Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / What Horn for $2000?

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User ID: 0916684
Jun 4th 6:28 PM
I have a budget of about US $2000. Preferably an alto around $1600. What brand/model do you reccommend? I've play tested just about all of em in that price range... So which do you think i should get?

New YAS-62? (Save some money for on the side)

Used (near mint) SA80?

POS condition MK VI?

any others?
User ID: 9753653
Jun 4th 6:47 PM
If it was me, I would find the perfect gold-plated Martin Handcraft and pocket the rest of the money....for you, maybe get a perfect, mint Buescher Aristo......
User ID: 9760743
Jun 4th 6:55 PM
Go for the Mark VI. Is there really any other choice?
User ID: 3424904
Jun 4th 7:21 PM
Of course there is.
User ID: 7399413
Jun 4th 10:43 PM
IMO, Yamaha 62 or Selmer SA80II. Both are very popular at universities in USA. Can't go wrong there. How bad is that VI? Dents? Bent bell? What exactly makes it a pos?

User ID: 0561484
Jun 5th 12:06 AM
It has some *fixed* dents, and need 1/2 a pad job...
User ID: 8032783
Jun 5th 9:17 AM
I've got 2 great altos to sell;a 68xxx satin silver Martin Handcraft alto-just overhauled and a 280xxx Buescher Aristocrat alto in very good condition-either of which is far better than most MKVI's-if you're interested in vintage You could buy both of these horns for less than your maximum budget.
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User ID: 1884774
Jun 5th 11:00 AM
If they are pea sized dents no problem. If they were whoppers with creases in the metal I would not rx the Mark VI. Resale value of creased VIs is not so hot.

Basically I rx to students going to college modern horns, not vintage. There is much hype about "vintage" on this forum that is not shared by the rest of the music world.
User ID: 9753653
Jun 5th 11:36 AM
You mean it is not shared by the rest of the saxophone world....the rest of the music world could care less....and frankly, who cares what others think? what you damn well want. I am sick of others who have motives other than musical ones.
User ID: 1766884
Jun 5th 11:45 AM
"There is much hype about "vintage" on this forum that is not shared by the rest of the music world."

Not disputing that, but could there be a difference between the "rest of the world" and the academic one, as well?

I'm going to a rehearsal in a few moments in a non-academic band and I'll be playing lead alto on a Conn Lady Face. On one side of me will be an altoist playing a Chu Conn and on the other side of me a tenorist playing a Balanced Action Selmer. Further down the section are two Mark VI's. We all bought our instruments before the current vintage interest and independently of one another.

Our musical style does not reflect the age or eras of the instruments. We play contemporary compositions and a lot of Latin music.
User ID: 2442714
Jun 5th 11:53 AM
The sax world is fickle. Apparently a saxophone isn't "vintage" if the Selmer logo is stamped on the side=)
User ID: 9753653
Jun 5th 11:53 AM
Could be....but again, I could care less what professors or anyone else has to say about my horn. It's a personal choice. I played Selmers in college that was predominantly Yamaha (my teacher was from the Kenneth Fischer, Rousseau studio) and I got teased all the time for playing Selmers. He was mostly joking, but if he wasn't I would have told him to stuff it. I know there are other predominantly Selmer studios that will get on your case if you don't have Selmers....and I would tell them to stuff it as well...

The four schools I auditioned at a couple months ago for the masters program were predominantly vintage schools. They did not care what I played. I don't play Bueschers and I saw others there playing modern horns....I told myself a long time ago that I have no interest in attending a school that places equipment above, well above anything really. Music comes first in my mind and I am convinced that those schools who will insist on what you is a secondary, less important part of the program.
User ID: 2442714
Jun 5th 12:00 PM
Amen Kev. I was fortunate enough with Allen Rippe(old Sinta guy) to have a teacher that didn't have an endorsement deal with any one company and therefore had Selmer altos and sopranos (now plays a Guardala alto), Yamaha tenor, and Couf bari (which I would LOVE to get my hands on- FAT FAT FAT sound!). One of the things he taught me even back in high school was that the best horn is the one that sound the best when you put it to your lips.
User ID: 2024664
Jun 5th 9:41 PM
Absolutely. I own four Mark VIs, a Buescher Aristocrat alto, Yamaha 61 (now vintage?) bari, so obviously the sound in my head is the older sound, and I am an older player. But there is another generation out there that hears the modern sax and I think they need to be encouraged to go for that. The saxophone world is mighty broad and there is room for all kinds of variations within it.
User ID: 9753653
Jun 5th 10:17 PM
Sure....people ought to play what they want to interesting thing at Louisville, when I auditioned there. The new sax prof, John Moore, plays a Conn tenor. Also, recently, a wonderful saxophonist, Allen Warren, visited and played a recital (he plays a Buescher). Louisville has been for a long time a "Selmer" studio. After hearing Allen Warren and John Moore play their vintage horns, there has been a large number of students there very interested in trying vintage horns and mpc's. They simply hadn't heard vintage horns before in a personal context. They loved the sound that they produced, and if they were simply encouraged or were told to get the new horns because it was assumed that is the sound they wanted, they never would have had the opportunity to be impressed with the sound of these great vintage horns.

A similar thing has been taking place at Fredonia.....the more options available to musicians means more variety for music. I played Selmers for 15 years and was happy with that....other than there just was something I didn't like but couldn't place. I was never excited about the saxophone like I needed to be to pursue it seriously. When I allowed myself to be exposed to other types of horns, I finally found the type of sound that had alluded me without realizing it. There is no way I would be seriously pursuing music today if it wasn't for the fact that I finally found that voice that I was secreting searching for.
User ID: 0798784
Jun 6th 7:19 AM
Like Gary above I just returned from our big band rehearsal and here's what the section plays. I am the only one of these guys that looks on this forum. Bari, low A MK VI,1st tenor,Conn Chu, 2nd tenor (me) MK VI tenor, 1st alto Vito, 2nd alto, Selmer Serie II Silver 2nd alto, Selmer USA 100 alto. It is a mix of vintage and new and that is what I would expect to see in most places. In my wind orchestra it is the same kind of mix 1st alto Selmer 80 Serie II 1st alto Vito, 2nd alto Selmer MKVII and Selmer USA, tenor Pre Chu silver Conn two of these mine is a 1922 and the other guys is a 1921. MKVI bari.I would be interrested to know if this cross section is common in other adult bands.
User ID: 9892733
Jun 9th 1:41 AM
Our local big band (older guys) seem to all be married to Selmer....Serie II, Mark VI & VII altos, tenor's a MKVI & bari too. Wind Symphony is more mixed; altos comprised of Serie III, MKVII, Yamaha 52, Bundy II, and Keilwerth. Tenors are Yanigasawa & Ref 54. Bari's a Yamaha. The younger generation seems to prefer the newer Selmers, Yanis & Yamahas.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0860834
Jun 9th 2:03 AM
Alan, you mean there's not a single MK VI or vintage US horn in your wind symphony?

That to me makes an interesting point. Could it be that these older horns, the classics, are mostly being traded/played/collected by people who are also, in a sense, classics?

I'm turning 42 in less than a week, and my oldest horn (in need of a complete overhaul to be really playable) is not yet 40. The next oldest I esimate to be from about 1970, the one from 1981, and the rest of them are less than three years old. I plan to acquire three more over the next year, and they'll all be new (unless I can find a cherry S1 tenor).

Sorry to get off the track there a bit, but it really is relevant.

Me!!, SOTW is a wonderful place to learn about what other people are playing and how it's working for them, but the only way you can find out what works for you is by trying. The top lines of modern and current production saxes are well made, good sounding horns. In the right hands they really sing, all of them in their own way. Don't rule them out.
User ID: 9753653
Jun 9th 2:50 AM
I am 31 and play a 1926 Martin Handcraft and I hope I am not a classic yet....There is also right now, the largest number of vintage saxophone players in college (young guys) than there has been since probably the vintage days. In other words, younger saxophonists are more and more playing vintage horns...obviously still in the minority by far, but the numbers are increasing.

Incidentally, at my undergrad school, and local wind symphony, all saxophones were modern vintage. One peer of mine in college played a Balanced Action for a short period of time before switching to Yamaha (he is now a Yamaha clinician) and all of the modern horns I am talking about were Mark VI's, SA 80 II's, and Yamaha Customs....
User ID: 9892733
Jun 9th 6:46 AM
No, there's not a single Mark VI in our wind symphony. I play a MKVII, 255xxx (1976) and it's probably the oldest of the lot.
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