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Discussion Starter #1
I'm an adult player who played clarinet for over 30 years. I have borrowed a tenor sax from time to time to play in a pep band, but have never owned one. I have decided to by an alto (now that I can afford it). However I have really small hands and have struggled with the one I've tried to far (Conn). Since I'm going to have to make a road trip to try them out I'd like to identify which brand or brands might be recommended with this problem in mind. I intend to buy a nice sax - a professional model. Where I go look may be influenced by the recommendations I get - so any ideas?

I want to play all types of music, so I'm not necessarily looking for a particular sound, just a good physical fit.
 

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How about a vintage Martin " The Martin" or Committee model? I have one (and have big hands) but I reckon it would fit somebody with small hands too.... ( I have indeed the opposite problem with this horn)on the other hand (another hand???:D ) you can go more modern and get yourself one of the so many selmer clones (you have all sorts of prices and quality levels there)
 

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The Yanagisawa supposedly is more comfortable for people with smaller hands. I know that mine fits my hands almost perfectly, and I have very small hands. My friend with spider hands (literally) finds it cramped.
 

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Watch out for pinkie & low Bb problems

I'm a senior citizen type player (don't know if it makes me offically an adult or not) with small hands and a real case of saxophilia. I have a continuing problem with the left hand 'stack' and am absolutely unable to reach the low Bb key on either my otherwise beautiful Reference 54 or Keilwerth altos. It is not a problem for me though on the Yanagisawa horns (alto, tenor, soprano, and 'nino) or even my Yamaha baritone.

My suggestion is to try them all out before you commit yourself, making sure you check out your reach and how those left hand 'pinkie' keys feel.(But, if you really fall in love with the horn, just give up on the idea of ever playing a low Bb - you don't need it that much anyway...;) )

Lots of luck!!
 

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Well, I should rethink my description. I'm getting more senior citizen moments everyday and I'm less of an adult about it. This is the kind of info I'm looking for. Even though I have no idea where to find a vintage Martin, I can find a Selmer and Yanagisawa dealer and go try them out. I saw a few Yanagisawa dealers on the internet and they do make some pretty horns. Locally all we have is Conn and Yamaha.

Thanks.
 

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If your hands are REALLY small, the left-hand palm keys on modern horns may cause you grief. Many of the vintage horns have palm-keys that don't stick-out so far and might make playing much easier for you.

There are a bunch of reputable places on-line to purchase vintage saxophones from. A few to look at would be World Wide Sax, Vintage Sax, and Cybersax. Sending an e-mail to their respective proprietors might start a very helpful dialog regarding a comfortable alto, regardless of whether you end up with a modern or vintage horn.

Good Luck!
 

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I have small hands/fingers and have not had any problems with Yamaha, Selmer, B&S, or Keilwerth altos. It is the Keilwerth tenors that I've had problems with. Best of luck in your search!
 

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Whatever you do try out, make sure you include Yamahas. I would say the Selmer Serie III and the Yamahas were probably the best ergonomics for me. The LH low Bb on the Yamahas was the easiest for me to reach. If you do go vintage, make sure not only the LH pinky cluster is arranged comfortably, but that that particular horn doesn't require too stiff an action on those keys.

To follow up on a suggestion above, though, definitely do not get an alto that has a sound you can't fall in love with. You're just going to get frustrated in the future with it. You would be surprised what you can get used to, ergonomically, if you are willing and if you give it enough time.

Good luck. Have fun. And let us know how is went.
 

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I have fairly small hands, and exceptionally short pinkie fingers. I cannot reach Bb on Yamahas or Yanis - I've owned both - on alto or tenor. The most comfortable reach to Bb I've found for alto is on a vintage Buescher 140 and a Conn 6M. On tenor, the Buescher Big B is an easy reach for me.

I recently made a soprano switch as well to accommodate my short reach - bought a 1928 Buescher True Tone. I find it most ironic that while many love the ergonomics of the modern saxes, I find them impossible to play a Bb on. My solution to ergonomics is my stable of Bueschers. Go figure . . .
 

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Joe Jazz said:
Gary, over 8,000 posts? Geez! You sure you're male?
You tell me, Giuseppe. :D

 

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Fred said:
I have fairly small hands, and exceptionally short pinkie fingers. I cannot reach Bb on Yamahas or Yanis - I've owned both - on alto or tenor. The most comfortable reach to Bb I've found for alto is on a vintage Buescher 140 and a Conn 6M. On tenor, the Buescher Big B is an easy reach for me.

I recently made a soprano switch as well to accommodate my short reach - bought a 1928 Buescher True Tone. I find it most ironic that while many love the ergonomics of the modern saxes, I find them impossible to play a Bb on. My solution to ergonomics is my stable of Bueschers. Go figure . . .
I've had a similar experience. Although I can reach on a Yamaha or Selmer, it is a reach and not comfortable. Bueschers fit my hands perfectly all the way from the TTs to my TH&C. The other vintage horns that really fit my hands are the Couesnons, but I have more of them than all the online dealers put together, so the Buescher gets the nod for a good choice of horns from several reputable dealers. They also have a sound that a lot of us love.
 

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good fit.

Carbs said:
Isn't The Old's Parrasian Ambassador a Small hands friendly instrument? Since you stated you like the Vintage Saxophones.
I've been told I have small hands for a sax player before (whatever that means....) Anyway yeah i find that my olds pari ambassador fits me really well. and its a solid horn for relatively cheap.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Thanks guys and girls,
I went this weekend and tried out a Yamaha 842, a Keilwerth SZ90R, and a Martin Imperial. I ended up buying the Keilwerth. The Bb key is a stretch, but my sound & intonation was great on the Keilwerth and it also helped that it was a used horn therefore less money than the Yamaha. Both of the other horns were nice especially the Yamaha. The left hand pinky keys on the Yamaha were set more to the side and were easier to reach because of that. But I really liked the sound of the Keilwerth and by moving my hand down more I can reach it. Let's hope any Bb's I play are long and slow.... Thank God there are not holes to cover like a clarinet or I would be SOL. The Martin was a great horn and reasonably priced, but needed some work and that could have gotten expensive fast since it cost more to repad a sax than a clarinet.

Since the Keilwerth new sold for more than the new Yamaha and I saved over 1000.00 by buying about a used horn, I think I did OK. I'll probably try to find a new case eventually because it came in a steel tank looking one and the latches stick.

Thanks for everyone's input. It really helped.
 
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