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There are probably thousands of threads from newbies asking what brand and type of sax they should buy. There are always a number of factors that the asker adds- age, budget, location, etc. And always helpful replies.
I think it would be interesting to hear from the more experienced members of this site who are visiting this forum devoted to beginners, what their own choice was for themselves when they were newbies. What was your first sax, and in retrospect, was the sax you picked or acquired a good choice for you?
 

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Hey Lucille - My first sax was a very long neglected Buescher True Tone alto from 1926 - which was restored many many many years later. I bought this from the daughter of its owner who had kept this for far too many years for emotional reasons then years later realised it was best placed with someone who would appreciate it. I was near gob-smacked at its tonal beauty and wondered why I had waited sooo long to have it restored. My first playable saxophone was a 1959 Conn Director (aka Shooting Stars) which has a that typical Conn power and punch. This light and free blowing saxophone is, in my opinion, highly underrated and I wouldn't be without it. The Conn had been lovingly cared for and very well maintained.

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I didn't have much of a choice. Got my first horn in the mid 1970s when I started 5th grade band. Only one place in town that sold musical instruments so I got a no name brand and played it until my freshman year of high school before switching to a school owned bari.

I stopped playing in college and regrettably sold the horn when I was in grad school - need the cash.

Only after joining this forum because my kids took up the sax did I find out my no name "Astro" was an early Yanagisawa stencil.

Both my kids, by the way, got Yamaha YAS-23s

Ironically - I started playing again when my kids got to middle school. I picked up a bari with the intent to get a quartet together with my kids. The bari I got was an old Vito VSP... which is... a Yanagisawa stencil. 😀
 

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My first instrument was a Buffet S-1 Alto. Prior to that I played Buffet Clarinets. I had a choice of a Selmer Mark VII or the Buffet.
 

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My first saxophone was a 1920's Conn C soprano, purchased from Sol Betnun in 1956. Sol was a well-known L.A. area band instrument broker and seller in those days.

My Mom bought it for me after I'd attended a Dixieland concert at L.A.'s Shrine Auditorium and I'd been bowled over by two wonderful trad-jazz reed players at the concert - Joe Darnesbourg and George Probert. We knew nothing about saxophones, let alone sopranos. I think my Mom paid $50.00 for the C-soprano.

A newspaper customer of mine, Orie Amodeo, one of the reedmen in the Lawrence Welk band, counseled me about Bb vs. C sopranos, so we returned the C-soprano to Betnun for a Bb Conn straight soprano. In retrospect, I think the Bb Conn was a stretch model, but it is long gone. DAVE
 

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Same as riceman. It was the mid-70's, and I got whatever my parents could afford to rent. I don't remember the brand. But I do remember being enthralled and trying to play along with my Dad's R&B records within the first few days.

As far as advice goes, it doesn't much matter what you get so long as it's in working order.
 

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First horn was a Silvertone alto sax that my dad bought from a pawn shop. Played it for about four years.

When I was intrigued by Branford Marsalis’ soprano sound, I went to the music store with my dad to investigate getting a soprano sax. The salesman let me try some sopranos, answered all my questions, and then recommended that we would be better off investing that $$ in a better alto. Picked an H. Couf Superba I alto at a great price (this was circa 1987).
 

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My dad who was an inveterate flea marketer/estate sale junky bought me my first. Not even sure the brand/model. I think it was a Holton or Bundy. I'm sure he paid no more than $20-25 dollars for it. He was a huge jazz fan having over 5,000 albums and seeing EVERYONE who came through Chicago in the 50's-60's. I was/am a guitar player at heart but picked up the jazz bug early on too so as that sax disintegrated in the early 80's it just sat in the corner and eventually just tossed out (shame on me) My first serious sax was my 57 King Cleveland 3 years ago. Love at first sight-sound-blow. Still love it and been playing it every day though my '54 Zeph gets more time......................................................
 

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I started on a school rental alto in fourth grade. Couldn't tell you what make or model it was. But four years later, the first horn my folks bought me was a used Selmer (USA) Signet alto that got me through high school, college jazz band and beyond. When my son was old enough to play, it was his first horn. I still have it.
 

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My parents rented to own an early 90's Jupiter alto for me, the model with a notch in the neck tennon for the high F# tone hole. That horn was, and still is, extremely resistant. I have no idea how I played it, but i still have it. Maybe one day I'll pay for an overhaul that's probably 3x the value of the horn.

It was all I knew for the first six years of playing until a miraculous and unexpected gift from my grandma afforded me my first pro horn, a Selmer Series II alto (I had the choice between a car or a saxophone. I chose correct).
 

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My first saxophone was a Conn 18M. The kind of horn that excites real saxophonist as a "special find" before further research reveals that it'd best to turned into a lamp. This horn served me well enough from elementary school through college. I was a band geek before it was cool, dang it!

If today me was going to tell past me/past my parents what kind of horn to get, I would have advised them the horn itself was fine. But not forcing me to bring it to the shop for a check up once every year or two was downright criminal. I grew up thinking that I couldn't play low notes because no one told me that pads leak and keys fall out of adjustment.
 

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I took up the sax right before I turned 30. I rented a Bundy II tenor for the better part of a year, and fell in love with it right away. I pretty much immediately started practicing 6-8 hours a day. I was already playing trumpet and keys professionally at the time and set myself a goal of bringing the tenor to the gig after a month, even if I could only play some easy blues solos. Mission accomplished, and I started gigging with it more and more while still logging my practice time. One night after a few months of this I took it out on a Sunday night gig and it wouldn't play a single note. The next day I took it back to the store I was renting it from and after a few days they got it back to me. Fast forward a few weeks later and the same problem. This time the repair guy says, "What are you doing....playing this thing 10 hours a day?" I say, "No, no......maybe 8"...he shakes his head and says, "Son, this is a student horn. It's built for kids who don't practice. You want to play THAT much you better get yourself a REAL horn!" Bought a 60's Conn 10m (which I still play today, 33 years later) and never looked back.....
 

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My wife had an old Vito alto (an odd transitional model, same as a Conn 50M) sitting around, so I got that tuned up and started playing, and I am still using that as my only alto. (I went on a much longer tenor quest, starting with a Yamaha YTS-21 that I didn't like the sound of and proceeding through many others...) In 4th grade I started playing clarinet on an old Bundy my parents bought from a friend. Somewhere around the beginning of high school I got an Evette & Schaeffer that I am still playing.
 

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I started on clarinet. It was a Conn Director student model I bought from a girl down the street for $50. A year into the clarinet, I heard Johnny Hodges playing on a Duke Ellington record and it became imperative that I get an alto sax. The Music Lovers Shoppe. It was the biggest music store in Rochester at that time and right on Main street. Every time I walked by there in the front window, they had this Buescher Aristocrat alto just sitting there looking all luxurious in that velvet lined case. So, I saved up all my odd job and allowance money (I was 14 at that time) and after about four months I had enough to make the purchase. I go down to the store and ask to purchase the horn in the window and the sales man asks me, "Is it okay with your parents for you to buy this saxophone?" I said well, it's my money so what difference does it make? He then proceeded to call and talk with my mom which of course she okayed it.

That Buescher is long gone now. So are the Selmers, Conns and Kings I've had over the years. I play all Yamaha's now. The modern ergonomics are kinder on my old arthritic hands. And as for the sound, I'm a firm believer that it's that player that makes their sound. Yes, there are different nuances that give each brand their uniqueness. But, I always sound like me no matter what horn I play.
 

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A couple of years ago, maybe two or three now, I decided to finally act on my lingering desire to learn to play the saxophone - I blame too much Steely Dan. Anyway I’m a third generation antiques trader so I dabble in buying and selling at various local auctions. I happened to spot an old sax, apparently a barn find, coming through one auction I follow, and scored it for what I thought was a good price. George Jacobs at 2nd Ending did a great job of cleaning off the verdigris and returning it to playable condition. So the first sax I started playing was a 1924 Buffett Crampton Evette & Schaeffer alto. Really sweet. It’s since been displaced in my affections by a 1967 Martin Imperial alto that just blows me, and the Evette, away with a big bottom end. But that Evette & Schaeffer has a really sweet sound, not really big just nicely balanced. Truth is, I love them both, they appeal to me differently and I can’t say either is better just different temperaments. Must admit both are much better horns than I am a player, but I can get them to make noises that don’t hurt my ears and have fun doing it...
 

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My first saxophone was a Bundy II Tenor. Started in the sixth grade beginning band and in the eighth grade my parents rented a new Yamaha Alto for me. It was a great saxophone but I liked playing the Tenor more. Went back to the Bundy Tenor in highschool until my parents rented a new Yamaha Tenor for me.

After highschool and finishing Army training, I bought the Conn 10M I have now. Had a choice between a Buescher Top Hat and Cane and the 10M. I thought the 10M had a slightly better tone to it.
 

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My first one was an Amati Super Classic soprano. I got some kind of insurance/compensation from the government due to a certain, pretty serious family tragedy. Decided I need to buy something of value and longevity fast before all is spent on beer or such. Had wanted a sax for a long time, and was mainly thinking soprano due to a certain finnish soprano player at the time quite inspirational to me (little did I know I will be selling a bari sax to him 10+ years later).

Knowing almost nothing about saxes, I wanted to buy from a reputable shop, and from a city where I had an alto player friend available to OK the purchase. The Amati was pretty much the only soprano in town, at least in a realistic price range. No regrets, although I now think it was overpriced. And the shop was "nice enough" to let me trade the old dirty looking mouthpiece (probably of some value) that came with the horn to a new plastic buescher student piece (worthless), lol. At least it was in good playing condition.

Played it on and off, not very seriously for many many years. Never had huge success playing it, it is little bit of a challenge to me still to play it well enough. Though mostly because some lack of determination, but the sax certainly is not be the greatest in intonation etc but serviceable, beautiful to me at least, well or ok built and sturdy enough. It actually survived another tragedy, a fire that took pretty much all of my belongings. Or, the sax was pretty much the only thing I deemed worth saving.

Started playing more seriously much later when I ventured to alto, then tenor, and now bari. I've had more success with the bigger horns, although I still consider myself a newbie, or hobbyist at most. But I still have the soprano and play it badly from time to time. It has quite a lot of emotional value to me due to all the history. I have since had it fully overhauled - for many times the €€€ of the resale value, but it will never be for sale so that's insignificant.
 
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1980 I started playing and got Buescher Aristocrat Alto for my first 2 years then sold it and brought a brand new Selmer SA80 in early 82.
Wish I'd keep it but my inner Chimp was desperate for a new sax.
 

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My first one was an Amati Super Classic soprano. I got some kind of insurance/compensation from the government due to a certain, pretty serious family tragedy. Decided I need to buy something of value and longevity fast before all is spent on beer or such. Had wanted a sax for a long time, and was mainly thinking soprano due to a certain finnish soprano player at the time quite inspirational to me (little did I know I will be selling a bari sax to him 10+ years later).

Knowing almost nothing about saxes, I wanted to buy from a reputable shop, and from a city where I had an alto player friend available to OK the purchase. The Amati was pretty much the only soprano in town, at least in a realistic price range. No regrets, although I now think it was overpriced. And the shop was "nice enough" to let me trade the old dirty looking mouthpiece (probably of some value) that came with the horn to a new plastic buescher student piece (worthless), lol. At least it was in good playing condition.

Played it on and off, not very seriously for many many years. Never had huge success playing it, it is little bit of a challenge to me still to play it well enough. Though mostly because some lack of determination, but the sax certainly is not be the greatest in intonation etc but serviceable, beautiful to me at least, well or ok built and sturdy enough. It actually survived another tragedy, a fire that took pretty much all of my belongings. Or, the sax was pretty much the only thing I deemed worth saving.

Started playing more seriously much later when I ventured to alto, then tenor, and now bari. I've had more success with the bigger horns, although I still consider myself a newbie, or hobbyist at most. But I still have the soprano and play it badly from time to time. It has quite a lot of emotional value to me due to all the history. I have since had it fully overhauled - for many times the €€€ of the resale value, but it will never be for sale so that's insignificant.
I have this immense impression there is a much larger story here - I have enjoyed your post greatly - thanks for sharing.
 

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My parents brought me home a Bundy II alto in the mid 90s. Sold it in college as I didn't need it anymore then ended up buying it back when the kid quit a few years later just for nostalgia.
 
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