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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have opened a HUGE can of worms and I need help!

Basic question: Which of the following 3 options would you choose?

Do I spend $600 to continue renting a used Conn 24M for my son to play for the next year in middle school (it was used prior to him renting it), do I spend $600 to purchase a brand new Blessing, or do I try to rent a higher level instrument?

Background: My son is almost 11; he will be going to middle school next year (6th grade). He has enjoyed playing sax in the elementary school band and jazz band during 4th and 5th grade. He does not take lessons (other than what he gets in school band meetings), but he's ended up being one of the two best sax players in the band (of 10 sax players); he asked if he could take lessons over the summer. Sax is something he enjoys, but it is not the love of his life. He practices when I remind him; once he gets started, he'll play for 30 minutes. He is a typical 10 year old. The Conn he has sounds okay (but what do I know?), but is a little dinged up ... missing a tuning screw (?) and the "ivory" keypad on one of the keys has come off. Minor stuff. It's never been in the shop in the 2 years we've had it.

The store we rent his Conn from was having a sale -- 60% off Blessing instruments -- which ended up being about the same cost as what we will pay to rent his current sax for the next year (at which point it will be paid off). I thought that might be a good deal -- end up with a brand new instrument for the same $. I asked the middle school band teacher what he thought. His answer, I now understand after reading a bit, was predictable ... of course he'd like to see him playing a Yamaha or a Selmer intermediate level instrument. What I can't seem to figure out is if I hadn't asked the question and my son showed up in middle school band with the Conn 24M, would he do okay or would what he can learn/do start to be limited by the instrument? Is moving up to an intermediate instrument at this point a "need" or a "nice to have"? So, given that background, I think my options are as I stated above. Which would you do? Is a Conn better than a Blessing or vice versa? To me the Blessing sounds fuller, cleaner ... but what do I know? And reliability wise, which is better?

I had no idea this was so complicated....
 

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For $600 or less you could probably get a gently used Yamaha YAS23. That's a better option IMHO because when/if you do end up selling in the future it will hold it's value much better than an off brand horn like a Blessing.
 

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Also the 23 is better than a good portion of student and intermediate horns. He can use this horn probably up till high school at least. Also in High school it will make a good marching horn.

~Carbs
 

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I think saxmanglen is giving you good advice. I don't even know what a "Blessing" is. A Yamaha or one of the new student model Selmers would be a much better investment for your son and if you had to later, you would be able to sell the horn easier.
 

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My 2 cents

I am also in favour of SaxMangle's idea. You can surely find a decent YAS23 among the SOTW fellows, with less than the $600 target..

On the other hand, I'd buy the Blessing horn. If your son decided to give up saxophone (very likely not) you can always sell the sax and collect "some" $ back... Some of us sax players might not always devote our 100% times / effort in playing sax, yet we'd always have a sax (or two) hanging around...

Just my 2 cents...

Cheers:cool:
 

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My guess is almost everyone here will chime in with a comparable advise and the Yas23 will do fine. And if you check the Marketplace, 10mfan has one for sale, playable for way less then $600.
 

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ailinsh1 said:
Do I spend $600 to continue renting a used Conn 24M for my son to play for the next year in middle school....
As a point of interest, these horns go for what... a hundred and fifty bucks tops on Ebay. Renting one for $600 is near theft.
 

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$600 does seem really high. I rented a YAS 23 from Music and Arts Center for something like $25/mo. Music and Arts Center is a national chain.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
We rent from Music and Arts also. It's $45/month; we have 12 months left on the contract, so okay, not quite $600. Still, it sounds as though we're being taken for a major ride ... we will have paid $1300 for the sax if we continue renting it through next year. Time to find something else, definitely....

Sondra
 

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Hopefully there's an "out" clause in your contract that's not too steep.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks to all of you for your input. We have ditched the Blessing option; we can get out of our contract with the Conn 24M with no penalty, and are now trying to decide between purchasing a used YAS-23 or a Kessler Custom. Is my understanding that the Kessler Custom would actually be better than the YAS-23 correct?

I imagine, being on the east coast, there is probably no way the middle school band teacher will have had any experience with the Kessler, so I'm not sure if I should even ask (I don't want to prematurely set off the "It's not a Yamaha or a Selmer" reflex). He had originally pointed us to a Selmer Mark VI or a Yamaha Super Action 80 (?) ... but those are significantly beyond what I want to spend at this point. So hopefully the YAS-23 will be an acceptable step up from his current Conn 24M, and if we decide the Kessler should be at least as good or better than the Yamaha, then maybe we'll do that....
 

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I second that!

saxmanglen said:
For $600 or less you could probably get a gently used Yamaha YAS23. That's a better option IMHO because when/if you do end up selling in the future it will hold it's value much better than an off brand horn like a Blessing.
The YAS23 will definitely carry you through through high school and university. You can always upgrade to a professional later.

I've had my YAS23 for about 20 years. It still handles great. I had to take it in for an overhaul once. Before switching to a professional model, I bought a Meyer 5 mouthpiece and my YAS23 sounded close to a professional model.

Good luck to you! You can't go wrong with Yamaha horns. Yamaha also makes Vito, another good horn.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Decision made. YAS-23, from 10mfan. Sounds like it will be a great instrument and 10mfan could not have been more helpful. Looking forward to hearing my son play it in a few days! Thank you all for your very balanced advice -- it was a breath of fresh air to hear a reasoned discussion of cost vs. quality and what is really necessary for a young sax player. I'll let you know how it sounds after we receive it.
 

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I know I'm too late but I would have chimed in for the YAS-23 too. I rented one for a month or two to get my chops back after not playing for 10 years. It's a great horn. Band teachers don't always know what they are talking about so I'm glad you came here. A Mark VI will set you back around $5,000. ;)

If your son gets really serious and goes on to play in college the Yamaha 82z is great horn at a great price also.

EDIT: If you're still reading this thread, I'd highly recommend paying for some private lessons for him. Call a local college or store and ask for some names. Get someone that teaches from home as opposed to a store. If he's doing so well with no private teacher, he'll probably do even better with one and have things to practice.
 

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The YAS-23 will work well through middle school. I would not count out the possiabilty of him switching to Tenor of Bari in Middle School. That is where I picked up Tenor. And it is very likely that it will happen. As for the 23 it will last a long time, if he cares for it, it will hold its value very well. Which would be great if he wanted to sell it. Also they are built like TANKS, infact probably better. So it will last through marching band.
 
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