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Hello, my 12 year old daughter has been playing alto sax in band for two years now, we borrowed it from my oldest sister who played when she was in school, it is a Buescher Aristocrat. I would like to purchase her own, but am stuck if I should get a student or a pro. I don't even know if what she currently is using is a student or a pro. What I've been reading is that a pro will sound better, and that if she continues to play eventually she will need that. Is a pro model more difficult to play? Forgive my ignorance on this.
 

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The definitions of what a pro, intermediate and a student model really varies a lot and you will find that lots of people disagree on what is what.

In actual fact a pro model is a well made saxophone , well in tune and with good ergonomics, that is capable to withstand many years of playing, albeit with regular maintenance, without going of adjustment very frequently and being reliable most of the time.

But this definition is hardly a definitive one because it might apply to saxophones that, due to their price, might be otherwise classed as a student saxophone (Like the Yamaha 23-25 for example).

So, in general the better and more expensive models of any maker are considered PRO and the cheaper are considered student or intermediate, but there are brands with only expensive saxophones like Selmer which production can be considered only PRo and brands like Yanagisawa that has an entry model much used by pros too or Yamaha which provides most of the “ student” saxophones in the world (and a lot of pro models too) some of which are also used professionally.
 

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A Buescher Aristocrat can be considered a 'pro' horn... Milandro pretty well spells it out! If a sax is on the low end cost wise it is 'considered' a student 'type' sax.
 

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I tend to agree with Milandro, and I think his definition is a good one.

Back in the day, there really were not these titles or 'levels' of horn, to be associated with how advanced the player was. There were top-shelf, second shelf (aka 'band'), and occasionally super-duper deeeeluxe sorta models.

The monikers of 'student', 'intermediate' did not begin to appear until the late 60's, really. Today, they are the detritus of marketing schemes more than anything else (i.e. the idea that a certain 'level' of horn is the perfect fit for a certain 'level' of player; or that anyone's 'pro' horn will obviously be superior to another's 'intermediate' or even 'student' model).

You see, you said your kid is playing an old Aristocrat. Well...depending on how old.....that may be a Professional-calibre horn. I'd be curious to know the serial number of that sax; understanding of course that it is your sister's. But my point being if you move from certain Aristos to, say, a contemporary 'intermediate'-marketed model, it may likely be a large step DOWN.

Where I disagree with Milandro is where he says that generally the expensive horns are Pro models, the less expensive intermediate or beginner. In fairness to my friend, he then includes some caveats. But I just wanna make sure what he says isn't misunderstood: do not make the assumption that a more expen$ive 'pro' model of one maker is going to be a superior horn to a cheaper intermediate model of another. In some instances, yes. In many instances (particularly dealing with new horns today, 95% of which are asian-produced)...no. A cheaper horn is not necessarily/automatically an inferior one....whether talking new or vintage.

Last comment of my unintentionally long-winded reply:

Rather than get into a can of worms on the Pro vs. Intermediate vs. Student discussion....you would be better off focusing on the crux of your question: getting a good, appropriate sax for your daughter.

In order for folks here to make apt suggestions on THAT, we'd need to know some more info.

She is 12, and has been playing in school for a couple of years.

~ Does she take weekly lessons from a private teacher ?

~ What band(s) is she in, or will she be in ? Is it school concert band, orchestra, stage (Jazz) band, marching band ?

~ Where are you located, and what is your realistic budget for buying her a sax ?

~ Would you consider a second hand horn, or must it be brand-new ?
 

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Depends on what you want to spend. Your best bet is to spend about $1100 to $2000 on a horn. You can get a used name brand like a Yamaha 62 or yanagisawa, or get one from like barone or cannonball. Used is generally the way to go.
 

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well, what I actually wrote is that : “ So, in general the better and more expensive models of any maker are considered PRO and the cheaper are considered student or intermediate “

they are considered such I didn’t say they were such :bluewink:

that is why I gave the examples of Yanagisawa and Yamaha both of which produce saxophone models not normally considered professional but often times used by professionals.
 

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Depends on what you want to spend. Your best bet is to spend about $1100 to $2000 on a horn. You can get a used name brand like a Yamaha 62 or yanagisawa, or get one from like barone or cannonball. Used is generally the way to go.
Mmmmmmmmm....you see...I just cannot agree with such a blanket statement "your best bet is to spend $1100-2000". :dazed:

Respectfully...we do not even know the whole context of the OP's situation.

For example, I can argue, quite successfully at that, that superior saxes to those you described can be had for half of the price zone you just quoted.

So it is premature to assume that these are the appropriate horns for the kid, or the required budget one must have to buy something 'good'....

well, what I actually wrote is that : “ So, in general the better and more expensive models of any maker are considered PRO and the cheaper are considered student or intermediate “

they are considered such I didn’t say they were such :bluewink:

that is why I gave the examples of Yanagisawa and Yamaha both of which produce saxophone models not normally considered professional but often times used by professionals.
Sorry...I am not so good at seeing red in the mornings ! :| :mrgreen:

Wasn't so much what you wrote.... as how someone could interpret it, is all I was alluding to. :bluewink:
 

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Poor Bekka. More information than a mere human should be allowed, LOL. ;-)

IMO the only problem with "vintage" instruments is that the ergonomics are antiquated. They can be worked around and they can also be on otherwise outstanding instruments, but IMO not worth the trouble for a kid to deal with. Therefore, I really do think that the first criterion should be budget driven. So I would want to simpify your quest:

- how much are you willing to spend? and
- is the child willing to live with a used instrument (I'm talking about the cosmetics of it), or does she need a new instrument for her own sense of incentive?

I think if you can answer these first two questions for us, we are off and running.
- - if one of the answers is "new" instrument, that narrows it.
- - if it's "used", IMO we should limit it to those that have friendly, if not modern, ergonomics.

Apply those answers to the budget allowed, and that not only narrows the search, it also eliminates a lot of information overload that might be accurate but not necessary that just adds confusion.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Wow first of all, thanks to everyone with your comments here.

The serial number on this sax is 610323, pretty old, but does work

My daughter is just playing in the school band, no marching band here, but she is interesting is going into the jazz band as well, and I know that she enjoys playing it.

I am in a very small town, pop of like 800, biggest store is our Super Value. (sad but thru). So I am looking at ordering one online, scary, but no other real options for me unless I drive a long ways.

I will be purchasing a used horn, because my budget is limited. I don't really know how much I'm going to spend, I will pay more if I run across a really good deal on a really nice saxophone.

Glad you are mentioning the brands that I have been hearing about in blogs and other readings, I have been looking at a lot of the Selmers and Yamahas, (the yas-23), the others that I hear so much about even the used ones are really expensive.

Ok, so, I am glad to hear mention that our sax is more likely a pro, that was my worry that I would be getting her a "new/used" sax that maybe looks prettier but is a step down, so thank you.

Many times as I have been looking on ebay (please don't laugh at that), it often says if it's a student model, or a pro, but what if it doesn't say anything, how do I know?

Here's ones I've been watching, opinions?
Selmer Bundy II
Yas-23
 

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Bundy II is a big step down from your 'Crat. Now an old Bundy (Bundy I) is a different horn. The 23 is a decent lateral move from the 'Crat.
 

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I am only a beginner and therefore do not want to hazard an opinion on your primary question. However, I was wondering if continuing with the Buescher Aristocrat is an option. Instead of buying another saxophone, you could consider getting the existing horn checked out by a repair tech and brought up to good playing condition. Even if you had to spend 3 or 4 hundred dollars, in my opinion, that would prove much more satisfactory than setting out on the search for another horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Our current sax is actually my sisters, and I'd like to get it back to her, wanted to make sure that my kid would stick it out before purchasing, but thank you for your input I appreciate it.
 

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Clearly this is too much info. right? and how do you know what is really true.

I sugest finding one and letting your sister (or other player you trust) play it to get a real opinion of how it plays. Then take it to a good tech and get it set up to play well. I have found it amazing how schools let school horns get out of adjustment or students that just think its them. Students need horns sep up well.

if still with it when reaching high school, get one better if possible when you can tell the difference yourself.

Just my 2 cents too.
 

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I realize that Aristocrat is not your horn. Anyway to make it yours?

In your particular situation, I understand the need to buy on-line. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

So, if you buy used, give Jaye above consideration. If you want a new saxophone (Gary's comments make sense), consider contacting Dave Kessler in Las Vegas. He is a site-sponsor and a straight shooter. He has his own house-brand saxophones that are good players and good values. I've bought two of them (one an alto for my second grandson) and the alto outplayed the two Yamahas in his store. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thank you all again, I will take a look at Kessler's site, I am close to the southern border of ND, (exciting I know)
 

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Selmer Bundy is not the same as Selmer FRance. When I said that Selmer only made what are considered to be pro horns I referred to Selmer France.
 

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+1 on milando's statement. When I said original Bundies where different, I meant they're not bad saxophones. For pro horns, Selmer Paris is the only way to go. Signets... Leave them for someone else.
 
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