Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
As I start my journey looking for a 'professional' soprano, with my eyes set on the high end of things, I am wondering if what I have is simply a REALLY GOOD cheap one.
I have a saxophone.com soprano.
I know, the name is not the best branding, but his horns are pretty darn good.

My first tenor was an unlacquered red brass 'professional' model from them which I really liked, but some intonation issues were getting in my way so I upgraded (also because I could) to a MK VII that i am in horn love with.
I also have a student model alto I picked up for very little $, only so I could more easily play with my daughter who plays alto. I actually found I liked the tone of the sax.com better than her Yamaha YAS-23, but ultimately fell yet again in horn love with a 6M tranny.

However, the saxophone.com soprano i picked up used, but basically new (played twice before me for some session work in a studio that went defunct very fast, good deal for me).
Anyway, I really like the tone I get out of the thing, and find playing it to be great.
Ultimately, I might buy a MK VI or a SA80, etc. just because, but I am honestly thinking I have a great horn.

So, does anyone have a soprano they LOVE that is a very cheap horn.
Would be curious if you are a hobbiest or pro musician as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,604 Posts
I have done this on alto. Years ago I bought a Topsax (from Bob Campbell, anyone remember him?) alto on a whim because a Buescher True Tone wasn't cutting it for R & B gigs. It was supposed to be an intermediate model. I works good enough such that I never bought the SA-80 I was thinking about. I don't own a soprano however. You can call me a semi-pro, making money at it but not for a living.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,913 Posts
I have an Antigua Winds soprano, which was cheap enough at the time. It's supposedly a copy of a Yani 99X series fixed-neck, with high F#, annealed brass, durable “power-forged keys” (whatever that means), steel needle springs, domed metal resonators, fully ribbed construction, and extensive hand engraving. I've read that the only real difference between the two is that the Antigua has plastic key touches, while the Yani’s are mother-of-pearl, but the Antigua’s tone is comparable at a fraction of the price.

It's in pristine condition, and I have no intention of replacing it with a pro model. In fact, I'm going to sell it and buy a bari instead. Soprano's really hard, and feels kind of like an abomination to me. How does anyone keep them in tune?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,772 Posts
Soprano is a beast unto itself. You have to find the right mouthpiece and you have to put in the hours practicing with a tuner. I played a Taiwan 'saxello' for 20 years before giving it to my son and getting myself a new one from China. About the same time, the band I was playing with that did a number of songs I could play sop on fizzled out. The other bands I play with really didn't do anything applicable so I haven't played but one song in public on it ('Color My World' by Chicago) which went well. I'm not playing it at all although I did change mouthpieces on it recently. The necks don't fit right so I need to get them fitted but other than that I have completed my tweaking on it that you would expect to have to do on any horn direct from China.
Perhaps more to the question is the fact that after I got used to playing the first soprano (my first one - never even played one before), I started taking it around to music stores trying out major-brand sopranos, always with the same result - they were okay but simply didn't have the 'funkiness' I was getting out of the Taiwan horn. I even bought an R&C gold plated R-1 'saxello' and ended up selling it - way too 'tame' for my tastes. The new one is somewhere in-between - not as funky as the original but still has a certain 'something' the expensive ones don't.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
903 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
I have an Antigua Winds soprano, which was cheap enough at the time. It's supposedly a copy of a Yani 99X series fixed-neck, with high F#, annealed brass, durable “power-forged keys” (whatever that means), steel needle springs, domed metal resonators, fully ribbed construction, and extensive hand engraving. I've read that the only real difference between the two is that the Antigua has plastic key touches, while the Yani’s are mother-of-pearl, but the Antigua’s tone is comparable at a fraction of the price.

It's in pristine condition, and I have no intention of replacing it with a pro model. In fact, I'm going to sell it and buy a bari instead. Soprano's really hard, and feels kind of like an abomination to me. How does anyone keep them in tune?
I don't find soprano very hard at all, and I am not a very good player, maybe that's why...hahahahaha.
I do know that everything changed for me when I bought a Selmer Super Session J mpc.
I sold all my other ones I had been fighting with.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2012, SOTW Saxophone Whisperer,
Joined
·
3,212 Posts
I Have a Hunter Soprano (Cost me $300 new from the store i work) after I talked to Joe Guardullo (SopranoPlanet) was back from NAMN and everything was still fresh in his head and his mind was still spinning. This was one of the few that he says pitch was really good on. I bought it, first thing I did was repad 3/4 of the instrument and set it up the way I wanted. I use that horn for doubling on show gigs and I have had numerous players (Mostly brass players) complement saying that they usually hate hearing somebody play soprano but not me on this horn. I think thats a combination of my curved soprano and the MPC work Joe did for me. It works, feels great, and has paid for it's self 10X's over. Feel no need to get anything else.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
853 Posts
After going the rounds with three bargain Asian sopranos, all initially good, I got a 1983 Keilwerth Toneking Stencil for what a good Taiwanese soprano costs today. It’s in a different league than the others I owned.

Sorry, that’s kind of the opposite of what you asked for.

I hear Tenon is a consistently a very good manufacturer, for soprano, especially their Vietnam Crown Hope facility.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
My first soprano was a Yanagisawa S6. I upgraded in 91 to a Yanagisawa S880 Elimona. I don't think there has been a better soprano than the Elimona. However, Taishan Winds sopranos are extraordinary. I also have a Moonkiss straight soprano that more than holds its own. Now, I very rarely take the Yanis out of the house, but for recording, Yanagisawa without question.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,184 Posts
Yes - I have a JDS Soprano (origins unknown) - Black Nickel Finish that just won't quit. It was my main soprano for maybe 10 years then I thought I should buy a 'real' soprano. I've owned everything and ended up with a Yanagisawa S-900 soprano. I dropped my YANI about 3 weeks ago and while it was at the shop, I pulled out the el cheapo JDS and it still plays GREAT! I've owned it for over 20 years and still can't believe it hasn't self-destructed. Bizarre.

I search the world and found 2 more JDS sopranos and both were terrible.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,558 Posts
After going the rounds with three bargain Asian sopranos, all initially good, I got a 1983 Keilwerth Toneking Stencil for what a good Taiwanese soprano costs today. It’s in a different league than the others I owned.

Sorry, that’s kind of the opposite of what you asked for.

I hear Tenon is a consistently a very good manufacturer, for soprano, especially their Vietnam Crown Hope facility.
I have also tried several cheapo Asian sops and even not so cheap sopranos from Taiwan. They play OK, but my old Yani S900 far superior, in an entirely other league than all of them. Apples and oranges.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,591 Posts
I bought a used Millenium Winds curvy soprano, sight unseen, (my daughter facilitated the deal and mailed it to me). I was pleasantly surprised. Cost $275 Cdn. Plays in tune. Original mpc. I believe it is an in-house Taiwanese sax contracted for a music store. I'm a semi-semi pro, still making a few bucks, mostly on clarinet and tenor.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2009
Joined
·
5,463 Posts
i had a Martin (880 stencil) that I liked alot but didn't like the straight aspect of it. Hard to hear myself on stage, so I picked up a Macsax curved sop for 600 I think and it had a warm husky, very hearable tone vrs the 880. I sold it last year to a student that fell in love with soprano. But it was a great horn for the price. I picked up a macsax alto but not as good as my YAS 82 z K
 

·
SOTW Administrator
Joined
·
26,216 Posts
Yeah Mike, but your TT is really a nice horn!

I've played a YSS61 that I got back in 1977 for $600 (slightly used by my teacher, who wanted the 'new' YSS62). I guess that's cheap. I have only played a couple of horns that I would consider better.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
8,037 Posts
Four years ago I bought a slightly touched Antigua Winds one-piece soprano that is a very close copy of a Yani S-900. The year of manufacturing was around 2008. I made the purchase on ebay after trying several Yanigasawa sopranos at my local shop and thinking how am I going to justify $4500 for a soprano that I will use 10% in all my playing/practicing time.

It has never needed service since I had it set up and it plays easily and mostly in tune until you hit Eb-E-F-F#3 which play about 10% sharp. It can be worked around with a slight change in air and lip but not always ideal.

However for $400 it does the job I need it to do.

Would I chuck it for a Yani, oh hell yes!!
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
13,993 Posts
I favor my Antigua Winds for soprano work No compulsion to upgrade (beyond the vintage pro sopranos I own).
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
3,558 Posts
The Antigua was nice, and I played it for a few weeks and began to get into it, until I went back to my Yani 900, after which I didn't even consider playing the Antigua again even once.

I favor my Antigua Winds for soprano work No compulsion to upgrade (beyond the vintage pro sopranos I own).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,456 Posts
I have an Antiqua that I played for a short time and then moved on to a Vito/Yani that was an improvement in tone. The older Selmer VI based keywork was not too amazing but the tone was better. I have since moved on to a Yani SWO1 that is a considerable step up. Given that I play soprano more than either alto or tenor I really do appreciate the step up. I would say that if you are happy with the lower priced soprano then enjoy and put your time into playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,454 Posts
As I start my journey looking for a 'professional' soprano, with my eyes set on the high end of things, I am wondering if what I have is simply a REALLY GOOD cheap one.
I have a saxophone.com soprano.
I know, the name is not the best branding, but his horns are pretty darn good.

My first tenor was an unlacquered red brass 'professional' model from them which I really liked, but some intonation issues were getting in my way so I upgraded (also because I could) to a MK VII that i am in horn love with.
I also have a student model alto I picked up for very little $, only so I could more easily play with my daughter who plays alto. I actually found I liked the tone of the sax.com better than her Yamaha YAS-23, but ultimately fell yet again in horn love with a 6M tranny.

However, the saxophone.com soprano i picked up used, but basically new (played twice before me for some session work in a studio that went defunct very fast, good deal for me).
Anyway, I really like the tone I get out of the thing, and find playing it to be great.
Ultimately, I might buy a MK VI or a SA80, etc. just because, but I am honestly thinking I have a great horn.

So, does anyone have a soprano they LOVE that is a very cheap horn.
Would be curious if you are a hobbiest or pro musician as well.
So, what is it you're looking for then? You say you're satisfied with the horn you currently own, so are you looking for somebody to talk you out of it? Do you believe that if you buy a Selmer you'll find more satisfaction? Or is it a prestige thing? Selmer Paris still makes great horns, but IMO they are over priced, and I will put my 82ZR up against them any day. I also have a Conn-Selmer La Voix II soprano that has a little more Punch or raw sound than the Yamaha and it was half the price. But personally, if you really like the one you're playing now why not just stick with it ?
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top