Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi, i have decided to purchase a saxophone because i am absolutely crazy about them! It is my favorite instrument of all time and I am just in love with everything about them... I am a musician but have never played any woodwind instrument.. or basically anything that has to do with your mouth, all I know is that I wan a tenor sax... but the only problem is that i've been reading a lot about size and how it matters and well i am tiny! I think i am 5'3 or'4 and have very small hands (i only reach an octave in piano...maybe a 9th?) But I really hope this doesn't limit me from playing the tenor?

I have no intention on playing it in an orchestra or ensemble... this is for me and my personal interest, i would begin taking lessons since i'm just starting college and I plan on buying a used one. Another problem I have is that I don't want to spend too much money on a sax (it's not my principal instrument) but I can differentiate sound and i don't want one that's not pleasing for me.. so i've read that yamaha isn't good... and selmer is amazing..? but is there one that's in the middle? And this will sound silly but is there a difference between the colors of the sax? And what about mouthpieces? Excuse my ignorance but I really have no idea! I have been researching the internet but the information i find doesn't really suit my needs. All i know is that i want to play jazz on my sax! :D :D
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,450 Posts
You might want to get an alto sax to start with might be easier for you to handle then you can get a tenor later on . Thats what i did and I am 5 11 with Some what larger hands
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
2,090 Posts
Who told you Yamaha isn't good? They make some very fine, well made instruments. In fact their student horns, YAS23 (Alto) YTS 23 (tenor), are good student horns and can be had, used, very economically. You can generally get back what you pay, if you buy right, should you decide not to continue the sax. Some folks on this forum use them professionaly. As far as your size is concerned, although I don't think it's going to be a problem, but you should look at and hold some horns to determine if it will be comfortable for you. As a newbie, you should try and get some help from a person familiar with the Sax and find yourself a teacher.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2011
Joined
·
781 Posts
If you can reach a 9th on piano, your hands are big enough to play the tenor. I usually recommend that kids beginning in school band programs (4th-7th grade or so) start on alto. If, as an adult, you have a strong preference for tenor, go for it. One consideration might be the weight of the instrument if you have a small frame, but there are shoulder harnesses that can distribute the weight more evenly.

You also asked about brands. Yamaha and Selmer are both quality brands. There are others as well, including Cannonball. I usually recommend renting at first, however, because that gives you and opportunity to learn a bit about the instrument, and to be certain that tenor (or alto) is indeed your sax of preference.

One more point I'd like to make is that you should seek some form of instruction rather than just getting a beginners book and going to town. Lessons are the best option, but if cost is a factor or there are no instructors in your area, you can always seek online instruction. Speaking of which- I offer a beginning sax method with downloadable lessons at: www.beginningsax.com - Had to get a little plug in there.

Good luck to you!

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Online Jazz Lessons and Books
New Lesson: Shaping the Blues Scale
Lesson Series:
Making Sense of Jazz Improvisation
Introduction to the Blues
The Arpeggio Circle
and more...
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
Rhythm Changes Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrT0Xw_y9d0
Rhythm Changes Lesson:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMOW7QAfpwo
YouTube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/saxtrax
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2007-
Joined
·
5,528 Posts
Welcome to SOTW!

There a whole lot of threads here with beginning players like yourself asking these same questions.

First, if you want a tenor, get a tenor. Follow your heart at all costs.

Next, a used Yamaha YTS23 is a good tenor to start on. There's hundreds of other other good starter tenors, but many recommend the Yamaha because these have the best consistency in the lower price range. Most of them that are in good playing condition and well adjusted will be very good players. And even though this is a student model, it compares well with higher end saxes. The repairs parts are cheap and easy to get and repair technicians usually know how to fix them because there are lots of them around. And you probably won't need more sax than this until you have been playing for a long time. And the resale value on these is usually very good when you do resale.

If it was me and I was just starting out, I would buy a YTS23 or YTS21 (older model) from a trusted seller here on SOTW. And would then take it to a local shop and have a good woodwind tech give it a good test drive and adjustment. Then I would add a good quality general purpose mouthpiece such as a Selmer S80 C* with a selection of 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 reeds. After that, find a teacher to get you started and you will be on your way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,220 Posts
Recommend you listen to soprano, alto and sax players that inspire you to help you decide which sax you want to play to start with.
You will be attracted by the sound and style of a particular player/horn combination which will help with deciding which sax to play.
Good Luck and Have fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
142 Posts
yes, that's a bigger hand than me, I can barely reach a octave on the piano, but i still play alto, tenor, and bari when required. And I agree with a lot that has been said, especially about renting one before buying them. For me, it was a terrible mistake just buying them straight up, but at least I ended up with a sax that I still enjoy.

On brands, +1 for Yamaha student models because I do have a YTS-23(Not my main) and it still does well just at home practice for now.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,220 Posts
Also meant to say if Tenor is your passion go for it. But I recommend also you try out alto and soprano to see how they feel to you if you have
no experience with woodwind instruments. Preference and selection for your first sax is often a matter of luck and opportunity in addition to passion for a particular sound. Whatever skills you learn on your first sax you can use for all the saxes as you develop your technique.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,611 Posts
There's a lot of good advise happining here. Let me add my 2 cents. If you are looking to get off cheap and still play a decent instrument, a Japanese made Vito is the answer. They are Yamaha stencils and are much cheaper to buy than a Yamaha stamped horn. Since I am a tenor guy, I say play the tenor, but alto is cool too. Buy a good quality mouthpiece when you start as well. You can have a great horn and a bad mouthpiece will make playing very difficult. I suggest a Yamaha 5 facing or a Yanagisawa 5 facing or a good old Selmer C*. Here's a link to a decent horn at a good price:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vito-Tenor-Saxo...325?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item19c765ce45

I will say that I am not selling this horn and I don't know the seller. This is just what one of these looks like. Welcome to the forum Letty and I hope you find a great horn and enjoy learning the saxophone.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
There's much good advice here. Brands such as Selmer (Paris, not USA), Yamaha and Yanagisawa (Japan) are well-known and make great instruments. But here are some less-expensive non-Japanese Asian horns that are somewhat popular on SOTW:

Lots of people rave about the Barone saxophones (good quality Taiwanese instrument made for a New York seller)
http://www.philbarone.com/

Also check out Bauhaus Walstein (good quality Chinese instrument made for a UK seller)
http://www.russbecker.com/id21.html
http://justsaxes.com/cgi/newSaxophones-bauhaus-walstein-pricing.php
http://www.woodwindandbrass.co.uk/acatalog/yanagisawa_tenor_saxophone_selmer_tenor_saxophone.html
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
860 Posts
I support what others have said; I am a small guy (5'5''), and I play soprano through baritone. If your reach (arm length) is normal, you won't have any problems playing tenor. But I really recommend using a harness - I'm not exactly delicately built, but if I use a neck strap for tenor, I'm calling for neck troubles (okay, I've had my share of whiplash accidents... but you can avoid pain and strain altogether by using a harness). As always, I recommend Zappatini harnesses - it takes some experimenting to find out the best setting, but after that, it's a boon (at least when standing while playing).

As for the YTS-23, I also own one and can confirm its qualities - very good horn for the price (used!), very reliable when it comes to build quality and sound.

William's mouthpiece recommendations are sound - I just want to add that I've had some great experiences with Rico pieces - various models, in fact. They're hard to beat for the price. For beginners, I'd choose a Graftonite B - play them to find out if a B3 or a B5 fits your needs better. But with a YTS-23, you'll probably also receive a Yamaha 4C - decent to say the least (though I don't like them too much). My personal preference out of the ones William named would be the Yanagisawa 5 (I have one myself - great sound, easy playing).

M.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Hi, i have decided to purchase a saxophone because i am absolutely crazy about them! It is my favorite instrument of all time and I am just in love with everything about them... I am a musician but have never played any woodwind instrument.. or basically anything that has to do with your mouth, all I know is that I wan a tenor sax... but the only problem is that i've been reading a lot about size and how it matters and well i am tiny! I think i am 5'3 or'4 and have very small hands (i only reach an octave in piano...maybe a 9th?) But I really hope this doesn't limit me from playing the tenor?

I have no intention on playing it in an orchestra or ensemble... this is for me and my personal interest, i would begin taking lessons since i'm just starting college and I plan on buying a used one. Another problem I have is that I don't want to spend too much money on a sax (it's not my principal instrument) but I can differentiate sound and i don't want one that's not pleasing for me.. so i've read that yamaha isn't good... and selmer is amazing..? but is there one that's in the middle? And this will sound silly but is there a difference between the colors of the sax? And what about mouthpieces? Excuse my ignorance but I really have no idea! I have been researching the internet but the information i find doesn't really suit my needs. All i know is that i want to play jazz on my sax! :D :D


she's not vey tall at all. saw her live in 1995 and I could swear her tenor was almost as big as her. lots of other videos on youtube...

 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
LettyC, welcome to SOTW.
Once you get to college, ask around and see what your musician friends are playing. Listen to them play up close and personal. You will know for sure whether you like alto, tenor or something else. I doubt you nor anyone can tell the brand of horn they're playing by listening. There was a time where my saxophone had to be a Selmer -- those days are long gone and I play Yamaha now. A good horn is a good horn regardless of brand. Buy from a musician friend in college.

In the meantime, save up some GAS money.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,466 Posts
Your college is likely to have saxophones available for rent. However, the best ones will be lent to members of the top ensembles as needed. Inquire once you arrive on campus.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
609 Posts
Welcome to the forum!
I would recommend that you try an Aquilasax C-Melody (also called C Tenor) and see what you think for three reasons:

1)Compared to tenors it is very competitively priced (i.e. cheaper)

2)You will never have to learn to transpose and if you have ever been exposed to sheet music (sounds like you may have been) you can read right from that and play.

3)It is in-between the size of a tenor and an alto so it would fit you very well.

4)It can sound just like a tenor without the hassle of transposing! Or like an alto! Or most like a C Melody!

Here is a great example of one being played:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhY6C2ABDfY
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
297 Posts
Hi, Letty! Welcome to SOTW. You've gotten plenty of good advice so I'll just reiterate how important it is to actually try a few horns if at all possible. Nothing will help you make a choice like some hands on experience. If you possibly can, getting an experienced teacher or player to go with you to look at some horns would be a great idea. And be just a little skeptical of what some sales person in a music store tries to sell you unless he/she demonstrates some personal ability as a player or is known to someone you trust.

Don't hesitate to ask for more info as you will find lots of folks here willing to help, the vast majority of whom are really terrific people including some amazingly gifted musicians and teachers. Have fun and enjoy the beginning of what can be a fantastic experience for you. I'm 61 and still play the sax a lot of hours every week. And again, welcome to Sax on the Web!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,013 Posts
I would recommend that you try an Aquilasax C-Melody
She wants to play jazz on a tenor and a C Melody is not a tenor saxophone. They are obscure horns, historically rejected by the masses with a sound not easily recognized nor pleasing. True, there is a very extreme minority of players that dig them; some of which can be quite enthusiastic in their recommendations for others to play them. Some of their points have even had me reconsider certain prejudices in this regard. But again, they are in an extreme minority and this is not the time nor the place for such recommendations and/or discussion. So let's leave it at that.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
LettyC, first of all welcome to the forum. We all share your passion for sax, so definitely go for it! I mainly want to say one thing. If you want to play tenor, then get a TENOR! And please, please don't let anyone convince you otherwise!!!!! The size difference is not really an issue. Your hands are plenty big, especially if you can reach a ninth on the piano. And the tenor is not heavy. With a simple neck strap you'll be all set. It's the sound that counts, and tenor is the king of horns in that respect. Is my bias showing?

Initially, the most important thing is to get a horn in good playing condition with no leaks. And get some instruction. Then, down the road a bit, you might start searching for the horn with the sound, so to speak. But at first you'll have your hands full just learning the basics. This also applies to the mouthpiece. Get something 'middle of the road' to start on, then later on you can look for the sound you want there. In fact the mpc is probably even more important than the horn in helping shape your sound. And, just to cover all bases, you are the most important element in shaping the sound, but you have to be patient and learn the fundamentals of the sax first. Good luck and have fun!
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top