Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Best pro horn for the $$$.

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User ID: 3326684
Jun 2nd 2:07 PM
I am going up to school next year and my professor has told me that I need to basically scrap my Jupiter Artist Series and buy a pro alto. I am mostly a tenor and bari player, and very much a jazz player. He says I should get a Mark VI which I would love to do but unfortunately I don't have access that kind of money. I can't seem to sell my Yani T-990 and no one will even consider buying the jupiter. Even with trying to trade both the horns to a dealer, for ex. USAhorn, I've been told that even if they could/would accept my two horns it would hardly scratch the surface of the price of a Mark VI alto. Does anybody have any suggestions for a horn that won't run me more than $2300.


P.S. Keep in mind that I don't like yamaha's.
User ID: 6354283
Jun 2nd 2:41 PM

Email me.

[email protected]
User ID: 6354283
Jun 2nd 3:11 PM
If you email me -- I have a couple of Selmer Altos I would sell. I might be willing to work a trade involving your Yani and Jupiter. I don't have any Mark VIs but I've got some more recent pro stuff that's really nice and perfect for college.
Ian O'B.
User ID: 0979534
Jun 2nd 3:14 PM
Selmers are definitely the most expensive of all the vintage horns, especially Mark VI's. You might want to try some Conns(10M, 20M, whatever), or Bueschers(True Tone, Aristocrat). They're both usually in the $1000 range or so. The 270xxx series is supposed to be the best of the Bueschers. I'd say they're both good player's horns, and a good one is comparable to any mark VI. The only downside is that the fingering doesn't feel as modern as the Mark VI, and the response might seem a little "alien" compared to new pro horns.
User ID: 8931733
Jun 2nd 3:53 PM
Noel, you say you play mostly tenor and bari, yet you want to plunk down major wads of cash for a Mk VI alto?

Are you studying classical or jazz saxophone? If it's classical, yes, you will be stuck playing alto, but a SA80II is the preferred horn in that bag.

If you're studying jazz, you should be plowing money into a really good tenor - since that seems to be your horn of choice. And if so, why sell the Yani? It's a great horn.

You need to get your priorities straight, and not be a slave to your prospective prof's preferences.
User ID: 3326684
Jun 2nd 3:58 PM
Yeah...I am studying classical. The yani is a great horn. But my dad bought me a Mark VI tenor for graduation and I have a guardala bari. I have a couple of professional clarinets and even an intermediate bass clarinet. I had money and my dad had money, but between the two of us over the years we don't have much left to spend on horns. But the prof wants me to study 2 years of classical sax on alto.
User ID: 8931733
Jun 2nd 4:06 PM
It's odd for a classical prof to recommend a VI - like I said, a SA80II is the norm in that. Those can be had at reasonable prices. Definitely less than $2300.
User ID: 8255903
Jun 2nd 9:45 PM
You need to get a hold of a Buffet SDA. You can find them in your price range and they lend them selves well to both classical and jazz depending on the mouthpiece/reed setup.
Gordon (NZ)
User ID: 1265504
Jun 2nd 9:57 PM
Shikes!! Ian wrote, "You might want to try some Conns(10M, 20M, whatever)"

The Conn 20M is one of the worst recentm horns made, from my perspective as a mediocre player and accomplished technician.

Don't overlook Hanagisawa and Yamaha 62, which are often cheap.
User ID: 8722703
Jun 2nd 10:27 PM
Noel, all suggestions could work, but why not go the Selmer serie III in the newer matte finish from Europe?
The finish looks a lot like the Ref 54 without the antique blacking and is much nicer looking than the regular matte finish.
Looks aside, the III will perform well in a classical situation with the right mp and reed set up- and when your classical work is done, you have a screaming jazz horn too. You can get one in England for around $2,200.00 US.
Like you, I'd forego the Yamahas too.
Another possibility, if you like your Guardala, is to look into a B&S 2001 or Codera that is sold through the Woodwind and Brasswind.The Codera is a fantastic horn and the price at the WW&BW is hard to pass up if you are thinking this way. B&S horns are a GREAT bargain and are highly underrated.
Ocassionally you can get a Guardala at a good price on Ebay too, or try Saxofoonwinkel in the Netherlands for an excellent retail price.
Good luck....
User ID: 2442714
Jun 4th 12:38 PM
Guardala's can be had at a very good price (paid $1355 for mine after shipping off ebay) but I like the Guardala tenor much more than the alto. I actually recently played a Cannonball Big Bell alto that I loved. I'm still partial to my YAS875 though.
Dr G
User ID: 0916684
Jun 4th 2:49 PM
A Selmer Serie II can be a screamin' jazz horn or fine classical alto. Very versatile and a real sleeper on the used market. I've bought a couple of them for around $1500 each. Highly recommended. (And, no, I don't have one for sale.) Get a Rouseau or similar for classical and a Coelho (RPC) .090 for jazz and you're set... for well under $2000.

G'luck in school.
User ID: 1578334
Jun 4th 7:10 PM
Noek............Keilwerth SX90R........about 2000 bucks at Saxofoonwinkel. Absolutely wonderful horns. Read the new section on Keilwerths. They are in some ways, the antithesis of Yamahas. Lots of info there. Good luck
User ID: 2017574
Jun 5th 2:47 AM
I have played the BS COdera alto and it is a pro model horn.
It is being sold at close out prices by WWBW.
It is in the same level as a Yana 991 or maybe a Keilerth SX90R.
IT has the resoblades instead of pads and maybe there wont be parts to replace or fix them but you can get the horn real cheap and it is again a pro horn.
Brice B.
User ID: 1836024
Jun 5th 6:19 AM

They have Series II for $1999 and III for $2399. The price includes shipping also. Not too bad of prices really.
Roger Aldridge
User ID: 0735934
Jun 5th 7:24 AM

Have you considered a vintage Buescher New Aristocrat alto? My dream horn would be in the 264xxx serial number range. You should be able to get one for around $2,000. Other Buescher models (True Tone and Aristocrat) are typically in the $1,000 to $1,400 range. Gayle at can give you good advice about vintage Bueschers.

I used to have several Mark VI altos. I now have a late model Buescher True Tone. For what I'm looking for in an alto I very much prefer a vintage Buescher to a Mark VI. This, of course, is a matter of personal choice. It might be worth your while to read some of the comments about Buescher that have been posted by Bootman. My Buescher alto and soprano are everything that he described in terms of tonal quality, intonation, response, etc.
User ID: 8868883
Jun 5th 7:28 AM
My experience of Donmack is that they advertise a lot of stuff they don't actually have, but they are a well-established business.

Meanwhile, in reponse to the question itself, The Yanagisawa A901 for about $1200-1300 (after taking off tax and converting to USD) is a credible choice; intonation and playability are faultless and it would do all you ask of it. Try for example. My teacher uses one of these professionally, maybe a good choice if alto is not your favourite and you would rather not spend a whole wad of cash on an alto. These horns are also incredibly consistent and well-set up, so they play really easily too.

(The Mk VI seems to be the choice of many pros playing clasical as well as jazz, didn't Marcel Mule design it for them, after all?)
User ID: 7677573
Jun 5th 9:25 AM
What about yana A991 i believe with case and shipping its $1800 USD or something like that from woodbrass(australia). Its good horn very versetile i think.
User ID: 2442714
Jun 5th 11:40 AM
So what is everyone's problem with Yamaha's anyway?! When I first went to Grand Rapids to pick mine up have of Sinta's saxophone studio offered to trade their Mk VIs and SA80s for them. The Customs are excellent, excellent horns. The 62s, in some situations, are also excellent horns.
User ID: 9753653
Jun 5th 11:45 AM
Yamaha's are fine horns. When I was playing Selmer's, I did not care for Yamaha's because compared to my Selmer, it was a little "smaller" in the lower end. Everything else was identical....I just preferred the larger bottom end. I have to say that I was unimpressed with the large solder bead going down the center of the bell (on the inside) of the customs I saw. They may not be like that anymore, but it put a thorn in my side at the time....

It is interesting, I have similar stories from a couple people that have Bueschers where almost an entire saxophone studio wanted to turn in their Selmer's and Yamaha's for vintage....
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