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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I wish I knew more about Yamaha horns but the information is so widespread I thought I'd seek some advice here. I have a 64 Selmer Bundy 1 Alto but I think I can upgrade it to a Yamaha YAS-23 that is 2 years old used by a high schooler. I hear YAS-23's are pretty good horns and being so much newer may play better.

Am I misguided here?

Thanks for any insights.
 

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Upgrade to a Yamaha 23?

They are good horns and certainly play very well but the Series 21 23 25 275 have always been intended to be played by students, good though they are.


In the archives there is a lot of material and let me point you to a number of threads an the YAS 23 ( the search returns over 5740 hits...)

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showt...-begginer-sax-(Yamaha-yts-23-or-Selmer-bundy)
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?91119-YAS-21-or-23-Which-is-better
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?32948-Yamaha-YTS-23-vs-pro-horn
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?157463-What-Makes-Yamaha-YAS-23-So-Good
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?242749-The-YAS-23-Just-a-student-horn-Well


there are many many many more threads ( look things up)
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks Milandro

I did do a search but I guess I didn't do it in the archives. I searched this general discussion forum. My main point was that it is a 2-year old horn and there are so many conflicting ideas about where they are made and the quality versus older ones. The topics you pulled up help a lot since they consistently talk about solid, reliable horns with good intonation. After playing my Bundy I, this should be an interesting experience for me. I'll end up selling the one that I like least.

Now to search the archives...

Where are the archives?

Cheers
 

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The Bundy 1 is a good student sax and has been the "workhorse" of school music programs for years. You will find the YAS-23 key work (ergonomics) feels more like a pro model sax than the Bundy and that the tone quality and intonation are excellent as well. From a repair standpoint the YAS-23 is well made, easy to work on, and still has a lot of replacement parts available from Yamaha.
 

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The whole student, intermediate, pro distinctions are more market driven; to get the parents of young musicians to buy three different horns for their child as they progress in school. What you're considering is more a lateral move than an upgrade. Bundy's were based on old Buescher designs and you might actually find more flavor in such a horn than a Yamaha. But if you can get that Yamaha for around $500 or less, and it's in playing shape, it could work out for you. If it's higher priced, you could probably do better with a used vintage horn (which were top of the line in their day). Newer doesn't mean better... and some of my favorite horns that I regularly gig with were made in the 1920's.
 

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Thanks Milandro

I did do a search but I guess I didn't do it in the archives. I searched this general discussion forum. My main point was that it is a 2-year old horn and there are so many conflicting ideas about where they are made and the quality versus older ones. The topics you pulled up help a lot since they consistently talk about solid, reliable horns with good intonation. After playing my Bundy I, this should be an interesting experience for me. I'll end up selling the one that I like least.

Now to search the archives...

Where are the archives?

Cheers
Any search by google custom search is in the archives

here top of the page where it says google custom search

https://www.saxontheweb.net
 

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I am pretty certain the 23 model has not been made for several, several, several years...so, either it isn't a 23, but a later 275/280 or whatever numerological model name they went with 2 years ago...or it IS a 23, and it's fairly older than 2 years old.
Even the Yamaha parts site notes YAS 23 discontinued in 2011....

As far as 'upgrade'....well, as most folks consider modern keywork 'superior' to traditional/vintage mechanics, I suppose one can argue it'd be an upgrade.

(Parts are not an issue, really....techs do just fine with finding parts for old Bundys and it isn't like the original parts would ever just walk off or be damaged beyond repair in 99% of cases).

I would say this:

The 23 (or whatever Yama it is) is gonna feel less...'substantial'...than your Bundy, which is just a robustly-made horn. The Yama will feel significantly lighter and the keywork/action, while slicker for MOST players...will also feel a lighter and a bit less, well, substantial.

The Yama will not sound as full and rich as the Bundy does.

So compute those factors in...only you can decide if it is an upgrade. You say "it may PLAY better"

Exactly what that MEANS can be a subjective thing, if you get my drift....

Does it 'play' better because it is in better, serviced condition ? Does it play better because, both horns being in equally good tack, you find the keywork quicker to navigate around ? Etc, etc....

As I said, 'default opinion' would say that the Yamaha's 'modern ergos' are a 'step up'....I think most sax players would say that. I am just saying that there may be certain attributes of the Yama which do not seem a step up.....so you may 'get' something, but depending upon your personal leanings as a player/musician, you may also 'lose' something....

What you're considering is more a lateral move than an upgrade. Bundy's were based on old Buescher designs and you might actually find more flavor in such a horn than a Yamaha.
This would be the reasonable alternative opinion to the current 'default opinion', yes, and it has some merit....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks everyone for the great advice. I had many of these same thoughts (lateral, expect better tone, what the repair state is and will it simply play better, feel better, etc.) All of your advice touch on these ideas/issues and at least I'm not crazy when I consider it.

Since I believe it to be a bargain ($300) and I had the cash, I figured why not simply do the side by side comparison for myself. So I bought it. It apparently was bought in 2014 new (List was over $1800, but no idea what they actually paid for it new - yes, single owner). It's a complete kit in the case, like it was new. Pads appear to be in great shape and the familiar 'thunk' of all keys closed and popping the F key sounded good. The only possible negative is that it is one of the "made in China" versions. Otherwise it appars to be a great horn.

I just got it home and the horn is is really great shape cosmetically. I have to somehow disinfect it (advice?) before doing anything with it. I was thinking of spraying it with rubbing alcohol and washing the mouthpiece (4C) or just use my 5C. I think I got a bargain (don't really know), but it is simply a way to play another horn during this pandemic.

I can't wait.

Thank you all. You are always so generous with real solid advice. I'll post the results of my first time in a day or two. I'll probably sell one of them when I'm comfortable judging which to keep. I don't need two altos for my hobby learning & playing.
 

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So as I understand it, the virus germs cannot survive on brass for more than 2 days...so simply leaving it alone for a few days would do the trick as far as the brass aspects go.

If you want, go buy some naptha at the hardware store (Rosonol lighter fuel is the same thing) and a microfibre cloth. put the fluid on the cloth and put the cloth between the pads and the tonehole, close the key gently and slide out the cloth. This will be a topical cleansing agent for the pads.
The stuff evaporates super fast so really, after 2 pads you need to re-apply the liquid to the cloth.

Wash the neck with soap and water (remove the octave key with a small screwdriver first). If you cannot remove the key, take a swab and wet it with the naptha and pull it thru neck tube a couple of times, then wash the neck cork with some naptha or alcohol.

That should do it as far as any cleaning you would need to do. Maybe wipe down the key touches with some household cleaner...

Again, leave it out of case and don't play for a couple days.

It's not techniccally a 23. it's a 275 or 280 or something like that....$300 is a good price. It is worth $100-200 more.

Use your 5C....slightly larger tip opening and if you have familiarity with it it'll be easier than the 4C.
 

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I wouldn't "spray" rubbing alcohol on it - maybe wipe it off with a cloth moistened with alcohol, but spraying may let some alcohol pool somewhere and it might dissolve the glue under a cork or a felt. A better choice would be to let it sit for 2 weeks :) Any infectious virus will be dead by then. But I know you probably want to play it....

Take the octave key off the neck, or wrap the pad with plastic wrap. Then disinfect the neck by pouring some Listerine (or vodka) through it, plugging it with a cork or finger and letting it slosh around, it will probably be all you need to do. Any pads that seem dirty clean with lighter fluid (naptha) and a Q-tip. Clean and polish the instrument with Pledge sprayed on a cloth, or use a Pledge wipes. Be careful not to knock off any corks or felts. You will be just fine :)

Congrats on your new purchase!
 

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I had many of these same thoughts ... expect better tone...
I think you misread. Everybody in this thread said the Bundy has a better tone, and I agree.

Do post a pic of the model number stamp, as this horn could not possibly be a YAS-23.

As others have said, rubbing alcohol will ruin the lacquer, so don't do that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I was worried about spraying alcohol directly on it so thanks for the advice @skeller047

Naptha lighter fluid - got it. JayeLID I did see some articles on simply washing the neck - I guess the cork will be part of that washing?

@mdavej - Thanks for the Bundy vote.

Here's the thing, though. I bought the Bundy 4 months ago - used on eBay. The seller did not disclose many of the issues with it. The finish is is pretty good shape, no red rash or anything like that. But the bell had been dropped or bumped hard which flattened the lower edge of the bell but unbeknownst to me, it pushed the brace into the barrel above the F tone hole. It also had a broken octave key post that actuates the neck pip.

Although I'm not trained in sax repair like so many here, I have no qualms about fixing/rebuilding/remaking anything that comes my way so this Bundy is a great Covid project. I am a classic Mr. Fixit and have more tools and jigs and such than anyone could want (except a swedging pliers, etc. :) I've replaced some pads, re-aligned some keys, pulled the main barrel dent out so the tone holes are flat and meet the pads correctly and made a new post for the octave key. So I've brought this horn back to leak free performance all guided by everyone's help here. (You're an amazingly helpful bunch.)

So I have this Selmer Bundy horn that holds a pretty tight vacuum, and plays well, I think. But it nags me to no end on what another horn is like to play. A horn that's never been beaten up so badly. This is my chance to see how well I'm doing with restoring the Bundy.

Here are some pics of the Yas-23 in the case with all the ameneties including a care kit with brushes and swabs. Plus a box of Royal reeds (feels at least half full) and I've been wanting to try them anyway:

20200706_191546.jpg

Here you can see the YAS-23 stamp and the serial.

20200706_191610.jpg

I'm no photographer but here is my Bundy on my home-made mahogany stand:
20200706_194421.jpg

Wish me luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Oh, Sorry about the title of the post - the seller said His daughter USED it for 2 yrs in high school but when I picked it up he said bought in 2014-15 I think so it's 5 - 6 years old.
 

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While your horn looks like new, Yamaha stopped making them in 2012. So it's at least 8 years old. You can email Yamaha the serial number and they'll tell you exactly how old it is. But it's perfectly plausible that it sat around in the store for a couple of years before it was sold.

Regardless, looks like a great horn at a great price. I played a YAS-23 for many years as lead alto in my local big band. It's a heck of a horn. Congrats, and enjoy!
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks mdavej. It's also plausible that the seller's years are all running together these days. I bought my daughter a new clarinet when she was in high school, but I'd have to think real hard what year that was...
I was just wiping down the case and horn with a Clorox wipe. I notice that it has plastic resonators :-(
But I'm dying to make some noise and compare them. Tomorrow I will give it a thorough cleaning, inspection and polish - and maybe get to play it.
 

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I notice that it has plastic resonators :-(
That's a bad thing? Resonator material doesn't make one iota of difference, plus they'll never corrode. My MKVI has sounded beautiful the better part of 40 years on plastic resos.
 

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That's kinda interesting really, because I have never seen a 23 stamped "China"...and indeed, this one is....

The general/accepted/circulated understanding is by the time Yama started using Indonesia and China facilities to produce their student model, the 23 had been re-branded as the 275, 280, etc....

Looks like you got a good deal, indeed.

So I have this Selmer Bundy horn that holds a pretty tight vacuum, and plays well, I think. But it nags me to no end on what another horn is like to play.
This is an early sign of GAS syndrome.....be careful....:whistle:
 

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As a pro, Ive used "student" altos on gigs, more times than I can possibly remember.
I don't buy into any of that crap. Ive played Bundy 1 and 2 altos, and Yamaha 23 altos that played great.

Put a great playing mouthpiece on a "student" horn that is set-up well, and it will sound great.

The Bundy and Yamaha horns will sound and feel different, so maybe you would like one more compared to the other. IT'S ALWAYS SUBJECTIVE.
 

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I think you misread. Everybody in this thread said the Bundy has a better tone, and I agree.

Do post a pic of the model number stamp, as this horn could not possibly be a YAS-23.

As others have said, rubbing alcohol will ruin the lacquer, so don't do that.
Not quite "everybody". In my career as a band teacher and as a repair tech I have played lots of Bundys and Bundy II's and even more YAS-23's. I like the intonation on all of them, but would not characterize one or the other to have a "better" tone. They are just different. The judgement call is based on one's personal taste as as such I don't choose to make generalized statements about the tone.
 
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