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I have been shopping for a horn for my daughter who has started playing recently. I was looking for a Yamaha YAS23 for her since that is the standard for student horns , and lets be honest it would be a good safe choice. With the school year getting ready to start prices on horns have seemed to jump up a little, but I was looking at spending about $500-$700 for a used horn. I really didn't want to go the e-bay route as most of the YAS 23 I see on there say might need a pad or two. I want something that I can test locally and be sure is a solid playing horn. With that said I had been comparing YAS23 in various stores and I came across a cannonball excalibur for $599. I tried it and I was rather impressed. The yamaha has the keys set up closer so its better for smaller hands I think but besides that they both seem to be solid choices for a student. Can anyone care to comment on this model of Cannonball or compare it to the Yamaha?
 

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No, I can't do the comparison, but I'd like to comment anyway. I think you are correct in saying the YAS23 is the "standard" for student altos, but the one's I've played have been exceptionally bright - way too much for my tastes anyway. I'd have to play the Cannonball you tried before making a choice, but my instincts tell me I'd go with the Cannonball if everything else was equal, for tone alone, knowing how the YAS23 sounds.

Before buying a new or used YAS23, I urge you to try Dave Kessler's Custom line of altos. I know Kessler and his products. The Kessler alto I bought for my grandson (after test-playing several different altos at Kessler's store) has been a delight and is still going strong as he enters 10th grade. I preferred it over a YAS62II I played at the same time. DAVE
 

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YAS-23 is the horn I have now (no cash to upgrade) but it is a pretty good horn. For students it's one of the best horns out there.
 
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