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Discussion Starter #1
I've been playing on an Arbiter alto for a year or so, with no real music background - other than a persistent but unexplored certainty that I could play pretty well if I put my mind to it. At the age of 35 - a late bloomer - I feel I deserve a better saxophone, as this one is showing its limitations (not that I have anything to compare it with.) and I can afford one at the moment (but who knows how long that will last?)

I have around £1200 to spend on a new sax, but I don't know on which ones to focus my attention. I'm going to be in Canada in a few weeks so I was thinking about getting one there. That would give me around $2500 to play with. (as an aside, does anyone know of good sax shops in Calgary, Vancouver or Victoria?)

After trawling the web for advice - mostly on this forum - I've isolated Yamaha, Cannonball and P. Mauriat as contenders. Would a Selmer be within my reach?

Although people talk about the brightness and darkness of saxophone tone, I'm thinking that this is more to do with the mouthpiece/reed setup, but I'm not sure. Tone-wise I love Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Mariano, John Zorn and Anthony Braxton - perhaps this is an indication of what to try?

And I know it shouldn't be important, but I do like those silver ones and the P. Mauriats look very nice indeed (the modern finishes), as do the Cannonballs.

Any help out there? Decisions, decisions....
 

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"King In The Castle" & Distinguished SOTW Member
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With US$ 2500 you should be able to get a decent vintage or used modern horn. Instead of limiting yourself to only Yamaha, CB, or PM, I would go to some dealers near you and try as many horns as possible, and see which one YOU like most and fits your budget.

Remember: Choosing a horn is like that of a woman. In other words, it is absolutely personal and relatively. But the advice from many of us in this forum is, don't marry your horn because you may find yourself cheating, desiring others, and divorcing (selling) it sooner than you think. ;-)
 

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Forum Contributor 2015, SOTW Better late than neve
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Yellowhornblower said:
With US$ 2500 you should be able to get a decent vintage or used modern horn. Instead of limiting yourself to only Yamaha, CB, or PM, I would go to some dealers near you and try as many horns as possible, and see which one YOU like most and fits your budget.

Remember: Choosing a horn is like that of a woman. In other words, it is absolutely personal and relatively. But the advice from many of us in this forum is, don't marry your horn because you may find yourself cheating, desiring others, and divorcing (selling) it sooner than you think. ;-)
Listen to man ^^^^

Of the three you mentioned, I ended buying a CB Mad Meg. I had a YTS-62 before and that was a solid sax too. The PM I tried didn't get past 1st base for me ;) Try them all and then try some more before you do anything with your cash.

Enjoy and welcome to SOTW
 

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Im not sure canada is the place to come...we all buy our horns in the US as the selection is larger and the cost better...

Still, if you are here Long and McQuade are the largest retailer in Canada and have stores in those cities.
http://www.long-mcquade.com/
If you find the right store they have all the usual suspects, although at $2400-2500 you are not going to get a new primo horn (and remember, sales tax has to be added on to listed canadian prices). I'd be tempted to dabble in ebay waters or the sales lists here if I had that sort of money, rather than buy new.

There are a couple of smaller stores in BC that I havent personally visited but which looks interesting
http://www.massullomusic.com/ in Vancouver (Burnaby)

and http://www.brassandwoodwind.ca/ in Victoria on Vancouver island.

Good Luck, hope the exchange rate goes up, its pretty crap at the moment from your point of view.

Also check out the GST rebate that is available for tourists, but beware, the cheque if you qualify is in CDN funds.
http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/visitors/
 

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I have around £1200 to spend on a new sax, but I don't know on which ones to focus my attention. I'm going to be in Canada in a few weeks so I was thinking about getting one there. That would give me around $2500 to play with. (as an aside, does anyone know of good sax shops in Calgary, Vancouver or Victoria?)
The 62II goes for 2500 or so, Custom Yamahas tend to go for around 3500, and the Selmers = 4000-5000. Canadian currency.

I buy all my music supplies from St. Johns Music. They carry a wide variety of Cannonball, Yamaha, and Selmer instrments. I'm not sure where you can find a dealer that has P. Mauriat saxes.

Out of all these, the Cannonball would probably be the most likely when I look at your price range. I find that Cannonballs, Selmers (the Ref 54 anyway), and Yamahas all play quite alike.

St. Johns Music also has stores in all of those locations. That's where I purchase my music supplies anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Sales tax?! Forgot about that. Interesting advice so far, so thanks to all of you. However, in my head, instead of a purposeful plan I still have a nebulous mass of disparate data.
 

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You should be able to pick up a decent Selmer Mark VII for that or less, at least stateside. Many classical players love the VII Alto. I think they are undervalued and can produce a beautiful sound in any venue. I owned a Tenor and it was a great horn.

I was impressed with the Mauriat, made in Taiwan by a saxophone fanatic, they seem to be of very nice quality. US discounters aren't too far off your price, with many choices

The SML is a fine horn and cheap in comparison, if you can find one. Lots of fans and their own SOTW fan club.

Best advice is above. Try many, negotiate, buy one.

You might want to slip acroos the border. I think price are more competitive here.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Jamalrob said:
Although people talk about the brightness and darkness of saxophone tone, I'm thinking that this is more to do with the mouthpiece/reed setup, but I'm not sure. Tone-wise I love Cannonball Adderley, Charlie Mariano, John Zorn and Anthony Braxton - perhaps this is an indication of what to try?
You're spot on - it's mainly to do with mouthpieces. If that was my budget I'd forget about mid price horns and get one of the new generation of Chinese made less expensive instruments, and then spend some money on oner or two really good mouthpieces, and still have some money left over for a flute or soprano.

Mind you, for £1200 you can get a nice Yanagisawa.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Pete. When you say "if that was my budget", do you mean it's not enough to get a good pro instrument? And can you give me examples of these new generation Chinese instruments?

I felt that there was no point moving sideways from a student instrument to another one around the same standard - might as well go for a pro horn. Thought this would be possible with £1200/$2400(US)/$2500(CAD)...

Yanagisawa, you say?

Hmm, it seems that the more I know, the more confused I get.

BTW nice website Pete - keep up the good work!
 

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Jamalrob said:
Thanks Pete. When you say "if that was my budget", do you mean it's not enough to get a good pro instrument?
Kesslers in Vegas have Yani 901 altos listed for $1800US, which is great deal for a new horn, but you will not find a deal like that in Canada I'm afraid, or if you do, let us know where!

FWIW the silver plate (high maintainence?) version of the 901 is nearly $2500, and thats really an entry level pro horn at one of the best and cheapest retailers around. wwbw and kessler bronze yani 902s for $2400, again these are not prices you are likely to find in Canada I'm afraid. The cheapest selmer paris and kielworth pro altos start well above 3k.
 

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Yani Yani Yani !!!!. My daughter plays an A992 and I play a T992 (bronze). Superior intonation and very dark sound. Very very versatile and powerful. Kessler's sells them for a good price.992's have ribbed construction vs. 902's which are post construction. Good luck in your quest for a new sax.
 

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You should be able to find a nearly new Yamaha for that much, which is a far better horn than the Cannonball or Mauriat. And actually, most of the newer Selmers, Keilwerths, or Yanis should be able to be found used for $2500, although a Mark VI or SBA is probably out of the question.

If you're going to look at Cannonballs or Mauriats, you should look at the Antigua Winds or Buffet 400s. They are better horns, and actually cost a bit less too.
 

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J.Max said:
You should be able to find a nearly new Yamaha for that much, which is a far better horn than the Cannonball or Mauriat. And actually, most of the newer Selmers, Keilwerths, or Yanis should be able to be found used for $2500, although a Mark VI or SBA is probably out of the question.
In a Canadian store? I wish.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Jamalrob said:
Thanks Pete. When you say "if that was my budget", do you mean it's not enough to get a good pro instrument? And can you give me examples of these new generation Chinese instruments?
I'm sure there are quite a few, the good very inexpensive instruments I've tried are Gear4music and Walstein, the latter slightly more expensive but I'd consider good enough as a pro quality horn.

I just think that as the new very low price instruments are every bit as good as the medium price instrument, there may be little point in spending £1200 on a new horn. I would either get some for £300-£400 that is as good as the midpriced horns or else go for something very upmarket which would most likely cost more.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Thanks for the advice everyone. I got my sax today, a two-year-old used YAS 875 Custom, with barely a mark on it. A very good price, and in my home town, Edinburgh, just 10 minutes away! If only life were always so simple.
 

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To the person who said you can get a custom for 3500, I went to saint johns recently and they had their 875 non ex listed for 4300, what a rip off.
 

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Demolisher_2000 said:
To the person who said you can get a custom for 3500, I went to saint johns recently and they had their 875 non ex listed for 4300, what a rip off.
Its the price we pay for socialised medicine:)
 
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