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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I'm glad to of found this awesome forum, seems very developed and active. Let me give a bit of background about myself, i started playing the alto sax when i was in the 6th grade and i played all the way through until the end of my senior year in high school. The majority of the time i played classical music in symphonic and marching bands. I played in the jazz band for 1 year but in the end i left because i didn't have the ability or confidence to improv. After starting engineering school i had stopped playing because of the lack of a band in my university and just the change in lifestyle made me focus and spend more time on growing as an individual. However, now that i've been out of college for a year (5 years since HS graduation and since i last played) and still unemployed... i picked up my sax and rekindled my passion for playing! Surprisingly i still sound pretty good, the skill i deteriorated the most in was site reading for sure. I plan on joining a community or college band eventually after i get unrusty.
Now onto the bad news... because my alto sax has been sitting around for 5 years... i went to Roberto's Wind's in Manhattan to get an estimate for an overhaul and was quoted $750. Now this is where i need the expertise of the members of this fine forum :). The instrument is a Yamaha YAS-23 Alto Sax, which normally sells for approximately $1400 when new so im unsure whether i should spend the money to overhaul it or sell it and get a different one. Any input is appreciated, thank you!
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Nothing wrong with that horn. If you already own it, then it's money well spent to fix it.

You can find cheaper people than Roberto in NYC, but not by much. It's still going to be at least a $650 experience to overhaul it completely. Maybe it doesn't need a complete overhaul.

Shelly Tanabe of Wind Player Services in Flushing, Queens, does most of my lighter work. http://www.windplayerservices.com

Quite good and professional. Also isn't prone to recommending overhauls if all it really needs is a couple pads. Very much a minimalist on repairs.
 

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It has been my experience that a YAS-23 doesn't normally sell in the 7-800 range...even in perfect playing condition.

So just from the standpoint of 'is an overhaul a good investment?', I would say probably not. But that's assuming it needs an entire overhaul. If it only needed a few pads and an adjustment, then it could be very worthwhile to get the work done (even if you're just going to sell it and buy another alto). Unless the sax was played into the ground before you stopped playing, it shouldn't require a complete overhaul just because it wasn't played in the last five years.

Now...to take a trip to the dark side :twisted:.

For $750, you can actually get quite a few great vintage altos (both wayyyyy vintage, and some that are only a few decades old).

But if you're satisfied with your 23 and would like to continue playing it...there's absolutely nothing wrong with that option either.
 

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Shelly Tanabe is a great tech and a great person to deal with if you are in the area, I would definitely recommend going to see her. Both Shelly and her husband Wayne are top notch!
 

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well, I to think you need a second or third opinion. That kind of money is disproportional to the value of the horn. You could sell it add the 750$ to whatever you sell it for and buy a better horn in perfect playing conditions.
 

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Locally, pretty much no one would ever pay $750 to repair a YAS-23. Even if they really need it. So a compromise is always found to make it work and play for a budget. Otherwise the owner usually doesn't have a reliable saxophone to play. I'd look if it's possible to do something like that with your sax. Ask the same repairer and maybe other repairers too.
 

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Let's see my Series II is 13 years old and has seen quite a bit of playing. It has only needed a few corks, pads, felts and minor adjustments. So, I seriously doubt your 11 year old sax, providing it was brand new when you bought it needs a complete overhaul. Just get it adjusted and minor things fixed like everybody else already said

You said only your skilled deteriorated didn't you?
 

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Let's see my Series II is 13 years old and has seen quite a bit of playing. It has only needed a few corks, pads, felts and minor adjustments. So, I seriously doubt your 11 year old sax, providing it was brand new when you bought it needs a complete overhaul. Just get it adjusted and minor things fixed like everybody else already said
Yamaha's pads do harden a lot faster than other brands, also their pad cups are only slightly larger than the tone hole so a little shrinkage has a much greater affect on them than other brands. Theres also differences in climate and where it's been stored, and everything else.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Take it to Shelly. If she tells you it needs a complete overhaul, offer it to her as crushed art (she has an example on her wall) and drop it out her 7th floor window. :)

Tell her I said to do it.

BTW, Wayne, her husband, works for Yamaha. If between them they can't get it working cheaply, it's a mystery.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I definitely will not be chucking it out of a window anytime soon haha. But.. i will heed everybody's advice about getting a second or third opinion on the overhaul. I bought the sax in my sophomore year of HS from a bandmate for $300 (He was very good and bought a Yanagisawa), i have no idea how old the sax is... even tried emailing Yamaha with the serial number but no response. Honestly at this point the sax seems to play fine. Some of the problems are that several notes are severely out of tune ( A-B are flat, and D is crazy sharp) but everything else is dead on center according to the tuner. G# key presses down so far that the tone hole cover moves up and down for a second, there are several leaks for the low C to low Bb notes, and several small dents here and there. There's also some mildew in the sax and on the pads.. several smaller pads are replaced by cheap circular pieces of soft rubber/felt like material. I've also come to realization that selling it for a little bit of cash ($150-$200 my guess) and buying a newer used student/intermediate sax is not a bad idea either. I checked out craigslist and saw some ads for much newer YAS-23's for around $600-$900. So it'll come out to about the same cost compared to if i got this POS overhauled lol.
 

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Shelly Tanabe is a great tech and a great person to deal with if you are in the area, I would definitely recommend going to see her. Both Shelly and her husband Wayne are top notch!
I don't know Shelly at all, but she is very highly regarded by other technicians in a technicians' forum.

Be aware that many technicians, looking for more work, may say that a sax needs an overhaul when it would go well and reliably with just a few bad pads changed and a top quality adjustment (which many techs are possibly not capable of, judging from what I have seen) and attention to other important details.

Yamaha pads are congenitally rather hard, which means they are actually petty fussy about adjustment. By comparison, installing new pads means that the pads accommodate less-than-ideal adjustment a lot better.

Yamaha pads also seem to last a very long time. I don't think I have ever changed a whole set in 30 years. It is the adjustment that is critical, and that may include tightening up the sloppy lower stack key pivot tubes, which at least on recent models, are congenitally sloppy.

I think a student Yamaha with a good overhaul including new pads (done by a great tech) would be a very reliable instrument and last a very long time, so appearance aside, I think they are probably worth restoring to great functional state, rather than buying some other more doubtful item. But not if selling is what you have in mind.
 

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$750! I would not even consider it. Get a real estimate somewhere else.
Sorry, but I would hope a respectable tech would know the value of an instrument give the client options based on that.
$750 for a pro horn overhaul for a working professional, OK.
For an student horn played by an individual starting to play again............really?

Since you are starting back up again, and you're unemployed (don't know your financial situation, but still) I would suggest getting this sax back into "playing' condition, if you can get it done at a reasonable price.
If you continue to play, and you find yourself in a position to buy an upgrade to the YAS-23, then go for it.
I think that by that time you would have done some searching on what that upgrade would be & how much they go for.

Good luck.
 

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It all depends on perspaective...

One way of looking at it is that a student sax with sad pads really is only worth what is put into it.

Put in $200 to make it limp on, and it's then worth a couple of hundred, and may soon need more attention.
Put in $750 for a top grade overhaul with high quality pads and levelled tone holes (no cosmetic refinishing), and it is functionally quite a lot better than a brand new student sax, and being Yamaha, will give good and reliable service for probably at least 2 decades. For somebody who does not aspire to upgrading to a pro sax, that seems reasonably attractive?
 

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$750 for a pro horn overhaul for a working professional, OK.
For an student horn played by an individual starting to play again............really?
I dunno. I do the same job either way, so the price is the same. If they are going to do the same overhaul they put on a VI that walks through the door and that's their price, it makes sense.

No reason not to get a second opinion though. For a repad on a clean, straight YAS-23 that still has good corks, you can do a good job with only disassembly, cleaning, leveling stack toneholes, new pads. The adjustment screws plus synthetic cork can be used again usually, just change the felts and the neck cork. So less time spent = cheaper. But the price difference is due to construction and materials differences that make it possible to do a good job without completely recorking or spending as much time on adjustments, not because a student horn gets a different quality job.
 

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I would certainly get a 2nd or 3rd opinion. Since you have joined the forum you may as well learn to do what some members do:

...get opinions until you find the one that matches what you wanted in the first place :)

Even on a blind wager I bet that horn can be up and running for half or less than what was quoted.
Save as much cash as you can for a better horn down the road in the event you really stick to it this time.
(Im not suggesting the YAS is not a good horn though)

Lets face the facts: If you hang out here long enough you are going to get the bug to get a different/better horn.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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...get opinions until you find the one that matches what you wanted in the first place :)
(snip)
Lets face the facts: If you hang out here long enough you are going to get the bug to get a different/better horn.
LOL! Words of a wise man.
 
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