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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I currently play a ‘65 128k MKVI. I had some struggles with it in the studio the past few months (e.g. clicking, a leaky pad or two...intonation!) and was initially planning to send it to Kessler in LV for a $1500 overhaul. I got to talking with Dave Kessler and ended up deciding to buy a new sax. Unfortunately, due to distance, Covid and my work schedule, I won’t be driving the 350 miles to LV for a hands on test so will have the sax delivered. Anyway, I’m reaching out here to see if I might get some help deciding between the Yanagisawa TWO10 and Yamaha YTS-875EX. I play mainly rock (Stones to Floyd), funk and fusion. That said, modal jazz is what inspires me. Not a standards guy. Durga 4 7* mpc, D’Addario Select Jazz Filed 2M reeds. I should mention that I did initially try the Eastman 52nd street. Shipped back to Kessler today. Much to like but the high G was a struggle. High G on my MKVI, no issues. That’s it. Any help would be greatly appreciated! 🙂
 

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Send that 128k MKVI to Les Arbuckle, Aaron Bernard, Randy Jones or one of many other fine saxophone techs. Nothing against the Yani or the Yamaha, they are both excellent horns, but after an excellent overhaul the VI will play every bit as well and be every bit as precise tonally and tactually, as well as being just as durable as any new horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks! That’s where I started but when I asked Dave Kessler if an overhaul might help with the intonation issue, he said the MKVIs are known to have intonation issues and that the newer top-end horns have much better intonation. He wasn’t necessarily pushing me to buy a new horn just wanted to make me aware that his overhaul couldn’t resolve any inherent, if you will, intonation issues. It may very well be that an overhaul will do the trick, just hate to spend that kind of money on a🤞or 🙏.
 

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Don't judge a horn by the high G. That note is highly dependent on setup (front F opening height). Unless you get it adjusted exactly like your VI, it's not a valid comparison.

I've never tried a TWO10, but I've found my T880 to be a reasonable substitute for a VI, but not exact. Probably won't make one iota of difference in the style of music you play.

I had an 875EX for a few years. It's a fantastic horn, but nothing like a VI in terms of sound. Not nearly as similar to the VI as a Yani. If you're looking for something that sounds like your VI, Yamaha isn't it.

Also, I've never had any intonation issues whatsoever on my VI, so that may be due to something else in your setup or something to do with your technique. I do see that your reeds are a little on the soft side which can result in intonation issues (flat on the high end).
 

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Hmm, inherent intonation issues on a 55 year old instrument that have only been a problem for you the past couple months? Doesn’t really make much sense unless this axe is new to you.
If the intonation is so bad on your VI that you’ve been compensating for it, then (for you) it would’ve been hard to play the 52nd St in tune. 🤷‍♂️
 

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Discussion Starter #6
All really good points! I could go into the fact that I’ve only been playing the sax for 5 months after 6 years away or that the Durga is fairly new to me, both likely contributing to intonation/other issues, but I’m just trying to get some input on the TWO10 vs 875EX. I will mention that the 52nd street played like butter and the intonation was much better than my MKVI (in its current non-overhauled state). I would have kept it if the high G wasn’t a disaster...for me.
 

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The 875EX is a phenomenal instrument both sound wise and ergonomically. Its ergonomics are probably the most comfortable on the market and its sound and color spectrum are simply incredible. No tenor plays better in tune than the 875EX. You might consider calling the Boston Sax Shop who has a like new one on sale for about $4,000 ( you would have to check their website for the the exact price). I can’t speak to the Yanagisawa as I haven’t played it.
 

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I don’t think there is any short cut to playing for yourself. They all play, hang, feel, sound and look different.
In my opinion and experience, no horn plays in tune with the same voicing you use on another—you have to learn and adapt to the horn you are on either with a great ear or a tuner. They all have individual quirks (I’m talking in tune within less than 10 cents). And a LOT of work playing long tones and patterns against drones, chords, other instruments if you are out of practice.
And set-up is huge—higher key heights are better vented are less stuffy are sharper. Techs seek balanced resistance between notes but trade-off is intonation, realizing the player will adjust.
Has there really been any breakthrough in tone hole size and location since the Mk VI? Does a horn intrinsically not play alt G? Don’t think so, if the set-up is outstanding including great neck fit.
I owned a new 82Z Atlelier and TWO-20. 82Z was OK, but Yany had many fine details of design and construction that were superior, beyond the brochure marketing of Pro vs Elite. That said, they are both professional horns of highest quality.
Don’t think second hand info will get you the horn you’ll find is best for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The 875EX is a phenomenal instrument both sound wise and ergonomically. Its ergonomics are probably the most comfortable on the market and its sound and color spectrum are simply incredible. No tenor plays better in tune than the 875EX. You might consider calling the Boston Sax Shop who has a like new one on sale for about $4,000 ( you would have to check their website for the the exact price). I can’t speak to the Yanagisawa as I haven’t played it.
was
 

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At this level, we're firmly in "personal preference" territory. All of the horns you're describing are great and the "best" for any individual player is entirely up to what that player likes and values.

If you can't play them first, I would just hold off on a new horn. Of course, if you just want to get a new horn and have the money, do what you want. Nothing wrong with that, but I wouldn't count on anything being better than the Mark VI, just different. And maybe preferable, who knows?
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Wow, what a great forum! Outstanding input from all...and fast. Thanks! 😊

My conclusion after a whole day on SOTW:

1. Have my MKVI overhauled. Just got off the phone with Les Arbuckle (SaxOasis) who, to my pleasant surprise, just happens to live 20 miles up the road from me. I scheduled the overhaul of both my Tenor and Alto MKVIs for a great price. He’ll start on them before the end of the month! Thank you Claxton!

2. Practice, practice, practice! Especially long tones as wanderso laid out. Thank you!

3. Wait for the pandemic to be behind us then, after much of #2 above, make the trip out to Kessler to try my newly overhauled MKVIs against the latest and see what works.

4. Get back in the studio and finish my latest album.

Even if I end up buying a newer model, I expect I’ll get the overhaul value out of the MKVIs if I decide to sell them.

All good! Again, great forum. Thanks for all the input!

Now I need to find somebody to repair my Martin D-35 acoustic guitar. Things people do during a pandemic. 😉
 

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Execellent! Glad you found Les. Same for me he is a 30 minute drive north of me and has overhauled two of my horns. Not just a great tech but a very nice person to deal with.
 

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My conclusion after a whole day on SOTW:

1. Have my MKVI overhauled. Just got off the phone with Les Arbuckle (SaxOasis) who, to my pleasant surprise, just happens to live 20 miles up the road from me. I scheduled the overhaul of both my Tenor and Alto MKVIs for a great price. He’ll start on them before the end of the month! Thank you Claxton!
Good call. Lucky you - if I had this kind of information and access to a good tech 30 years ago, I might still be playing the BA that I thought was worn out.

I'm happy with the horns that I have now, but I sometimes wonder how my path might have been different.

Happiness is a fresh overhaul on a great tenor. Happy New Year!
 
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