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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

I am trying to decide which alto saxophone to purchase for a high school student. He has been playing for 3 years.

His instructor has informed us that he needs a better sax. Because of my lack of knowledge, I purchased an instrument that is not very good quality, so a even a good student instrument would be a step up.

I would like to purchase an instrument he can play through the end of high school (3 more years). After getting recommendations and doing research, we are trying to decide between a YAS-23 (used $800-900) or paying an additional $1000 to purchase a Yanagisawa A901 or similar.

I don't know enough about saxophones to purchase a used or vintage instrument, so I am planning to purchase new or nearly new from a local shop/dealer. Also, the student doesn't have a preference.
 

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You will be limited if you must buy from that one local shop. A super nice YAS-23 can be bought used for $500; I sold a used Yani A880 for less than $700; there are lots of used Yani's (901's, etc) for around $1000-$1200. So there are lots of bargains out there that you are excluding yourself from.

Staying with your question however, I think it would depend on your evaluation of your student's ambitions. You could easily go through HS with a YAS-23; but any serious playing in college would send you shopping again. On the other hand, a pro horn as a Sophomore is pretty ritzy too.
 

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When my boy started on tenor sax in seventh grade, he was already a pretty serious player. I decided to go ahead and get him a basic pro-level Yamaha YTS-62II. I got it on-line new for about $2,100. That was just a little more than the local shop wanted for a student level Yamaha. It was a great decision. That horn should take him right through college if he desires to go that far. And if he doesn't play in college, he will still have a quality horn to play at church or where ever.

You've got to judge your kid's ability and desire. If he just needs a good-sounding rugged sax to get him though highschool, the student level Yamaha is a really good choice. But if he is becoming really good, loves to play and is mature enough to take care of a better horn, then the 62 series Yamaha is a good way to go.

Either way, check on line for better pricing from one of the big reputable national stores. Local shops often charge way too much. Once you decide which way to go, you can probably ask the folks here on SOTW to help you find the best pricing.
 

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I got my Selmer when I was a Freshman, but I had been takeing care of my school horns showing responsabilty. And I had/have a love and passion for my music. That price for a Used 23, is pretty high though.
 
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Yas 23's are solid dependable horns, but $800 seems high to me as well. If you want a screamin' deal, there are plenty of Vito stencils of the Yas 23 on Ebay . I bought a decent one 2 weeks ago for under $100 with shipping. There are plenty available for the same price. Even if you did a complete repad, you would still be around $500 . If the sax needed less, you would be money ahead. The Vito's labled made in Japan are for the most part Yamaha's. You might get lucky and find a Yanagisawa as they made stencils for Vito too. If you're in a hurry, spend a bunch of cash at a retailer. That's the advantage of buying from them. If not, there are other options.

By the way, my Vito only needs a couple of pads, and plays well as is.My total cost will be a little over a $100 when finished. At the price they sell for, it's one of the best bargains readily available on Ebay.

Make sure they say made in Japan on them, there is a guy on Ebay right now, trying to pass off one of the Taiwan built Vito's as a Yamaha . It's not.
 

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The prices in your local shop seem a little high for used instruments, but they may be not unreasonable if indeed the horns are in "nearly new" condition. Does the shop also do maintenance, and will they do an initial set-up, and include adjustments for, oh, say, a year or so (included in the price)?

It shouldn't be that hard to find a used YAS-23 on Ebay for under $300. If it's advertised as "ready to play" you will need to spend about $100 to make it play well (if it "needs a little work," plan on a complete overhaul, $300-$400). Then figure on replacing a pad or two every year or so, or about $50 to $100 a year on maintenance (not applicable if you got the overhaul). After 3 years, you'll still be a few bucks ahead of your local shop, but the horn probably won't be as pretty as the "nearly new" one.

As to your original question, YAS-23 vs the 901. Depends. Are you buying a horn for 3 years (get the 23) or for a decade or longer (get the 901)? If you can't predict the future well enough to tell how serious your student will be about playing the sax in a few years, no one here will be able to tell you that either.

Having said all that... My first horn was a YAS-23 from Ebay, and although it doesn't even remotely resemble a new horn, I've been very happy with it. My second horn (only a few months later) was a 1960 Martin Indiana, and I've been extremely happy with that one. Neither cost me more than $250, but I did spend a little on maintenance over the last few years.
 

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No one has mentioned the Kessler customs? These are talked up around here as great horns for the money, and are fully set up before being sent out.

http://www.kesslermusic.com/KesslerCustomSax/kesslercustom.htm

Yanis and Yamis are all good an well, but they are a serious investment for a beginner.

My own budget solution is a used antigua winds 520 or 530 from ebay (around $200-400 for a minty, non dented one), and $100 in the hands of a local tech to fix any issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks everyone for the replies. We've decided to go with the YAS-23. Thanks too for the pricing information. After checking around, I found that I can get one for considerably less than what I was about to pay.
 

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FWIW (too late?) I bought a YAS 23 for my daughter in a pawn shop in December for $400.00 and it played exceptionally well, as-is (or is that "as-was" :D) $800.00 is too much.
 

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Canadiain said:
No one has mentioned the Kessler customs? These are talked up around here as great horns for the money, and are fully set up before being sent out.

http://www.kesslermusic.com/KesslerCustomSax/kesslercustom.htm

Yanis and Yamis are all good an well, but they are a serious investment for a beginner.

My own budget solution is a used antigua winds 520 or 530 from ebay (around $200-400 for a minty, non dented one), and $100 in the hands of a local tech to fix any issues.
As good as the Kessler horns are, (can't quite break into the rep of the big 4, yet) the OP was willing to spend up to ~$2K for a horn. At that price point Dave would point you to another brand if you're willing to spend that much. :) (Yeah, they're that kind of people.) Besides, from original post, it was clear the mind was set on Yamaha or the Yani! :)
 

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ratracer said:
As good as the Kessler horns are, (can't quite break into the rep of the big 4, yet) the OP was willing to spend up to ~$2K for a horn. At that price point Dave would point you to another brand if you're willing to spend that much. :) (Yeah, they're that kind of people.) Besides, from original post, it was clear the mind was set on Yamaha or the Yani! :)
I was mearly raising another posibility. Many people think they have to spent $2k for a half decent horn, even of they dont really want to.

My kids (when the time comes) dont have a hope in hell of getting a student Yamaha, you pay too much for the name and there are horns that play just as well for far less. LOL!, I expect they will be getting a hand me down Antigua, and Daddy will get a new Yani:) Does that make me a "bad dad":(
 

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Canadiain said:
I was mearly raising another posibility. Many people think they have to spent $2k for a half decent horn, even of they dont really want to.

My kids (when the time comes) dont have a hope in hell of getting a student Yamaha, you pay too much for the name and there are horns that play just as well for far less. LOL!, I expect they will be getting a hand me down Antigua, and Daddy will get a new Yani:) Does that make me a "bad dad":(
Ya got a couple of great points. Just a little research and you'll find you don't have to spend a boat load of cash (but that's another thread:) ) to get a very good sax.

And your kids could do a whole lot worse than a hand me down Antigua! Better than the hand me down I got from my brother, way too long ago! If you play your cards (and sax) right the kids will be chompin at the bit to pick up on dad's wailin' Antigua. :thumbrig: No "bad" dad from this perspective! Play it so they appreciate it when you do hand it down!
 
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