Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Who know the answer?

User ID: 0443584
May 18th 11:40 AM
We always heard about:

Student horn: Easy to handle for the beginner & less air-steam is require

Professional horn (not all but many): More difficult to handle & require more air-steam

What design of the sax made this difference?
User ID: 1341734
May 18th 11:44 AM

I wouldn't agree with the premises. I own a student horn but the pro-horns that I had a chance to try out were easier to handle.
User ID: 0443584
May 18th 1:03 PM

Which student you have & when you started to use it? Also, When you started to try that pro-horn? Perhaps after you tried that pro-horn after started a period to play sax, right?

If so, is that mean you already reach to a level then try that pro-horn?

If you give a Yas-275 & a Selmer Mark VI to a beginner who just start within a week or a month, which horn you think will easier for him? Of course, I don't mean all pro-horn but many.

User ID: 1341734
May 18th 4:53 PM

I started playing a year ago so I am still a beginner. I own an alto sax made by Dixon (which is in a good condition) and a rather old silverplated German brand.

Recently I went to Saxofoonwinkel in Holland and tried a Yanagisawa 901, 992, A Yamaha Custom 875, a Selmer SA 80 II and a Keilwerth (the Peter Ponzol model; they didn't have the SX90R, which I wanted to play, in stock).

I found every one of those horns at least as easy to blow as my Dixon.

I admit this is only a very limited experience, but perhaps some of the more experienced players will share their thoughts as well.

(BTW: I liked the Keilwerth best)
User ID: 9753653
May 18th 4:55 PM
pro-horns are usually much easier to handle and to play. It is to bad that beginners are so often given pieces of sh*t to learn on. Beginner horns are much better now than a few years ago, but they will never be as good as pro horns.
Ian O'B. May 18th 10:46 PM
1 is worst, 3 is best.

Easy to blow through:

1. Pro
2. Student
3. Vintage(Mark VI's)

Best response:

1. Vintage or Pro, depending on your opinion
3. Student

By vintage I of course refer to Vintage pro models like most selmers, conns, etc. Student horns are usually just made of cheaper materials than pro horns, and are not checked for intonation as well. The lacquer is generally of poorer quality(not to mention not as lustrous)and nothing is pre-oiled or prepped. Basically, "student" horns are cheaper because not nearly as much is put into them as a "pro" horn. Then of course there are silver plate, gold plate, silver body, brass body, and many other things that are generally seen only on pro horns and which add considerable amount to their price.
Ian O'B. May 18th 11:18 PM
Whoops. 1 is BEST, 3 is WORST. :)
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0053014
May 19th 6:17 AM
Student horns are characterized by good looks, so kids won't be ribbed by other kids for having an ugly instrument. Some of them play ok, and are easy blowing. Others less so. I remember playing a slew of horns in and before high school, and I always thought the pretty ones sounded best. But the ugly ones (mostly 20-yr-old Conns and Bueschers) were easier blowing compared to the newer and prettier cheapos the school system bought. Modern horns cover the gamut--lousy to awesome. If you're just starting out and you can afford a pro horn, try some out. A moderately serious student should make faster progress on a better horn. But if the student is a child, consider whether he or she exhibits a responsible attitude toward other possessions, like glasses or a watch or a bicycle. A kid trashes his bike, will most likely trash his sax as wll. In that case, go cheap first!
User ID: 9774843
May 19th 1:57 PM
So, you think if a complete new comer will be more eailer to play a Selmer Series III than a Yamaha 275 (doesn't matter alto or tenor)???

Although I never try a III, I think series III require more air-steam than a 275??
Robert Gifford
User ID: 9649143
May 19th 6:34 PM
Well I'm not too sure with this on saxes, but for clarinets most student horns have larger bores which make them easier to blow than the professional ones. Also my vintage '23 Beuscher is a lot easier to blow than my '96 Selmer or my Beginner horn.
Paul C.
User ID: 9050343
May 22nd 5:20 AM
I would not make these generalizations at all.

The main difference between pro saxes and student...

They will play equally easily IF they both have good pad sealing and adjustment.

The keys are usually more "ergonomic" on pro saxes. Keywork is smoother, too. But also, keys on student saxes are sized for smaller hands... palm keys are closer to the body of the sax.

Pro saxes have more rugged construction... ribs under post.

Pro saxes have additional keys, such as high F#, or other features.
User ID: 9899833
May 27th 11:15 AM

I've chance to test on a B & S alto (very high model but I forgot model number). It much difficult to play than my Yana A901. B & S require a lot of air-steam compare to me horn. I hear very heavy feedback when running scale on that B & S.