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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all, I've just joined to please get some advice.
I'm a brass player but have a daughter who has started learning soprano sax. She has a number of learning disabilities and has never shown this much enthusiasm for anything before. She's already doing quite well, but we're using a pretty poor (borrowed) sax so it's pretty hard for her to know what is her fault and what is the sax.

She's pretty sold on a curved soprano (having tried a few) and her hands are very small so even though alto might be easier for her to start with, we're going with a curved soprano.

I would like to get her a decent instrument, not a cheap Chinese, as I'm happy to keep it myself, even if she decides to stop down the track. Also, if I think if she does well it might help her improve in other areas of her life.

Ideally I'd like to get a decent second hand one, without going over the top, but I'm in Australia and there don't seem to be a lot in the used market over here. I've come across a second hand Yani SC991 (fully serviced and ready to go) - which I know would be a brilliant instrument, but at $2700 (converted to USD so you folks over the sea can compare it with what you know) it's more than I was planning on paying.

I've read in other places on here that Chateau is an up and coming decent brand, which is pretty good value for what it is. I can get a new base student model for $1100, or a new CSS-80 (in silver - does the finish alter the sound??) for $1600 (again these prices are USD).

I'm really not sure what to do - I would assume if I go Chateau, then the CSS-80 would be better value. So then it's between the Chateau and the Yani - Do I keep it on the cheaper side, or pay a fair bit more and get what I know will be something that's really good, but possibly over the top for a beginner, and more than I really wanted to spend.

Thanks for any help
 

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meredith: Welcome to SOTW. First of all, I fully support your effort in buying what the child wants and not what is common wisdom, especially if the child has some disabilities and her choice motivates her. I started on saxophone when I was 16 and it was a soprano because that's what I wanted to play. It turned out to be a life-time adventure and pleasure.

I realize cost is an issue for you but you just can't do much better than a Yanagisawa when it comes to curved sopranos. I am not familiar with the Chateau brand but I have owned and/or played a number of so-called inexpensive sopranos and none compared to a Yanagisawa. Anything less is usually a compromise. If at all possible, go with Yanagisawa. The last thing anyone needs when learning the soprano sax is to deal with performance/quality issues. DAVE
 

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There are other good sopranos (says the guy with a literal room full of Yanagisawas, including two sopranos).

I will PM you some more thoughts...
 

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I have a SC-991. Previously I had a SC-901. They're more expensive than a lot of horns, but they're worth every penny. The build quality is excellent, they don't break much. They're very consistent, get a great sound, and play in tune. The octave key tends to stick, but that's a simple cure.

The only other soprano I ever had that I liked at all was a straight Vito, a long time ago. Other than these 3, I've never played a soprano that I liked at all, and I've played quite a few. They have intonation problems, and many of them are just plain hard to play.
 

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The 991 is as good as it may get, although personally I am partial to Rampone & Cazzani curved soprano. When the time came to buy a curved soprano I tried many. The Yanagisawa ( I also tried a solid silver one and found it just as good) was the best but I couldn't afford it, so I went to what I considered and still consider the next best, I bought a Bauhaus Walstein Action Improved Phosphor Bronze which is pretty much a direct copy of the Yanagisawa 991.

I played it for many years than I sold it here. Bauhaus Walstein are Chinese made but they are imported in England and they are there checked and adjusted. It currently retails for less than €1000 and if I had to buy one again ~I'd certainly consider that one over and above the Chateau.

http://www.woodwindandbrass.co.uk/acatalog/Bauhaus-Walstein_Soprano_Saxophones.html
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks everyone for your replies, and encouragement. I'm still really not sure what to do, but I'm adding the Bauhaus to my considerations.
 

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There is nothing better than a Yani soprano. However its a gamble that your child will continue as it is with every child. I owned a Yani at the same time I owned a Taishan. I found that the Taishan is no where in the league of the Yani, but a very respectable instrument. If I wanted a curved soprano I could be happy with one. For context I own about 50 saxophones, but mostly play tenor. In that collection I have two Yani tenors to include a solid silver one.

In your position I get the Taishan. It will be worth about $300 US if you have to sell it. You can buy a new one for $600. Thus you only have $300 at risk. My second option would be to find a used LA Sax. I'm talking about one made in the last couple of years, like the Kim Waters signature. I keep two La Sax tenors in my collection. They are the most under rated Taiwan horns out there in my opinion. An equal choice would be a used Cannonball. Either of these second options used would be about $1300 US. Much better than the Taishan, but much more expensive.
 

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Great job in encouraging your daughter. Please get the Yanagisawa. They're pretty much the best sopranos out there. + they hold their value (incase you want to sell in the future)
 
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