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Your site kept coming up as i scoured the Web for any info to help me buy my son's first Alto Sax. So, i figured you guys know your stuff...;)

My son is entering high school and will be playing in the High School Jazz band. He's been using/borrowing a school loaned Yamaha - YAS-23 and a borrowed Bundy Sax (limited functionality).

He needs a better sax in order to keep interested and progress.

I'd like to buy him a pro-intermediate level sax. I love the sound of the Selmar Mark 6 and Reference 54 but let's get real here...he's 14 and a teenager...;)

I've been looking at used Yamaha YAS-62 and Cannonball Vintage reborn (Pete Crisleib) models.

Out of these two, which one is better? Or do you all have other suggestions?
 

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bsacco: Welcome to SOTW. Where are you located? What is your budget? Are you (and your son) comfortable with buying a saxophone without playing it first? Meaning, are you okay with having a saxophone shipped to you? Answers to those questions may help us direct you to a source because most of us think buying sight-unseen is not the best method (even though I've done it many times, but I could afford the risk and knew what i wanted).

When my second grandson was beginning saxophone, I drove to Kessler's in Las Vegas and selected from among many altos, Kessler's own house brand alto. After several years, the grandson still has it and plays it. I am no Yamaha fan and my side-by-side testing corroborated my opinion that day.

As to comparing a Cannonball Vintage to a YAS-62, it is short-sighted to try to make such comparisons based on one or two playing experiences - all saxophones vary, even among several examples of the same model. But I'll say this, the one Cannonball Vintage I played a few years ago was much better than ANY Yamaha I've played and that includes the whole Yamaha line. I know, many love their Yamahas.

Lastly, most kids don't want an old saxophone, but my 1949 Buescher Aristocrat Big B alto will outplay any alto I've ever owned/played (and I currently own a VI, Ref 54, and Cigar Cutter, among seven altos in my closet). DAVE
 

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A YAS-23 is enough sax to get him through high school. Even jazz band. Although he might want a new 'Jazz' mouthpiece.
But.... If you really feel he needs the 'better' horn to keep him interested it would be best to have him play a few different brands/models in your price range and choose which feels and sounds best to HIM.
He may not like either of the horns you have suggested here.
You may want to have an older 'beater' horn like the Bundy handy to use for marching band. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi All. I live in Northern California near Folsom, CA where the Jr. Highs and local High Schools here get ranked #1 in the nation for their Jazz bands... no joke. Just YouTube Folsom High School or Folsom/Sutter Middle School....unbelievable stuff....:)

So, the stakes are high around here. You gotta jump in with both feet. I'm a guitar player/musician of 40 years and my son appears to have inherited some of my music genes and is accelerating faster than his peers. I want to get him a good instrument that gets him excited about playing and more importantly PRACTICING!!

I found a Cannonball Vintage Reborn (Pete Crislieb) model online for about $1,500 in very nice condition.

My son has played this model at the local music store as well as a Selmar Mark 6, Vintage Martins and Yamaha 62s. I found the Yamahas where really bright sounding, the Selmar rich, round and soothing and the Cannonball's somewhere in-between both of the previously mentioned. Now, i didn't play them, i don't play Sax. Is there a difference in feel?
 

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I am thinking that there is at least one sax on the wb member from Sacramento who sells saxophones regularly and has a decent reputation. but I am scratching my head as to there contact info.... they put gnomes in the pictures of their saxophones? beyond that I think Walter Webb a member here on sow lives near Sacremento... so send him a personal message. Then there is a popular favorite 2ndending.com run by jaypdx who sells good quality refurbished saxophones.
 

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Of the horns your son has played, was there one in particular that he said HE liked best?
How they sound to you doesn't mean crap.
If you want to get the kid to practice you have to get the horn that suits his 'sound concept'.
This is only the 'advice' from a parent of 3 daughters who have been members of one of the 'Premier' HS Jazz bands in Michigan.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
He liked the Selmar...but Daddy don't have the cash for that;)

He did like the Cannonball. He said it was really easy to play. Initially he said he liked the Big Bell series but he also played the Vintage reborn and thought it was more like a Selmar. I'm not a fan of the Big Bell series because i just think it's trendy and a fad. More like a 12 string guitar vs. a 6 string. 12 string guitars have big sound but are not the greatest for lead playing and tone.
 

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Forget the Selmer. It's really not appropriate for a high school student anyway. I'm going to say that the Yamaha is a great horn, and that even the 23 will have the modern action needed to perform in ANY high school. There's a kid on this board who has a great video of himself playing a 23 (admittedly a Tenor) and he sounds wonderful. I'm personally into vintage, and my son plays a Martin Magna in his high school jazz band here in SF, but I'm not recommending that. If he likes the Cannonball, and it's affordable I would say go for it. Whatever you purchase, make sure you get it set up by a good tech, one who specializes in saxophones and not a music store. The extra dollars spent will be well worth it. A good mouthpiece is also a must, and at least as important as the horn at this point. Consider trolling CL for a while. There are plenty of horns in Sacramento and SF (we're not that far apart.) He can try the horns, and you can get it for a better price than new as any new horn will lose value when you walk out the store with it. A quick search turns up a handful of Cannonball horns in the area, and even a Conn 6m. Enjoy the search and take your time. You have until September after all.
 

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Yeah, I found a Cannonball Vintage Reborn (Pete Crislieb) model online for about $1,500 on EBay in very nice condition. Is that the going price?
 

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Be careful on eBay. You might want to post a WTB in the marketplace here, or look around on CL. You will want to add in $300 cost for setup if you buy on eBay. I buy vintage and not new so it's tough to say what a good price would be. I did a quick search of the sold listings and it looks like the price is average. Someone else here will know more than I do about the Cannonball altos.
 

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I'll put a good word in for the YAS-62. Yes, a bit on the bright side, but some prefer that. They also play clean, full, and in tune. You can't go wrong. It's sort of the Honda Accord/Toyota Camry of the sax world. Solid, dependable, will hold its value and have minimal upkeep cost. I played a Yamaha 62 tenor from age 19 to 44 and it served me well. I would estimate that you could get one used for $1000-$1500, depending on condition.
 

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Just as a side note, the guy's name is Christlieb, and the brand's name is Selmer.

Carry on :)
 

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If you haven't got one yet, I suggest that you also get a sax stand (I got my son a Hercules but there are other good brands out there). Having the sax already assembled and easily available on the stand is just much more conducive for the kid to see it and just grab the sax and practice. This was a tip from my son's sax teacher and it is a good one. Especially with the summer coming up, he won't have to keep packing and unpacking the sax to bring it back and forth from school.
 

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I am no expert, just give some opinion. Do you want a shiny horn? You know, many teenagers pay attention to the look more than anything. I think there are better choice out there for $1500. I tested Yamaha, Yanagisawa and Cannonball, I like Yanagisawa the most. For $1500, you should be able to find a Yanagisawa 8xx/9xx in good condition if you are patience. Your son may like something else. Have you look at the buy and sell section? For example, there is a Couf Superba I alto for $1500. I haven't tried a JK, but it is a JK toneking which has very good reputation.

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?197932-FS-Couf-Superba-I-alto&highlight=alto+saxophone
 

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I'd stick with one of the big names (Yamaha, Yanagisawa, Keilwerth, or Selmer (Paris) not US) for resale value. Your son may love whatever instrument you buy him now but I think most of us on here have played many different horns since high school. Cannonball horns may be great but they don't seem to hold their value as well as the Big 4.

I only have limited experience with Keilwerth but I've played many Yanagisawa, Yamaha, and Selmer. All are great horns in different ways. I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest your son will like anything "new" you buy him. If I had to choose one horn to buy though, it'd be a Yanagisawa. They make incredibly consistent horns that work in a variety of settings. I currently alternate between a Selmer Mark VI and a Yanagisawa 990 alto.

Good luck in your search.
 

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I am thinking that there is at least one sax on the wb member from Sacramento who sells saxophones regularly and has a decent reputation. but I am scratching my head as to there contact info.... they put gnomes in the pictures of their saxophones? beyond that I think Walter Webb a member here on sow lives near Sacremento... so send him a personal message. Then there is a popular favorite 2ndending.com run by jaypdx who sells good quality refurbished saxophones.

Are you thinking of Bill Bua? I'm here in Sacramento (Fair Oaks specifically) and he recently helped me acquire a Yanigasawa bari for myself and a YAS-52 for my 10-year-old son. He's no longer active here on SOTW but sells locally on craigslist and is also on ebay under the seller id sistersue0.
 

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What about the Buffet Crampon A400 ? I've heard from many different saxophonists and reviews on the web that it is widely rated higher than Yani or Yamaha prof horns and in general can be compared with Selmer and other top horns. It's for 825 GB pounds on Howarth's and 920 GB pounds the vintage version.

I am searching for my first alto saxophone too and for my budget which is 1.050 dollars tops I find that this Buffet is the best choice. Of course not from my personal experience as I've never played saxophone but for the last month I am looking out reviews and forums about the best choice I can make and this is it I believe.
 

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What about the Buffet Crampon A400 ? I've heard from many different saxophonists and reviews on the web that it is widely rated higher than Yani or Yamaha prof horns and in general can be compared with Selmer and other top horns. It's for 825 GB pounds on Howarth's and 920 GB pounds the vintage version.

I am searching for my first alto saxophone too and for my budget which is 1.050 dollars tops I find that this Buffet is the best choice. Of course not from my personal experience as I've never played saxophone but for the last month I am looking out reviews and forums about the best choice I can make and this is it I believe.
Little wrong here - For the top budget I said the best choice is the Bauhaus Walstein AS-PD which I am going to get unless I manage to stretch the budget a little bit and get the Buffet instead.
 
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