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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all,

I am an oboe player who needs to get an alto for marching band. My director told me to get a "Selmer AS200 or Yamaha YAS-23 or better", but as this is only going to be for marching (not concert band), he encouraged me to go with a used one. I can't afford to spend more than about $600, and while I've found several nice ones that would work on Ebay and Craigslist, I am not ready to buy yet and they will almost certainly be gone when I am ready to buy. I'm getting bewildered with all the different models and choices, especially since I play oboe and know next to nothing about saxes. If you could give me any advice on what to get, and possibly even where to get it, it would be much appreciated.

Thanks in advance,
Oboist11
 

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Get a YAS-23. You can find one used in great working shape for $400 or so. It is the golden standard for student horns and you'll be able to sell it again for $400 in three years if you want to, and that can't be said for many horns.
 

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I'm in total agreement.
And, to clarify, it's a Yamaha YAS-23 (YAS = Yamaha Alto Saxophone).

This is the first (and only!) horn I recommend as a starter sax.

best of luck!
~ Rick
 

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A YAS-23 (or 21) would be a good choice. There are also Vito models that are in fact Yamaha's in disguise (someone please chime in as to the model number). They are well built, play well, and can certainly handle marching band.

As to where to buy, there might be local music stores with an inventory of used student horns to try/buy. And I'm sure there are at least several members of this forum who have a 23 or two for sale at the moment. Ebay works well, but I would use it as a last choice in this situation.

Out of curiosity, why is your director making you buy a sax when you're 1-switching instruments for just one band and 2-only going to be marching with it?

Seems a little silly to make a student use their own money on an instrument that they don't play and are going to use in a setting that has the potential to damage that instrument.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
VintageSaxGuy,

Thanks for the advice. Where on the forum would I be able to find who is selling their saxes? I think my director's reasoning is that they don't have any extra school owned altos lying around. Will a YAS-23 last me a long time? I am thinking that because oboes are expensive, and I won't own one by the time I go to college, I may want to keep my sax so I can still play something.
 

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Really the best bet would be to post a new thread in the 'horns wanted' section stating your budget and what you're looking for. A few names come to mind, but I don't know what everyone has around at the moment.

JayeSF would be a good person to hit up though, as he has a good selection of saxes that would fit your budget (although I don't know if he has a 23 or not).

As long as it's properly taken care of, a 23 should last quite some time. But it's worth mentioning that marching any horn is generally much harder on it than in any other setting, so more trips to a technician might be necessary (taking it in after each marching season is a minimum requirement IMO).

There are also other saxes that would work equally well in marching band (mostly on the vintage side of things)...but for modern alto's in the ≤ $500 range, a YAS-23 is hard to beat (and they're usually easy to come by).
 

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If the purpose is to just get a "junker" sax for marching and pep band, a Bundy II would work just fine. They are inexpensive, readily available, and built like a tank. They also play quite well in tune. If you may do more serious saxophone playing someday in the future, you can always sell your marching band "junker" and buy a better model at that time.
 

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Will a YAS-23 last me a long time?
I know this is about altos, but I thought I'd chime in about the Yamaha 23 quality. I played exclusively on Tenor in high school on my YTS 23. They're tough enough to last through 4 years of high school marching seasons and 3 more in college. Also, the tone on the horn is nothing to be ashamed of either. The only tenor I've played that's sounded and felt better to me was a recently adjusted YTS 61 or 62(I don't remember which, but it was a purple logo).

All this to say that the Yamaha 23 series horns are great horns, and you won't be disappointed.
 

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Thanks for the referral, VSG, always appreciated. I don't do 23's, however...they are highly overrated and quite unimpressive, IMHO...and for the cost of a used one there are a dozen much better-made, better sounding brands/models out there.

With that said...they are consistent.... they are ubiquitous....they are the default choice...and would arguably be an appropriate horn for marching band, where quality of sound and diversity of musical context isn't particularly important....
 

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Also, with the wear and tear generally put on marching horns it will be hard to sell it for as much as you paid for it no matter what the brand. So get what is playable at the cheapest cost.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for all the help, everyone. I just purchased a 23 that should be here any day. Your input was very helpful.

Oboist11
 
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