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Discussion Starter #1
Hi, I'm a 51 yr old beginner who played sax in junior high and high school way back when. I was actually pretty good then.

I picked up a bundy II alto and am learning basics all over again. I'm a huge fan of Jay Beckenstein and nice jazz sax sound. I'm wondering what would be my next step up for a serious quality horn without breaking the bank but something that will be totally professional in function and sound. Maybe a few suggestions so I can keep an eye out for deals.

Thanks so much,
John
 

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Hi John: Welcome to SOTW and congrats to getting back in the pool!

Is there something wrong with your Bundy II? Rather than change horns so quickly, maybe a mouthpiece change would be all that is needed to make you fell like you are progressing. Even then, if there's nothing wrong with your equipment, maybe time is the best thing on your side.

Of course at your age (and I'm a lot older still) pride of ownership may kick in and if you can afford it and think you are in for the long-haul, nothing like going for the gold-ring, like a new or used Selmer-Paris, Yanagisawa, Yamaha or JK, or other similar brands that enjoy universal acceptance. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The bundy was just checked out and seems to play fine. I got it for $100 and a number of pads repaired for another $100. It seems fine for where I'm at but as a certified gearslut I'm always wanting to see what a pro would need to use to get a quality sound. If the bundy II is capable of pro tone that's all I need.

I dont care about looks or brand just a solid pro quality instrument. Right now though I don't know the difference. Thanks for any tips.
John
 

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John: Unfortunately, it is almost always the player and not the equipment. Most pros can make an intermediate or student-level instrument sound like the best there is. Yet, most pros do go with high-end equipment (I guess it is expected).

There are a lot of older models of the Big Four (as listed in my first response) and for sure you can easily buy a new version - they are all good, it is just that some of us have our preferences even among the good stuff. I like Selmer's new altos (specifically the Reference 54 line - I own one) over the rest but other brands are good, too.

And if you want a more vintage horn, the old Bueschers (before the Selmer buyout) are hard to beat. Prices and availability vary so I recommend you run through eBay for an idea of what some of the models may cost. And if you buy off of eBay, factor in the cost of an overhaul. But an old Buescher in good shape, after an overhaul will most likely give you a lifetime of playing pleasure - and growth.

There are a ton of inexpensive yet durable saxophones out there, mostly from Taiwan or China (and elsewhere in non-Japanese Asia). Some are surprisingly good, others not so much. In those cases, I think it is better to go with a reputable seller than some unknown brand-name on the Internet. At least the reputable retailer/distributor may have paid attention to the contract's details and demanded better build-quality or additional features lacking in the similar models made at the same factory. Such brands would be Dave Kessler's brand (his store is a site sponsor), Cannonball, P. Mauriat, Antigua, Jupiter, Unison, etc. If it were me (and it was), I'd pop the dough and go for the best I could buy. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Fantastic advice. I'm gonna see Spyro Gyro Sept 24th so i'll ask Jay if he has an old horn that needs a home. Hehe
With guitars, there are $100 guitars that play and sound amazing so I'm encouraged about my current sax taking me much further down the road. I hope to grab an even nicer sax down the road to satisify my gearslut needs but it's great to know that's not my limitation and I can get to woodsheeding. Thanks for the very honest perspective and awesome site. Really !!

John
 

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There's always the flavor of the month, but if you want a tried and true, new professional horn I'd go with a Selmer Series II alto. But I'd look for one second hand. You can find great deals for them because folks want the Selmer III's or the References, and they'll retain their value should your interest wane.
 

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There's always the flavor of the month, but if you want a tried and true, new professional horn I'd go with a Selmer Series II alto. But I'd look for one second hand. You can find great deals for them because folks want the Selmer III's or the References, and they'll retain their value should your interest wane.
This is a good recommendation. The Series III is also worth a try (even though Grumps doesn't like it).
 

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The Selmer or a Yanagisawa would be my choice for a newer horn. You could always keep the Bundy and get a nice vintage horn. I have a mark VI that I have had for 47 years but I also have about 40 vintage saxes and prefer a Conn or Martin for my alto playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
With 40 vintage saxs, how about loaning me one indefinitely. Hehehe. I'll pay shipping. :)

Selmer series ii seems out of my league at two grand. I'll probably go for a sub thousand dollar horn one day down the road. Some of the other recommendations look in my price range though. Thanks
 

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Im fine with used but arent the selmer series ii much more than a grand?
Most of the time, though there is the occasional deal to be had! I am now on my 5th (and last?) Alto sax over a 24 year period. The last Alto I owned was a 1977 Selmer Mark VII. I had bought it for $1400! I sold it 10 years later for $2100! So, they are out there.I have heard the same stories about Series I and Series II Selmers.

I sold the Mark VII for a Beaugnier Vito. The Vito I bought for $950, completely overhauled. The VII I sold needed some repair.

With the "extra" cash, I upgraded my mouthpieces in the process. I now I have a setup I am very happy with!

Point is this: There are very good pro saxes, for very little $$ on the market. Just have to know where to look :) .

PS:
If that sax of your was a YAS-23, I'd say wait to upgrade. However, being a Bundy II, kick that thing to the curb as soon as you can! Even when I was a beginner I couldn't stand them! Clunky actions, marginal tone (no matter who played it!), and hard to keep regulated. I stared on a Buescher/Bundy, and the Alto I had had great tone, tight action, and was built like a tank! Never fell out of regulation (the Tenor version I had of that same sax wasn't so hot though).
 

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Discussion Starter #15
If i kick the bundy to the curb, what is the cheapest SERIOUS pro quality alto I can get ? Used is fine.
 

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If i kick the bundy to the curb, what is the cheapest SERIOUS pro quality alto I can get ? Used is fine.
Here's my list on "serious" high quality pro saxes on the "cheap":

Modern style keywork:
H. Couf Superba II
Vito Model 38 (by Beaugnier, France)
Vito VSP (by Yanagisawa)
Dolnet Bel Aire
Selmer Mark VII
Selmer SA 80 (I)
Yamaha YAS-52
Yamaha YAS-61
Yamaha YAS-62
Yanagisawa 800 series

Vintage style keywork:
The Martin Alto Commitee series
Buescher Aristocrat (ca 1935)
King Zephyr (Eastlake)
Conn New Wonder
And so many more!

JaySF is perhaps the best source on affordable re-built used and vintage saxes I know of. Great for those that want/need a sax w/out the time and patience needed for other avenues (such as e-bay).
 
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