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hi folks,

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer! We've been renting an alto (Bundy, pretty clunky) from Music & Arts for a couple of years and DD has decided she wants to stick with it for a while. She seems to have some talent at it and coming from a very musical family, we're excited! Some very nice grandparents are interested in helping with a nice intermediate-level instrument as a Christmas present and so I've been trying to learn as much as I can about our options. Here are the facts I'm aware of:

-We want to stay under $3K
-Music & Arts stocks various Yamaha and P.Mauriat models, and also has these roving "Horns of Plenty" shows where you have access to horns from Jupiter, Blessing, and other brands. There is one of these in our area on Saturday. They are kind of putting a hard sell on this and saying that there are discounts only available at one of these shows. I have no idea if this is true or not.
-We have a local indie woodwind shop that currently has on offer in our approximate price range:
Cannonball A5-L $2717
Buffet BC8101 $1399
King Zephyr-AS $2108​
-I've been assuming a new horn because I have no idea how to value a used horn and what are the reputable sellers.
-I assume that anything will play and sound much better than what she's been playing.

Thanks again for any assistance. I'm a musician and a (once and future) clarinetist so I can handle as much detail as you want to throw at me :cyclopsa:

happy/merry/etc -

_gene
 

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I play Tenor so my help is a little limited on alto but I would recommend taking her to multiple different stores and conventions to look at a ton of sax's since my experience at music and arts and many other stores can be a little pushy towards one brand of Sax. I would recommend trying multiple saxes as "that one sax" that she really loves and feels super comfortable on many not be at one store or even offered. also, I would give her as much room inside the $3000 as she needs as she could find a sax that she loves for 2600 and a pretty good one for 2200, the one that she loves most is the one for her! also, the most important thing is super simple but if she tries a sax and falls in love with it and that's the one that you end up buying make sure the store sells you THAT VERY SAX, not a new one that's "from the back". super important as all saxs play different but maybe from the same brand or even model!

I hope you find a awsome sax for your daughter!

Andrew
 

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On that budget, my personal recommendation would be to buy a USED professional-level saxophone (if you have a fair amount of confidence it will be handled with care).

You can definitely find used Selmer and Yamaha professional instruments in that price range, and if you have access to a saxophonist (perhaps her private instructor?)to evaluate them for you this is the smart buy, both financially and in terms of a horn that won't need another upgrade for a LONG time. If you buy a new "intermediate" horn, it will depreciate substantially immediately after leaving the store, whereas a well-cared for professional horn purchased used is likely to hold its value or even appreciate.

I'd shop for used specimens of these (among others) before making a purchase. I'd expect you to be able to find something in the mid-upper $2000's if you are persistent.

Selmer Super Action 80 (original, Serie II or Serie III, Reference 54, Mark VII (7) )
Yamaha Custom (YAS-875, YAS-875EX, 82Z, probably YAS-62)

Examples from dealers I have used:

Yamahas:
https://www.saxquest.com/store/category/modern-saxes-C56/type/4/manufacturer/155

Yamahas and Selmers:
https://pmwoodwind.com/products/ins...o-saxophones&_brands=selmer,yamaha&_show=used


Welcome to SOTW! I'm sure you'll soon have way more advice than you were expecting!


Alan
 

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Discussion Starter #4
apologies to all for accidentally posting this in the mouthpieces section. I meant to put it in What to Buy & Why: Saxophones.
 

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I'm in the st. Louis area, I don't know where you're from but saxquest in st. Louis Missouri is amazing and has a huge selection of 2nd hand sax's!
 

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hi folks,

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer! We've been renting an alto (Bundy, pretty clunky) from Music & Arts for a couple of years and DD has decided she wants to stick with it for a while. She seems to have some talent at it and coming from a very musical family, we're excited! Some very nice grandparents are interested in helping with a nice intermediate-level instrument as a Christmas present and so I've been trying to learn as much as I can about our options. Here are the facts I'm aware of:

-We want to stay under $3K
-Music & Arts stocks various Yamaha and P.Mauriat models, and also has these roving "Horns of Plenty" shows where you have access to horns from Jupiter, Blessing, and other brands. There is one of these in our area on Saturday. They are kind of putting a hard sell on this and saying that there are discounts only available at one of these shows. I have no idea if this is true or not.
-We have a local indie woodwind shop that currently has on offer in our approximate price range:
Cannonball A5-L $2717
Buffet BC8101 $1399
King Zephyr-AS $2108​
-I've been assuming a new horn because I have no idea how to value a used horn and what are the reputable sellers.
-I assume that anything will play and sound much better than what she's been playing.

Thanks again for any assistance. I'm a musician and a (once and future) clarinetist so I can handle as much detail as you want to throw at me :cyclopsa:

happy/merry/etc -

_gene
Welcome to SOTW Gene,
You have a really good budget for this so you shouldn't have my trouble finding a quality instrument for your daughter. The Mauriat's and Yamaha's that the store stocks are all quality horns and you would make a sound investment buying either brand. However, the Yamaha is your best bet as far as re-sale value goes. As far as the three available at the indie store I can vouch for the Cannonball alto as I own one and it's my main horn. I also own a Yamaha YAS62II which is also a very good horn. I cannot offer an opinion on the Buffet as I've never tried one. The Zephyr is a great horn depending on the vintage, especially if it's a Zephyr Special and in good condition.

I would suggest having your daughter try the Yamaha's, Mauriat's, and the Cannonball in your price range and let her take her pick. I would stay away from the vintage horns for now as they are really not student friendly. Happy horn hunting!
 

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+1 on buy used. Especially if you live in an area with a decent sax technician who can fix up any minor issues.
 

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Make sure she gets a chance to actually handle the horn she'll eventually be playing. If the salesperson doesn't actually play sax ask for one that does. He/she will be able to see if the fingers are fitting horn and vice versa. The ergonomics of saxophones vary from one manufacturer to the next. Make sure her small hands can reach all the keys easily, especially the keys actuated by the pinky fingers. She shouldn't have to stretch to reach the keys.
 

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+1 for buying a used professional-quality instrument (vs a new instrument claiming to be pro-quality that perhaps is not).

Shops to check include:
TenorMadness.com
BarnardRepair.com
Saxquest.com

Here are a couple in your range:

https://www.barnardrepair.com/alto-saxophones-for-sale/yamaha-y-62-alto-saxophone-d31xxx

https://www.tenormadness.com/product-page/keilwerth-sx90r-alto-saxophone-109xxx

Yes, they might be found for less through a private sale, and similar horns at good prices pop up on occasion in the Marketplace here, but you do not yet have access (6 months and 50+ posts req'd). Buying from a dealer should carry with it the assurance of good playing condition, and may include a trial/approval opportunity.

G'luck with your quest, and thanks for being a great dad!
 

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I think it is fine for an accomplished and experienced saxophone player to look for a good deal on a used professional instrument from one of the name vendors. They already have a good concept of what they are looking for to buy. A middle school student who has only played one or two years does not. A local store with a good selection of quality brand saxophones where the student can try out several different ones and see what appeals to her is a good choice especially if they back up their instruments with a warranty and have a good repair shop on site.
 

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3k is enough to buy a brand new professional horn. I think a used professional horn in good playing condition can be had around 1500-2000, except the Selmer VI, King Super 20, maybe the Buescher Top Hat.

A King Zephyr (in the right period) is very nice, but for $2180 seems over priced.

If you want it by x’mas, your choice will be more limited. If you buy new, I personally like Yanagisawa. I have a AWO2, the cheaper one in bronze without ribbed construction.




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Music and Arts is really just better in that they can offer 36 months no interest financing for people with good credit. With that and the event discount, you can get a Yanagisawa WO1 or a Yamaha 62iii for just under $3k. As to the lowest price, other stores will often meet that price regularly, but it does appear to be the lowest actual price anyone can sell at.
Now, you can usually find these same instruments or even better instruments used. All you would have to do is find someone you trust to help you that knows what they are talking about. There are dozens of people on this forum that can do just that. Years of research and sax gear studying makes this possible.
You want to stay in the Selmer Paris, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa brands when buying used. $3k can actually get you a lot of great options.
Good luck!
 

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-Music & Arts stocks various Yamaha and P.Mauriat models, and also has these roving "Horns of Plenty" shows where you have access to horns from Jupiter, Blessing, and other brands. There is one of these in our area on Saturday. They are kind of putting a hard sell on this and saying that there are discounts only available at one of these shows. I have no idea if this is true or not.
-We have a local indie woodwind shop that currently has on offer in our approximate price range:
Cannonball A5-L $2717
Buffet BC8101 $1399
King Zephyr-AS $2108​
-I've been assuming a new horn because I have no idea how to value a used horn and what are the reputable sellers.
-I assume that anything will play and sound much better than what she's been playing.
A bit confused here, as a Zephyr is certainly a vintage horn...yet you say you wanna buy new ?

Of those you mentioned...

1) I am going to veer away from the 'get a Yamaha 23/200/275/26 or whatever the heck they call their current student model these days.

Yeah, sure you can do it....but I will say now now that the Buffet (it is a Model 100 BTW) is a hella better horn than the aforementioned Yamahas.

Jupiter is also not a brand to take lightly....

2) FWIW, if it is a Bundy 1 she has been playing, and it was in good serviced condition...likely NO contemporary horn is actually gonna SOUND as good. That's an old-school Buescher body design and those horns were big and sweet-toned. As far as PLAYABILITY - yes certainly a likely result will be slicker feel to the keywork.

3) So as I understand it the current offerings available to you are all gonna be play-testable in person, right ? Nothing beats that, so have DD do that.

3) I refurbish and sell used horns, and oddly, LOL...I am gonna veer away from the advice of buying used :|.
I mean, if your budget was $750, then I'd say "buy used".
But if you can afford a NEW $1800-2500 alto, heck, as dealaddict says, there are a LOT of good choices out there.

The Buffet 100 is a good one.
A Buffet 400 is an even better one.
Jupiter 1100 is also a good one.


 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks everyone for all the advice so far! A few followups:

JayeLID: Such is my ignorance, I didn't even know Zephyr was a vintage brand. But after reading the replies so far as well as many other threads here, I think I'm starting to feel more comfortable with buying used.

Yes, we are paying attention to repair options in the area, and no, we're not going to rush this so no particular requirement for getting it done by the 25th.

I think most likely DD and I will visit various places over the coming weeks/months and she can try out a few and see how they feel and sound.

Very interested to keep reading and posting!
 

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I want to point out that while the student trying horns themself can be a good idea, I believe this really only holds its best value when the person is at least an advanced high school level. A well trained professional or educator would have a lot better idea of an instrument that would be good for a very long term and will think long term. A middle schooler may like something that feels like their bundy, and that will create a bad choice of a purchase. It would be a *very* poor choice in my opinion to buy a new instrument like a Jupiter or various intermediate instrument because that is what was available or what was new. You will be MUCH happier long term with a used pro horn that was taken really good care of. I will day again, the only sub $3K new horns you should even consider are the Yamaha 62III or the Yanagisawa WO1. I am a private teacher in North Texas with over 60 students and see parents who got ripped or or stuck with bad purchases all the time. Keep it to those two for new or add a few more used. Don’t even consider the Zephyr or some of those other things like the Buffet 400. I have too many students I see with that Buffet in beginning band and they are a completely headache with unreliability.
This is one of those times where I wish there was some type of ranking system for members. It is hard to tell who is giving bad advice and who the OP should really listen to.
Any way, good luck.
 

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You want to stay in the Selmer Paris, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa brands when buying used. $3k can actually get you a lot of great options.
Good luck!
That rules out a lot of very good horns, but perhaps reflects the reality of the narrow outlook of a lot of teaching conservatories.
 

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I want to point out that while the student trying horns themself can be a good idea, I believe this really only holds its best value when the person is at least an advanced high school level. A well trained professional or educator would have a lot better idea of an instrument that would be good for a very long term and will think long term. A middle schooler may like something that feels like their bundy, and that will create a bad choice of a purchase. It would be a *very* poor choice in my opinion to buy a new instrument like a Jupiter or various intermediate instrument because that is what was available or what was new. You will be MUCH happier long term with a used pro horn that was taken really good care of. I will day again, the only sub $3K new horns you should even consider are the Yamaha 62III or the Yanagisawa WO1. I am a private teacher in North Texas with over 60 students and see parents who got ripped or or stuck with bad purchases all the time. Keep it to those two for new or add a few more used. Don’t even consider the Zephyr or some of those other things like the Buffet 400. I have too many students I see with that Buffet in beginning band and they are a completely headache with unreliability.
This is one of those times where I wish there was some type of ranking system for members. It is hard to tell who is giving bad advice and who the OP should really listen to.
Any way, good luck.

IMO - Good advice here. A middle schooler (or 9 year old) may fall in love with a horn because it looks sweet in black lacquer. :whistle:
 

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this is a pic of a "zephyr" on goodwill - not the horn most of us think of, but perhaps what's out there now

gene, you might want to share your location - there may be members local to you that might be willing to help with the search or provide other info.

fwiw, i think you're going about this the right way. if dd has a horn whose feel and sound she likes, she is more likely to play.

View attachment 248756
 
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