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My son started high school. his high school music director (jazz and concert band) is a bit more rigorous than his middle school, and thus expects the students to practice at home every day (at school he's playing 2hr/day, and also he's planning to audition for an after-school jazz group. not sure if he will be accepted...). He used to play alto in the concert band, but there's no way he can carry the book bag, tenor and alto back and forth every day, so he gave up on the alto. Which means he has to schlep a book bag and the tenor sax, and also loses time having to return to the band room to pick the instrument up before getting out of the school. but even with just the tenor, there are days we have activities immediately following the school and this is starting to cause us to be late to it too..

I don't know if I will actually go through with this, but I've been contemplating the possibility of getting a 2nd practice tenor (cheaper one) at home that he can use (so he just has to bring home the mouth piece) so he doesn't have to lug around a 25lb book bag with a 25lb tenor every day... Well, may be the tenor+case isn't 25lbs, but it sure feels that way! in middle school, he didn't have a locker so he had a rolling bookbag and carried the tenor like a backpack, so it wasn't an issue. but he can't use the rolling bookbag in high school (won't fit in locker, corridors too narrow and too many students to be able to roll it around on campus all day), so the book bag is a backpack now, and has to hand-carry the tenor (carrying both the bookbag and tenor on shoulder is too much weight).

so my question for this idea that I wanted to ask the community was:
1. he as a very nice tenor (YTS-62 purple, bought used) he currently plays. if we were to get a 2nd horn is it ok to get a "cheap" one that is serviceable but not as good as his primary? or would that defeat the purpose of practicing since the horn will feel/play so differently? (finding a cheap, serviceable tenor that won't require hundreds of dollars rebuilding is probably going to make/break this deal too). He likes playing, but he's not going to make it a career being musician, so... there is a limit to the finances too...
2. am I being too soft in even considering lightening up his carrying load? and just let him use the time schlepping the load as unofficial weight training exercise and let him just get used to it?
 

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Discussion Starter #2
BTW, he is also required to play in the "pep band" for football games occasionally, but it's played sitting on the stadium (no marching), and if it's raining, they won't play (with current climate change, it may not rain in CA anyway). so no need for "disposable" instrument for that purpose. (the school is not big on such things)
 

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I agree a second horn is a good idea - my daughter does this, and has no problem switching between a Yani and a Yamaha. As long as the sax has modern key work - like a 23 or Vito Japan, should be just fine. Pep band can be as destructive as marching band- plenty of opportunities to bang horns with fellow students.
 

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Agree that the better horn (current) should be the one at home and the 'practice' tenor be the one left at school...For concert performances, he should can bring the nicer one from home back to school.

One additional recommendation is to make sure he either transports his mouthpiece back and fourth, or to purchase him an identical mouthpiece to keep at home. Switching mouthpiece designs for at-home practice would likely provide him many more challenges than switching between a YTS 23 and a YTS 62 every day.
 

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Agree that a used YTS23 or even another 62 would be a good backup. I just went through this process myself. I live 4-5 months a year at another place and got tired of hauling my sax on the plane each way. My main gigging horn was a Yamaha 82z. After playing a lot of used tenors including a couple of YTS62, I ended up purchasing a new Barone tenor. If you do a search here you will see that most people rave about them (as do I) and they cost about the same as or even less that a used YTS62. I now play the Barone as my main gigging horn, and the 82z is now the one I leave at our other house.

And as to playing on different horns, I regularly switch between my 82z, VI, and Barone and find no issue with that - and agree with Bjroosevelt that using the same mouthpiece will be much more important (although a mouthpiece often will respond differently on different horns).
 

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I’d look for a YTS 23 and take this into school.
And leave the 62 at home where it will likely be treated better.
+1

My kid plays alto, takes his YAS-26 to school and leaves it there. Practices on my YAS-82ZU at home, uses it for special auditions and for concerts.
 

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Change schools, or ask the demanding teacher to secure his horn on a day-to-day basis. Doesn't seem it could be that hard to do.
Changing schools in SF is not an easy thing. Getting a second sax is much easier. Schlepping a tenor around by hand (not as a backpack) is a pain.
 

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The school band leader should be securing the instruments, not making the kids schlep. Changing schools was just emphasis of another impractical alternative to schlepping.
 

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Just want to add my +1 to what's been posted. You can probably find a used 23 for $600-800, and if that's doable, it will make things a lot easier for your son. It's not at all unusual for sax players, even young ones, to need more than one horn for exactly the kinds of reasons you mention.
 

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Change schools, or ask the demanding teacher to secure his horn on a day-to-day basis.
The issue is having to schlep the horn back and forth from home to school. What does that have to do with the teacher securing his horn? And no way would I characterize the teacher as 'demanding' for wanting the students to practice at home every day. That's a minimum requirement for anyone learning an instrument.

Anyway, I agree with others on here that having a second horn at home to practice on is a good solution.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi all,

Thanks so much for all your thoughts. I guess having a 2nd practice horn is not unusual even at his stage of development. (I play the piano, and we don't schlep the instrument, so I have no experience in this sort of issue :p). Man, sax playing gets expensive, doesn't it? :p

It seems like it is definitely worth seriously considering getting the 2nd horn, (YTS-23 or similar) and just have him transport the mouthpiece everyday instead of the whole instrument. and to keep the better horn at home for performance and practice use (didn't think of that, but makes most sense. then he can just leave the practice horn at school even over the weekend).

Budgeting $600-800 for a decent practice tenor a good range? (just looking for numbers for budgeting purposes, and will have to talk to my other half)? I have a trusted tech here so will be sending out feelers out to him to see if he has any reasonably-priced units. I just don't want to have to buy and have to replace all the pads soon thereafter...

as for high school. nah we're not changing that! It's an excellent high school and the band instructor is stellar. He'll learn a lot from him... just wanted to find a way to make it less taxing, physically...
 

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Hi! I am a fellow high school freshman who was experiencing the same issue as your son. Fortunately for me, both the middle school and high school offered instrument rentals for the year. I also used to carry my YTS-62 to school everyday. I agree with everyone that a YTS-23 is the way to go. If you look for a nice used YTS-23, you should find one for $500-$700. As for other horns, the YTS-23 seems to be one of the best student horns out their. Good luck on your search.
 

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YTS-23 is definitely the way to go. Another one to look at is a YTS-480 which is another great horn. Obviously the 23 will be cheaper but sometimes you can get lucky in terms of finding things for a great price!
 

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You know, not to be a fly in the ointment here.

I agree that this is a valid situation to consider a second horn purchase.

But it really doesn't HAVE to be another Yamaha.

I mean, most contemporary horns are based off of a similar key spec/design. So you (akita) are not by any means 'locked into' having to get a Yama 23 or the like. Most replies seem to be insisting it is the natural, default decision to make.

It is one option of several options.

A used Jupiter or other reputed brand would serve just as well, and Jupes these days are really as good a horn as the 23's are/were, and can be found for quite cheap. There is an amazing deal someone has on another name-brand, 'non-Yamaha' tenor I just saw on eBay; a shockingly good deal on a good horn. So, options are out there.

Just sayin'.

It's OK to spread wings a little here on the practice horn. It's OK for your kid to have 2 horns of different brands. It ain't gonna trip him up any....

Just don't buy a piece of junk...buy something reputable.
 

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Vitos are solid horns and generally cheaper than Yamaha's on the used market, so you might want to consider one of those as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You know, not to be a fly in the ointment here.

I agree that this is a valid situation to consider a second horn purchase.

But it really doesn't HAVE to be another Yamaha.

[snip]

It is one option of several options.

A used Jupiter or other reputed brand would serve just as well, and Jupes these days are really as good a horn as the 23's are/were, and can be found for quite cheap. There is an amazing deal someone has on another name-brand, 'non-Yamaha' tenor I just saw on eBay; a shockingly good deal on a good horn. So, options are out there.

Just sayin'.

It's OK to spread wings a little here on the practice horn. It's OK for your kid to have 2 horns of different brands. It ain't gonna trip him up any....

Just don't buy a piece of junk...buy something reputable.
I totally agree. It just means that I will start out the search looking for "YTS23 or equivalent" and see what falls out. If a decent horn in great condition shakes out that isn't Yamaha, and it plays well in the right price range, we're not going to ignore it :). YTS23 will just set the initial expectation and a starting point.

Jupiter must have changed or something. My son started out on a new-ish rent-to-own Jupiter alto and was not impressed with it. Needless to say we opted to take the "loss" of not becoming an owner of that unit after halfway through the contract and bought a vintage used horn instead (much better horn, worth every penny). May be their tenor line is better than the student alto? He actually played brand new Jupiter bari for a term (school instrument. Came with a rolling case which I thought was a great idea) last year and that seemed really nice and played well. May be they put more effort in non-alto lines, or the rental was especially crappy.

Either way, whatever brand, if he test plays it and is okay with it, whatever brand (hopefully some brand we recognize and condition vetted by our tech) we're open to it.
 

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I would buy something that is the opposite of the Yamaha. A nice used Martin Indiana, Buescher Aristocrat, King Cleveland, etc. would be a nice "change" from the Yamaha and that way he can explore the vintage horn sound.
 

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if you’re interested send me a pm. YTS 23
 
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