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Student Alto Sax

5710 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  NissanVintageSax
Hello! My 14 yr old son started on the clarinet 3 yrs ago and moved to the bass clarinet 2 yrs. ago. He is an awesome bass clarinet player (not just his mom's opinion! :) ) Anyway, he is going to be in his freshman year next school year and wants to join the Jazz Band, but they don't have any clarinets or bass clarinets, so the Jazz Band conductor suggested he try playing the alto sax. We are wanting to buy him a good student model for Christmas. I have found a used Armstrong Alto Sax for $300 and a Stephanhouser ZAS500 Student Alto Sax online new for $399. I am not wanting to pay too much since I'm not sure if he will continue to play the sax. My main questions are: Are either of the saxes I found worth the $? Is there a better student sax you would recommend? Will playing the sax and the bass clarinet hinder his bass clarinet playing? Thank you for listening to a mother's rambling! LOL........and for any advice you can give me! I know nothing about any musical instruments other than the flute! That was my instrument, which my son has taught himself to play that too! :bluewink:
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hirwin: Welcome to SOTW. You don't say where you live - I'll assume from the way you wrote your post that it is in the U.S.

All good posts, so far. My take is that buying used may be tricky unless you involve him or a known good player in the mix to do some test-playing first. I'd hate to give my kids or grandkids an untested saxophone from the used market. True, some of our members may have something available and could vouch for the instrument, but then the shipping may be problematic . . . not always, but I've had it happen.

When my grandson came of saxophone age, I personally tested several new student-level saxophones and bought one for him. That worked perfectly. Now, several years down the road, I gave him one of my pro-level altos so now he has one for marching band and one for more serious on-stage playing. But if I were you, I'd set my budget a little higher and buy a respected brand while at the same time staying out of the $1K and above area. A new Kessler Custom (a site sponsor in Las Vegas - the model I bought for my grandson) is a possibility as are Antiguas and other known Taiwanese brands.

I played a Stephanhouser a while back - don't recall the model. Decent but no cigar. Pricey, too. Armstrong? Not familiar with them but I'll take JayePDX's word on their viability.

Opinions, opinions . . . DAVE
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