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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,
I have been in touch with some of you regarding nailing down the tenor sax that sounds rich and has a good amount of core sound to it.
Well, I settled on Buffet Crampon Super Dynaction. I really love the tone. My instructor has a 5 digit mark VI and he always complements the sound of the sax. SDA is good in hands of a pro but for me as a novice adult learner in late 40s with developing early minor arthritis in my finger joints is not catering an easy experience in long run practices and for fast phrases.
I like to buy a tenor saxophone that has great ergonomics and caters easy experience for fast phrases and long practice times especially for the pinky keys (especially left pinky keys) and palm keys.
Something snappy and with good / fast action.

I know that Yamaha saxes are famous for the ergonomics (as well as Yanagisawas and some of the Selmers perhaps but all too expensive for my budget). I owned a YTS-61 and loved it. Although I'm looking for something with richer tone than most of Yamahas. I play tested a YTS-82 Custom Z and it was a nice sounding saxophone but it's above my budget. I like to get something hopefully around 2000 dollars or even less (based on my current budget). I could save a bit more money may be up to somewhere below $3000 if I know it's a whole lot better sax quality I will be getting compared to the current options for the Taiwanese saxophones.

Some people praise on the rich tones of Paul Mauriat 66 RUL, Phil Barone Classic model, some of the Cannonball models, and Viking but at the same time I have heard complaints about some issues about the ergonomics like recessed (or short) palm keys which might have been catered toward Asian people who perhaps have smaller hands. But also I heard things like farther reach right hand keys, intonation issues with alternative fingering for high E, etc. which shows there could be some design issues.

Is there any good design, great ergonomics, and with a rich tone for sub $3000 or even sub $2000 modern tenor sax out there? I haven't investigated to find all the highlights and flaws of the asian built saxophones like above mentioned ones, and also Antigua, Kessler, Berkley, MacSax, Bahaus Walstein, and a few others that I can't remember right now.

I appreciate if you let me know.
Definitely this time around I have to prioritize the ergonomics and then the tone :(
and of course budget, otherwise it wouldn't be feasible.

Thanks a lot.
 

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At $2000, you could get a used YTS-62 if you like Yamaha. You might be able to find a used Yani for under 3K if you look...


This kind of thread is going to get a million opinions. What you need to do is go somewhere where you can try a lot of horns...3K will buy you a LOT of horn. But if ergonomics are your number one concern, you need to feel the horns in your hands. Yamahas have plenty "rich" tones, BTW. Just listen to Eugene Rousseau and tell me that his tone isn't "rich".
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks J.Max. Well, I'm hoping to get a sax with a bit more sound character than Yamaha. I like the sound of Yani a bit more but it's too pricey. In fact most of higher end Yamahas and Yanis are hard to find in lower price range, and since I got tired of my YTS-61 sound at some point in the past, I don't like to do the same thing again. I live in a rather small town for saxophone testing, so I like to gather some info and try to narrow it down. If I ask my dealer to order in something, I better do my home work because they are not going to be happy if I keep asking the same thing again and again.
At $2000, you could get a used YTS-62 if you like Yamaha. You might be able to find a used Yani for under 3K if you look...


This kind of thread is going to get a million opinions. What you need to do is go somewhere where you can try a lot of horns...3K will buy you a LOT of horn.
 

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The other option in that price range is any of the Taiwan horns: Cannonball, Berkeley Virtuoso, Mauriat, Barone, Jupiter, etc. Not sure that those are going to have any more "character" than the Yamahas, and probably less. The ergos on them should be fine since they are all built around Selmer SA80 or Mark VI keywork.
 

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A Yani T901 would fill everything your looking for. If you can't find one used,Kesslers sometimes has store demo 901's very close to that price range.
 

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Yamahas have as much charater to their sound as the player can give them.
It's a common dig on here to trash Yamahas as not having character, but i would prefer to trash them for having been made for tiny little hands and fingers.
$2000 would get you a Yanagisawa T6-T500-T800-T880 etc but as they are not made in the US or France they don't automatically come with built in character.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thank you. I will look into it. Do you know if they are made for little hands too?
A Yani T901 would fill everything your looking for. If you can't find one used,Kesslers sometimes has store demo 901's very close to that price range.
 

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I'm not a fan of Yamaha tenors. Mine is a P. Mauriat 66R (rolled tone holes) that I bought in 2008 and I think it's a great saxophone that I would highly recommend. The palm keys are a little low, but you can buy palm key risers (or make them). I have a riser on my high D which is all I need. The ergos are great as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Runyon-PKR-Palm-Key-Risers/dp/B001LYDI6C

If you can't get comfortable with the table keys (left hand pinky) a tech can always adjust them for you. However, I've never had problem with the key layout of my Mauriat.
 

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The other option in that price range is any of the Taiwan horns: Cannonball, Berkeley Virtuoso, Mauriat, Barone, Jupiter, etc. Not sure that those are going to have any more "character" than the Yamahas, and probably less. The ergos on them should be fine since they are all built around Selmer SA80 or Mark VI keywork.
I don't know what it is about people ragging on Yamahas' character. Yamaha saxophones have a "different" character than other brands. Not more or less. It all depends on player preference.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I had a YTS-61 and really tried to give the sound character. I played my YTS-61 for 2 to 3 years and I kept it for a few months after I bought my Buffet SDA. I didn't have to work hard on getting character out of my SDA. Same player, same mouthpiece, etc. but the sound was different.
Is there any French or American modern horn design that is affordable?
Yamahas have as much charater to their sound as the player can give them.
It's a common dig on here to trash Yamahas as not having character, but i would prefer to trash them for having been made for tiny little hands and fingers.
$2000 would get you a Yanagisawa T6-T500-T800-T880 etc but as they are not made in the US or France they don't automatically come with built in character.
 

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Thank you. I will look into it. Do you know if they are made for little hands too?
I can only compair it to my Keilwerths, doing that the Yani horns feel much more compact. Based on what you have posted a Keilwerth would not suit you at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Ok then. Let's call it different character. My YTS-61 character was a bit plastic in the upper range (like clarinet) and my SDA sound is more metallic (like flute) in the upper range. I found it has more partials and just a bit more pleasing experience for my ears.
I don't know what it is about people ragging on Yamahas' character. Yamaha saxophones have a "different" character than other brands. Not more or less. It all depends on player preference.
 

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Only Yamaha tenor that I would remotely consider is the 875. Still...I prefer Keilwerth tenors out of the big four.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You mean ergonomics of Keilwerth won't suite me or the sound character?
I can only compair it to my Keilwerths, doing that the Yani horns feel much more compact. Based on what you have posted a Keilwerth would not suit you at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
How is the ergonomics of Keilwerth? Are they similar to B&S ergonomically. I play tested a B&S and really liked the punchiness of the sound and the smart left pinky design.
Only Yamaha tenor that I would remotely consider is the 875. Still...I prefer Keilwerth tenors out of the big four.
 

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When properly set up, Keilwerths have excellent ergonomics. I quite like the large pearls. Because of the bigger bore they do require your hands to be somewhat more open (a bigger 'mitt', as I heard one tech put it), so players with smaller hands sometimes--not always--find them uncomfortable. The only way to know is to try one. They have a big, round sound, so if you are looking for 'richness', a Keilwerth should be on the list.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So you are happy with the ergonomics of the 66R other than raising the palm keys then? Do you have any intonation issues for the alternate fingering of high E, etc?Any other issues with design and performance?
Thank you for helping out.
I'm not a fan of Yamaha tenors. Mine is a P. Mauriat 66R (rolled tone holes) that I bought in 2008 and I think it's a great saxophone that I would highly recommend. The palm keys are a little low, but you can buy palm key risers (or make them). I have a riser on my high D which is all I need. The ergos are great as well.

http://www.amazon.com/Runyon-PKR-Palm-Key-Risers/dp/B001LYDI6C

If you can't get comfortable with the table keys (left hand pinky) a tech can always adjust them for you. However, I've never had problem with the key layout of my Mauriat.
 

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I don't know what it is about people ragging on Yamahas' character. Yamaha saxophones have a "different" character than other brands. Not more or less. It all depends on player preference.
Exactly.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
What model? SX90? There is one on sale in SOTW.
When properly set up, Keilwerths have excellent ergonomics. I quite like the large pearls. Because of the bigger bore they do require your hands to be somewhat more open (a bigger 'mitt', as I heard one tech put it), so players with smaller hands sometimes--not always--find them uncomfortable. The only way to know is to try one. They have a big, round sound, so if you are looking for 'richness', a Keilwerth should be on the list.
 
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