Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / what's a good one for a 11 year old

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User ID: 0680084
Oct 21st 2:58 PM
i need a secont sax
Isaac Armstrong
User ID: 0240854
Dec 2nd 6:04 PM
What brand, type, model do u play now? When did u start playing? What is your budget (or your parents actually)? How long do you PLAN on playing? What finish (if given a choice) would you prefer? What sound are you looking for (which may not pertain given your percieved lack of experience)?

These are all questions that need to be answered first, before you buy a a saxophone (or ANY instrument!).
User ID: 0833354
Dec 2nd 6:13 PM
Generaql rule of thumb - avoid price-point marketed "student" instruments. It makes me very sad to see students struggling because the brand new sax bought on a budget to meet their and their parents ego needs for 'new' play so poorly, have such severe intonation problems or are not sturdy enough to play well consistantly.

I bought our learner a R. Malerne - Paris sax - nickel keywork, rolled tone holes and solid construction. Plays well enough to be a pro's backup horn, but including everything needed to be set up right was less than 1/2 the cost of the cheapest nastiest new student Alto.

Best of all there is no reason not to play this one through school. I've laid in a Keilwerth Stencil Tenor for him as well - similar bargin for pro-type horn.

This youngster went with me to the repairman, who talked up the horn after working on it (the Malerne) which went a long ways towards bridging over the 'new sax' hype fed to the kids!


Isaac Armstrong
User ID: 0240854
Dec 3rd 7:53 PM
Good point. My first sax was a 1960's Bundy. Good solid sax, and in my opinion is equal to or better than some modern Intermediate "Clones". I wish I wouldn't have sold it! They can be had for around $150 to $200. And they can be sold for the SAME price as when you bought it!
Gordon (NZ)
User ID: 9976863
Dec 4th 4:58 AM
May I suggest a few-years-old Yamaha. At least they are consistently well designed and manufactured, easy to play, in tune. Low depreciation?

Be careful with old instruments. A cheap one will not bve cheap if you have to have a complete repad done.
Gordon (NZ)
User ID: 9976863
Dec 4th 5:00 AM
But whatever you get, the most important thing is to pay the little extra to get it well adjusted, not necessarily by the possibly clueless seller, but by a really reputable technician.

(Note that a technician cannot do much to adjust pads that have badly hardened with age/use if they have done this while OUT of adjustment.)
User ID: 2463104
Jan 20th 9:31 AM
Get a Buescher 400 or a Yhe Martin used off of e-bay and follow Gordons advice about a reputable repairperson going over it. I found an old guy in Portland to check them out. If nothing is wrong he says so. No charge. Any you can't get a better sound.

Mouthpiece, hands down get a JodyJazz. Jody will tell you the best one, but you'll probably get the pretty blue one anyway!!

Then practice practice and practice some more.

Jodys site:
User ID: 0986624
Jan 20th 9:47 AM
bill - I'm a little confused. I thought you were not a sax player, or musician for that matter. How did I get that wrong?
User ID: 0317884
Jan 20th 11:27 AM
gary, I'm not either, but I sure have indirectly acquired my share of axes.
my 2 cents-warmaster, what music are you playing? Are you a student or adult? in school or out? Able to make sax adjustments, or clueless?
An adult can start on whatever he/she wants. Play a bunch, read their average cost on ebay, ask the director/bandleader/spouse what they think, and get whatever.
P.S. There is no one best mouthpiece. Same instructions as in the above paragraph.
If you are mechanically clueless, think carefully before buying beat up vintage because they can and will go out of whack.
If you are a student, I can only tell you based on my extensive band Mom experience. Show up with a Yamaha 23, a C*, a Vandoren 2.5, and a pencil, and the director will say thank you for coming to class properly prepared.
P.S.S. colored horns and colored mouthpieces will get comments from band directors, like, red Art Pepper? Are you trying to be festive? It's not Christmas or Valentines's Day. Black Mark VII? Uh, on the football field, it won't show the dirt. School band directors are generally conservative. Brass or silver ax. Black hr mouthpiece. Real cane reeds.
User ID: 0986624
Jan 21st 4:45 AM
warmaster - this is for an 11 year old, is that correct? If it's for a beginner in a normal band school program I just want to add an additional comment about mouthpieces.

It was advised that you get a Jody Jazz mouthiece and I would suggest that you might also look at something like a Selmer C* or Vandoren classical MPC unless your 11 year old has been playing for a couple of years and is primarily playing alto in the school's jazz band.

A little time back there was a thread about band directors requiring certain strength reeds for their students and the discussion developed into a lot of information about set-ups in general for school-aged musicians. You might find some good information there.

Also, I have recently had a problem with my sound and volume level in a wind ensemble and if you look in the mouthpiece thread under "Help, I'm too loud", you will also see some good experienced advice about what some mouthpiece options might be.

Of course, if your 11 year old is playing primarily in jazz band that's different. A JJ would work fine, although even then, I play my Meyer 6M for lead big band work and reserve my Runyon, (from which a Jody Jazz is made) for other work.

Whatever choice you make I wish your little one (don't tell her or him that!) best of luck...and fun.
User ID: 0317884
Jan 21st 7:52 AM
My 16 year old plays in jazz band at his high school and in the all region jazz band, one of two altos-that means a lot of exposure. He plays a hr 7 Meyer or a hr Berg Larsen; despite loving metal in general and Links, Dukoffs, and Beechler in particular, an ensemble means BLEND. Gary's suggestions are very correct.
For symphonic band, C* or C** or D, Vandoren, Rousseau, Morgan, Caravan, will do. imho, as a band Mom.
User ID: 1160984
Jan 21st 8:12 AM
I recently got a new YAS 275 for my 9 year old. It is a truly superb horn, easily the equal in build quality and finish of a Yani 901 I also own. It plays beautifully across the range from subtone to wail, and we are using a C* on it. For me it was outanding value, I used to own a YAS 25L but the 275 is a much better horn. Costs you about US $650-700 (dep on exchange rate) at - out of the box this played superbly.
User ID: 0317884
Jan 21st 8:21 AM
275 - adjustable thumb rest, all lacquer, with a high F sharp key. Other than that, it is a 23. Might could get it mailorder in the USA for about that, if that helps.
User ID: 2414344
Jan 21st 8:33 AM
IMHO, I will tell you that for an 11 year old the Yamaha 23 really is a great horn. As far as alto's go I play a Yamaha 62 and a Conn from 1923. The vintage is a great sounding horn but to delicate for an 11 year old. The Yamaha 62 also is really not that good for a beginner. I also do not like the Selmer C* mouthpiece. My stock cheap plastic Yamaha 4C plays much easier with a better tone.A Vandoren classical MPC might work better. It would seem that the director will want the sax to BLEND with the band and not be heard above all of the other instruments. I play solo and jazz music on a JJ, Link, and Runyon mouthpieces, but I am also in a band where I can't blend with that sound. Stick with something that you have heard about like Selmer and Yamaha and stay away from "house" brand saxes.You can usually pick up a Bundy or a Yamaha 23 for about $400.00 and when your student is ready to move on you can sell it for what you bought it for if it is undamaged.
Isaac Armstrong
User ID: 9558813
Jan 21st 5:15 PM
My Mom bought my Bundy (in 1988) for $200 in perfect working order. I played on it until 1995 when i stupidly sold it. I did an overhaul on it myself before turning around and selling what my Mom had paid for it ($200). The end of the bell was lipped over from falling offa desk in grade school (it was before I bought a sax stand, and a laid it on the desk in 1989 at a rehearsal for the San Diego All City Honor Band).
User ID: 2463104
Jan 23rd 6:50 PM
To the thread: I asked my son Shaun for his advice and told me he had posted under the warmaster handle. I should have guessed. He had asked me for a 2nd horn back in Oct. and I had shown him SOTW. Shaun currently has 8 altos and soon 1 soprano. I got the info from this site back in October and got carried away. Like Issac, I had bought a used Bundy almost 2 years ago, and Shaun had really enjoyed playing it. He even marched in a large parade with the thing. When I told him that people had responded to him and asked some questions, he had said he was going to reply under the new name "spoiledkid" or something like that.
List of horns:
Conn Shooting star
Martin "The Martin"
Yanagisawa A-9933 (sterling bell job)
Yamaha YAS-62
Buescher 400
Yanagisawa A-900
Buffet Superdynaction
and of course a Selmer Bundy!!

Today I bought a sweet looking Buffet SDA Soprano on e-bay too, just finished paying for it.

Ordered a jodyjazz and some populair reeds too ( you should check out the story of these guys if nothing else, amazing!!!)

At this point, the Sax buying thing can be classified properly as a sickness. (My childhood was great, but substantially less than modest would be a mild understatement) This is what my wife believes anyway: and sickness it officially is. There are 5 fantastic altos in the living room on stands right now, Shaun played 4 of them last night and regularly plays them. They all sound great and I really appreciate hearing my son play. Origonally he was going to keep the 2 he liked the best - hmmmm, he likes them all. They all came in great condition except the Buffet which needed a couple of pads but now plays awesome.

The info on SOTW and you friendly folks were a great help in learing about what to get. Thank you all so much!!

User ID: 9760743
Jan 23rd 7:43 PM
did you buy 7 horns in the course for 4 months? I would like a Chu Berry Alto please!(Maybe I'm not reading your post correctly. :)
User ID: 1160984
Jan 24th 1:53 AM
Having actually owned both a 25 (which was mint) and a 275, I can tell you the latter plays miles better, has an overall better quality and very different feel and they managed to list price it here in Europe it at about 200 ($300) less than the 25 used to be; with discount they can be had for barely more than a well-played secondhand 23 or 25 needing a service. My friend recently paid 500 for an old 23 which is a bit of a dog, my 275 was 539. I think I know which I'd rather have. They have done the same with the 275 tenor which apparently is even more of a stormer.
User ID: 0770504
Jan 24th 9:35 PM
billcoe, if you neeeeed another son. I'm available!
Isaac Armstrong
User ID: 8450833
Jan 25th 5:06 PM
Man that's a lot of Altos! All I own are 2 tenors, 1 alto (soon to be two) and 1 soprano!
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