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Discussion Starter #1
Hey all, I'm new to this forum. I've played sax for about ten years, though until four weeks ago, I hadn't touched her in about four years. I forgot how much I loved playing... but anyhow...

I was wondering what some good choices are for pro saxophones? Some horns that you all think I should definately check out. I looked up the Selmer Reference 54 and was put off only by the current discussion by Saxaholic (now I have some reservations)

I currently play a student horn, though a rather good one: Conn 21 M
I want something with better harmonics as this one isn't so good for the altissimo.

I play somewhat decent, have done some studio recordings and wish to play more professionaly in the future.

Thank you in advance.

Luke
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Al Stevens said:
Tenor? Alto? I have a Ref 54 tenor. It's a fine horn.
So did you have a lot of "tuning" to get her set up right? I'm a couple hours from any woodwind/sax shop, so I would probably order it at home.
 

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baritone saxophone said:
I would check out some used yamaha customs and used 62's.
Yamaha put a bad taste in my mouth from one of their student horns. Sort of stifled my playing (didn't feel too free-blowing). I don't know if it is true of all but I might have to try out the custom.
 

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Luke: Now that we know you are asking about altos . . . I selected my Ref 54 alto from among several at Dave Kessler's shop in Las Vegas. His shop set it up very nicely and the one I selected outplayed the others, mainly because he hadn't yet been able to tweak the others. Later, I played a friend's Ref 54 alto that he'd purchased sight-unseen from Kessler and had it shipped to him.

These two horns were the closest together that I've ever heard out of two different saxophones. In fact, all of the Ref 54's I've played (including the one before I went to Kesslers - the one that got me interested in a new Ref 54) had the same general tonal qualities.

I've also owned Yanagisawa, Yamaha, and R&C new altos and tested MANY Yamahas. My Ref 54 is MY favorite among the modern ones because of its sound.

But what do I play on gigs? A Buescher Big B, mostly. DAVE
 

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Luke Michelson said:
Yamaha put a bad taste in my mouth from one of their student horns. Sort of stifled my playing (didn't feel too free-blowing). I don't know if it is true of all but I might have to try out the custom.
The Yamaha you were blowing on was most likely out of adjustment. You owe it to yourself to try a Yamaha again, one that's in adjustment. Try out all the different horns. If you're looking to spend as little as possible, the Yamaha 62 and the Yanagisawa 901 are great horns.
 

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Their are four major brands.
yamaha
Selmer
Yani
Keilworth

Ok.

Selmer is the oldest of the companies. They have a good reputation, they are known for quality. My selmer Tenor is better than most Yamaha's then I have played. Then I am biased.
Keilworth is the second oldest. They don't have that great of a resale value. People are paying the same for a Selmer new, but not getting that kind of return when they try to sell it. Expect a BIG loss if you get it new.
Yamaha and Yani, are the Asain brands. But they are very good.
Yani is cheaper then a Selmer, and so is a Yamaha as well.

What kind of music are you going to play?
 

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Luke Michelson said:
So did you have a lot of "tuning" to get her set up right? I'm a couple hours from any woodwind/sax shop, so I would probably order it at home.
No, I bought it from the original owner who had it set up and then never played it. It sat in a closet for about three years.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you all for the prompt and detailed answers.

Carbs, I currently play some church music as well as pop. I usually get in trouble for my jazz inflections at church. But I can't really help it. I rarely use written music.

The most fun I ever had was in a small jazz group of about six up in NY. That's where I'd like to go with my playing. Something semi-professional.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I know I'm full of questions, but with your responses, I'm now able to narrow down my choices.

First, what is the difference between the Yanagisawa 901 and the 902. There's almost a thousand dollar difference in price on Ebay. Both are called pro horns. The second one I saw looks absolutely beautiful (especially compared to my current horn).

Does it have a decent altissimo (and is a good altissimo dependent upon the sax? My tenor Conn has an awesome altissimo, even though it plays a horrid mid D).

I just want to know whether paying two grand more for a reference 54 is worth it.
 

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Luke Michelson said:
First, what is the difference between the Yanagisawa 901 and the 902. There's almost a thousand dollar difference in price on Ebay. Both are called pro horns. The second one I saw looks absolutely beautiful (especially compared to my current horn).
902 has more bronze content in the brass alloy. Does it make a difference? I owned a SC992 (bronze bore) then replaced that with a SC991S (silverplated "regular" brass) and there was no difference in tone. So no, it's not worth the extra money for the 902.

Luke Michelson said:
I just want to know whether paying two grand more for a reference 54 is worth it.
No, it's not worth the extra $2k (which would be DOUBLE the price of a 901). Assuming a quality well-regulated horn, the player is responsible for the tone.
 

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Luke: The "2" in the Yanagisawa model designators mean BRONZE. The "1" means brass. So the 902's (whether soprano or alto, etc.) means the horn's body is made of bronze while the 901 is made of brass (usually lacquered).

Easier altissimo? Don't know. Real differences among all the Yanagisawas, whether it is an A901 or an A991? Don't know (and I don't particulary care - I suspect marketing over substance).

While I think a saxophone's body material may have some affect on its tone, I'm not convinced that the difference is significant enough to justify the extra cost, especially if one is watching pennies.

I have the bronze sopranos (S992 and SC902) and used to have an A992. If I were to buy a new soprano today, I'd go for the S901 and pocket the significant price difference (not that pennies matter to me BUT they will all sound like me and no one will care if what I play is bronze or brass). Bronze sure looks great, though. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thank you all for your help. It gives me a lot to go on. I'm liking what I'm hearing about the Yanagisawa.

I'm seeing a few 901s on ebay in "supposedly" good condition at $1300.00; so this might be the way to go. Though I'll check out the link SaxyAcoustician, thanks!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Carbs said:
Honestly I would go with the horn from Kessler. And I would expect to pay for a full overhaul on any horn I bought off of E-bay.
Yeah, I looked at their site last night and was quite impressed with what they have to offer. I don't think I would ever buy something that expensive off of Ebay (not with my past luck).

Actually, I think it was sold for near the price of Kessler anyhow.

Thank you.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Ok, I am bound to ask yet another question, and probably my last one (I won't promise though!).

Is there any difference between the A901 and the A991? That is, at least, besides aesthetics. Kessler isn't too specific about what makes them different. And I know that SaxyAcoustician and Dave, you both have or had the 991 models. Regardless of whether I get bronze or silver or just brass, what could I expect with the extra $500.00 or so for the 991s compared to the 901s.

Like I said, your input is important, I want a good pro horn and am willing to pay extra to get it. But aesthetics isn't the most important. I've ruled out the Ref 54 (for now, I've got a baby on the way :) ), based on what you all have said and the article written at the top by Saxaholic (which compares the 54 with the 992).
 
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