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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My son has been playing the alto for 5 years now (just started sophomore year), and he's been playing on the same Armstrong model I used when I was his age. He's much better than I ever was, and has severely outgrown this old student level horn. I want to upgrade to something better for him, ideally something he can finish high school with, and even use in college if he chooses to continue academically in music. He can continue to use the Armstrong for marching, but needs something better for symphonic and jazz. Do we go with something like a good used YAS 23, which is still a student model but much better than the old Armstrong, or move up to a more intermediate horn? I'm leaning towards upgrading the quality, but need some guidance on what I should be looking for in that Intermediate range in a good used horn. Any suggestions on Make and Models of horns in that category and what I should be expecting to pay would help me limit my search. I have a 1923 Buescher Silver True Tone I can sell to help fund the purchase of the new one, but I'm not even sure on a value of that anymore.
 

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I bought two Phil Barone saxes recently, an alto and a tenor, and am still amazed by the quality of these horns. I would recommend you give these a look. The sound quality is amazing and focused, intonation is great, and build quality is excellent as well. I bought one of his tenors as a backup for my Mark VI and ended up selling my mark VI and purchased one of the altos as well. There is also a ton of finishes available which is sometimes important to younger players (who doesn't like a pretty sax :) I think you'll also find them quite affordable which was a major selling point for me, and this would definitely be enough horn to get him through high school and into college. It also came with a great case and mouthpiece, so saved some money on extra purchases there too. Phil is also great to deal with personally if you have any questions before placing your order. I had a ton, and he was great to answer them all. I would recommend checking out his website.

Thanks!
Kristy
 

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You need to give us a price range.
 

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I'd look at Barone is good. A new one can be bought for around $2000.

I'd look used, like a pro type horn. If your budget is around $2000, you can probably score something very nice.

My son has been playing the alto for 5 years now (just started sophomore year), and he's been playing on the same Armstrong model I used when I was his age. He's much better than I ever was, and has severely outgrown this old student level horn. I want to upgrade to something better for him, ideally something he can finish high school with, and even use in college if he chooses to continue academically in music. He can continue to use the Armstrong for marching, but needs something better for symphonic and jazz. Do we go with something like a good used YAS 23, which is still a student model but much better than the old Armstrong, or move up to a more intermediate horn? I'm leaning towards upgrading the quality, but need some guidance on what I should be looking for in that Intermediate range in a good used horn. Any suggestions on Make and Models of horns in that category and what I should be expecting to pay would help me limit my search. I have a 1923 Buescher Silver True Tone I can sell to help fund the purchase of the new one, but I'm not even sure on a value of that anymore.
 

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Agree it is time for a pro level horn. He will progress much faster and likely stop fighting a bunch of things that his teachers have chalked up to “student development needed.” A pro horn can help you progress more quickly once you know the ropes, and it sounds like he does. Will likely lower his frustration playing.....we all have some.

I don’t think you will have a problem finding a relaquered pro-horn for your targeted price. Just make sure he tries it out befor you purchase.....I tried out about 20 different before I purchased my Mark VI last year. Price ranges were $1,800 - $2,500 for all of the ones I tried. Was at a top rated sax shop too.

If he is going to play symphonic (classical?) and Jazz, make sure you hold back some budget for a second mouthpiece.
 

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Absolutely go with used vintage pro horn. Try before you buy, and you'll be amazed at how much horn you can get for $2000. I won't give you brand recommendations, because this whole forum is just straight full of them.

The good news about a used vintage horn is if your son decides music isn't for him and you want to sell, generally you can sell it for at least what you bought it for. New horns depreciate right away. Old horns maintain or even go up in value.
 

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Buying secondhand is always going to deliver more bang for any amount of buck.

These days the market is all in favor of the buyers and you can buy great horns for relatively little money.
Unfortunately this is the opposite when you are selling. So don’t even bother to consider selling the true tone ( which I am assuming it is an alto) because it is bringing very little into this equation.

Best thing to do is to allocate a certain amount then go to all the people (better than shops) that are selling good horns within that price range in and around (quite a bit around!) the place where you live.

Phone talk to the people discuss a price, don’t be afraid to ask questions and set a price that is both good for you and the seller and GO THERE, and play the instrument.



The Yas 23’s are difficult to beat but if you can stretch your budget don’t forget Yanagisawas which have to be among the best altos on the market. But again, if one is prpepared to go places to ry horns it is possible to buy things for great prices.

I have driven 300Km to buy a horn and not infrequently I came home empty handed if it wasn’t worth it.

There is a very long list of less known horns and of Taiwanese made brands which may be or may not be available to you but do consider that many new horns lose as much as 50% of their price (but not their value) as soon as they are no longer new.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm trying to stay near the $1500 mark, and have just started talking to someone with a ~2008 (don't have the serial number yet) Yamaha YAS 62 that looks very lightly used. He's local, 200 miles, but has a daughter within 50 miles of me which also happens to be where one of the best sax techs in the state is located. He's willing to take it and let him go through it and take care of anything it needs before the sale and is firm on his $1500 price. Any thoughts on that would be great, and thanks for all the help so far. I'm going to keep looking as well.
 

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That's a fair price for sure, especially if he's having the tech look it over before selling it to you. Generally, any used horn is going to require a trip to the repair tech anyway, and you're getting that included!

I'd recommend having your son try it out, and go for it if he likes it. And if there's anything funky while trying it, get it to the repair tech same day. I'd imagine he'd make any minor adjustments as part of the service that the seller is paying for.
 

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A 62 will not disappoint as a pro horn. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks everyone. The 62 I mentioned earlier was dropped off at the tech's shop this morning. Just waiting to hear back from him on what if anything he says it needs to be good to go, then will complete the sale. Thanks for all the help.
 
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