Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 28 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I’m a pretty non-musical parent of a budding musician. My 13 year old son has a good ear for music and has played piano and clarinet for about 5 years. He wants to switch from clarinet to tenor sax. He’s currently borrowing one, but will need his own soon. He’s picking it up pretty quickly and seems to enjoy it (practices for hours without nagging).

My budget is about $600-700 to get him a decent used tenor sax. Based on some advise I’ve seen other places on this sight; I looked for a Japan made Vito and found a few out there for about $600 that have some cosmetic damage (scuffs and a few dings). I have also seen a vintage 1970s Buescher Aristocrat made in the US that also has a few small dents and some scuffing. Both claim to have been recently inspected by a professional and function normally.

Which would you rather play on? Is one more appropriate for a student than the other?

Thanks everyone!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,580 Posts
I’m a pretty non-musical parent of a budding musician. My 13 year old son has a good ear for music and has played piano and clarinet for about 5 years. He wants to switch from clarinet to tenor sax. He’s currently borrowing one, but will need his own soon. He’s picking it up pretty quickly and seems to enjoy it (practices for hours without nagging).

My budget is about $600-700 to get him a decent used tenor sax. Based on some advise I’ve seen other places on this sight; I looked for a Japan made Vito and found a few out there for about $600 that have some cosmetic damage (scuffs and a few dings). I have also seen a vintage 1970s Buescher Aristocrat made in the US that also has a few small dents and some scuffing. Both claim to have been recently inspected by a professional and function normally.

Which would you rather play on? Is one more appropriate for a student than the other?

Thanks everyone!

IMO the Yamaha will be the better instrument, will be easier to play in tune, and will hold its resale value better if/when the time comes to sell it in order to upgrade. By the 70s the Bueschers were dumbed way down and a shell of their former selves.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
I’m a pretty non-musical parent of a budding musician. My 13 year old son has a good ear for music and has played piano and clarinet for about 5 years. He wants to switch from clarinet to tenor sax. He’s currently borrowing one, but will need his own soon. He’s picking it up pretty quickly and seems to enjoy it (practices for hours without nagging).
Good move, I don't mind clarinet except for the sound .... :) And as a boy who ultimately wants to impress some chicks, the clarinet may substitute for the magic flute but it won't attract the opposite gender anywhere near a tenor sax.

My budget is about $600-700 to get him a decent used tenor sax. Based on some advise I’ve seen other places on this sight; I looked for a Japan made Vito and found a few out there for about $600 that have some cosmetic damage (scuffs and a few dings). I have also seen a vintage 1970s Buescher Aristocrat made in the US that also has a few small dents and some scuffing. Both claim to have been recently inspected by a professional and function normally.

Which would you rather play on? Is one more appropriate for a student than the other?

Thanks everyone!
Both instruments should be perfectly adequate as long as they are really set up correctly. I am always concerned when I hear "inspected by" because that only means somebody looked at them, and function normally is a blanket statement for "it may need some work". Ask your son to test play both of them. Instruments speak to the player. And maybe he will fall for some eye-candy in whatever form but but let him pick.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
4,580 Posts
Also comparing to a Yamaha YTS 200AD (made in US) would be valuable as well. Thanks!
Same horn as the 23 model essentially. And don't get it twisted, NOTHING has been made in the US since the 80s (and no Yamaha ever was).
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
661 Posts
IMO the Yamaha will be the better instrument, will be easier to play in tune, and will hold its resale value better if/when the time comes to sell it in order to upgrade. By the 70s the Bueschers were dumbed way down and a shell of their former selves.
I had a 1976 Buescher Aristocrat (same model was also called the Bundy) alto and it was a student saxophone. If the tenor you're considering is the same thing, I would go for the Vito. I've posted elsewhere about my earliest horn and I HATED it. No resonators on the pads and the tone was stuffy and dead, even when I knew what I was doing in high school. I suppose I must have gotten a good tone out of it because I was selected for all-states on it but I grew to hate the build, the tone, everything. I switched to tenor for jazz band because the school had a couple of Yamaha tenors and I found out what I was missing in a quality-built horn.

Sorry, didn't mean to rant but I have absolutely no sentimental feelings about that first horn I owned and it was a student Aristocrat. If the Vito is a Yamaha (?) stencil, that would be my first choice. The Aristocrats from the '40's are great, and a completely different horn than I had in 1976.
 

·
Registered
Alto sax, Tenor sax, Clarinet
Joined
·
1,309 Posts
By the 70's, the Aristocrats had gone downhill. The Vito sounds like the smarter choice.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
Joined
·
2,110 Posts
Ask your son to test play both of them.
This. Are these horns local?

Yeah, all things being equal, I’d go for the Yamaha/Vito, but all things are never equal. I’d choose the one in the best playing condition.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,000 Posts
IMO the Yamaha will be the better instrument, will be easier to play in tune, and will hold its resale value better if/when the time comes to sell it in order to upgrade. By the 70s the Bueschers were dumbed way down and a shell of their former selves.
Actually while I agree the Vito is the better choice, I have found that even late Bueschers have good intonation.
And while indeed they were dumbed down, they were still quite reliable in build and in tone. It was the keywork which was cheapened. The body and neck specs were that of a traditional Buescher 30A/31A...which still made for a nice sounding/blowing horn.

Matter of fact the place where the 'Crats trump the Vito-Yamas is tone. A well-serviced late 'Crat, everything regulated up and down nicely....sounds as big as a house. Dark, wide. Much fuller and lusher than a Yama/Vito, which are brighter and thinner-toned.

Servicability wise they are equals.

Both good, reliably built instruments.

Both are free-blowing.

But the Vitos are just more more responsive under the fingers.

Neither would be a bad choice. But between the two I would agree the Vito-Yama.

If you cannot find any locally, cstupac7....let me know. I have a few in storage I have yet to work up but can within about 2 weeks time. (BTW for $600 ...a Vito-Yama Tenor should not look/be particularly worn/beat aesthetically. At $600 you should be able to find one reliably serviced, clean, and decent-looking).
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,026 Posts
Twowheels, even a better horn than your Bundy alto would be stuffy and dead sounding without resonators on the pads.

I was going to say the post-buyout "Bueschers" were no comparison to the real Bueschers of the '30s - '50s. But since I've never played a post-buyout Buescher I can't say that for certain. Only that you can get the real thing for a bargain price these days by spending just a little more than you would for the later models, so why settle for the post-buyout horns?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
Actually while I agree the Vito is the better choice, I have found that even late Bueschers have good intonation.
And while indeed they were dumbed down, they were still quite reliable in build and in tone.

Matter of fact the place where the 'Crats trump the Vito-Yamas is tone. Even late 'Crats still sound real good, fuller and lusher than a Yama/Vito.

Servicability wise they are equals. Both good, reliably built instruments.

But the Vitos are just more more responsive under the fingers.

Neither would be a bad choice. But between the two I would agree the Vito-Yama.

If you cannot find any locally, cstupac7....let me know. I have a few in storage I have yet to work up but can within about 2 weeks time.
My first tenor was a 80s Buescher 400 that I unfortunately sold to Music Go Round and then met again 2 years later in the hands of a band director who absolutely loves it so at least it found a good home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,324 Posts
Twowheels, even a better horn than your Bundy alto would be stuffy and dead sounding without resonators on the pads.

I was going to say the post-buyout "Bueschers" were no comparison to the real Bueschers of the '30s - '50s. But since I've never played a post-buyout Buescher I can't say that for certain. Only that you can get the real thing for a bargain price these days by spending just a little more, so why settle for the post-buyout horns?
Ditto. I am just rebuilding an alto with plain (no resos) pads exactly for that sound to play in "kitchen-size" venues
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I’m surprisingly finding very few locally. Lots of altos out there. That Aristocrat is local. We just went and my son tried it. He doesn’t like it as much as the Yamaha YS-200 he is borrowing. We found another YS-200 in good condition about an hour away. But they want about $800 for it. On eBay there are quite a few Vito’s, but they are very dinged up and scuffed and go for about $500-$600.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
This. Are these horns local?

Yeah, all things being equal, I’d go for the Yamaha/Vito, but all things are never equal. I’d choose the one in the best playing condition.
The Aristocrat is local. My son tried it and didn’t love the fingering nor the sound. But it was fine. There is a Yamaha YAS-200 about an hour away, but they want $800-900, so we haven’t tried it yet. The Vito’s I’ve seen are on eBay or used music store websites and go for $500-600 but with plenty of cosmetic issues.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,802 Posts
I know you're new here (welcome, btw...), but dont' be afraid to give JayeLID a try. He works on horns for a living and will ship it well packed and in good condition. Plus his prices are usually more than competitive. The only caveat is that your son won't be able to try it out.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
I know you're new here (welcome, btw...), but dont' be afraid to give JayeLID a try. He works on horns for a living and will ship it well packed and in good condition. Plus his prices are usually more than competitive. The only caveat is that your son won't be able to try it out.
That sounds good. Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,027 Posts
I concur that the Vito/YTS-23 is an excellent choice. In the past 12 months 16 have been sold on Ebay. The low price was $270 and the high was $700 with the average of $473. If the Vito sax you are looking at buying is structurally sound (no dents) and has pads in good condition then $600 is a fair price. If you can talk the seller down to $500 it would be a great deal and still allow spending approx. $100 to get a "play condition".
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,221 Posts
Same horn as the 23 model essentially. And don't get it twisted, NOTHING has been made in the US since the 80s (and no Yamaha ever was).
I call BS on your statement that Yamaha instruments were never made in the USA.
They produced woodwind, brasswind, and percussion instruments in GRAND RAPIDS MICHIGAN until the factory closed in 2007.
I've lived my entire 58 years within 40 miles of Grand Rapids, and to my knowledge Michigan is STILL one of the 50 states that make up the USA.
 
1 - 20 of 28 Posts
Top