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Hey guys!

Am rather new to this forum, so please excuse me if I'm posting in the wrong section. Anyway to cut to the chase, I've been wanting to pick up the alto sax for a long long time, and have finally decided to get down to it (being that I now have some cash to do so). Just for background info, I'm from Singapore, so my choices are pretty much based on what's available here, and the market for second hand instruments is really small! Btw, any help particularly from fellow Singaporeans could prove to be very useful! (Though I must emphasize that I appreciate any form of help since I'm a newbie when it comes to wind instruments :p). I don't know how to play the sax as yet, so it's hard for me to test it (though I probably could ask the salesperson to do a demo). Also, I play several other instruments, with guitar as my main...if that helps in any way. Anyway, here's the options that I've been looking at in no particular order of any sort, and with some comments:



P.Mauriat - Big Band 201
Came across this one, going for about $1400 SGD (Singapore dollars), which equates to about USD$1100. Have heard of this brand, and it seems to be a decent one, though I haven't heard it played. Not sure what other goodies I might get, though I don't suppose they're that important (i.e. not too sure of the length of warranty, etc.). I believe it's made in taiwan.

Buffet Crampon - 100 series
I was told the model was "810", but I believe it was a misquote, and after doing some research, have concluded that the model the salesperson was referring to was probably the 100 series. So anyway, this one was going at SGD$1500, which equates to about USD$1182. I've also heard of this brand, and it seems it has some solid reputation (apparently it was founded before even Selmer!). This comes with a 2 year warranty, and the company is willing to buy back the saxophone if/when I decide to upgrade (of course, at a loss). If I'm not wrong, this one's made in China though. Didn't check with them when I was there (I'd forgotten, but I suppose I could email them). But that's the info I got off the web.

Chateau - VCH-221
Apparently a rather unheard-of brand. It's a Taiwanese manufacturer. I've heard mixed reviews about this one though. Some have said they are easily comparable to many beginner level horns, and even exceeding a considerable number (and also intermediate ones). Others have had rather bad experiences such as pad wear etc (to be fair, some of them were second hand). Generally though, I've heard more good reviews than bad ones (at about a 60%-40% ratio?). This one is made in Taiwan, SGD$900 (USD$710) for a gold laquered version (the most basic), and SGD$1300 (USD$1025) for an antique finish one. Comes with 6-month warranty, and the guy said he'll give a sax stand too (it's a pretty small shop, with just the shop owner).



Of course, I've also been recommended the Yamaha YAS23, which seems rock solid, but costs about SGD$1800 (USD$1419). That's quite out of my budget. I just want to get a decent one without blowing up all my savings.

I suppose the question here is, do I go for the Chateau for it's price, or do I go for one of the other two (the P.Mauriat or Buffet Crampon) since they are better known, and thus probably a little more reliable? And if the latter, then which would you recommend? Or any other brands that I might not be aware of? Also, can anyone provide me some info with the general tone of the Buffet and the P.Mauriat? (i.e. dark or bright sounding?).

Thanks very much! Looking forward to some opinions! :)
 

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Welcome to the fine world of sax playing! I've only had personal experience with the YAS 23 out of all of these. If I were you, I'd do some looking around and try to get a good used 23. Those things are sweet horns, and I've got no intention of ever selling mine; when I do upgrade, they'll be kept as back-up horns. If there's a horn that won't hinder you in your first few years ( in my case, even first decade!) of playing, it's the 23. Other than that, I've heard a ton of praise for the P. Mauriat horns, so I think you'd do well there, too. But, I can't say for sure on those, as I've never played one. Best of luck, and I hope that the horn you get suits you well.
 

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Thanks for the welcome and the kind words, Arc! Have read the forums and am seeing much praise for the P.Mauriats too! Haven't gone to check the Buffet Crampons, but will be on it soon!
 

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OK....let's back it up a second.

Welcome to the Forum, yes.

So, you are a beginner....great !

1) you have around $1200usd maximum (this is a very GOOD budget...most beginners come in wanting to spend $300usd on a horn, so their possibilities become very limited), and...

2) given that you live in Singapore, it is probably a new horn you are going to buy (this is perfectly valid...there is a small to nonexistent used market there, likely, and you don't want the horn shipped from afar. All of that is reasonable).

How did you come up with these three models (i.e. are they just very accessible to you...or are they the three most convenient which fell into your budget)?

Can you play test any of them ? ...or would they all be internet purchases ?

I am gonna likely bow out of this thread, because with the condition of 2)...I can offer no familiar suggestions, really....but if you clarify a few of the above....plenty of folks here probably can....
 

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Hey JayeSF,

1) Yeah, I figured even though I'm just starting out, I'd at least wanna get a good horn. I don't quite like putting my money on stuff that doesn't perform to decent standards or doesn't last long.

2) Yup...wouldn't want to get a 2nd hand that I can't check out before buying either.

These were the three models that I managed to single out after checking out all the saxophone shops I could find. There is still one more shop though, which I have checked out but can't remember what they have there besides the YAS (if they still have the YAS, I might actually be able to get it cheaper there). I should be able to test them all, since I can get them from a physical shop. However, the problem as I've mentioned above is that I have never played the sax before! (therefore I don't know how to play one) :p.

I heard the P.Mauriat yesterday here though: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVLYumeuUxg. Think it sounds awesome! Anyone has any idea if it really sounds like that? (I know a lot depends on mouthpiece and player as well). Just that the Yamaha sound seems so predictable. Lol. The P.Mauriat seems a little warmer. The guy at the shop selling the PM also sells the YAS, and was telling me if I could afford it, to go for the YAS. Like I said though, it's kinda out of my budget. And hearing youtube demos, I seem to prefer the sound of the PM over the YAS. I know youtube isn't a good quality comparison though.
 
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