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After close to 20 years I have decided to get another alto saxophone. I used to play a Yamaha beginner sax which was nice sounding at the time but I am looking to change. I have been doing some research on the internet however I am still not sure which way to go. I have always liked the sound of a dark sultry sax sound.

I have stumbled upon this message board and I am looking to see if anyone had any feedback or websites to refer me to. A Conn seems to be very popular amongst players and so does a Mark VI, and resale appears to hold it's own. I am also seeing some positive feedback on Antigua and Kessler. I am just starting up again but with hopes of getting myself back to up to par eventually.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Here's a suggestion: Get your Yamaha looked at first. If it served you well then, it will serve you well now. If it requires an overhaul, it may not be worth the money (usually $400+ for an overhaul).

A new Antigua or Kessler would certainly suffice if you're looking to get a new horn.

Remember this: The sound of a horn is dependent almost entirely on the player.
 

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Ladybug, I personally think some saxes have more intrinsic tendencies towards bright and dark. :) If you are looking for a dark sound IMO you will be closer to getting it quicker if you choose, say, a Conn 6M than a Yamaha.

I think the prices of 6Ms are pretty fair considering what you get for your money. Intonation can be a little trickier on some than on others so make sure you try one out before purchasing (which actually goes for all horns). I had good luck with Wichita Band and Music Co.

A contemporary sax with a tendency more towards a darker sound would be Paul Mariat.

I went from a Conn to a Yamaha to a Keilwerth and now I'm playing a Yamaha again (at the moment) and I can assure you that the Conn and Conn-type horns lean more towards a darker core sound than the Yamahas and other contemporary horns which are in the Yamaha mode and that's where I would start my search.

If there's something about the Conns or Mariats you don't like, then try out Yamahas and Yanagisawas or other Taiwanese imports, and try them with a large chamber mouthpiece and reeds which tend more towards fullness or darkness (Vandoren Blue Box, ie). But I've found it harder to darken a brighter horn than brighten a darker horn, although as SA points out above it's certainly possible and not a barrier that can't be overcome.
 

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gary said:
I went from a Conn to a Yamaha to a Keilwerth and now I'm playing a Yamaha again (at the moment) and I can assure you that the Conn and Conn-type horns lean more towards a darker core sound than the Yamahas and other contemporary horns which are in the Yamaha mode and that's where I would start my search.
Where?!? :D :sign5:

Ladybug -

Gary makes some excellent points, but also illustrates the fact that there are a ton of variables when it comes to choosing a horn. Not only that, but different players can sound different on the same exact setup (horn, mouthpiece, & reed). The bottom line is that you should try out a few horns that are in your price range, and choose from what sounds and feels best to you. From a standpoint of comfort, you might be more comfortable with a step up Yamaha such as a YAS-52 or even a YAS-62. Some of this depends on your budget however (what is your budget?). As you're searching for a horn, also keep in mind that the mouthpiece you choose is also important. I'd go with a nice reasonably priced Meyer or Morgan; those work well, especially if you go with a Yamaha. Again, that also somewhat depends on what type of music you'd like to play.

Good luck!

Frank
 

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gary said:
I went from a Conn to a Yamaha to a Keilwerth and now I'm playing a Yamaha again (at the moment) and I can assure you that the Conn and Conn-type horns lean more towards a darker core sound than the Yamahas and other contemporary horns which are in the Yamaha mode and that's where I would start my search.
fballatore said:
Where?!? :D :sign5:
LOL - Yeah, REALLY!!! :yikes!:

"I went from a Conn to a Yamaha to...and the Conn (or Muriat) is where I would start my search."

;)
 

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For dark get a Keilwerth Sx-90 or 90r. But do not get a nickel silver Keilwerth-they are brighter!!!
 

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Gary,

I thought you were using an Series II?
 

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Couldn't we advice him a Buescher Big B or serie one ?
 

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ladybug said:
After close to 20 years I have decided to get another alto saxophone. I used to play a Yamaha beginner sax which was nice sounding at the time but I am looking to change. I have been doing some research on the internet however I am still not sure which way to go. I have always liked the sound of a dark sultry sax sound.

I have stumbled upon this message board and I am looking to see if anyone had any feedback or websites to refer me to. A Conn seems to be very popular amongst players and so does a Mark VI, and resale appears to hold it's own. I am also seeing some positive feedback on Antigua and Kessler. I am just starting up again but with hopes of getting myself back to up to par eventually.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Hi Ladybug, and welcome! My only advice is that since you are just starting back up again, you spend a little time (maybe 3-6 months, if you plan on practicing more days a week than less) getting back up to speed on that Yamaha student horn. If it means getting it regulated first, do that, it may save you $$ in the long run. Get to a point where you feel like you are back where you left off, playing-wise. Then go and try out some "professional" horns and see if you truly like them better or can hear a difference. I think that if you were to go try out a bunch of expensive horns right now, there's a very good chance you'd sound the same on all of them, and that may just confuse you.
(Now let the disagreements begin! :D )
 

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saxmanglen said:
Gary, I thought you were using an Series II?
Correctemento, cabron. I was talking about my tenors but I was trying to illlustrate the tendencies of various brands towards dark or light.
pc1234 said:
(Now let the disagreements begin!
No disagreement but she didn't say she still has the Yamaha. :)
 

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gary said:
Correctemento, cabron. I was talking about my tenors but I was trying to illlustrate the tendencies of various brands towards dark or light.

No disagreement but she didn't say she still has the Yamaha. :)

Ahhhh, you shouldn't do that to me so early in the morning. :)

I assumed since the poster was referring to alto you were too. You know what they say when you assUme..............
 

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gary said:
No disagreement but she didn't say she still has the Yamaha. :)
Excellent point and good eye! I guess I assumed that (based on her saying she was thinking of getting "another" horn...)
Do you still have the Yamaha, Ladybug? If not, maybe consider renting a student model for a few months... it's cheap and will help you get back to playing shape so you can then try out the "big guns" and (maybe) discern a difference. ;)
 

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If you do still have your Yamaha... I personally do feel that you should have it looked at by a good technician.

This may seem strikingly weird considering that I sell both of the other horns you were looking at... but why spend more then you need to?

If you are truly getting back into it after 20 years... a new horn is not going to really serve you any better at this stage. In my shop, we charge $350 for a complete overhaul on a student horn. That would bring it back up to "new" playing condition and would cost you less then half of buying a new horn. Take the rest of the money and get a good mouthpiece (I recommend my 50NY - sorry, shameless plug) and lessons.

Then after a year or so, if you are still playing and want to get a better horn, then you can more appropriately judge professional saxes as well as personally justify spending more money on yourself and thus getting a better sax (my recommendation is a Yanagaisawa A901).
 

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I agree w/ Dave bout the Yani A-901. Best bang for the buck out there. My 9 year old has been using one since age 7. For more $$$$ a keilwerth will get you a darker sound(if that is what you still want after trying numerous saxes). Play test alot of saxes and have fun!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Wow thanks so much for the feedback!

I no longer have the Yamaha but I live in a tiny town in Canada without too many options in test driving a new horn. Thank God for the internet but it's a bit costly buying on line due to our wonderful 14% tax and brokerage fees.....

I did like the idea of renting one for a spell, which I might just do to get myself back in the game and keep reading the forums, I've learned so much from these and it has saved me from buying a horn last week that I may have just junked once it came to the door.

:cool:
 
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