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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know there are a few other threads asking about upgrades, and I've looked them over but I'm still unsure... so I apologize if this subject seems repetitive. I've been playing my YAS-23 for over five years now, currently with a Vandoren AL3 mouthpiece, and my Symphony Band audition was a couple days ago. My band director says I need to get a better saxophone if I want to continue advancing. (I've heard that most YAS-23s just need a good tune up, but I'm in Michigan and it seems the last good technician has gone out of business.) I've been asking various people who know saxes, my teacher, others' teachers, upperclassmen saxes and what not, and they've all recommended a number of different solutions. Current suggestions include:
  • Selmer Super Action 80
  • Yamaha Custom Z
  • Kielwerth SX90R
  • Vintage Conn 6M (AKA Naked lady/ladyface saxophone)
  • Yamaha Custom EX
  • Yamaha YAS 475
  • P. Mauriat 76GL
  • Yamaha YAS 62II
  • Yamaha YAS 82Z

I'm leaning towards the Yamaha Custom Z, but I'm not sure it's in my price range yet. I'm okay with buying used or vintage. I kind of like some of the P. Mauriats, I've heard their altos have a nice dark sound and seem to be in my price range, but no one I know seems to know anything about them. If you have any input on the saxes on the above list or another recommendation, I'd greatly appreciate it! Thank you! :eek:
 

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What Carl said.

Also, what's this about no techs in Michigan? Every sax on that list will need the occasional adjustment, depending, of course, on how much it is used. There's got to be someone around to do a yearly-type adjustment/checkup on those regardless of which one you would happen to choose. Getting another alto is no silver bullet for completely avoiding the tech.
 

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If your YAS-23 is in good shape and adjusted properly, the intonation should be spot on. You may have to ship your horn to get to the right tech.

If your bent on getting a new alto, I would advise getting a used/ vintage model. Play as many altos as you can and buy the one you like best. Re-lac Mark 6 altos from the later vintage are good values, as are SML or King Marigaux, Dolnet, Buffet and Yanagisawa. So add that to your list.
 

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Where in Michigan are you?
I live here too and if you're reasonably close to Grand Rapids or Lansing I can give you the names of a couple of AWESOME techs.
If you don't want to post your location here, shoot me a PM or email.
 

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Don't buy anything you haven't played! You can wipe your dirty parts with reputation because every horn is different, and every player has their own taste. Use the reputation to guide you toward horns you might like. Some of the horns on your list have a lot of quirks. A lot of people love the Conns for their huge sound (I think they sound incredible), but others (like me) can't play the things because the G# key may as well be upside down and backwards. You won't know how this works for you until you try it. The sterling rep of the Mark VI is deserved, but some players are looking for a different sound that comes from a King or Keilwerth. Ya Gotta Try the horns!

+1 for a YAS-23 being a solid horn. If you have never gotten it regulated, do that first! You might be surprised.
 

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Where in Michigan are you? I have no problem finding techs. Also, if your school uses a certain music store to repair/maintain their instruments they should have a tech that can tune up a sax. Like the previous posters said, pro horns will need tune-ups too. Are you planning on playing the saxophone after you graduate? Then the YAS-23 should do you fine. I know alot of guys who bought pro horns only to have them sit in a closet for years once they got out of schol and you'll be lucky to get what you paid for it if you have to sell it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks! My band director wasn't really specific aside from saying "you're driving a mini cooper when you need a ferrari" and that I need something that's not a student instrument. :dontknow: I'm in Ann Arbor, I used to get tune ups from Michigan Winds (or is it Meridian Winds?) in Okemos but last time I tried calling, their phone line was disconnected and my teacher didn't know of any other technicians in Michigan. If you could recommend technicians, that would definitely be helpful. :) There is a music-go-round near here, but I'm not sure they do great repair work. I did find a link to A&R Music, which I guess I didn't notice before; maybe I'll try them.

Edit: Oh, and if I do buy a new sax, I definitely will not be buying an instrument I haven't tried.
 

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Music go round isn't repair, just used sales of mostly guitar stuff.
 

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Meridian Winds in Okemos is still in business. That's one of the places I was going to recommend.
Check thier website for updated info.

It sounds to me like your band director is giving in to 'Brand Hype'.
Is he a sax player?
 

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If I knew what this phrase meant, I would use it constantly.
Unless I'm mistaken the phrase means "Wipe your poopy butt".
 

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Thanks! My band director wasn't really specific aside from saying "you're driving a mini cooper when you need a ferrari" and that I need something that's not a student instrument. :dontknow:
Well, if you don't know where you're going, any road will get you there.

Your director said you needed to upgrade. Without any additional information, it sounded like you didn't know you needed to upgrade. You need more guidance than what a bunch of strangers on the internet can anonymously provide.
 

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There's nothing wrong with wanting to upgrade from what is clearly a student model after a few years of experience. Sure, a sax is a sax... but come on folks. Maybe he would like a high F# key (though I'm certainly not a fan of them). Maybe the horn is otherwise limiting his talent as seen through the eyes of his instructor. Yeah, you can make do with a student Yamaha, but if you don't have to and are ready to move up, then what's wrong with that? Folks here seem to be telling him to get his student horn repaired when an overhaul might cost more than the value of the horn itself. Like it or not, when you show up to an audition with a student horn, eventually it's going to cost you a part; fair or not.

Try out a Selmer Series II and then try to find one second hand. Keep the Yamaha student model for marching band.
 

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Try out a Selmer Series II and then try to find one second hand. Keep the Yamaha student model for marching band.
What Grumps said.
 

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I'm all for getting your horn in for a check out by a good repair shop and not worrying too much about chasing down a "better" horn. You have a good horn/mouthpiece now. Save the money and continue to enjoy it. I have played many a job on YAS23's with no problems.

K
43 yrs of sax and going strong
 

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A Yamaha 23 is certainly a good horn capable to play, in capable hands , very well indeed........BUT..........a great many horns are better than this student model YAS 23 , perhaps is just the looks that the horn is missing and the band director would love something shiny and nice looking in his band, but acquiring a better horn is a good idea although it shouldn't be a mandatory thing. You should go to visit a shop and play their horns , they all play different in different hands, one can tell you the names of all the horns in the world and still you wouldn't know how they play WHEN YOU PLAY THEM! So...........there is the need to move your derriere ;) towards the closest shop and play anything they have there within your budget, if nothing else you would know that there is nothing better than your YAS 23 FOR YOU to play, out there
 

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Like some others, I question whether you need a new horn or not. Is the director a sax player? If not, how would he know. Do you have a private teacher? What's their opinion?

What grade are you in? How much do you expect to keep playing once you graduate? These are things you need to consider before making a large purchase.
 

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The OP did ask about reliable techs, so maybe the tune up to start idea is good for now.
There are budget concerns here as well.
I think that getting the tune up before shopping around is a viable option.
There will be more time to save up a few extra bucks if needed to get that shiny new horn, and the YAS-23 will be ready for the next marching season.

If you don't mind driving a little farther to Grand Rapids, Meyer Music has a tech by the name of Mike Lutley. He's well worth the drive.
They also have a decent selection of Pro horns available to give a test toot.
 
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