpc do you like for the Antigua sop?

03-08-2004, 02:40 PM
Mouthpiece selection should be tailored to the individual's emboucher, playing style and experience, to name three. Having shared that, I've found a Yanagisawa HR 6 mpc works best for my community band playing where blending with the group is the key to acceptability.

Dave Dolson
03-08-2004, 03:55 PM
iflybycat: I agree with Rob (goodsax). I use a Selmer Super Session J-facing on mine. DAVE

03-11-2004, 02:50 PM
Rico Royal Metalite M7 on mine. No tuning problems even with the higher baffle plus it gives me the power to compete with our trumpet player!

03-11-2004, 02:51 PM
BTW, as of last month I found that I played my Antigua soprano on all my gigs so I sold my Yani SC901.

Jack W.
03-11-2004, 02:57 PM
I received the A586BC yesterday. No shipping damage this time, and it looks even better than in the pictures! Also I understand why Paul Coats wanted the 586 case for his 590, it appears to be ridiculously strong and even has a nifty foam block that can be removed in order to store the horn with the straight neck attached.

My first impressions are basically positive, it seems to play very similarly to the A590LQ that I reviewed earlier. I will make some recordings of the horn before coming to a final decision. Also I have a Super Session J and a metal Yani #5 coming in, which I'm eager to try on this horn. My Lawton 6*B works well, but I know that the Super Sessions can work particularly well on these Antiguas as previously stated.

I will say this, it sure is a relief to be able to play soprano in tune. I had my Pan-American soprano out last night too, and the sound is fantastic but it is SO much work to play in tune....

Jack W.
03-15-2004, 02:07 AM
Well, I brought the A586BC to church today and it absolutely knocked me out, it played well beyond my expectations. The sound is clean and centered, the scale is even, and playing in tune even into the palm keys is child's play. The horn is very responsive to all sorts of dynamic changes. No regrets here, except that no one asked me about the finish. I was all ready to say the horn was plated with unobtainium. :D

When I first started writing in another thread that I was curious about these horns because I was considering a backup to my Pan American soprano, someone wrote back that I should be careful if I tried one or else the Pan American would become the backup. Only time will tell if they were right, but I will say this, if my Pan Am had feelings, it would be awfully worried right now! 8)

03-16-2004, 03:36 PM
Jack - glad you like your AW so much, and that your using it to praise the Lord.

I ordered a 590LQ and received it last week. Over all the quality looked very good, and although the tone was quite different than the silverplated soprano I was used to, It sounded good. I was amazed at how effortlessly I could play the low C-Bb.

The problem I had was that the low D-G were very weak. I had to work very hard to get them to play solidly when I tounged the notes. Slurring was OK for the most part. I played a couple other horns with the same mouthpieces (Jupiter pro, and Yamaha 475) just to make sure it was not me and they played fine. After looking the horn over, the pad under the left index finger was way off center, with the tone hole barely missing the metal in the middle. Daves son said that was the one problem they had noticed with the instruments, but that it had not been an issue in the horns playability.

Would you all look at your AW soprano's and see how centered that pad is. Maybe the one I got is off more than average, but I don't see how it could not be a problem over time. Some of you know that I was burnt before on a mail order horn, and although you all have great things to say, and from everything I have read here it has been 100% positive, I am still a little nervous about getting a replacement rather than than my money back.

On the flip side, Kesslermusic has been great. Very congenial and understanding. I couldn't feel more confortable with them, and they demonstrated that they are willing to work with me. It is really the pits living so far away from access to a good selection of horns to try out. Maybe I will try to find a free gambling trip like they used to have down to Vegas ( and maybe win enough to get their reference 54 instead :D , or lose what I got and go home empty handed :oops: ).


Jack W.
03-16-2004, 04:11 PM
The problem I had was that the low D-G were very weak. I had to work very hard to get them to play solidly when I tongued the notes. [...] After looking the horn over, the pad under the left index finger was way off center, with the tone hole barely missing the metal in the middle. Dave's son said that was the one problem they had noticed with the instruments, but that it had not been an issue in the horns playability.

Now you've got me wondering! I haven't noticed any such thing, but I could have missed it. I will check this afternoon and post back.

On the flip side, Kesslermusic has been great. Very congenial and understanding. I couldn't feel more confortable with them, and they demonstrated that they are willing to work with me.

I found the same, Dave really bent over backwards to work with me on the damaged horn. Perhaps yours suffered a bit of shipping damage too. Is there slop in the rod that holds the key cup in question? Just a thought....

03-16-2004, 05:29 PM
No slop. The horn seems very tight and well built outside of this one thing. All other pads appear to be very well centered.

Jack W.
03-16-2004, 07:57 PM
I just had a look at my horn and there is no evidence of any such problems that I can detect, either on the LH1 key or elsewhere. All of the key cups are reasonably well centered over their corresponding tone holes. Looking at the seals on the pads, I can't say they're all 100% dead on perfectly centered, but then again I see nothing (with my naked untrained eye) that alarms me above and beyond other soprano saxes I've seen or owned. Every pad appears to have a reasonable distance from the edge of each tone hole to the edge of the corresponding key cup, completely around each pad seal. If that makes any sense whatsoever. :o

Is the key arm bent on your horn or some such? I had a problem like that with a palm key on a Cannonball alto I used to own, when it was delivered. One quick bend and voila. :) Or is it really like the key cup is not only misaligned, but inherently impossible to align given the existing geometry?

I hope my interrogation is causing no offense, I'm just trying to help even though my knowledge of instrument repair is very rudimentary. 8)

03-17-2004, 02:24 AM
No offense taken on the questions. It went back via UPS today. I will wait and see what Dave has to say when he receives it. They have a great return policy. His son said they would be willing to send another out along with a mouthpiece or two, and if it didn't work for me I could return them. Paying all that postage, setup time, etc, I don't see how they could be making much of a profit. At the same time, without it I would not have the guts to take another chance on mail order saxophones.

I would like to hear from others on that one pad before I make a decision whether to request another one be sent. I am not normally that paranoid, but this time around I am allowing myself to indulge in it a little bit more than usual.

03-17-2004, 02:35 AM
Dave .. His son

Just to note, I (Dave) am the "son". My father is Chuck (founder of the business and the person who playtests the saxes prior to shipping)... unfortunately, due to my once receeding hairling (a.k.a non-existant), I have been confused many a times as Kessler Sr. So now I shave it all off so that its Bald By Choice!

03-17-2004, 02:40 AM
Just remember Dave, God only made a few perfect heads; the others he covered with hair. :wink:

03-17-2004, 03:30 PM
I am checking my 590 right now, and the B and A key pads are indeed not centered on the tone holes. (The Bis and G keys are centered just fine, as are the other keys on the sax.) Specifically, the left edge of the holes (from the player's perspective) are close to the rivet/resonator, and the right edge comes close to the edge of the pad.

Fortunately, it appears to have no effect on how my horn plays. These keys are all quite large relative to the size of the tone holes, so they are all sealing just fine. Of the two, the B key is the farthest off-center, with the right edge of the hole only a few millimeters from the edge of the pad, but it still seals. The A pad has quite a bit of room between the edge of the tone hole and the edge of the pad.

03-17-2004, 06:53 PM
Dave - so who should I be apologizing to, you or your father?

03-17-2004, 10:03 PM
I have the 586LQ and the B and A keys are fine. Fairly well centered and all the keys must be sealing well as the horn plays great after 3 months of constant playing. No issues so far. Fine horn.

03-17-2004, 10:19 PM
Dave - so who should I be apologizing to, you or your father?

Definately me. :)

Its ok, I am used to it. I have been even confused for my grandfather once before. Yeah... nice.

03-18-2004, 03:03 AM
To you it is then, Dave. My humblest apologies. :oops:

Thanks to the rest of you who took the time to look. Sound's like the one I got was an exception. There always has to be one, and just like I'm always the one who gets the cherry pit out of the cherry pie, I think it is my lot with sopranos :shock: . OK, no more pity parties.

My wife doesn't really care for the sorpano, and is using this as an opportunity to try and convince me to switch to alto, and buy one of those instead. I really like the sop, and never played alto until two weeks ago when I tested a Jupiter Artist. What a sweet sounding horn, and my wife definitely like the alto sound better. I was surprised I could play so well even though I have never touched one before. It will be a hard decision whether to have a new soprano sent, or wait and check out some altos. Now if my wife would just free up enough money for both... :wink:

03-18-2004, 03:28 AM
In that case, Brad, you might want to check out the Antigua Winds Supreme A520LQ alto. It too is a very attractive, solidly constructed sax with exceptional intonation and pleasing sound. Don't take my word for it, ask Dave about these saxes, they're another fine example of the better quality horns, like the Jupiter Artist, coming out of Taiwan lately.

Jack W.
03-18-2004, 03:48 PM
It will be a hard decision whether to have a new soprano sent, or wait and check out some altos.

Not meaning to be the little guy in red pajamas who sits on your left shoulder holding a tiny pitchfork, but at these prices, maybe you can afford both!? :twisted:

I also can't help surmising that if Antigua comes out with an updated "YS" serialled curved soprano, people will fall over each other to buy them. I know I'd sure be tempted! 8) Particularly if Dave talks them into making one in bronze!!! :o

03-21-2004, 03:05 AM

I was out of town the other day and decided to stop at a small music store I saw along the way. They had 2 520LQ's hanging on the wall (much higher price that Dave's). They handed me one to play and told me it was all tuned up, etc. Not even playable. They handed me the other one and took the first back to their tech to look at. The second did play OK, but had three notes that were almost impossible. I played on a Unison alto while waiting for the first to get back in from the tech(very, very nice horn). When the first was brought from the back room after adjusting, it played very well, except for a couple of difficult notes, but nothing too bad. I liked the sound quite a bit. I am not good enough to evaluate an alto's playability beyond the basics though (i.e. altissimo and low notes). What is your opinion on that stuff? Any difficulties?

Regarding the store, I don't see how they expect to sell horns, when they hang them on the wall in unplayable condition.

03-21-2004, 04:38 AM
Brad - I had no problem with playing low notes on my 520LQ, but I never really had much luck, in general, with altissimo. I hit high F# okay, but it had an F# key, so no big deal. The most impressive feature for me was the intonation which was right on for most of both registers. Unisons are good saxes too, but they cost a lot more and aren't that much better than the Antigua Supreme, in my opinion.

You're right about the music store you had the bad experience at. That's why I think Kessler's is a better bet because everyone who's shared their experience about buying from Dave's shop has had nothing but good to say about their service and customer-oriented policies. If you get something from them that isn't right, you can be sure they'll make it right.

Paul Coats is the Antigua alto player to answer the altissimo question if he sees this thread. He's the player and educator who has the following message in his signature line, "You are all welcome to contact me at, which is my public email address set up especially for my friends here on Sax On The Web."

03-22-2004, 12:24 AM
Thought I'd e-mail the man himself as you suggested. Tried twice, and got a reply back saying that e-mail address had been blacklisted. Hmmm....

03-22-2004, 01:50 AM
Tried to email which man? Paul Coats? If so, that doesn't sound right. He's a very active and responsive sax educator. should be a good email address for him. I've used it several times in the recent past without problem.

03-22-2004, 01:58 AM
I meant Paul. I tried it again. Got the same response.

"550 This system is configured to reject mail from [] (Host blacklisted - Found on Realtime Black List server '') 554 5.0.0 <>"

Someone out there does not like his address.

That's alright. He'll find this post eventually. In the meantime, he might be interested in the fact that some of us can't get through to him. Probably enjoying the vacation from being inundated with questions from ignorant souls like mine.

03-23-2004, 02:47 AM
Well, I talked with Dave Kessler today about the 590LQ I returned. He stated that they could not find anything wrong with the horn. I drove to Portland today to play some alto's, and started with a store that sold Antigua's. On their 586LQ, I had the same problems. The low G through B were very weak, almost non-playable to me. I had a hard time hitting them. When I tried the 520LQ alto, I had the exact same problem. After thinking about it, these were the same notes that were unplayable for me on the ones I mentioned a few posts back. The girl noticed how well I could play all the other notes, and assumed it was the horn, so she got out another one. And again, on it, I had problems with the G and A. Finally the owner came over. He handed me a third horn (same problem), and put his mouthpiece on the one I just tried and it played like a dream for him. He had me try a couple mouthpieces, and the only thing that would play well for me was a Morgan 5. A C* ,Yamaha 4C and ProTone just would not play for me on those notes.

This is so weird :? Bottom line - I guess it is just me. I have heard so many people say that it is a personal thing, but I would not have believed it was that personal :cry: . I guess Antigua's and me were just not meant for a relationship, unless I go on the proverbial mouthpiece chase that seems to have consumed so many people.

The good news, I played a ton of other horns today, and never had a problem with any of them.

Thanks again to all of you who gave me advice.


03-23-2004, 04:07 AM
bradshawm: Out of curiousity, which store did you go to in Portland?

03-23-2004, 03:30 PM
Coufman, That's a good questions. I went to a lot of stores, and in an effort to not be too long winded, I merged together info from visits to different stores in my previous post. I'm not from Portland (actually a country boy) so I can't keep them all straight, but I do remember clearly the store with the 520LQ's - The Music House on 60th and Glisan. When I first entered I thought I had gone to the wrong place, because it was so small, and the only thing in sight were guitars, and misc items, etc. It felt more like a small country music store than a big city one. The store was so small, that the three Alto's we had out seemed to fill the floor. When the owner came in and saw it, I can just imagine what he was thinking. I am in the military, and was in uniform so I felt rather conspicuous anyway, the daughter didn't know saxophones, and was having a hard time explaining to her father what the problem was, and we were standing there croweded by all these saxes on the floor. I'm sure we were quite a sight. The owner was very nice , and very patient as he helped me out, and we packed up the horns. He had a pretty good cash price, though not as good as Kessler's and was willing to throw in a Hite mouthpiece that played better for me, though I still struggled with those same notes. Nice store, the kind of place I like doing business in. Very homey and down to earth. Of course, if you ever want to do anything saxophone, you need to talk with the dad.

Sorry for being so long winded, you just had to be there.


03-24-2004, 12:06 PM
Brad, I got through to Paul and he said if I could get your email address he would get back to you. He's been away for awhile. It's curious, but I used the same address I gave you to reach him. Maybe his inbox was full when you tried because he has been out of state at a meeting of some sort. You can contact me at my email address by clicking the email button below.


I meant Paul. I tried it again. Got the same response.
That's alright. He'll find this post eventually. In the meantime, he might be interested in the fact that some of us can't get through to him. Probably enjoying the vacation from being inundated with questions from ignorant souls like mine.

03-26-2004, 05:36 PM
Thanks for the help Rob. Although I would enjoy chatting with him, I am not in need of his input any longer. I puchased a Unison S300 a couple days ago, and absolutely love it. Now this post can get back to to discussing the Antigua Sopranos :P


Dave Dolson
03-27-2004, 07:58 PM
After arriving home from vacation, I got my Antigua 590LQ - plays better than any sop in my battery. And, no misaligned pads. DAVE

03-28-2004, 10:40 AM
I'm currently considering to buy a good soprano sax.....but my budget is not very some recommend me to buy a Antigua Winds 590LQ Soprano sax and some recommend me to buy Jupiter 847SG Artist Series Soprano Sax.....can anyone help me out which one should I choose? Thanks alot. And Is anyone there know that there is any dealer of Antigua Winds and Jupiter in Malaysia? Cz I'm satying in Malaysia..... Really appreciate alot. :roll:

03-31-2004, 10:23 PM
I ordered a 590 from Dave and it arrived a few days ago. I own an older Antigua sop (580) and have been test playing Selmers and Yamahas. The 590 I received was completely different than my 580. The feel of the horn is very solid and the finish is excellent. I have played it with a Baron Vintage #7, Morgan Pro-Tone, and a Runyon Custom mpc. The Vintage and the Pro-tone played beautifully. The tone was very rich and complex and played very easily through out the range of the horn. The key action was smooth and very easy to play. I am impressed. The Runyon I am not sold on yet.

I thought that the reviews comparing the Antigua sops to much higher priced sops sounded to good to be true but with the try out policy of Kessler’s how could I go wrong? Well now I would compare it to any of the saxes I played. AND it cost me less that $1000 with a new mpc! The 590 is completely different than the older 580. I give Antigua a lot of credit for producing such a nice horn for the price.

As I said, I had no problem with any of the notes but because of Bradshawm’s posts I looked at how the pads are centered. The A keypad IS a fair amount off center, but the horn plays great.

The buying experience with Kessler and Son’s was excellent.

Thanks to all who posted for helping me make such a good decision. I much prefer this horn to the Yamaha 475 I was considering.

Jack W.
04-01-2004, 09:55 PM
I appreciate the direct comparison to the older 580 model, this is very interesting. I also tried a 580BC before ordering the 586BC, and although there apparently was no comparison, I am also hesitant to say that with certainty because again the horn was unplayable (a situation similar to the one bradshawm was talking about in his post dated March 20). Either way I have no regrets about purchasing the 586BC, even though I have now found a mpc that makes a night-and-day difference with my Pan Am soprano (a modern metal Yani #7, amazingly enough!), I am still hard pressed to say which plays better. The Antigua works equally well with a Selmer Super Session J or a Lawton 6*B.

While I'm "polluting" this thread by mentioning other sopranos, I hope someone richer than I am gets one of those solid silver Serie III sopranos or altos (see Dave Kessler's posts on that subject)! :o Not cheap, but MAN ALIVE do they look amazing! 8)

Paul Coats
04-02-2004, 04:25 PM
Sorry, I was away for a while, earning my wife's paycheck (hah!).

The email problem Brad has had with me is due to a service my ISP subscribes to. They have VERY aggressive spam and virus/trojan/bot protection which bans some ISPs from contacting me. Perhaps yours was listed as hosting a lot of spammers? I don't know.

I do know that it is seldom that I actually have a virus come in, and that is caught by my computer's virus protection. I also get 20-30 emails a day which have had "malicious content" (viruses, worms, etc) removed by my ISP before they even get to me. All this, plus my firewall, and my computers have remained healthy for the last several years. I have a HUGE mailing list, and the last thing I need is for some virus or worm to be sent out to all of my friends, and their friends, and their friends.

So, Brad if you will contact me at I would be glad to speak with you. I am sorry for the email problems.

As far as "off center" keys... this is necessary at some spots on instruments due to how close together the keys are. Or for example, a tone hole may be resized or repositioned in later models, but the keywork not altered. I have seen this on many makes and models of instruments. I am not speaking of keys that are bent.

HOWEVER, looking at my own A590 I do not see any such problems. All of the pads look fairly well centered on the tone hole.

Mouthpieces... while I liked the Custom on my earlier A580, and still use the Custom for Dixieland, where I really need to project, I find myself using the Metal Quantum more often on the A590 now. Many have spoken highly of the Morgan mouthpiece that Dave Kessler recommends for this model. The new 582/586/590 series sopranos do not seem to be as picky on mouthpieces as the older A580 model.

04-04-2004, 03:46 AM

On the 590 I received last week one of the pads under the A key is a fair amount off center, and comes fairly close to the metal cap in the middle of the pad. The horn plays very well now. Do you think that misalignment will become a problem as the horn ages?

Paul Coats
04-04-2004, 06:32 AM
If the resonator is not hitting the edge of the tone hole, and the pad is sealing, I would not worry about it. If the pad is to be changed in the future, point it out to your tech, who will probably check it anyway. As long as the horn is playing well, no need to worry about it.

There is one pad on the upper end of early 20's Buescher bass saxophones that is quite offcenter, and it is not a matter of bending the key arm. The misalignment goes in the other direction. To fix it, the arm would have to be shortened. No way am I going to do that. Also, the pad cup, and thus the size of the pad, is much larger than that size tone hole requires. So, any prefitted resonator is too large for the hole. You must substitute a pad with rivet only in order to fit that particular pad. What I think happened is, the design was change, repositioning and resizing the tone hole, and the keywork was not altered.

I have seen some vintage sopranos (Buescher C soprano?) where one pad, I think RH3 D pad, the pad just barely covers the large tone hole. But there is no room to make the pad cup larger as it would then interfere with the E pad just above it.

There are reasons this happens at times, and I have seen it on a wide variety of saxes, even the very top quality instruments from Selmer, Yamaha, and others. As long as the pad seals correctly, and there are no adjustment issues caused by it, I would not be overly concerned unless the key is obviously bent.

And you said, "The tone was very rich and complex and played very easily through out the range of the horn. The key action was smooth and very easy to play." And "As I said, I had no problem with any of the notes..."

All I can say is, If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

04-05-2004, 05:50 AM
LOL Thanks Paul :D

04-11-2004, 06:52 AM
Hi guys,

I've been playing a keilwerth ex90 alto for 5 and a bit years at school (im in grade ten) and privately. I'd really like to get a soprano and these antigua's sound great. The only problem is that I live in australia and I have not been able to find them for sale. Does anyone know how I could get my hands on one, or if not another horn that would be good. I am doing my grade 6 ameb this year. Thanks alot for any info you could give me it will be much appreciated.

cheers pippin

Paul Coats
04-11-2004, 07:27 PM
Yanagisawa and Yamaha are brands that are easily found in Australia. The products of these two companies are top notch! The Yamaha YSS-475 is their entry level model, and is quite good.

I don't know if Kessler Music can ship an Antigua to you there, but it would not hurt to check with them to see. and contact Dave can be reached at

04-12-2004, 11:04 AM
Hi guys, I just wanted to let you all know that I really appreciate
this forum and the top notch experts here.

I have been playing a Vito straight Soprano for around 4 years now.

If all works out, I should be placing an order today for a new
Antigua Winds A590-BC Soprano Sax with the Black Chrome Finish.

I am having some intonation problems on my vito, so hopefully this new
antigua will be 10X better.

Thanks guys.... :wink:

Jack W.
04-12-2004, 12:24 PM
If all works out, I should be placing an order today for a new Antigua Winds A590-BC Soprano Sax with the Black Chrome Finish. I am having some intonation problems on my vito, so hopefully this new
antigua will be 10X better.

I used my A586BC in church yesterday, and if your experience winds up being like mine, you will probably be pleasantly surprised. Intonation is VERY secure on this horn, in fact I found I could actually worry about other things whilst playing. :)

04-17-2004, 05:13 PM
Hello everyone. I am a complete beginner to the sax world but when I first heard the sound of a sop sax (2 years ago), I must admit I fell in love with it. At that time, I was playing the clairnet and wanted to quit and get myself a soprano sax. I am currently 15 and quit the clairnet 2 years ago after 4 years of playing. It was about a week ago when i fell back in love with the sound of the sop sax. I have been begging my parents to let me buy one and start and they said I could in the summer. I have been looking everywhere online to find the perfect sop sax to begin with. I was looking for one around $400-$700. I came across this forum and read all about the antigua sop sax (all 3 pages). I want to buy the 582 (though I am reading more praise about the 586) My question is, is an antigua 582 a wise choice for a beginner? I don't want to have a crap instrument to begin with (like my clairnet) and I don't want to have one that is for pro's. Also, is it wise for me to try to tackle the sop sax alone? Or should I learn with a teacher? I don't think there are a lot of people that teach sop sax in Maryland so I might have trouble with that. Last question: I've looked for the dealers in MD that sell the antigua model and the closest one is 20 minutes away (lucky me :D ) but I am reading that Dave Kessler(?) is a very good dealer. Should I risk it and go to the dealer close to where I live? Or order one from Dave?

04-17-2004, 05:24 PM
Get the 582 from Dave Kessler and get a teacher. You and your parents won't be sorry unless you decide the sop isn't for you either. I'm probably older than your parents, my 582 exceeded my expectations when I got it and I still take lessons from a teacher after playing sax off and on for 55 years. Also, I haven't read one negative comment about Kessler's Music company, not one.

Btw, I just started clarinet about six months ago and take private clarinet lessons from the same teacher who's helping me improve my sax skills. You might reconsider dropping the clarinet altogether if you plan to stick around the woodwind player's world as a pro.

04-17-2004, 05:26 PM

Honestly, if your local dealer has a reputable repair shop and will come close to the price that I sell them for, then buy from your local dealer.

Do make sure though to check the serial number of the horns you play. All of the New models of Antigua start with "YS". If they do not start with that, then they are handing you one of their older, inferior models.

04-17-2004, 05:42 PM
To be honest, I've never heard of this store before (it's called Clontz & Risher) , but I am not huge on exploring music stores so I know only of 2: Music and Arts and Bill's Music Store. Has anyone ever heard of these? I'm not exactly sure how good clontz & risher are at repairing...How would I find out? Just go there and ask what would I do in case of damages to the instrument? And thank you for that serial number tip Dave. One last question, are all the horns priced the same as yours are Dave? Or does it vary depending on the store? My parents don't really like ordering things offline (they're paranoid that there bill will come to $10,000 or something like that.) They don't speak very good english either, but I will be sure to tell them that nothing negative has been said about you Dave :) and goodsax, I am reconsidering the clairnet but as of right now, my clairnet sucks. It's a plastic selmer thing and about 4 keys don't play at all and the sound is horrible. My dad is considering getting it repaired and selling it to Bill's music store and then put that money into getting the sop sax. I will reconsider playing the clairnet though, but I was never really good at it and I had no motivation to play it therefore I never practiced :? . By the way, I am VERY into jazz, one of the main reasons I am picking up the sax rather than the clairnet

04-17-2004, 05:45 PM
Pricing is set solely by the individual music stores. So they may be signifigantly more, or the may price them very close to what I do.

04-17-2004, 05:47 PM
And one more thing about the clairnet, I was very young when I decided to play so I chose it based on looks. Now that I am older and a little wiser, I am doing a lot of research on the sop sax to make sure I will continue to play for a very long time. The only thing I use my old clairnet for right now is to try and read about the sop sax embouchure and practice it (i've read that the mouthpiece of the clairnet is just like the one of the sop sax)

04-17-2004, 06:03 PM
DanA - I don't agree about the comparison between sop and clarinet enbouchers. There's a significant difference between them, IMO. I play sop and, as I mentioned, just started clarinet looking forward to doubling. I find a big difference between the two embouchers. The clarinet is more resistant and tighter than my soprano. My teacher told me the greater appeal of the sax is the relative ease with which you can produce good sounds compared to the clarinet. I believe the clarinet is much more difficult than the sax. It has a range of four-plus octaves, while the sax has only two, and the fingering is different between low and high registers for the same notes whereas the sax uses the same fingering for both registers.

But I digress from the topic of what brand of inexpensive soprano you should consider, and I can't recommend strongly enough the Antigua Winds 582 (straight, one-piece) F#, or 586 (straight, 2-neck F#), or 590 (straight, 2-neck, G) sopranos, echoing what Dave advised about making sure you get the later serial numbered models.

If your parents are hesitant to buy from online sources, and you're not convinced either local dealer is offering a good deal, have them fly out to Las Vegas for a holiday and stop by Dave's while they're there. :wink:

04-17-2004, 06:16 PM
Hehe yeah, that's a good idea too. Thanks for all your help goodsax and Dave. I'll post again soon after checking out the store closeby or if I need help with anything. Thanks again :D

04-17-2004, 09:21 PM
I have another question. I've been looking around the web to read more on the Antigua and people's opinions. I've found all praise and only one person with a negative thought (though it was very general: "I recommend beginner's to stay away from Antigua Winds" and that was it.) Anybody know why he would say that? He might have been talking about the older models but I don't know. Anyways, as I looked around the sites, I noticed that many sites/dealers online do not have model numbers of the Antigua products. When people sell their used horns, the description is Antigua Winds Horn, how many necks it contains, and it's highest key. Even some dealer's don't write the horn's model number. They just call it an Antigua Soprano Saxophone. I'm worried that if I go to the store located close to me, that when I ask them for a 582 LQ, that they'll have no idea what I'm talking about and hand me a different model instead. Dave has already told me that it must hav YS on the serial number and of course I will check it but don't all of the new models have YS on the serial code? I don't want to get a pro model (590? Or if there even is one from antigua winds). Maybe if the dealer doesn't know what he's talking about, I might get a better deal?? Haha just trying to get my money's worth. And aren't the pro models harder to play than the student/beginner models? Definately wouldn't want that to happen. And what's the difference between pro models and beginner models (in any sax brand)?

04-17-2004, 09:29 PM
And also, I've noticed they use numbers like 4554 and 4558. Are these the serial codes? Or something else?

04-17-2004, 09:30 PM
Antigua does not stamp the model numbers on their horns (although I wish they would).

On their new sopranos, ALL have the YS serial number. The way to tell the differnt models is the features:

582 - One piece body, high F#
586 - Double neck, high F#
590 - Double neck, high G

They also have different cases and the warranty cards will have the model number on it.

04-17-2004, 11:49 PM
Hi folks, I'm new here, used to play tenor many years ago, just getting back into it and have always wanted to try soprano too. So I've been reading up on sopranos and wonder what this "ribbed construction" is that is mentioned as a good quality of the Antigua line of sops. Can anyone shed some light please? Thanks, Adam

04-17-2004, 11:59 PM
Hi folks, I'm new here, used to play tenor many years ago, just getting back into it and have always wanted to try soprano too. So I've been reading up on sopranos and wonder what this "ribbed construction" is that is mentioned as a good quality of the Antigua line of sops. Can anyone shed some light please? Thanks, Adam


"Ribbed" construction is 1 of 2 ways to attach the posts on to the body. It is where a large group of posts (mainly along the right side of the horn) are part of a large rib and that entire Rib is soldered to the body tube.

The other way is Post to Body where each post is soldered seperately. The Ribbed construction is stronger overall.

04-18-2004, 12:48 AM
Thanks, Dave,

That makes sense. I see that my Mark VI tenor har something like you describe along the right side--a long plate attached to the body with several posts attached to it. I can see why that's a stronger kind of construction. Is that ribbed construction used on all to the Antigua sops (582, 586 and 590)? And is it not used on many other brands or lower priced horns?

Regard, Adam

04-18-2004, 03:41 AM
Thanks, Dave,

That makes sense. I see that my Mark VI tenor has something like you describe along the right side--a long plate attached to the body with several posts attached to it. I can see why that's a stronger kind of construction. Is that ribbed construction used on all to the Antigua sops (582, 586 and 590)? And is it not used on many other brands or lower priced horns?

Regard, Adam

Yes, all the Antigua model sopranos have ribbed construction. Typically, student horns have the post to body construction.

However, there are plent of Student horns that have it, (both of my Solist models at $399 & $599 respectively have it). And the Yanagisawa 901 professional series in the Bari, Alto & Tenor dont have the ribbed construction (901 Soprano does).

We find that ribbed construction can, in some cases, hinder the body vibration of the horn because of all the extra metal attached to the body tube. I personally believe that it is this reason that most student horns dont have it, makes the horns free-er blowing. It really doesnt add much to the cost of the horn in reality.

That is just my opinion though.

04-18-2004, 12:37 PM
And aren't the pro models harder to play than the student/beginner models? Definately wouldn't want that to happen. And what's the difference between pro models and beginner models (in any sax brand)?

Pro horns might differ from student models from the same manufacturer in a number of ways. Perhaps the best summary of these differences is that they are generally built better. It might be better pads and springs, more easily adjustable keys, more new design innovations, higher-cost materials, etc. Student models are made to be low-cost, so new players can try out the instrument without a huge financial investment.

Pro instruments should not be more difficult to play. They are superior instruments that consequently cost more, but if anything, it should be easier to play a pro sax, because of the design and material advantages. You might find someone who suggests that new players start on student instruments for some other reason than cost, but I think they are full of hot air (or something). Now, that does not mean that a new player will be able to accomplish everything with a pro sax that an experienced player can, but there is no way that a pro sax should be inherently more difficult to play, regardless of the player's level of experience.

Of course, money is often a legitimate concern, and there are many find student models that would play fine for anyone.

(Note that I am comparing modern student and pro instruments. A "vintage" pro sax may indeed give a student some problems relative to a new student horn, because of older-style keywork and the lack of design innovations that have become standard even on student instruments. Combine that with the wear-and-tear that an older horn will have experienced, and I would recommend a student sax over a vintage model for most beginners.)

04-18-2004, 11:58 PM
Thanks again for your quick replies on on my ribbed construction questions. I may be getting in touch with you about an Antigua sop once I've saved up... and convinced my wife :)
Pknight, thanks also for your info on pro vs. student horns in response to DanA. It's a most informative discussion and I'm glad I've joined in.

bruce bailey
04-19-2004, 06:02 AM
One other point about ribbed construction is that it gives a better alignment of the posts for assembly. The posts are soldered to the ribs using jigs that place the posts where they need to be and then the whole thing is soldered to the body. In the cheap horns where the posts are alone on the body, they are often not in line and thus the keys may end up tilted forward or backwards making some pads on a stack too high at the front or back. Granted the ribs may cut down on vibration, but even $20K flutes use ribs. On the flute I make, the body rib is the entire length making pad seating much easier and thus, less readjustment is needed.

04-19-2004, 06:28 AM
Another question raised for me now is whether more vibration in the horn is a good thing. It was mentioned that with ribbed construction and its extra metal, vibrations may be reduced, whereas in a horn without ribbed construction, that doesn't occur, and the horn may be more "free blowing." I think that's what was being said anyway. Free blowing sounds good too, but I'm not sure what that means...

04-19-2004, 04:03 PM
DanA- I am a returning player [also living in Maryland] who purchased an Antigua alto (520BC) from Dave some months ago, you've probably read my posts elsewhere about what a good experience it was. It was so good, in fact, that I have ordered the 586BC soprano from him as well. Of the 3 music stores in your area that you mentioned, Bill's is the only one I've been to, and that was a long time ago. Seemed a great place for guitar's, drums, keypoards and electronics, but not into woodwinds at that time.

If you want to try out an Antigua and compare it to a bunch of other brands, your best bet would probably be to drive down to Chuck Levin’s Washington Music Center 11151 Veirs Mill Road, Wheaton, MD
20902 USA Phone: 301-946-8808 Fax: 301-933-4438 Email: I have not purchased any woodwinds from them, but did get an amplifier and speakers from them 20 years ago when I was a Bass player too.

They are listed as an antigua dealer on the antigua rite, and many Maryland sax players head down there to buy the Selmer (Paris) models, etc [See SteveS' Selmer SA 80 thread in the for-sale section, or just search this site for the name to see what comes up]. You can play anything they have in stock and compare it side by side to all the other makes and models to determine which one gives you the best bang for your buck. They also deal in high volume and may be able to get you a price comparable to Dave's.

As far as service, I have heard no opinions on that store. The nearly unanimous vote for best service tech in the area (who can fix your clarinet as well) is Steve Fowler down in Pasadena, Md. ( ) I have not needed his services yet, but I know that is where I will go when I need work done, based on the reputation he has with other MD area SOTW members

Congratulations on choosing to start playing sax 8) - I hope you get as much enjoyment from it as the rest of us nuts do :lol: ! I would also agree with goodsax (Rob) about continuing to play the clarinet. I would like to become skilled enough to double one day as well. Check the who we are and get together section to see when the Maryland area folks have the next get-together. They are a real nice bunch of people and THEY'LL LET YOU PLAY THEIR HORNS, TOO! [And boy do they have a selection!]

Wicked Good
04-19-2004, 06:42 PM
...The nearly unanimous vote for best service tech in the area (who can fix your clarinet as well) is Steve Fowler down in Pasadena, Md. ( ) I have not needed his services yet, but I know that is where I will go when I need work done, based on the reputation he has with other MD area SOTW members ....

I'll second that. Steve rebuilt my Conn 10M tenor into a real screamer. Very nice work indeed.

04-19-2004, 07:17 PM
That's cool and all, but I'm going to try out the store up here first. The store that u mentioned, I also checked the antigua site and being 15 and all, I have limitations to where my parents are willing to take me :-\ Being the youngest of 3 as well, and our insurance being sky high, I'm not planning on driving anytime soon. The one I'm planning to visit first is apx. 25 minutes away while the one you mentioned JMac is apx. 45 minutes away. I don't think my parents are willing to take me that far (they might) but chances are they won't. Also, I have never even touched a sop sax. If I were to test different horns, I wouldn't know the difference between a very nice sop sax and a piece of junk. That is why I have done extensive research for the past 2 weeks to make sure I didn't pick a piece of junk horn. So far, my sites are on the Antigua Wind model because I have yet to read any serious discouragement about buying this horn. I read somewhere that SOME of the keys between a clairnet and the sop sax are the same so I guess this is a positive but I read that the higher notes are different and that's where the notes most likely tend to get sharp or flat. I have a very good ear in telling if a note is sharp or flat, but once again, it is probably that way because I don't know how to play. Also, I think I read from Dave that he or his father (I apologize if I'm incorrect) test the horns before they ship it out. If this was so with the dealer I'm planning to check out, I wouldn't have a problem with it but chances are, I don't think he/she is going to. If the horn is defected, we'd have to drive all the way back up. Most likely, if I purchase a nice horn, by the time it is in need of repair, I'll have a car and be able to check Steve Fowler's shop so I'm not too worried about that. Any advice on testing the horn out before buying it? What to look for, what I shouldn't worry about too much, etc. Obviously if the horn has a huge dent in it, I'll ask for another one but when I read about this ribbing? I had no idea what was being discussed (though I read further to understand its purpose). And that's only one of the many things I didn't understand in readin this forum, but it has helped a great deal! Thank you everyone for your advice whether or not it was directly focused on my issues. I am also very glad I stumbled onto this forum. I have been doing extensive research to get the best horn for the money so that I don't lose interest playing a horrible sounding horn. Also, any tips for a beginner sop sax player? I happen to be in luck because there is only one opening left for sop sax lessons close to where I live at the music & arts center and according to the people that know him he is one of their more "popular" teachers so I'm looking forward to playing and learning. Any kind of help is appreciated :D Oh, and one more thing, JMac, I also read about where players get together and it sounds really interesting but I'm afraid I'll just be an embarassment for now :oops: Hehe I'll probably just make the horn look bad and myself even worst. It'd be cool to watch and learn from the people that meet up though because there aren't too many people that play the sop sax around where I live. There isn't a single sop sax in my high school band or jazz band so I'm hoping to play at least one year before I leave high school and touch other people with that beautiful sound.

04-19-2004, 07:49 PM
DanA, try all the sop's they have at your dealer of choice. Play the scale on each one from low Bb to high F or F#. Even if you're not an experienced soprano player and may not be able to hit all the notes at first, the ease with which you are able to get as much of the scale done as possible should be relative between the horns you try.

Check for how comfortable each sax is in your hands. How well do the finger touches match your hands, particularly the left pinky table, something quite different from the clarinet. It's the set of keys used with your left pinky finger to play G# and low C#, B and Bb (lowest note on the sax). Btw, it's the low register fingering that is different between clarinet and sax, the upper register clarinet fingering is nearly the same as the sax.

Finally, listen to the tone of each sop you test play (T/P). Since you have a good ear for when a note is in tune, check for intonation in both registers. If unsure, ask the dealer if you can borrow a tuner to check this.

The sopranos I've owned include a vintage (1925) Conn, Unison S100GG, Monique Pro curved, Antigua Winds A582LQ and my current sop, a Kohlert straight with detachable neck. Of all these, I found the Antigua, Unison and Kohlert to be the most pleasing in all the categories mentioned above. The vintage Conn was uncmfortable and I had problems with the left palm keys (high D, D#, E & F) and the Monique was just not good for me in any department.

After you decide on which sop to get, and I still think Antigua is the best bet for you, you might want to consider getting a better mouthpiece that comes with those horns. I have great luck with a Yanagisawa HR mpc, but this is a whole 'nother subject.

Best of luck,

Dave Dolson
04-19-2004, 08:06 PM
I'll second what Rob posted and add that I've never played a bad-sounding soprano saxophone. Yes, they all have a little different tone but they all sounded like me. I doubt if the audience could tell one from another.

The BIG differences are in scale and response. I've played some sops with atrocious intonation (not a lot, though), some with questionable
intonation, and some that were spot-on. I've played some sops that really made me struggle to get the notes out when I fingered them properly, and others that let me do my thing without interfering in the process (that's good response).

I've played some with difficult keywork (Selmer MKVI and my current '23 straight Conn), others with nice placement but vintage design, and some with everything a player could want in keywork and design.

Out of all the sops I've owned and played, my Buescher TT from the late '20's and my new Antigua 590LQ are the best.

DanA, for you, get the Antigua. DAVE

04-20-2004, 02:05 AM
Yeah, I was planning on purchasing a Woodwind Sop Sax before I started to read this forum. Now, after reading all of the good things about the Antigua, I am definately going to purchase a sop sax from Antigua. Thanks for the advice on testing the different horns. I'm not exactly sure on how to hold the soprano sax, but Im pretty sure that the dealer will (?) I'm not exactly worried about the mouthpiece for now, I'm mainly worried about making sure the horn I purchase has no main defects. Thanks for all the advice once again. This is probably the gold mine of information for sop sax's. I was trying to read on players opinions and see what people preferred because obviously I won't be able to tell myself and it turns out Antigua is my choice. Thanks for all the advice everyone, it has made things much easier for me :D

04-20-2004, 02:55 AM
Dan, I'll tell you how big a believer I am in Antigua Winds sopranos . . .
I bought one new.

I have more instruments than I care to count, but I haven't had a new one since my parents bought one for me in 1966. I love making good deals on used instruments, but I just couldn't bear the thought of letting such a great deal get away. I think the AW is underpriced, and that thought . . . plus the possibility of the government adding taxes to internet purchases . . . made me go ahead and get a 590. The 586 wasn't available in stock when I purchased or I would have gotten that one.

04-20-2004, 03:17 AM
DanA, JMac mentioned Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center. That store is in Wheaton, MD. I have bought many horns from them. They are a very serious retailer and have many horns on hand for you to try. 45 min drive is nothing considering the deal you will get from them. They are a mass volume retailer and you will be guaranteed the best price.

04-20-2004, 07:00 PM
Yeah, I talked to my parents about trying that place out just in case the store closest to me doesn't hold the AQ I am looking for. My only question is, does anyone know how much the Antigua Wind 582LQ is priced at Chuck Levin's?? I'm going to check out the Clontz & Risher and see how the horn's are priced and if it's too expensive, I want to make sure that Chuck Levin's isn't the same or even more. The one that Dave Kessler sells is apx. $695.

04-20-2004, 07:31 PM
DanA - I doubt you'll find new 582LQ's priced any lower than $695. There was another online source that sold them for $595, but even they have now raised their price to $695. And price being equal, I believe Kessler's is the most reliable and customer-oriented online source.

04-20-2004, 09:48 PM
Yes, I also noticed that while looking around. Some stores even price them to (the highest I've seen) about $800. I was just wondering if SaxyAcoustician knew the price of the 582 LQ at Chuck Levin's store so I could compare it to the price of the dealer closest to me. If the dealer's prices are a lot higher then what I would get it for at Kessler's, I will probably buy them from him. Otherwise, if the price is just slightly higher and I am satisfied with the store and it's policies, I will probably purchase it from there.

04-24-2004, 06:10 PM
Wow, I e-mailed Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center and I was very surprised. They carry the Antigua Wind 582-LQ (and the serial number does start with a YS) for only $549 (sorry Dave) I just asked for the price of the 586 and am hoping to recieve a quick answer. Is it wise to try curved and straight necks as a beginner? Or should I just stick with the straight for now? If the 586 is priced cheaply, I might purchase that instead, but I wanted to make sure that I didn't waste more money than I need to for just one additional neck. Any opinions? And also, thank you all for suggesting Chuck Levin's. The other store that is located close to me hasn't even e-mailed me back yet.

04-24-2004, 06:58 PM
If the 586 is within your budget, go for it.

04-24-2004, 07:39 PM
Eh, unfortunately, they don't carry the 586, but they do carry the 590 for $899. I'll probably just stick with the 582 for my parents sake :) I'm probably going to purchase it on Monday and I'll be sure to write the results (if I can even get a sound out that is :D ) My first lesson is also this Friday! I can't wait!

04-26-2004, 01:48 AM
I recently purchased a Antigua Winds 590 BC. A nice horn so far. I was comparing it to pictures of the Yani sopranos on ebay and surprised at how similar they were. The only difference I could find was that the front F key was slightly different. The engineer in me would love to see a note-by-note intonation comparison to see how close Antigua got. Kind of surprising that wholesale duplication like that is legal, guess that's capitalism for you. :) Almost makes you want to boycott Antigua just out of respect for Yani :!:

04-27-2004, 02:07 AM
Good news! Haha I just purchased my very own A582-LQ from Chuck Levin's Washington Music Center, and yes, they really knew their stuff. I was surprised at the information they gave and how helpful they were. I fell in love with the horn as soon as I saw it. It sounds beautiful (though I don't know what keys are what at the moment :oops: ) and plays very easily. A lot of the keys are very hard to reach to my surprise (and I thought I had big hands :? ) I was very surprised, it's heavier than I thought it to be and requires a lot more wind/breath. Hehe this is going to be a fun challenge, and the people at Chuck's agreed. I am in love with the 582 and I thank you guys for helping me out. I am very eager to learn more and if you have ANY advice for a complete beginner, any and all advice is welcome. Oh and one more thing, if anyone knows any good books or websites to learn the keys and fingering for the sop sax, it would be very helpful. Thank you once again

04-27-2004, 01:28 PM
Dan, is a great site for beginners. Many well organized lessons and fingering charts.

Good luck and enjoy your new horn!


04-27-2004, 07:53 PM
Ok, so here I am playing and loving my new antigua sop sax and find that one note is hard to get out correctly. Its the low D (all 6 fingers, nothing else). When I play it, it sometimes comes out an octave higher. I've checked my finger positioning to make sure I hit nothing else (including the octave key) and still it came out that way. It only happens when I start out with the low D or "tounge" to it from a different note. If I slur it, its fine, but when I seperate the note, it comes out that way. Also, When the D comes out fine, I try pushing the octave key and it sounds correct and then I let go of the octave key and it still plays the same note rather than an octave lower like it should. Is this a problem with the sax? Or just me? Everything else works fine except for that one note. Even the notes lower (B flat, B, C, C#) work fine.

04-27-2004, 08:09 PM
Could be a couple of things.

1. Could just be the mouthpiece/reed setup
2. Could be out of adjustment.

Also, make sure that you have the mouthpiece on far enough. On soprano, not having the mouthpiece on all the way can generate a lot of problems. On these Antigua sopranos, you need to have the mouthpiece almost All the way on the cork.

04-27-2004, 08:36 PM
Now, is Dave K. wonderful or what? He helps out a guy who chose to buy his soprano from another retailer! Awesome!
(Being a little silly but not intending to poke at anyone)

04-28-2004, 01:09 AM
I agree, he's a wonderful guy. I just ordered a 590BC and it should be here Friday... I can't wait! :D now...what to name it.. lol


04-28-2004, 02:12 AM
Yeah, I've read a couple of problems about making sure the mouthpiece is in all the way and I made sure the thing was all the way in when I first got it (I thought I was going to break the mouthpiece) It's all the way in and I even tried pulling it out a bit but still the same problem. My first lesson is Friday and I'll tell my teacher about the problem, and see if he can see what's wrong with it (maybe test his own mouthpiece and see if he has the same problem). Dave, what did you mean by out of adjustment? The horn or the mouthpiece? By the way, like Stencilman said, I appreciate your help. I apologize for not purchasing the horn from you :oops:

04-28-2004, 11:47 AM CAN split open a mouthpiece if the cork is too tight and the mp shank is thin (as many are). I did exactly that to a Leblanc Woodwind soprano piece a couple of years ago. My repairman did fix it with shrink tubing.

Dave Dolson
04-28-2004, 01:41 PM
Years ago, I cracked the barrel on a Selmer S-80 soprano mouthpiece, by forcing it onto a neck cork. DAVE

04-28-2004, 04:03 PM
Sanding the cork, a little at a time, may be necessary to get the piece to go on far enough.

04-28-2004, 05:45 PM
Dave, what did you mean by out of adjustment? The horn or the mouthpiece?

The instrument may not have been gone over by a tech. When we get these in, many of them play pretty good right out of the box, but ALL of them are not 100% setup properly.

Could just have a few leaks in the pads. That is what I meant.

04-28-2004, 10:19 PM
Yeah, Dave, I don't think anyone looked over it. When they first showed it to me, I saw a piece of broken cork (it didn't affect anything, just how silent it was when you pushed the buttons). I don't think it's a leak in the horn though, although that may still be a possibility, however, when I tried re-shaping my embouchure, it worked fine. Only problem is, I can't keep the same mouth formation everytime and I'm not even sure if I'm doing it right :oops: I seriously hope nothing is wrong with the horn...

Dave Dolson
04-28-2004, 10:30 PM
DanA: If possible, have an experienced soprano player try the horn while you listen. DAVE

05-01-2004, 01:24 PM
Hello all once again. I realized the problem and it was that 1.) The ligature wasn't low enough and 2.) The ligature wasn't tight enough. I thought you had to tighten it like the clairnet, not too tight, but you have to tighten it much more. I had my first lesson and my worst fears are confirmed, I suck, but am planning on practicing a minimum of an hour everyday to get better quickly. The only thing I really don't like about my teacher is that he is not a soprano player himself, instead he's a tenor player. This means I probably won't get as much help as I would like with my ebouchure :( as well as many other things.

05-01-2004, 04:28 PM
Only an hour??

Larry Teal says, in his popular book The Art of Saxophone Playing, "All members of the saxophone family have the same fingering system--the structural difference is mainly one of size. No great alteration of technique is required to shift from one to any of the others. Although the embouchure requires minor adjustment, the basic concept of tone production remains the same. The transfer is principally a matter of orientation to a different size mouthpiece and reed."

Give your teacher a chance before giving up on him too soon. And, consider the fact that one hour is just a warm-up for many pros. To improve quickly might require more dedication. Also, practice the right stuff. There is a practice section in this forum where you can pick up some tips in addition to those provided by your teacher.

"Practice makes perfect only if the practice is perfect."

Good luck.

05-01-2004, 04:40 PM
Hehe thanks for the advice.

Paul Coats
05-01-2004, 04:55 PM
Many times a "low register leak" (or what seems to be) with straight soprano saxophones is the way the player is holding the instrument. The soprano saxophone mouthpiece should enter the mouth at about the same angle as the alto sax mouthpiece. The bell needs to be held well up and out to obtain the correct angle.

Many times I have had players complain of a warble on low notes, and while they play, I hook my finger in the bell, and lift... suddenly, the tone clears up, becomes warm and rich. The player looks at me with wide eyes. Wow!

This is one of the main causes of sopranos going back to the store for adjustments and leaks... which the repairman cannot seem to fix.

I have some articles here on SOTW that may be helpful to you:

05-01-2004, 05:00 PM
My pleasure, DanA. You're at the beginning of what I hope turns out to be a long and successful journey seeking to become a competent sax player. I wish you well and hope the enjoyment of your experience makes the effort required seem more worthwhile as you steadily improve toward the achievement of your personal goals.

05-01-2004, 08:11 PM
Question about biting: As I play the upper register notes for long tones, I feel my lower lip getting tighter. I try to keep it steady and not move it, but it moves anyway and if I don't tighten it, I can't get the palm notes to play. I read the suggestions for beginners about biting and keeping your lower lip firm but it feels like I'm biting. Also, after practicing for about 30 minutes to an hr, when I check the mirror, there are teeth marks in my lower lip (not like craters, just a light outline) but no bleeding. Am I biting? Or is this natural? Can anyone give me any advice about how they hit the upper register without tightening the bottom lip causing a bite?

05-06-2004, 06:20 AM
Maybe you should try a softer reed?


05-06-2004, 06:32 PM
only a size 2 :oops:

05-06-2004, 06:54 PM
Maybe that #2 reed is too soft, too soggy or too old. I'd try a fresh reed first, then if the problem persisted, a stronger reed.

05-10-2004, 05:55 PM
I've had a lot of fun with my sop. Only problem is I also play clarinet (which is increasingly getting less time for some reason :lol: )

Like Paul side, I notice quite a difference in tone when I let the horn slowly drop down (old clarinet habit). When I bring it back up, viola. It sounds lovely.

But I tend to drop my head a bit to keep my bell from hitting the music stand when practicing.

I also noticed, like they've all said so far, you may need a harder reed. I need a 2-1/4 right now - i just trim the thing and it works fine otherwise I can't get the high notes w/o really tightening up.

05-14-2004, 10:43 PM
Here's something I've found out about my playing which may apply to you.
When I play to the point of my mouth being tired, I tend to bite. I've forced myself to stop playing at that point because further practice is counterproductive. Only play up to that point. You'll find your session times will increase without biting and be more productive.

05-14-2004, 11:37 PM
Yeah, that's what I tend to do but I'm not satisfied with playing only an hour. I have so much to learn and don't really have the time to play once and rest an hour before playing again...or not until summer vacation hits. I was just wondering if it was natural for beginners to play about an hour before the biting kicks in.

06-09-2004, 11:36 AM
I just got my Antigua yesterday and its great! A problem with my low D, though, wobbling. I read an earlier post about the need to hold the bell up higher, but my question is, why is it mostly the "D" that wobbles?

06-09-2004, 11:44 AM

This past year I started using a mouthpiece patch. I've never used one before until on came on a used mouthpiece that i bought. It was strange at first but since then I think I can play longer without as much fatigue as before. I also think it helps my embouchure stay looser for longer periods.

I use those Yamaha clear medium patches. Quite inexpensive to improve your playing. There's several threads somewhere on this site about patches.

06-09-2004, 02:31 PM
I just got my Antigua yesterday and its great! A problem with my low D, though, wobbling. I read an earlier post about the need to hold the bell up higher, but my question is, why is it mostly the "D" that wobbles?

This is most likely due to you not having the mouthpiece on far enough. Soprano sax cna be very picky about the length of its wind column. On the Antigua sopranos, you need to be almost all the way on the cork with very little cork exposed.

The other possibility is a leak in the Right Hand, however, if there is a leak, you would have a problem with the lower notes beyond it as well.

06-11-2004, 10:53 PM
Many thanks to Paul Coats and David Kessler for their helpful advice regarding low note, "D" wobbling on my Antigua!
It seems that the problem is fixed. :lol:

Thanks also to all on this thread for the help regarding the purchase of an Antigua!


Paul Coats
06-12-2004, 02:24 AM
Yes, Dave, I forgot about that. Thanks. That happens quite often, too, just putting on the mouthpiece, and not tuning it. I see this with guys just casually trying the instrument in stores or at trade shows. At one time Antigua was even marking the neck corks (the only company I have seen do so) with the approximately correct position for the mouthpiece to play in tune.

06-27-2004, 07:23 PM
I have a similar problem with my Antigua, except opposite... I can't seem to get anything above the high C! I can't get any of the left palms to work. Quite frusterating, because everything else is so easy and perfect! Besides that, I'm very much enjoying playing soprano :D

Paul Coats
07-03-2004, 01:24 AM
The weak high notes may be due to your reed/mouthpiece combination, or, it may be your oral cavity.

When we were kids in school bands, the band directors always told to to keep the mouth and throat open, as if saying awwww, to get a full, resonant tone. That is true to an extent, but it does not work for playing the high notes.

On the soprano, as for the high E and F, and altissimo notes on the alto saxophone, the oral cavity is altered beginning around high A (A2, upper register A). The tongue must be raised slightly, as if saying ehhh or errr. This raises the middle of the tongue somewhat. As you play higher, the tongue is raised even more, as if saying eee. The embouchure pressure is not increased. Biting does not help produce the high notes.

07-10-2004, 12:42 AM
I now join the ranks of happy Antigua soprano players, having received mine a little over a month ago now. What a beatiful horn...looks great, easier to play than my Selmer tenor, and sounds great--up the the extent of my present abilities. (And more praise here for Dave Kessler who has been helpful throughout the pre- and post- purchase process. He even rushed mine out so I had it before leaving on a couple weeks of travels, thereby saving me from missing all that important practice. Thanks again, Dave!)
So here's my high notes question: I'm struggling with them like other beginers here. As my embouchure is developing it's definitely getting easier and I can now usually play chromatically up to the high F# tonging each note. But coming back down starting on a high note, or just trying to hit individual high notes, I find I often take two or three tries to get the note. Either I choke off the reed or just make a "thppt!" noise. To hit the note I have to adjust the mouthpiece further into my mouth, tighten my lips or change the angle of the mpc. I think people here have been saying lip tightening is not so good, at least beyond a certain point. I can't imagine it's good to be changing the angle alot. Taking the mpc in further seems to reliably work, but doens't feel to me like the ideal place for playing middle and lower notes, and the mpc slides back out to the position I'm more used to pretty quickly anyway. (Tho' maybe that's a habit I can change). I seem to recall that Paul wrote on another thread about figuring out the proper position on the mpc, but can't re-locate that. Paul, or anyone else, can you remind where that was or say more here? And do most experienced folks find a position for the mpc relative to the mouth and pretty much stay with it, or do you move in-out a bit as you play? The advice I'm seeing here suggests I should mostly focus on developing a good embouchure and experiment with thoat and tongue positions. I'm finding that helps too, but wonder about this position aspect. Thanks for any thoughts on this.--Adam

Paul Coats
07-10-2004, 01:16 AM
I have two articles that will help you in this:


In the first article, Tone Products, just use the mouthpiece pitch of Db, two octaves and a semitone above middle C, instead of the A described for alto sax. But the method is the same.

Then procede to the second article Sorpano Sax Intonation.

07-10-2004, 01:51 AM
Awsome, Paul. You the man! Thanks--Adam

Tim Wolfe
07-17-2004, 12:13 PM

Add me to the list of Antigua soprano owners. Yesterday, I received my 582 from Scimonetti Woodwind and Brass (I'll post a separate message in the dealer and Ebay sections to share my very favorable impressions of Jimmy Scimontetti and his shop).

I recently and reluctantly sold my Yani S901 soprano as I needed some quick cash to help out a family member. The 901 was a great horn. Before I purchased it, I tried all of the major brands and all of their top models. I liked the Yani 901 best.

The Antigua is very close, as least in my initial impressions, to the Yani 901. As you know, the 582 is a copy of the 901. While I obviously didn't have them side by side to compare, the Antigua looks, feels, and plays very similarly to the Yani. It is indeed an accurate copy.

The Antigua's fit and finish are excellent. The materials and workmanship seem to be exceptional, especially considering the price (I paid $650 which included shipping). There is NOTHING about the Antigua that is problematic. It is a quality sax that plays very well. Its intonation (against my tuner) is good from Bb1 to F#3. The tone is also quite good. I would say that the Antigua is 90+% as good as the Yani (at one-third its price). The Yani keywork is a bit faster, and the tone of the Yani seems a bit more resonant. Keep in mind, though, that this is based on my memory of the Yani.

I'm obviously still getting accustomed to this horn, so I will post another message after I've put in many more hours on it. I am confident to say this, though: I wouldn't hesitate to gig on this sax. I have owned other "cheap" horns that I would not gig on. The Antigua appears to me to be one heck of a bargain. I have played a number of Yamaha YSS 475 and several Taiwanese sopranos. The Antigua is superior to those horns.

Add me to the list of happy Antigua owners!

`Tim Wolfe

Jimmy Scimonetti J
07-19-2004, 05:32 AM
Wow...3 posts for just selling one horn. I'm glad you like it, and would agree with your possative remarks. If you have any more questions, just email me through
I hope you get a decade of use out of it...or more!
Jimmy Scimonetti

09-03-2005, 12:41 AM
Bringing this thread back...

Anyway, the A586BC is really calling me right now, I'm sure I want to get going with sop and that horn is just calling me. Oh yea, and a black nickel horn really intrigues me. :)


09-03-2005, 03:02 AM
I have a 590 in black and a student of mine has a 586 lacquer. You can't go wrong with either horn. The 590 is the horn I play all of the time....Serie III is a great horn abut mine doesn't get played any more and is up for sale. Get yourself a Bari HR or Morgan Jazz mouthpiece and ENJOY!!!!!

09-03-2005, 01:35 PM
Morgan jazz or protone? I've been searching around the internet and I can't seem to find a Morgan protone sop mouthpiece. :?

09-03-2005, 01:51 PM
CircaRevival -

DaveK can sell you one with the sax - or you can get them from Dave Hoskis at Both of them great to deal with. I have purchased Morgans from each of them. I got the sop Pro Tone when I purchased my Antigua 586BC from DaveK. According to him, it was one of the last he had in stock that was hand finished by Ralph before he turned that task over to his assistants.

It is a very good mouthpiece (far better than the stock 4c for me), but I now use a Mojo custom Buescher mpc. Accordingly - my ProTone is available for less than new - pm me if you're interested. If you prefer new - you can't go wrong with either of the 2 Daves 8-) !

09-03-2005, 02:09 PM
Great! Thanks! :D Man, I just have to buy that sop... :twisted:

Tom Goodrick
09-03-2005, 02:50 PM
I'd say go for the 586BN. I was going to get the 586LQ and then talked myself into the 586BN after seeing some photos on the Antigua site (from the link on Kessler's site). But then when ordering I talked myself into the 590LQ for $50 more just to get the "top of the line." I doubt I'll ever use the G key which is the only difference.

I like the 4C mouthpiece that comes with it though I also bought the Morgan Protone from Kessler with the sax. It was only $35 and is probably worth getting at least as something to compare with. I suggest you get #3 reeds for either the Morgan or the 4C. I have only 2.5 reeds and they are too weak for the notes above D3.

For more info see my post on the Mouthpiece section.

09-03-2005, 02:56 PM
Thanks, Tom. I'm glad you like your Antigua...I wonder what happened to that used Woodwind one? :?

09-05-2008, 12:07 PM
any extra comments on antigua sopranos a few years after the initial thread ??

( sound , maintenance , problems )


09-05-2008, 12:58 PM

09-05-2008, 01:17 PM

good answer :-)

no information :-(

greetings from Belgium , the country that invented french fries ( confused now ? ):twisted:

Brian The Hornman
09-05-2008, 02:50 PM
I used a friend's Antigua soprano for a while last year when I was playing lead alto and I wasn't quite sure what to think of it. I really liked the sound that I got from it, but honestly I found the thing to be very pitchy, even for a soprano. It's possible that some of the key heights were so far out of adjustment that a tech could've fixed the pitch problems but honestly it made the horn very difficult to play. Prior to this I had been using a school-owned Yamaha (61?) that I liked but the use of the 2 school horns was spread so thin that I decided to try borrowing a friend's horn instead. I guess if I could've had the pitch problems fixed then I would've really liked this horn, so maybe I just had a bad experience?

09-06-2008, 01:55 AM
I bought the 586BC from Kessler after much research. The horn is a copy of the Yani 901. The finish is a copy of a Keilwerth Shadow model. Not a deep black, but. as AW states, a "black chrome".

Anyway, I am not a great sop player, but gave this to my young cousin who is a pro. He loved it and must have played this horn for a good 1/2 hour (Berklee School of Music, etc.)

For the price, you can't beat it. You can go with the Ebay madness as I did, but in the end, this was the best buy for me. Dave Kessler was awesome. I really, really wanted the silver finish, but am real happy with the black.

12-03-2008, 08:42 PM
Hi all,

New to the forum. I play mostly alto and I'm looking to get a less expensive soprano. The posts on the Antigua are interesting. I have seen some used ones for sale on Craiglist and wondered - when did their quality start getting better? Is there a year before which I should avoid ?

One I am looking at now was purchased new in 2003 and is the cheaper one piece 582 LQ. I do not have the serial number info yet.

Thanks - Noam

spacin out on the old Martin - with the Tornotics

12-11-2008, 02:39 PM
Just discovered this thread and have some questions. I have a Buescher soprano - serial no. 197XXX which puts it in the late 20's. I love it and all my Bueschers (nine total). However, I recently heard a really good sax player on a Selmer Super Action Series III. Her sound was awesome. Now I want one! Do I convince my husband to spring for a $4000+ horn or just keep playing the Buescher? The difference I noticed in the Selmer was that the warmth and darkness ran the whole range of the horn. The Buescher tends to thin out in the upper register (maybe it's just me!)

09-20-2009, 11:43 AM
I've had a 586 I got from Dave Kessler for a few years now, and am thrilled with it. Sounds great, workable intonation and it responds really well. It actually outplayed a Mark VI that I bought from Mark Colby that had too much resistance for me.

I've got the straight neck on there semi-permanently, as I had trouble with the octave key bending when I took it on and off.

These are great horns and Kessler Music was great to work with.

If you want to hear the instrument, I've got a widget up on my web site with samples. I used the AW on my cut, Fundamental Dreamer. I'm using a Gary Sugal (rubber) 6 on it.

I got my 586 soprano in today and it's awesome. I had no idea it could be so easy to play in tune without much effort. The curved neck is just a hair less in tune on a note or two compared to the straight but it's hardly noticeable. Effortless response, I can play up to F# easily and maybe could go further but I haven't looked up the fingerings.
The tone is nice with the stock mpc and a #3 reed, my Selmer SS is on loan to a friend so I couldn't try it. I'll get it back tomorrow.
The Yani must really be awesome if it is better than this.
I'm glad with my choice though, I'll use the money I saved to get some other horn later that I "need".
My friend has a silver Jupiter on order from WWBW, so I'll report how the side by side testing goes.
Dave was great to work with and was very helpful.
If you're in the market for a soprano, make sure you check these out.

10-18-2009, 07:22 PM
Hi - I've played sax for over 40 years and am looking to buy a soprano sax secondhand for around $500. I have my eye on an Antigua Winds straight model (serial # begins with YS), and an LA Soprano. Can anyone tell me which one is considered to be a better horn? I am more of a classical player and want a deep, mellow sound rather than a bright vibrant one. Thanks for your help!

10-26-2009, 03:05 AM
Recently I bought an Antigua Soprano on ebay. I haven't received it yet, but was interested in tracing its history. Are there any resources available to trace serial numbers? The serial # is 955102.

11-20-2009, 10:07 AM
I'm in the market foe one of these horns. But I want a semi-dark tone with lots of projection, any advice on mouthpieces? Brand/ Tip opening etc...

10-29-2012, 01:13 AM
What about the newer models of the Antigua sopranos? Are they any different than the older models?