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I don't think my band director knows very much about saxophones, or maybe he thinks he knows a lot but he's been misinformed
If/when I get my new horn and he sees that it's not one of the big 4; what should I do?
I can't put up with the darn rented Yamaha anymore and local option are too expensive (3500 for a Canonball?!)
How can I get him to see that there is more to the sax world than rovners and selmers???
 

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What can he really do if you come in with a sax that plays well? I actually want to know.

My son faced some of the same, only from the other students. We searched and searched and found a vintage Conn that can outplay most of the other horns for a fraction of their price.
 

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I doubt that he will kick you out of band for not buying one of the big four. However, if you continue playing, you may be kicking yourself sometime down the road.

I traded a boosey and hawkes (holton stencil) that I got when I was 10 for a Selmer MkVI in 1972. They gave me $200 ($1134.03 in 2012 dollars) for my horn, and I paid an additional $500 ($2835.08 in 2012 dollars) for the selmer, with a Meyer 5M thrown in with the C* soloist style mouthpiece. That's almost $4k total today. Anyone that thinks good horns were ever cheap is mistaken.


I'm still happy with my purchase (except I broke the Meyer back in 1989).
 

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Do you know for sure that he has a problem with certain horns? If so, what do you think he would actually do if you showed up with an "unapproved" brand? (Will he kick you out, or just make snide comments, or put you in a lower chair?) How good are you? (He will have a harder time giving you a hard time if you are a star player.) Is there a written requirement that to be in the band you can only have certain brands of instruments? Are there horns that he approves of that you might like? (Used Yamahas and Yanis can be affordable, as can a Keilwerth EX series.)
 

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My band director in high school was the same way. They are really uninformed. Mine only thought Yamaha's and Selmer's are good, which is clearly not true. Get whatever you want, because as bbrandha noted, what can he possibly do if you come in with a good horn?
 

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Most band directors are too busy to pay much attention to what brand/model instrument is being played by every single student.
If you keep your big yapping pie hole shut they'll probably never know you've gotten a different horn.
The big yapping pie holes of your section mates are out of your control, so it's best not to go blabbing to them either.
 

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I doubt that he will kick you out of band for not buying one of the big four. However, if you continue playing, you may be kicking yourself sometime down the road.
Don't knock these new horns too quickly just because of the name on the bell... there are some very high quality, professional level saxophones currently coming out that play every bit as well as the top Selmers, Yamahas, Yanis, etc. Names such as Barone, P. Mauriat, Kessler, Macsax, Cannonball, and Trevor James come to mind. Some are priced a great deal cheaper then the big three/four, others have rose quite a bit in price but are still a good value. I was all in with my Selmers and Yanigasawas for years and years, but have broadened my view recently and opened myself up to some of these newer brands and am glad I did.
 

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As a band director myself and a saxophone player, there are a lot of terrible horns out there. There are also some really good horns. It's difficult for me to keep track of the situation let alone a non-saxophonist. Vintage horns are another nightmare altogether. Your director want quality instruments that play in tune and don't break down. I too tell students to play it safe a buy Yamaha intermediate horns. Be careful not to be a "Know it all, kid."
 

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Don't knock these new horns too quickly just because of the name on the bell... there are some very high quality, professional level saxophones currently coming out that play every bit as well as the top Selmers, Yamahas, Yanis, etc. Names such as Barone, P. Mauriat, Kessler, Macsax, Cannonball, and Trevor James come to mind. Some are priced a great deal cheaper then the big three/four, others have rose quite a bit in price but are still a good value. I was all in with my Selmers and Yanigasawas for years and years, but have broadened my view recently and opened myself up to some of these newer brands and am glad I did.
The definition of 'professional' equipment for me has always been not how it plays when new, but how it holds up after use. The newer saxes from PROC and ROC play fine out of the box, but will they stay in adjustment day after day of practice and gigs? Will parts continue to be readily available?

They haven't been around long enough to show how tough they are IMO.

I really liked the Jupiter instruments when they came out, but after ten years, I'm sort of disappointed at how well they hold up.
 

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IMO!
You can opt for dropping band and enter a study hall class. Get as much homework done as you can then use the extra hour or whatever to practice your axe at home. Band director should have more on his plate to deal with other than your ‘off’ brand sax; IMO of course. Good Luck!
 

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I agree with you. But I am not just going solely on first impressions of a horn's playability, but from what repair techs and fellow pros who know alot more than I do about horn construction and build quality have said. Now I can't sit here and argue that we know with 100 percent certainty how some of these horns will holds up in 50 plus years, and since my Mark VI is clear of that mark and playing just fine we already have the answer there... but that doesn't mean we close the book on the newcomers. If we all do that then they go away and we are back to a couple companies holding court over the entire saxophone world. I would rather have options.

Also, I'm not quite sure what you mean by "will parts be readily available". Pads, corks, needle springs, felts, resonators... these are for the most part all interchangeable from maker to maker. Don't think I have ever had anything else replaced on any of my saxophones (or other woodwinds) in close to 30 years. Now if you are suggesting that the metal will suddenly break down and keys start to break apart/fall off and need replacement then that would be a big problem, but given the build quality of these new horns (not Taiwanese horns from 15 or 20 years ago but horns within the last decade) I really don't see how that could happen unless you are also using your sax as a gong mallet. I have a few students who have done close to this, no make of horn comes out of that situation very well off no matter where it was built!
 

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Tell the band director that you'll be happy to play a horn he approves of if he pays for it otherwise you'll play what works for you. These little dictators seem to quite enjoy power tripping on people they're suppose to be teaching. It's unfair of them to take out their frustrations on the band...when they realize their visions of a whole different outcome from their canned education was always out of their grasp and all that was left to them was a plain old job.
(No offense intended)
 

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Having spoken to many directors, most of their concern is over a dirt cheap instrument. A lot of people will have no care and a band director will try to steer them toward something that they know will be a quality product. When I first showed up with my Kessler, everyone figured that it would be junk. By playing, I proved them wrong. Now they don't even notice the name on the bell. That being said, Don't give him ammunition by getting a junk horn that doesn't play. If you do your homework and get a horn that plays, there is nothing that they can say. Get what works but don't assume he is a brand name player.
 

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It's tough. :(
 

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As a band director myself and a saxophone player, there are a lot of terrible horns out there. There are also some really good horns. It's difficult for me to keep track of the situation let alone a non-saxophonist. Vintage horns are another nightmare altogether. Your director want quality instruments that play in tune and don't break down. I too tell students to play it safe a buy Yamaha intermediate horns. Be careful not to be a "Know it all, kid."
As another band director and saxophonist, I agree with this statement. Too often parents and students get swindled by music stores into buying vintage horns that are either a nightmare to maintain, or are difficult to play in tune. Used Yamahas are easy to play, easy to maintain, they play in tune, and they can be bought for relatively cheap.

I was steering one serious high school band student towards buying a used Yamaha Z UL without high F# for a great price. Instead the mom ended up paying $3500 for a gold plated Buescher True Tone with a bunch of leaks because a music store owner convinced her it was better. After that the kid sounded great on jazzy stuff, but he sure didn't blend well in the section.
 
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