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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am back on the market for a saxophone, but very early in my search. First time around, without really researching, I bought a new Yamaha YTS-62 from a dealer in Europe. I then traded for an alto- a Yamaha YAS-62. Unfortunately, I had to sell the horn, but here I am ready to pick it up again. My budget (looking used unless I find a great deal for a new horn) is $800. It seems there a lot of student horns that more than meet that- Bundy II's, YAS-23's, etc. I would call myself an intermediate player- so I am curious: will it hinder my playing at all or limit what I can do if I pick up a student model horn? What is really the difference? Is intonation not as good? If I have a set up that is a good fit, does it compensate for any shortcomings of a student horn?? Will I notice a huge difference between what I had with the YAS-62?
Also, maybe you all can point me to a good dealer (stateside or otherwise- I got a great deal on the YTS on the first buy).
Guess I need some help, and any info would be appreciated. I am anxious to play again, but very budget aware.
 

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There are a multitude of folks on here that can answer your questions (probably not me :) ). But, unless I missed it above, they will need to know whether you're talking tenor or alto here.

Also, maybe SOTW member JayePDX will post. He's a good guy who re-conditions and sells used horns. Check out his website:

www.2ndending.com

Much luck, and welcome back to sax!
 

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In my experience the main difference among student/intermediate/pro is build quality: the way a horn feels in your hand depend on tight tolerances and good materials. A pro horn is built to stand a pro lifestyle: lot of gigs where he needs the utmost reliability.
Then it came to sound: thin (cheaper) brass will not sound as good, but it still sounds like a saxophone. A cheap instrument could even sound as good or better to you than a pro horn (many people here love Chinese sopranos, for example).
Intonation is not really important unless he horn is barely playable in an ensemble: the sax is not a perfectly-tuned instrument anyway and part of the character comes from the player correcting the horns intrinsic intonation defects.

During time I sold my intermediate and student horns and kept the pro... So, yes: they are sensibly better!
 

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Administrator note:

This inquiry was posted in the wrong sub forum. Move to the correct one.
 

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Well....being specific.....a Yama 23 doesn't sound as good as a 62. But a 23 is a very sturdy and reliable horn, particularly the ones made in Japan (which is what you should be looking for....one labeled Yamaha or one labeled Vito but with Japan stamped on it).

So, those will do just fine if your previous horn was a 62.

A middle or upper-shelf Jupiter, made between 2000-2011, are also good choices.

In either of these model cases, build and reliability will not be an issue.

Keep in mind for $800 you could go get yourself an older horn, like a later model vintage Conn 6M or a very nice Vito/Noblet/Beaugnier Alto, definitely also something like a JK stencil or a vintage Kohlert as well. Those are much, much more horn for the money than most contemporary, used, sub-$800 horns.

But you should try a few pre-'80's horns if you wanna go that route, as their ergos are a bit different.

Used is the way to go....stay away from anything NEW priced $1200 or below, because quite honestly....that cannot get you sh#t in a new instrument, it really cannot.

I will caveat Hadamard's final comment above, though. IMHO, the student-intermediate-professional monikers are oftentimes just a bunch of marketing ~ for example, many a newer, sub-$2600 asian horn sold as 'professional' cannot really even stand toe-to-toe with a used, $350 Japan-made Yama 23. So you gotta be careful not to fall for that stuff.
 

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I will caveat Hadamard's final comment above, though. IMHO, the student-intermediate-professional monikers are oftentimes just a bunch of marketing ~ for example, many a newer, sub-$2600 asian horn sold as 'professional' cannot really even stand toe-to-toe with a used, $350 Japan-made Yama 23. So you gotta be careful not to fall for that stuff.[/COLOR]
I totally agree...
I didn't try thousands of instruments, but I classify them based on my experience with them, not from the label the factory puts on it.
So I found some "intermediate" Jupiters to really be student horns and an "intermediate" blue label B&S to be totally a pro horn.

Obviously YMMV
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey JayePDX- what serial number ranges do I look for to find those Vitos and Yamaha horns made in Japan?
Maybe I'm not a refined enough player, but I like the ergonomics of the modern horns more so far. I tried a Conn in the local horn shop last week, and I found the "finger navigation" to be a little more difficult.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I just found a YAS-23 in a pawn shop, and it looked to be in good condition. Notes lower than low C were tough to get (probably has leaks), but pads looked good, etc. Serial # is C17409- I can't seem to pick any info up from that link given that #, but the Made in Japan stamp was on there.
Any advice on buying a horn from a pawn shop, except validate it's not hot?! Haha. I told the guy I wanted to take the sax to a shop nearby to have them look at it. May end up taking a guitar up there for collateral. Of course, they weren't keen on any returns or warranty.
 

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Well the thing is....a good one of this model in good shape only costs around $400 tops. I mean, you can peg one off of eBay for $100-175 and I can get it in shape for you for another $200 easy. There are so many of them around.

As it definitely needs work, and as even a couple hours of tech work can cost between $100-200.....I would not recommend paying more than about $150 for the horn to the pawnshop. Maybe $185 tops if it doesn't have any body damage and the pads look decent.

If they allow you to take it to a tech, then you wanna ask the tech: "can you get this into good playing shape for $150-200 ?"

As opposed to asking "what does this horn need done to it and how much $ ?"

If you get my drift......:|
 

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All great advice you've gotten, Griggsy. JayePDX has sold a sax to me before, and his outstanding reputation here at SOTW is earned.
one of my favorites in the not pro department is the YTS 23 / Vito Japan saxophones. Just reiterating what's been said in that you'll get the money back for these saxophones. They are similar in the ergos to what you're used to, with very good intonation. Responsive to many different mouthpieces. I've had good results with Rico, Yamaha, Selmer, Otto Links, and Meyer mouthpieces. The Vito Japan's are easy to sell in 2 years when you decide what you're next perfect horn is, or just keep as your back-up, because you know you can trust it, and it's just not a HUGE amount of $$$... But what you put into it, you can often get back financially, and that's a nice piece of mind.
Good luck in your hunt! Enjoy the ride!
 

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I totally agree...
I didn't try thousands of instruments, but I classify them based on my experience with them, not from the label the factory puts on it.
So I found some "intermediate" Jupiters to really be student horns and an "intermediate" blue label B&S to be totally a pro horn.

Obviously YMMV
Yeeeeeeah, I'd disagree with this statement. Unless you are talking about Jupiter horns from the 90s when they were pretty inconsistent. I think their 800 series is billed as an intermediate horn and it's basically the exact same (if not better in my opinion) to their "pro level" 900, 2000, and XO series... which are very very good horns for the money and probably not too far off from some "Top Brands" pro models. Just my 2 cents though.

Cheers,

TRANETRACKS
 

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Yeeeeeeah, I'd disagree with this statement. Unless you are talking about Jupiter horns from the 90s when they were pretty inconsistent. I think their 800 series is billed as an intermediate horn and it's basically the exact same (if not better in my opinion) to their "pro level" 900, 2000, and XO series... which are very very good horns for the money and probably not too far off from some "Top Brands" pro models. Just my 2 cents though.

Cheers,

TRANETRACKS
It was dated 1986... Not a good horn in any way to me, but for 50€ and 30€ in repair it was worth every cent.
 
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