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I'm a high school Sophomore in the USA, and I'm switching to Tenor now that marching season is over. I will be playing in my school's Jazz band and concert band at the same time, so there are a few aspects of my setup I'd like advice on.

I'm going to use a Yamaha, because I've heard good things about them and it's the brand my school recommends, but which model should I start with? I'm thinking of renting a YTS-26, YTS-280, or YTS-480, but the store might only rent student level instruments, in which case I'de have to go with the 26 or some other model.

What reeds have a balance, but a warmer, dark sound? I'll probably start with Traditional Vandoren reeds, but do any of Vandoren's other reeds offer a better balance between Jazz music and Classic/Concert music? I've had some success with a V12 and a V21 on alto, but I don't know if they'd be as good for Jazz band.

What about a warmer mouthpiece? I'd prefer to get a hard rubber or metal mouthpiece that's <$150, and I'd like to go as cheap as possible.
 

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Any Yamaha horn would probably be sufficient, just make sure that it's been serviced recently so it's not leaking.

Everyone has their own favorite reeds, so you will get lots of different suggestions. I play Vandoren Traditional (Blue Box) myself. Even though they are marketed as a "classical" reed, many players like them for jazz as they are a bit darker than so-called "jazz reeds." However, if you want something brighter, there are plenty other options to choose from, you just have to try them and see what you like.

Your mouthpiece is actually the most important piece of equipment, IMHO, so I would try to get a good one. For jazz, you'll probably want something with a large chamber and a low baffle. You mentioned wanting a "warm" sound and most people find that a large chamber without too much baffle helps them to attain that.

More important than gear, of course, is technique. Tenor requires more breath support and a looser embouchure than alto. Good luck!
 

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Hello,

a couple of words to the mpc
I started initially on a YTS-280 and used the Yamaha 4C which comes with the horn - the mpc is a good choice for beginners but I do not like the sound of the YTS with the 4c
My recommendation would be to switch to a Otto Link Tone Edge (or equal to this) which would fit to your budget.

Reeds are special and it depends on your setup. I prefer Rico instead of Vandoren but this will go in cooperation with your mpc as I have recognized that not every reed works well with each mpc - you have to try and find your own setup
 

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Two basic notes:

1). If you are doing Jazz Band, I would urge you to re-consider your desire for a warmer darker sound. You might actually blend in too much. Lots of instruments can mimic the warmer sound. For example, I can get my old Conn Tenor to sound a lot like cello in the low range when I put an old Gregory mouthpiece on it. It is great if I want to play classical, or for soloing in a small ensemble, but it doesn’t highlight my uniqueness in a larger ensemble.........caveat....if you love the dark sound, stick with it.

2). If you are stepping up to tenor as a student, I am going to make the assumption that you are pretty good at the sax and that you actually enjoy playing on your own......so you will keep this up for a few years. In this case, I recommend seeing if you can find a shop that will rent you one of the better Yamaha’s on a rent-to-own program. Your school might have a recommended vendor, but that doesn’t mean they are either cheaper than the competition or that they have the right horn for you. Often recommended vendors are only selected because they make your teacher’s life easier. (I live in a city of 50,000 people and there are 2 shops that rent for students within 30 minutes of my house. Just check out the internet to find out who rents). For my son’s school, the recommended vendor is definitely not the cheapest option.......but they help the teacher with ‘free’ instrument fittings and other stuff, so the teacher pushes business their way.
 
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