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Discussion Starter #1
Hello! I joined your forums long ago, but never took any action or did anything on here. So I am basically and technically new.
I have played alto saxophone for 4 years now or so...and I want to start the soprano saxophone.
This is where my questions come into play. I have two questions :)
Question 1: The fingerings are the same, so I hear...or at leas they are close. I am not sure. How different is the breathing? because a smaller instrument in some cases calls for less air and bigger is more air. Will this use less air? (To sum it up)

Question 2: What is a good starting price for a soprano saxophone? I see some cheap ones on eBay..but you get what you pay for. I don't want a saxophone that won't last me a good while. Is there a good price that is reasonable yet gives quality? I am interested in one saxophone on eBay, but I don't know the brand. And that made me mad D:!! lol!!

Thank you for your time guys and girls, for answering my questions^^
^^
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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but you get what you pay for.
If by that you mean that the more you pay the better the instrument, this is very often not true these days.

Is there a good price that is reasonable yet gives quality?
You can great horns really cheap, and you can pay a lot for a lemon.

Sorry, that wasn't very helpful, but it's often the way it is.
 

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Regarding playing, the fingerings are exactly the same (as has been said), but the breathing and embouchure is different. It is, if anything, harder to play a soprano than an alto - you have to have very good breath support and very good embouchure control. The tendency is to pinch or bite when playing higher on the horn, and you have to resist it and use good breath support. The air resistance is often higher on the smaller horn, so while it may take less air volume to play, it will take more pressure to play well. It's harder.

Regarding price, look around on the forum for advice on specific brands. On the low end, Venus is a good choice (I own a Venus soprano, as well as a vintage Martin). Bauhaus Walstein has a good reputation here, and while more than the Venus, is still good. You can probably find a decent vintage horn (Buescher, Martin, King, Conn) for around $1K, more if it's a very desirable collector horn. But if you have never played soprano I would buy a modern horn, because the intonation is a little less troublesome.

When I bought my Venus last year, I tried several instruments at various places, including a couple of Yanagisawas, an Antigua and a Kessler student model (at Kessler Music in Vegas). I also tried several vintage horns, most notably another Martin and a King.

If I had $4K I would buy a Yanagisawa. I found the Venus the equal of the other modern horns I tried, and at 1/4 the price, it was a no-brainer.
 

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As noted, the biggest change will be embouchure. Some important things that you (hopefully) learned re the proper blowing of an A/T/B do not apply with a Soprano.

You can go three ways in buying a Soprano....all are valid alternatives depending upon your particular situation:

1) You are beginning, so don't invest much until you determine whether Soprano is for you or not. A cheap asian horn can be had new for under $400, just to get you started....

2) If you are willing to spend $500-800, you can get a much, much better vintage one (probably a stencil or Italian or German make) that will be superior in every way to anything you can get new for that same price. Weltklang and their stencils, Orsi or old Borganis from the '60's or '70's, , or an american Buescher or Conn stencil from earlier; or a Holton.

3) Decide off the bat to put a significant investment into it; $1200-1500 can get you a used Yamaha, or a Yanagisawa stencil (such as the Vito or Whitehall horns....), or even a nice older J. Keilwerth or H. Couf horn.

What I would NOT do is spend over $600 on a new chinese/taiwanese-made instrument. That is really not getting you any bang for your buck.....

 

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Regarding playing, the fingerings are exactly the same (as has been said), but the breathing and embouchure is different. It is, if anything, harder to play a soprano than an alto - you have to have very good breath support and very good embouchure control. The tendency is to pinch or bite when playing higher on the horn, and you have to resist it and use good breath support. The air resistance is often higher on the smaller horn, so while it may take less air volume to play, it will take more pressure to play well. It's harder.

Regarding price, look around on the forum for advice on specific brands. On the low end, Venus is a good choice (I own a Venus soprano, as well as a vintage Martin). Bauhaus Walstein has a good reputation here, and while more than the Venus, is still good. You can probably find a decent vintage horn (Buescher, Martin, King, Conn) for around $1K, more if it's a very desirable collector horn. But if you have never played soprano I would buy a modern horn, because the intonation is a little less troublesome.

When I bought my Venus last year, I tried several instruments at various places, including a couple of Yanagisawas, an Antigua and a Kessler student model (at Kessler Music in Vegas). I also tried several vintage horns, most notably another Martin and a King.

If I had $4K I would buy a Yanagisawa. I found the Venus the equal of the other modern horns I tried, and at 1/4 the price, it was a no-brainer.
Excellent advice. My initial experience on soprano was having to bite much harder on the mouthpiece, and that I had a sensation of air pressure building up in my lungs rather than emptying out. By that, I mean that I found myself straining and having to gasp out instead of in.
I tried different mouthpieces, and whether it was that or just that I got used to the instrument, I fairly quickly came to the point where my soprano is the easiest to blow. I don't feel like I'm squeezing hard on the mouthpiece/reed, and I'm very comfortable on the air issue, neither gasping in nor out. My soprano is free and easy and smooth to play.
My setup is a curved Venus with a Yamaha 6C mouthpiece and Rico Royal #2 reeds. I found the easy playing with a Yamaha 4C, and the 6C is very much similar, with just a bit more versatility.
 

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What I would NOT do is spend over $600 on a new chinese/taiwanese-made instrument. That is really not getting you any bang for your buck.....
So that eliminated Selmer non-professional, and all Cannonball horns.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Who gives a %*$# where it was originally manufactured at. All that you should look for is a horn that sounds good, has good intonation, feels good, and meets your desired budget. I'd say find something you can play/test first before buying anything online. Every horn is going to be different and there are lemons in everything.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Right now, I'm looking at an Allora Vienna (I don't know the exact model)
I have heard good things about Allora, but idk...is it a good brand? The price is $699
it's on WWBW.com
 

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Question 1: The fingerings are the same, so I hear...or at least they are close. I am not sure.

Alto and soprano will be pitched differently. If you don't know already what that means, I recommend reading the entry on Wikipedia for the soprano saxophone.

Your question about fingerings being the same, and that you mentioned you've only been playing alto so far, and for just four years, made me think to mention this.


The Wikipedia link for soprano saxophone: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soprano_saxophone



I've never played a soprano, but according to Wikipedia it appears modern ones will have additional keys that older sopranos may not. You'll have to figure it out for yourself.
 

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I've said it before and I'll say it again. Who gives a %*$# where it was originally manufactured at.

Well I would care. Often where something is made, and by whom, is an indication of the quality of the item. Not always, of course, but often.

JayeSF's comment about not spending too much for horns manufactured from China and Taiwan is worth considering. Some end-users like to think ahead before purchasing, to consider the resale value. If there is a stigma attached to saxophones manufactured in certain areas of the world, to me it seems like a good idea to try to understand the effect of such prejudices prior to purchasing.



And unless your last name is Ash, or you're married to someone whose name is, I don't think you should make it a habit to post things like "Who gives a %*$# ..." on this board. I think statements like that reflect poorly on you and hsA maS.
 

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I'm not sure if you mentioned your buget for a soprano and if you have to have something new, but having said that and assuming you're on a limited buget: My vote would be for a used Yanagisawa or Yanigisawa stencil (Vito, Whitehall. Martin, all made in Japan). In particular the S-6 or equivalent. These are copies of the Mk VI, the intonation is very good (better than the VI, IMO) and they are well built. Often they can be had for under $1000.00. I would not recommend a vintage (pre '60's) which can have a lot of intonation issues and not so great ergonomics. I would not recommend buying a cheapy off brand on ebay.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Alto and soprano will be pitched differently. If you don't know already what that means, I recommend reading the entry on Wikipedia for the soprano saxophone.
Yes I do know this..The Soprano is in Bb
The Alto is in Eb
So taking a simple note "C"
On the Alto, C would be Eb on the piano...
On the Soprano C would be Bb on the piano. :) You already know his but I'm explaining so you know that I know what it means..sorry that was confusing :p
 
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