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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! This is my first post on this website.

So I recently bought an Allora AASS-301 Student Soprano Saxophone for $375 USD and just received it yesterday. Right from opening it, seemed a little odd how the case was somewhat dirty with water stains. Also the Allora logo on the hard case was misaligned but I figured that it was probably normal since it was manufactured in China. Anyway, I bought it off of eBay after trying to play it, it seemed somewhat difficult to play even after I switched the stock reed with my own Vandoren size 2 reed. Also, when playing it, it's really out of tune. Fingering a C almost produces a concert A. Again, I figured it might be normal since I've never played a soprano but I've never really had that problem on alto sax which I've been playing for about 3 years and it's almost always in tune. Also it's difficult to get notes out below a low D and have trouble sustaining a high G or G# without pinching.

I have about 28 days left to return it if I would like to, so would you suggest to maybe take it to my local music shop and have it checked out? So I'm not sure, should I get a refund and return it or play it and try to get used to it and maybe the problem will fix itself?
 

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Hello! This is my first post on this website.

So I recently bought an Allora AASS-301 Student Soprano Saxophone for $375 USD and just received it yesterday. Right from opening it, seemed a little odd how the case was somewhat dirty with water stains. Also the Allora logo on the hard case was misaligned but I figured that it was probably normal since it was manufactured in China. Anyway, I bought it off of eBay after trying to play it, it seemed somewhat difficult to play even after I switched the stock reed with my own Vandoren size 2 reed. Also, when playing it, it's really out of tune. Fingering a C almost produces a concert A. Again, I figured it might be normal since I've never played a soprano but I've never really had that problem on alto sax which I've been playing for about 3 years and it's almost always in tune. Also it's difficult to get notes out below a low D and have trouble sustaining a high G or G# without pinching.

I have about 28 days left to return it if I would like to, so would you suggest to maybe take it to my local music shop and have it checked out? So I'm not sure, should I get a refund and return it or play it and try to get used to it and maybe the problem will fix itself?
Was it new or used?
If it was used then return it and get a new one off of WWBW.
 

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Did you buy it new/used directly from WWBW or one of their related store fronts? If you did, I would return it. I have never bought a horn from WWBW, but I have purchased several mouthpieces, and have always been able to return easily.
 

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Welcome to SOTW. Many players new to soprano fail to shove the mouthpiece far enough onto the neck cork to bring all the notes up to proper pitch. You should first ensure your horn is playing to pitch by either using a tuner or a known source like a tuned piano. There is much more to say, but this may get you started. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks! Also I tried to push it in with cork grease and i can't push it any further and I have a chromatic tuner which reads a sharp A natural or really flat Bb when I try to play a C. I'm also using a stock mouthpiece, so I don't know if it's that or the actual instrument. If I push the mouthpiece as far as I can, then I cannot even reach my low D or lower at all unless I really lower my jaw and open my oral cavity.
 

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It isn't beyond the realm of possibility that your horn is simply out of tune. My experiences with inexpensive sopranos will corroborate that thought.

I'm wondering - is your mouthpiece on as far as it can go because the tip of the neck is all the way up inside the piece against the chamber? Or is it that the cork is so thick that the mouthpiece can't go on any further? I've had mouthpieces that bottom-out and can't shove on any further resulting in a flat (in pitch, sharpshooters) saxophone when I knew the horn could play to pitch.

If the situation is the first one I cited, then it could be your mouthpiece. If the cork is too thick, then I'd say try another mouthpiece or sand down the cork. OR, return the horn. DAVE
 

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If it were me, I'd return it. I have no idea where you live, your age, or your budget. But if you are looking for a good, inexpensive soprano saxophone, you could contact Dave Kessler (a site sponsor) at Kessler Music and buy one of his house-branded sopranos. I've played two of them and for the price, they should serve you well.

Sopranos are usually predictable by pricing. Could this horn play okay after you take it in to a repair-tech, and test mouthpieces? Maybe, but you will have invested more money and time and still may end up with junk. If you want a serious soprano, then you gotta pay the freight.

I'm sure others may brag about the great soprano they got for not much money. I'll bet more will tell you they took a financial hit by buying cheap. DAVE
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
alto: 82Zii/Medusa/Supreme, tenor: Medusa, bari: b-901, sop, sc-990
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Many things. Sopranos take the most "chops" of any saxophone (lip muscles). Cheap soprano saxes are generally unplayable in tune. And as Dave says, you will probably need to push in the mouthpiece more.

"I have a chromatic tuner which reads a sharp A natural or really flat Bb when I try to play a C." That is the transposition of a Bb instrument. Your written C will show on a tuner as Bb. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
So I know a C will show as a Bb on a tuner but I was just showing that it was really flat. Also I pushed the mouthpiece as far as I could and it's finally mostly playing in tune except now it's difficult to play lower notes unless I change a embouchure a bit. So far I'm getting used to it and I feel like I'm starting to get my soprano chops. Also I've noticed sometimes when I play I hear a crackle, which sounds similar to spit condensation but isn't.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
alto: 82Zii/Medusa/Supreme, tenor: Medusa, bari: b-901, sop, sc-990
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…sometimes when I play I hear a crackle, which sounds similar to spit condensation but isn't.
Are you playing synthetic reeds? That could be the source of the crackle.
 

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Soprano: 1983 Keilwerth Toneking Schenklaars stencil
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Just from your initial descriptions, personally, I would move toward returning the horn. Go back and read the eBay ad carefully and see if this was a damaged sax to begin with. They have some that are damaged on eBay, but they are usually straightforward about pointing out what is wrong.

::Jordisax, I am writing this for you, but also for archival purposes.

The current Allora AASS-301 has the WWBW model number VCH-246xxxx, where the xxx’s indicate finish and some features. WWBW seems to be using model numbers used by their stencil manufacturers, so the original manufacturer may be able to be traced. In this case, the AASS-301 seems to indicate that it was made by Tenon, a huge Taiwanese manufacturer, in their Vietnam Crown Hope factory, VCH. The stencils based on their professional level sopranos, VCH-820 and VCH-830, made in this factory have received rave reviews including Tenon’s own label, Chateau. These also appear to be used in the Allora Paris Series, which also happen to have a big T on the octave key.

The Taiwanese and the Chinese have learned how to manufacture a saxophone so that you get what you pay for. Although a student model may follow the exact same design as a professional model. I think of them as being sabotaged by cutting corners. Brass can be thinner. Keys may be softer or lower quality. Tone holes can be less finished. Certainly pads will be cheaper quality. Generally, less care is taken in manufacturing the instrument.

I am a proponent of finding a sax tech that you trust to adjust any new sax. If for no other reason than manufacturers frequently pack the outside of the case really well, but the sax is often free to jiggle around a little within the case, which can cause all sorts of problems, including some hidden problems that show up months later.
 

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alto: 82Zii/Medusa/Supreme, tenor: Medusa, bari: b-901, sop, sc-990
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Twocircles, that is good information! as you say, for archival purposes.
 
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