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Hi guys, I'm currently a music university student and I chose saxophone as my minor instrument because I love jazz so much. So now I'll need to buy a saxophone but I'm torn between the alto and tenor saxophone. I actually like the tenor sax's sound more than alto sax but after going to a few music stores around my area, all of them recommended me to learn alto saxophone first and then move on to tenor after learning the alto for some time. So now I'm in a dilemma and have a couple of questions that I hope you guys can give me advice on.

1. Is what the sales mans suggested the right way to go or is it actually possible for a complete beginner(I'm a pianist and have never learned any wind instruments) to learn the tenor saxophone straightaway?

2. I know I like the instrument and I'm serious about eventually learning it up to the level where I can perform in gigs. Should I get a student or intermediate sax? Or do I get student saxophone first and then upgrade in the future(salesman suggestion)? I know that what truly matters is the player but now that I'm about to spend money on this I want to make the wiser decision. Professional sax is way over my budget.

3. In relation to question 2, is it possible to perform in gigs with student/intermediate sax? Do professional saxophonists perform with these sax too?

4. Are Chinese and Taiwanese brands trustable? I'm from Malaysia and saxophone is not as popular in this country so there are much lesser saxophones around. I have yet to check out Yamaha music store but so far it's mostly Chinese and Taiwanese brands. Other than Jupiter and LC I can only find very little information about the other brands.
 

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Many youngsters start on alto because they're smaller, lighter, and easier on the lungs, but I don't feel that advice necessarily holds for adult beginners. IMHO, it's easier to develop a respectable embouchure and tone on tenor, though it does require more airflow.
 

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I've recently discovered after 4 years of playing both everyday for 6 hours on average that my personality is alto. I can play more like my favorite musicians and I am able to play more what I hear and much more easily. I can play a tune resolve and be confident. I love tenor and many tenor players but it just does not feel as natural to my body/soul.

If you like fast zippy, higher pitch than I would go with alto. If you like deeper sounding ballad and husky like tone then go for tenor. You can play tenor fast but for me, it is not as agile and quick as alto, ceteris paribus.

Listen to these alto players:
Charlie Parker
Art Pepper
Lee Konitz
Kenny Garrett

Then listen to these tenor players:
Coltrane
Ben Webster
Don Byas
Lester Young

Which group overall releases more dopamine into your system? That's the horn I would go for.

Good luck! It took me a while to pick. I will always play both, but I know the alto is my personality.

Check this video out and it also may help you decide. Denis brings up the point that other people who heard him play actually gave him valuable advice on which horn was natural to him.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dd3PEd4Yb6o
 

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If you are a beginner I would lean toward yamaha and a 4c mouthpiece. If those are out of your budget then watch Jay Metcalf's Better Sax youtube channel. He has lots of advice on budge alto's and tenors.

It is possible to perform gigs on any instrument. A pro can play on anything. My friend is one of the best jazz musicians in the world and he always tells me "It's in the Indian not the arrow".
 

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Hi guys, I'm currently a music university student and I chose saxophone as my minor instrument because I love jazz so much. So now I'll need to buy a saxophone but I'm torn between the alto and tenor saxophone. I actually like the tenor sax's sound more than alto sax but after going to a few music stores around my area, all of them recommended me to learn alto saxophone first and then move on to tenor after learning the alto for some time. So now I'm in a dilemma and have a couple of questions that I hope you guys can give me advice on.

1. Is what the sales mans suggested the right way to go or is it actually possible for a complete beginner(I'm a pianist and have never learned any wind instruments) to learn the tenor saxophone straightaway?

2. I know I like the instrument and I'm serious about eventually learning it up to the level where I can perform in gigs. Should I get a student or intermediate sax? Or do I get student saxophone first and then upgrade in the future(salesman suggestion)? I know that what truly matters is the player but now that I'm about to spend money on this I want to make the wiser decision. Professional sax is way over my budget.

3. In relation to question 2, is it possible to perform in gigs with student/intermediate sax? Do professional saxophonists perform with these sax too?

4. Are Chinese and Taiwanese brands trustable? I'm from Malaysia and saxophone is not as popular in this country so there are much lesser saxophones around. I have yet to check out Yamaha music store but so far it's mostly Chinese and Taiwanese brands. Other than Jupiter and LC I can only find very little information about the other brands.
1 - The main impediment to learning a tenor as a child is the size of the student. If you can hold a tenor, it won't be any harder to play than an alto. In some ways, I would say it's actually the more forgiving horn. It will cost you more, though.

2 - I think you should go for the best horn you can afford. Don't dismiss second hand horns because you can often get a pro horn in good condition for not too much money. I would suggest getting a quality student sax like a Yamaha and pairing it with a great pro mouthpiece once your technique develops enough.

3 - Yes! Also yes. As long as the sax is a decent design and is kept in good condition, it should be fine for professional playing.

4 - Yes and no. There are some great saxes coming out of China and Taiwan, but also some instruments that are less than ideal. If you have any saxophone playing friends or classmates, it might be worth asking them to come along with you and check out some horns. They will know what's good and what isn't.
 

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I suggest going with the one that speaks to your soul. For me it's tenor, so that's what I started with. Eventually I got a really nice Buescher 140 alto, and even though it was a really sweet-sounding horn I sold it because I just prefer tenor.
 

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Hi guys, I'm currently a music university student and I chose saxophone as my minor instrument because I love jazz so much. So now I'll need to buy a saxophone but I'm torn between the alto and tenor saxophone. I actually like the tenor sax's sound more than alto sax but after going to a few music stores around my area, all of them recommended me to learn alto saxophone first and then move on to tenor after learning the alto for some time. So now I'm in a dilemma and have a couple of questions that I hope you guys can give me advice on.

1. Is what the sales mans suggested the right way to go or is it actually possible for a complete beginner(I'm a pianist and have never learned any wind instruments) to learn the tenor saxophone straightaway?

2. I know I like the instrument and I'm serious about eventually learning it up to the level where I can perform in gigs. Should I get a student or intermediate sax? Or do I get student saxophone first and then upgrade in the future(salesman suggestion)? I know that what truly matters is the player but now that I'm about to spend money on this I want to make the wiser decision. Professional sax is way over my budget.

3. In relation to question 2, is it possible to perform in gigs with student/intermediate sax? Do professional saxophonists perform with these sax too?

4. Are Chinese and Taiwanese brands trustable? I'm from Malaysia and saxophone is not as popular in this country so there are much lesser saxophones around. I have yet to check out Yamaha music store but so far it's mostly Chinese and Taiwanese brands. Other than Jupiter and LC I can only find very little information about the other brands.
OK, since I primarily play alto I should re-enforce what the salesman told you at the store. Buy the alto, learn on that and then upgrade to tenor. WRONG! Since you like tenor then there's no reason not to start on that horn. Since you are an adult there's no physical reason that you should play alto first, and there's no advantage to it either. My opinion, I would get a Yamaha YTS-280. Probably the best student horn made today. There are pros that own these horns for doubling on or as back ups. Also, the re-sale value is better on Yamaha's than most other brands. Here's some info to check out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b__5XhjvBks&list=PLyw7zOBUpIM0VZ_nx3JUlSquzjKlJx95A&index=9&t=0s

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PrMUsX_2IPo
 
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