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Super Action 80 Tenor, Buescher 156 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 , Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari
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Another reason to buy a used horn for a young player is that should they quit... and most do... you can sell the horn for basically the same value paid.
Bingo.

Best bet would be to buy a used Yamaha. Great horns in their own right, and easy to find. $600 to $700 is the average price for a used one in good condition. Use the rest of the money to find a good player in your area who can play test the horn, and teach your son.

BTW, why tenor before alto? That's a lot of horn for an 11 year old. Heck, alto was a heavy horn for 10 year old me, and I wasn't a small kid. Just something else to take into consideration.
 

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Do they work for music stores that sell those horns?
I have been a public school music teacher for 35 years. The REAL reason that band directors recommend major brands is because they don't want their students playing instruments that perform poorly or are always in need of repair or adjustment. With over 100 students, it is impossible for me to maintain all of the instruments that my students play. They like their students to have instruments that are known quantities with predictable playing characteristics. The variable ability levels and practice habits of students is a big enough challenge. When you start to factor in a bunch of instruments with widely varying intonation and timbre characteristics, balance, blend and tuning become bigger challenges.

With those things in mind, I would recommend that the O. P. find a second hand Yamaha YTS23 or a Jupiter tenor sax. Both instruments are typical of what many school music groups are using these days. The teacher will be familiar with the instrument even if he or she is not a saxophone player. Repair shops will be able to quickly and efficiently diagnose and repair the instrument in case of an incident or the need for periodic maintenance. Both of these brands can be purchased and worked up within the budget that the O.P. has suggested.

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We also recommend these brands because of the sweet note-pads the music stores give us!
 

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I have been a public school music teacher for 35 years. The REAL reason that band directors recommend major brands...
All well and good, but I was inquiring as to who the "instructors" were. You are assuming the OP meant school band directors, and that may very well be the case. However, the OP could be referring to private instructors (who may or may not work out of a music store). But even with public school band instructors, it's not like music store kick-backs don't ever happen. If an "instructor" told my kid to buy a brand new P. Mauriet and where to get it, I'd be mighty suspicious. I have absolutely no problem however with your own recommendations for this specific query.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Bingo.

Best bet would be to buy a used Yamaha. Great horns in their own right, and easy to find. $600 to $700 is the average price for a used one in good condition. Use the rest of the money to find a good player in your area who can play test the horn, and teach your son.

BTW, why tenor before alto? That's a lot of horn for an 11 year old. Heck, alto was a heavy horn for 10 year old me, and I wasn't a small kid. Just something else to take into consideration.
He plays both Alto and Tenor sax very well but he likes the Tenor sax more, I'll buy him an alto saxophone later. His School music teacher wants him to get a more advanced saxophone because of his level and same thing goes for his private teacher. They don't work for Yamaha or get get kick backs. The problem I've been having is the few stores around me have the recommended saxes new at very high prices and no used saxophones. I found some deals on reverb but their only offer is to buy with no option to test first.
 

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Craigslist. Absolutely try first.

I'm guessing he's been playing a rental up till now?

When the instructor says they think he should have a "more advanced saxophone" -I'm guessing they mean not a student rental horn. As someone who played for my first six years as a kid on crappy rental horns...they suck. Ever when they were 'fixed' by the store they were rented from, they didn't play very well, because the people who serviced them didn't do a very good job as they weren't servicing the rental stock for pros, they were servicing them for kids just learning who didn't know the difference and didn't care and neither did they.

PLEASE don't get a new $1200 dollar horn for your kid. Get him a real sax. For $1200 you can get a great 'real' sax. You can get a quite decent if not pro horn he could keep for a l-o-n-g time.

I don't think you need to rely on a 'pro' to check out a potential new horn for you, after playing for five years, your son can do that himself. Have him take the tenor he's currently using with him and A/B it with the horn you're thinking of buying (which should be a Yamaha, newer Jupiter, or similar decent quality brand). If it doesn't play better/easier than what he's got, don't buy it.

You don't need to rush on this. Go with him to a check out a few CL ads and let him try some used horns. You'll generally get a much better deal from a private seller than from a music store.

You might also consider seeing if any SoCal members here have any advice or help that is local to where you are.
 

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He's 11 years old. He could completely stop playing once he gets to high school so there's no need to spend a bunch of money. No need to worry about getting him a "better" horn. The YTS-23 already recommended here will be PLENTY horn for him until he is 100% positive that he will be pursuing music after high school. A new pro saxophone is a great graduation present. More important than the "level" of the horn is if the horn is in tip-top mechanical shape. Make sure it is reliably maintained by a quality repair technician.

Buy from a reputable online seller and get a YTS-23 in good mechanical condition. Use the left-over money to ensure he has a good quality mouthpiece. The mouthpiece will make much more of a difference than the horn will.

Best of luck!

- Saxaholic
 

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If you are in L.A. I can recommend Baxter Northrup Music in Sherman Oaks. They've been around a long time and will not rip you off. They sell lots of used horns, from student models of all types all the way up to classic Mark VI's. Their tech is really good and they'll look after your horn after you buy it. When I started playing I bought a Yamaha YTS 23 from them and later I got my Mark VI from them. both were very good deals and I have no complaints. Good Luck!
 

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I'm hijacking a bit here :) I just posted a question about buying secondhand tenor for my 13 year old. Is the YTS 23 considered a student model? I did find a few at a decent price on reverb.com but have had it in my mind to get him a step up instrument. I found a couple Jupiters (1187-INT & JTS-687) and two Selmers (STS280 and the other. I'm waiting to get the model number from the seller)

Thanks!
 

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I know of musicians who wouldn't buy a guitar from Guitar Center. I certainly cannot imagine buying a saxophone from there.

$1200 is a handsome budget for a tenor in the used market. It will get you into an area where you might be able to find some pre-owned intermediate/advanced quality horns, like a YT-52
 
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