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Discussion Starter #1
The details as I know them:
Looking for an Instrument for a music major who will be attending college on a music scholarship. I have been told that the student wants/needs a "Professional" Alto Sax. Student is poor so used is mandatory. Brands need to be Selmer or Yanagisawa. I as yet do not know which model.
Thanks.

BTW I play a Cornet (I am 72 years old) I have bought any number of trumpets and cornets in the last two years to give away to needy students. That is why I have been asked to do this search. I am well aware of pitfalls of buying older horns. I have 14 cornets now. Some will be given away to disadvantaged kids. The majority of my horns are over 100 years old. I have an excellent horn guy that can repair saxes. But I believe it would be prudent to stick with horns no older than maybe 40 years old.

I am on trumpetmaster.com forum. And I understand the best way is to buy a horn is from a long standing member there.

Thanks
 

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"Student is poor" - any idea of their overall budget? Looking for a used Selmer or Yanagisawa makes keeping the price down a lot more difficult.

Brand NEEDS to be one of those two? Bold statement. Is this coming from the saxophone professor directly?

Can't speak for trumpets, but some of the very best professional model saxophones are over 40 years old, provided they are set up by a competent tech.
 

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+1.

yeah, although I do not criticize the OP for posting....this is one of those questions where items 1) and 2) on your list of requirements...are contradictory.

A used Selmer, France Alto is gonna run well over $1800; a used Yani is gonna run over $1100. Neither of those, by conventional semantics, would be considered 'cheap' or 'budget' in pricing.

I'd love to buy a hybrid or electric passenger car in good shape for $1500, used. Same sorta thing.

Vintage horns with vintage keywork...many are certainly professional...but regardless of how irrational this might be, they are frowned upon by many college music program directors/faculty...(and in many cases - that is putting it euphemistically...).

Trumpetmaster is a good site, some good folks there...so you probably already know that there's no 'pitfall 'to buying older horns, really...as long as you buy from someone who guarantees the horn will be in good shape and offers a return policy...OR...you buy locally where you can playtest it.

The pitfalls start to happen when one thinks they are gonna be a sly buyer & get something better & worth more than what they paid for it....

One can argue you might be able to find a Selmer USA Omega (As-100/110)...but even those nowadays are at least $900 in playing shape. And most sellers ask way more than that.

A Yamaha 52 in good tack is gonna be around $750 and up, so there's that.

A Grassi 2000 or Professional can sometimes be nabbed for around $900....but foolish people who think the brand 'too obscure' (without ever having come near one) might poo-poo them as 'bad choice'.

Another good option would be a Buffet 400...nice horns which have almost zero market presence, and when they come up used they typically do not crack $650-750 tops. Between a Buffet 400 and a Yama 52/61....I'd take the 400 any day of the week.

So...sumthin' gotta GIVE in your/his current horn search parameters...unless 'cheap' to him means $850-1100...

If it means sub-$750ish...then the horn will not carry the (academically-accepted) "Professional" label/attribute. But one can still find a good horn for college....
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Understand. The high school is looking at purchasing the horn for her. I would put a cap of $2500 on it. If that's too low the school will need to re evaluate brands, IMHO
If this question were posted on trumpetaster.com, I would be the first to ask even more penetrating questions. I know very little about sax's but with the help of this forum and my contacts with Marty's Music in Palmyra, Pa. I'll get there thanks!!

As a decent cornet/trumpet player; brands of choice would be Bach Stradivarius, Getzen Eterna, or Yamaha Xeno. And yet and competent trumped/cornet could easily (probably) outdo her with at least of 10 of my cornets..none of them theoretically as good as the 3 mentioned. Hard for me to believe that Yamaha would not produce a very high quality pro horn.
 

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OK...THAT changes things considerably !. That's a great budget. You can get almost anything for than except a Mark VI or VII.

So, sticking to Selmer, France and Yanagisawa is certainly feasible.

I am with YOU on the true value/appropriateness of vintage horns as fabulous players - heck, it's my biz. I was just trying to keep the personal preferences I have out of this convo given the context of 'acceptability to a college music program'.

Unfortunately as a new member you cannot yet participate in buying/selling transactions via this website/forum.

So that sorta leaves you to be referred to people or businesses where you can transact, off-Forum. Which I believe isn't against Forum rules (?)

Feel free to contact me via my website if you care to discuss (no this is not a Gratuitous plug by me). [email protected]

or perhaps other respondents can suggest good sellers they know who may have something appropriate...
 

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It's not clear whether "professional saxophone from either Selmer or Yanagisawa" is a WANT or a REQUIRED.

If it's a WANT I would say "tough cookies, if someone else is paying, you'll get good, serviceable, from a good, serviceable brand." If there is an instructor or program who is requiring this, a discussion with the entity requiring it seems in order.

It does appear that old American saxophones are not acceptable to many programs, for reasons of prejudice.
 

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You can find a Yanigasawa A900 or AWO1 in mint condition very easily in the $1800-$2500 range; a brand new AWO1 is $2899 on Ebay. The Selmer saxophones in this price range are going to be hit or miss, much less consistent than what you'll find with Yanigasawa. I think you can might find a Selmer Super Action 80 in good condition for that price (these started production in the early 1980's and are now up to 40 years old), I see one on ebay now. Anything older (Selmer Mark VII, Mark VI, Balanced Action) will require a lot of work on the part of your repair technician.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Very helpful. Thank you all very much. I understand the policy of buying here as a new member. I really just learned of this request a few days ago and at that time I realized that clarification for my sake and for those (you guys) who jare so far very helpful.

I cant getg ood answers from you guys without more facts from the school I am trying to help. Conversely I won't get good answers for the school unless I have good questions for them. So from that prospective I am already getting good information here.
 

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You can find a Yanigasawa A900 or AWO1 in mint condition very easily in the $1800-$2500 range; a brand new AWO1 is $2899 on Ebay. The Selmer saxophones in this price range are going to be hit or miss, much less consistent than what you'll find with Yanigasawa. I think you can might find a Selmer Super Action 80 in good condition for that price (these started production in the early 1980's and are now up to 40 years old), I see one on ebay now.
There's a pretty good Yany A991 on Reverb right now for $2500. Ordinarily, I don't recommend Reverb because its prices tend to be higher than eBay's, but this horn is within the stated budget.

I sold a pristine Selmer SA80 Series II last year for $2400 in a direct sale. It shouldn't be be difficult to find a Series II that fits this budget, since good used ones are plentiful.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
OK. I will be unable to directly talk to the student or anyone else involved. I have a very good friend who works for the school district and right now this search is on the QT. So I have decided to set a $2000 limit and stick with Yanigasawa . Won't rule out Selmer. But no other brand.

You guys are very helpful.
Thanks so much.
 

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Buying used means usually needing to be prepared for some repairs (pad work or improving the interconnected keywork). Buying new means that (depending on the set-up by the selling dealer) the horn will most likely be playable upon delivery. In my experience, some brands can even be delivered without a dealer set-up and play right out of the box.

In general, the Selmer-Paris and Yamaha saxophones I've played at stores have benefited greatly from how well the selling dealer set them up. Some were great, some were not so great. But with Yanagisawas, I've seen them come right out of the shipping carton and play like a dream.

SO, if you buy a new Yanagisawa, you may be able to come in within your budget by buying from a European dealer and having the horn sent to you without much risk. That is what I did a couple of years ago with a new AW01 from Matthews Muziek in The Netherlands. I would have preferred to buy within the U.S. for patriotic reasons, but the price differential was SO out of whack that I could not afford NOT to buy from Matthews. And, by buying a new Yanagisawa, I felt pretty confident that no further work would need to be done on it when t arrived. It came perfectly set up and playable. DAVE
 
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