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Discussion Starter #1
I've played Alto Sax since 5th grade and now that I actually have a chance towards getting my own, I've decided to instead rent to own and pay off several months in advance since the local music store has a setup that I could pay each month and if the instrument needs servicing, perhaps because of my bad habit of drinking sodas while playing or for some other reason, it'll all be covered by what I'm paying each month. However, I'm not really partial to any one sax. I've played Alto for so long it seems to be second nature, and I did like how it sounded the one time I played a bit on the neighbor's Tenor. I've also played Bari though I wouldn't want to rent to own one because of the size issue I have. (Baritone Saxes are a bit big for me...) Seeing as I can play either, I am considering renting to own a Tenor instead. What do you guys think? Should I stick with the Alto, or get Tenor instead. Another Neighbor and I plan to play together after a bit. He plays Trumpet.

What I might do is once the money for my sax is handed to me, I may go and see what my options are, maybe try a few different saxes out if the music shop will allow it. I also plan to buy several accessories while there...

Anyway what do you all think? Should I take the step to Tenor or just go back to Alto
 

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Well, here's some points to consider.
For tenor:
1. Tenors are generally more expensive than altos (for when you decide to go ahead and buy.
2. Tenors are bigger and heavier to transport.
For alto:
1. You would have to transpose for alto to play with your trumpet player friend.

It's all up to you. I hope you try both.
Good luck.
 

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A tenor is a more versatile instrument than an alto, although it is larger and heavier you will find that it will fit more musical styles than an alto will. Now if you are really cool and serious then go to the King of saxophones, the Baritone.
 

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Alto or tenor? I've been playing both for years, still can't decide when people ask me which is my "main axe"... there are enough tenor players in the world, I think, and I've always felt more at home on the alto. I'd recommend alto just to be different and you might wind up enjoying it in the long run.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Bootman said:
A tenor is a more versatile instrument than an alto, although it is larger and heavier you will find that it will fit more musical styles than an alto will. Now if you are really cool and serious then go to the King of saxophones, the Baritone.
Like I said, I played Bari before, without much effort on my part (People were surprised that I got a peep out of it the first few minutes of trying)... However, Bari is very heavy and I am very short in stature (Just barely 5'1" with shoes on...) and have wrist and neck problems already... I remember not being able to take the Bari home to practice when in school so maybe, one day when I have a ton of money, and can get a case with wheels, I'll go for a Bari, I'm not afraid of it's size or anything... It's more a matter of mobility... (I'd have to call for a ride home from the Music Store because chances are I wouldn't be able to carry the thing to a bus stop...) Maybe I will get the Tenor... But who knows what I'll choose... I'd be tempted to get a Contrabass Sax if they had em in my price range... LOL...
 
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My completly biased opinion would be to take up the Tenor. THe alto is merely a toy saxophone. not an instrument worthy of serious consideration past the initial learning stage. :cheesy grin::D

seriously though. for me. one of the reasons tenor suits me is because the range fits in with my actual voice better than alto or bari. Also I can hear in that range more easily than higher up, where intervals seem to close in together (obviously can be improved with aural training). I'm sure there are loads of great alto players with deep voices and baritonists who are squeekers. it's just how I see it in my head.
 

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Borrow your neighbors Tenor for a Week. And play it, and ONLY it. Then in a week decide if you want to spend the money to get it. If not stick with Alto.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Carbs said:
Borrow your neighbors Tenor for a Week. And play it, and ONLY it. Then in a week decide if you want to spend the money to get it. If not stick with Alto.
The Neighbor no longer has that particular instrument and changed at the last minute to Trumpet. However, that sax was also in need of a bit of work. (Upon first glance I immediately spotted a couple pads that could use replacing and there was a squeaking sound that happened if you jumped from a lower note to one of the octave notes and I think that kinda deterred him from it...) Though If I end up renting to own a used sax, I'll definitely be looking for any problems before I even walk out of the store...
 

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I am assuming that you have enough cash to purchase an instrument out right? In that case, if you don't mind playing a Vintage Sax, then you could easily get a Tenor, and a Alto that are vintage. And maybe some money for a mouthpiece or two.

Also ownership increases the likelyhood that you will care for the instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Carbs said:
I am assuming that you have enough cash to purchase an instrument out right? In that case, if you don't mind playing a Vintage Sax, then you could easily get a Tenor, and a Alto that are vintage. And maybe some money for a mouthpiece or two.

Also ownership increases the likelyhood that you will care for the instrument.
A very cheap one... And I'd prefer one that's newer if not brand new... I'd really prefer to buy it at a local shop where I can look over the instrument beforehand. I'll be renting to own seeing as the budget is ever so tight and I'll be able to pay a bit more than 3 months off directly. Also, I've always tried to take care of any Sax that is placed in my care, be it a school loaner, or just babysitting the neighbor's Sax for a few hours... So it isn't a factor. I'm not just renting it, I'm paying installments over a period of time, so that, eventually, either I'll be done with the payments or I'll pay it all off in a lump sum after a while, and the sax will be all mine. (It'll probably have a name within the first week of me bringing it and a few songbooks home. (Can anyone say Disney Tunes? (I'm starting a bit lower than I know I'm at just to get back into it... Usually I just play tunes by ear anyway...
 

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I know a girl who is 5'2" and plays the snot out of bari. I am 6' and have a basso profundo tessatura but still hear ideas and melodies much better on the alto than on the tenor. Different strokes! My point is that physiological barriers can be easily overcome with practice. You should check out some recordings of alto players and tenor players and decide which one catches your ear more. For me, guys like Cannonball and Paul Desmond really caught my ear back in middle school and I think that got stuck in my brain for a while because it wasn't until 11th grade that I really started playing the alto again, and now it's my most comfortable instrument.... ah, so many things to consider.
 

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Thats a tough choice. I would then say go with the one that you like the most. From the brief time you touched the Tenor. However, you could go down to the shop, and ask to try out both an Alto and a Tenor. Then pick the one you like the most.
 

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Razzy said:
I know a girl who is 5'2" and plays the snot out of bari....
I'm 5'7" and try not to let anyone get snot in my bari (accidents happen when trying to circular breathe with a cold, though.)
To second Razzy's post, a lot of people find that one horn or another just makes more sense to them (for me Baritone Sax and Bass Clarinet.)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hey Razzy, I'm not saying I can't play the Bari, I could in 7th grade and I could in 9th grade, but I don't dare try to lug a Bari home from even the closest bus stop, plus there would be the issue of having to lug it onto the bus. I've had instructors and just ordinary people alike tell me how surprised they are at how I'm able to play the darn thing (I say darn affectionately...).
 

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Dan Molloy said:
My completly biased opinion would be to take up the Tenor. THe alto is merely a toy saxophone. not an instrument worthy of serious consideration past the initial learning stage. :cheesy grin::D
QUOTE]

yeh because bird, cannonball and desmond, not to mention hodges and stitt, where all toy players werent they? some of the greatest improvisers in time.

yes kid tenor seems much more luxurious, but trust me, theres to many tenor players in the world. stick on the alto and get faboulousy good my friend thats the way. dont listen to these alto haters they just followed the fashion like sheep
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would never believe someone if they told me any saxophone was a toy and isn't to be bothered with. I started with Alto despite being given the choice of Alto or Tenor in Elementary School. To me, when I think of what a sax sounds like, I hear all sorts, I hear Soprano and it's higher ups, I hear Alto, Tenor, Bari, Bass, and even Contrabass. I think I'll just have to decide in the shop when I go... Anyway thanks for all the input you guys, and anyone who says that the Alto is a toy, needs to jump in a river, in the dead of winter, with nothing but a pair of underwear on, and stay there for five minutes.
 
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AuntSaxophone said:
I would never believe someone if they told me any saxophone was a toy and isn't to be bothered with. I started with Alto despite being given the choice of Alto or Tenor in Elementary School. To me, when I think of what a sax sounds like, I hear all sorts, I hear Soprano and it's higher ups, I hear Alto, Tenor, Bari, Bass, and even Contrabass. I think I'll just have to decide in the shop when I go... Anyway thanks for all the input you guys, and anyone who says that the Alto is a toy, needs to jump in a river, in the dead of winter, with nothing but a pair of underwear on, and stay there for five minutes.
Oh dear.
Please read my post in full again.
Read the words. There is even a "smiley" to help guide you.
If you still want me to jump in a river after re reading. Fine, but I'll wait until summer.:) (smile= happy thoughts.)
 

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Dan was obviously making a joke.

Auntsaxophone, you really should play the one that you like best. Simple as that. I've played both tenor & alto, each for extended periods of time. I finally settled mostly on tenor because that's the horn that really resonates with me and in general I prefer the tenor sound. I still like to pick up the alto from time to time. I'm not bashing the alto here, but imo the tenor is a bit more versatile, as bootman points out.

If you want to play blues/R&B, you'll fit in better with a tenor. Again, just my opinion, based on experience.
 

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If going by price alone--alto. I've often thought of switching from tenor myself after seeing all the SBA's and Mark VI's out there that are still somewhat affordable in their alto incarnations. But I started on the tenor (in 1979), it's what I'm used to, and I'm gonna stick with it.
 

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The tenor has a pleasant sort of buzz to it, but i still have to say I prefer the alto saxophone. It seems like you can "sing" more on it, and I like that.
 
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