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Discussion Starter #1
The age old debate- Student vs Professional model saxophones. I've seen lots of discussion of this, but here's a video with some information on each instrument (plus playing examples on each!). Are the pro saxes worth their asking price? Is the difference between them justified? Watch this video to find out!

Let me know what you think- did I miss anything? Did I give an accurate representation of the sound of each instrument? Did you...actually enjoy it!? Let me know!!

#makejazzfunagain

 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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You'll know when you need an artist's sax.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
You'll know when you need an artist's sax.
When everyone tells me to get one and makes fun of me for playing a YAS-23?? Hah, I hear you.

Actually I might be doing some social experiments where I bring the student Yamaha to play at jam sessions (jazz) to see how people react/hear what they say. I think it?ll be interesting and could make for a good video!
 

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I was playing for like 7-8 years on student saxes and now when I got a pro horn I can't really find the difference. I would say that the student saxophones was better for me because this is what I was used to play.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I was playing for like 7-8 years on student saxes and now when I got a pro horn I can't really find the difference. I would say that the student saxophones was better for me because this is what I was used to play.
That's part of it! I'm a big believer in finding equipment that let's you get YOUR sound out, whether that's a $10k or $1k horn.
 

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Student models used to have quite different mechanism to pro horns. They'd not have the latest innovations. These days most horns are modeled on the MkVI design so the differences tend to be in quality of materials and quality of engineering.

I wouldn't go by engraving. Whilst Yamahas don't have much a lot of Chinese and Taiwanese horns have plenty of engraving.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Student models used to have quite different mechanism to pro horns. They'd not have the latest innovations. These days most horns are modeled on the MkVI design so the differences tend to be in quality of materials and quality of engineering.

I wouldn't go by engraving. Whilst Yamahas don't have much a lot of Chinese and Taiwanese horns have plenty of engraving.
I hear you. It just drives me crazy when I see kids buying new horns thinking that'll solve all their problems...then I pick up their horn and play it and they are baffled!
 

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Waste of money IMO. You'll be playing for years before they make a noticable difference for you. When you feel like your horn is holding you back - then it's time.

A "pro" horn won't change your sound much though - because 85% of your sound (good or bad) comes from YOU. Charlie Parker played lots of different horns - his and borrowed - brass and plastic. Always sounded like Charlie Parker.

The other 15% of your sound is mostly your mouthpiece. The reeds, lig and horn probably are responsible for 5% or less of how you sound.

Invest in a good mouthpiece and a good instructor first.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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How Charlie Parker (or Dave Pollack, or any very experienced saxist) sounds on a sax has NOTHING to do with beginners.

But a horn that plays easily and in tune, and will stay that way for a long time with no fuss ... that matters a whole lot.

That is 80-90% of "making it work" for most beginners.

Of course, the guy in the video says he has a YAS tenor. Credible!

dat
sax
man
 

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My personal experience was a bit different. When I entered high school in 1980 I'd been playing for 2 1/2 years and after marching season I was given a brand new Selmer Mark VII tenor to play during concert season. I wasn't a very good player at the time but my sound was very noticeably better on the VII than it was on my personal YTS-21. The better horn made a fairly substantial difference.

My opinion, based upon my own experience and observation is that the effect of "better" (in quotes because what "better" actually is may also be up for discussion) equipment is like a bell curve centered somewhere over the intermediate player. True beginners don't play well enough for it to make any difference and accomplished pros (as clearly proven by Dave's video) can make pretty much anything sound good. It's the intermediate or advanced-intermediate player that seems to get the most bang-for-the-buck when it comes to gear upgrades.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Super Action 80 Tenor, Yamaha Vito YAS-21 prototype, Kessler Soprano, Superba II Bari, Fender J-Bass
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Actually I might be doing some social experiments where I bring the student Yamaha to play at jam sessions (jazz) to see how people react/hear what they say. I think it?ll be interesting and could make for a good video!
I do just that. My alto of choice is a Vito YAS-21 with gold lacquered keys, slightly improved upon keywork more similar to a 23, MOP key touches, and a Yamaha V-1 neck. Most players can't make heads or tails out of what the sax really is, though the local techs can identify the horn. All of them are impressed by how the horn plays and feels. If a student Yamaha sax is lacking, then it needs to be set up. My horn was fully overhauled, and it can easily keep up with the pro horns it comes up against. The working pros I know agree, but are always surprised when I tell them what the sax is. One should always get the best horn they can afford, but there are some real inexpensive gems out there. A "pro" horn doesn't make for a better player.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
When you feel like your horn is holding you back - then it's time.

A "pro" horn won't change your sound much though - because 85% of your sound (good or bad) comes from YOU. Charlie Parker played lots of different horns - his and borrowed - brass and plastic. Always sounded like Charlie Parker.
Agree! Especially for younger/less experienced players, the horn will make little difference. For me it's about how it feels to you and how you get the sound from your head out through the horn.
 

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The sound does mostly come from the player and mouthpiece, but subtly and with nuisances, (as well as ergonomics generally but not always) a top pro hirn makes a huge difference to a pro player (who has played a while but also less expeirenced players) especially going from a pro to student horn and feeling the difference. Going the other way for the first time you might not feel it immediatly, the same is true if you frequantly for your first few years of owning a pro horn altnerate between a student and pro sax. (Mainly for marching bands or school students) A selmer series iii or a Yamaha 875ex plays EXTREMELY different to a jupiter or chinese student sax in my opinion. (However horns of the same brand like a yas-26 vs a yas-875ex will be more simular than a jupiter and a selmer series iii fwi from experience)

These are all of my opinions btw
 

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I went from a MexiConn, which I'd played for about 20 years, to a Yanagisawa A992 and I noticed considerable improvement in my sound, not to mention the horn's playability.

I may be an edge case here, though.
 

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I had a similar experience going from a very nice Conn 10m tenor to Yanagisawa.

I love the fat sound of the 10m, but the Yanys all play better in every other way.
 

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Of course, the guy in the video says he has a YAS tenor. Credible!
Yeah, he very slightly mis-spoke. I'm sure if you apply yourself you can figure out what he meant hahaha. Stantawn is one of the best tenor players around, and a great guy, to boot. His VI is the best tenor I've had the pleasure to put air through, though I'm glad he got those chunky wooden key touches replaced with pearls finally!
 
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