Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Cheap used horn opinions?

User ID: 9314413
Jan 8th 6:12 PM
I was prowling my local pawn shops today when I found a used YAS-52 that the store was willing to let go for $400. It recently came from the local repair shop (forgot to ask which shop!) and no one has asked about saxes in the store for a while, so they are eager to get it out.

Now, I'm just picking up the horn after a 9 year break (played for 6 years before that), and all I'm working with is the YAS-23 I first got way back when. I like the horn, it's been good to me, but I outgrew it years ago, but I was always strapped for cash and couldn't trade up. Now I'm hoping to let my 23 go and put the cash towards the 52.

I can't afford much more than that anytime soon. I'd love to get a YAS-61 or better horn, but between a wife in grad school and a new house, money is very tight for the foreseeable future. Also, having my chops humbled by suck a long break, I can't justify any more money.

I've always liked Yamaha horns (started off on my YAS-23, played a YTS-61 for a few years, and was able to borrow a friends' YAS-62 every now and then) and this is a super price for the 52 (I forgot my mouthpiece so I couldn't try it, but I can't resist! Should I?

I also happened to find a Evette alto (453,xxx) that looks like an intermediate level horn for $350. Anyone know anything about this horn, and if it's "better" than the 52?

Sorry for rambling! Thanks in advance.
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9614573
Jan 8th 8:53 PM
Andres: I'm not a big fan of Yamaha saxophones, but from what I've read, the 52 may be superior to anything in the student line. Of course, each saxophone has it's own strengths (and weaknesses). You may find a student horn that plays, but chances are that a horn like the 52 will be better. DAVE
User ID: 7705853
Jan 10th 7:17 PM
buy the 52.this is the worlds best intermed. sax that out plays most pro models. at 400 this is a sweet deal
User ID: 0952054
Jan 11th 3:35 AM
Andres, I have an unusual tip for you. There is one "dark runner" that can be had at under $200 on eBay when it pops up. If you'll promise not to tell any one else what you've got -- if you do decide to get it -- email me and I'll tell you what it is and how to learn to identify it.

[email protected]
User ID: 7705853
Jan 11th 8:26 AM
oh please spare us the I KNOW A SECRET BUT WONT TELL ROUTINE. the purpose of this form is to share info and help others.
User ID: 9272753
Jan 14th 3:28 PM
If you like it buy it. It'll be better to play that than a 23. It should have good resale value. So when you are ready cash wise you can move up to a nice new silver Custom ;^).
User ID: 9461303
Jan 19th 10:49 PM
Out of curiosity, does anyone know when Yamaha switched the -52 left hand pinky table to a tilting "MkVI" type?

I wonder how difficult/expensive it would be to retrofit an older horn with this? I think that's the one ergonomic feature that I love about "modern" saxes.
User ID: 2463104
Jan 19th 11:45 PM
Andres, see my topic on classic horns.

But if the 52 sounds good and makes you happy you should buy it. Realize that probably EVERY Buescher 400, "the Martin" and many Conns will outplay the crap out of it though.

Just so you know though, I don't play these fine instruments, just bought 8 horns for my 12 year old so he can.

Good luck.
User ID: 9461303
Jan 20th 12:21 AM

I'll likely buy the 52 in the next few weeks. It's still languishing at the pawn shop. Gotta wait for my tax return $$ to get in first (just got my W2's and fired them off :). I just don't have the resources to buy 8 horns at a time (see my first post)!

I have 2 vintage horns ('49 Buescher tenor and an ancient silver(plate?) Evette alto), and they do sound better (IMHO) than most of the newer horns I've tried. However, I've always favored my old Yamaha alto over the Evette, and I think the 52 will make me happy.

The tilting left-hand spatula is wishful thinking on my part, although I would like to know when Yamaha switched to them on the 52. I love how easy the action is on horns that have them. Surely some tech out there knows of a hopefully easy way to modify an old horn for this?

User ID: 7705853
Jan 20th 9:50 AM
buy the 52!
W. Minier
User ID: 1578334
Jan 20th 10:34 AM
Andres-The switch to the Selmer type spatula was made about 3 years ago on the American horns(A, after serial number). Probably a bit longer on the Japnese horns. Modifying would be a bit of a stretch. The peg for the ball would have to be silver soldered ruining the lacquer on the key of course. Same for the fitting on the low Bb that the ball/peg fits into. Maybe you should see if these two keys could be ordered/bought. They will fit the old posts. I have no idea of the cost. I think it's alot of messing around for what little it achieves. The keys are still too soft and go out of adjustment quite easily. My humble opinion.