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I know I have made alot of posts asking about comparing altos recently, but one final question (I know the ideal scenario would be to try all of the horns in person first, but that is difficult for me.) I was wondering how the Eastman 52nd Street Alto compared to the Yanagisawa AWO1? They are similarly priced (The Eastman is about 100$ cheaper but comes with a free theo wanne mpc.) I know the Eastman is Taiwanese, but I have heard many good things about them. How do these two altos compare?
 

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Yanagisawa is one of the best alto saxophone around, it will keep its value way better than any other sax even of better known brands than Eastman .
 

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Eastman has two pro horns, the 52nd street and the 640. I have played both in tenor, but only the 640 on alto. The 52nd is more expensive than the 640. I currently own both tenor and alto 640. I have also owned a A5 and 880 Yani. I currently own Yani 9937 and 992PG tenor.

Regardless of which model of Eastman, you should not pay more than a Yani. The Yani is a better horn. The Theo piece is a bonus if its the model of mpc you would want to purchase anyway. Otherwise maybe adds a couple hundred in value to package.

All that being said I think the Eastman is a very nice horn. My 640's are some of the best Taiwan horns I have played. I have about 8 Taiwan horns at the moment. However all Taiwan horns have a horrible resale. I recommend buying used.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Eastman has two pro horns, the 52nd street and the 640. I have played both in tenor, but only the 640 on alto. The 52nd is more expensive than the 640. I currently own both tenor and alto 640. I have also owned a A5 and 880 Yani. I currently own Yani 9937 and 992PG tenor.

Regardless of which model of Eastman, you should not pay more than a Yani. The Yani is a better horn. The Theo piece is a bonus if its the model of mpc you would want to purchase anyway. Otherwise maybe adds a couple hundred in value to package.

All that being said I think the Eastman is a very nice horn. My 640's are some of the best Taiwan horns I have played. I have about 8 Taiwan horns at the moment. However all Taiwan horns have a horrible resale. I recommend buying used.
I realized the Eastman is actually 100 dollars cheaper not more expensive (although it does still come with a free theo wanne durga, gaia, mindi abair, or ny bros so thats a plus) How would you describe the tone, ergonomics and build quality of your 640s?
 

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My Eastman horns are stenciled Giardinelli. I have an email from the factory rep that states they are the exact same horn as the 640. The 640 has adjustable palm keys. On the alto I note that the pinky table is tilted up and the G# key is pretty close to your ring finger than other horns. Looking at the photos I believe the 52nd would be the same. I prefer a little more distance with medium large hands. However not a problem. The build quality is excellent. On my tenor I had to modify the D palm key to open up a little farther. Just shaving the cork would not get me there. I did this work myself. On the alto no such mods were needed.
The tone of the 640 is more focused than the 52nd street. However I have not played the 52nd alto, just the tenor. It is advertised that way. I can say that I have played the 640 tenor a lot more than the alto. I always think it is a really good horn when I am playing it and more vintage sounding. The 52nd tenor sound a lot like a Cannonball to me. More modern. When I got the 640 alto my wife came out of the other room and commented that it was a really good sounding alto. I subject my wife to countless tone tests on my horns. I have more than 50. She has got the ear.
I tend to lean more toward the Mkvi type sound, but with a little more boldness. I play mostly B&S tenors and play mostly vintage altos. The 640 leans more toward the vintage sound IMO. Maybe thats why I like it. However I think the Yani would be more focused than the 52nd as well. Both would be good horns for you.
A used like mint Taiwan alto is around half or less cost of new. A used Yani is a third less than new. That is a general guideline. Some folks want new. I'd rather get a second horn with the savings.
 

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Is Giardinelli a saxophone factory? Where are they producing? I suppose they too are importers .
 

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Is Giardinelli a saxophone factory? Where are they producing? I suppose they too are importers .
It says Giardinelli by Eastman on the bell. The older Giardinelli horns were made by Amati. I clearly said it was an Eastman. Are you just trying to be difficult?
 

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No I am asking something.

Thank you for clarifying that Eastman makes Giardinelli saxophones.
 

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My mentor was approached by Eastman to be the "main setup guy" for the country. Every horn brought in would get setup through him first and then distributed around the country.

He refused the offer because he stated they were so incredibly inconsistent that most of them needed upwards of $200-$300 worth of work to be playable. His complaints about them included very warped tone holes, improper placement of posts, lots of play in the keywork, poorly seated pads without enough adhesive, differing quality pads, amongst other issues. Eastman wasn't willing to pay him enough for the the work that was needed. He had gone over 100 of them and all of them but 2 had issues.

Maybe the quality control has become better? These were the 52nd street horns in alto and tenor.

Adding to that story is there has been an Eastman 52nd street alto in my local pro shop for almost 5 years. It was adjusted by their tech and no one has purchased it. When I tried it, I thought it had an even sound but the tone was lots of white noise..."blatty" if you will. Intonation seemed fine, except for the palm keys which blew pretty sharp.

The Yanagisawa horns are top of the line, and have the best build quality of any modern horn IMO. Tone wise they have a solid core and resonance, a focused sound that works well in both jazz and classical. Their Intonation is second to none, and I personally feel they have the most comfortable ergonomics of any modern horn (although palm key risers are popular on them). I would say they are medium to medium bright, but can go either way with mouthpiece and reed choice. The Eastman 52nd street was too spread for me, it lacked any kind of core and wasnt a good type of spread like a Conn 6M would have. Darker than the Yani, but not nearly as rich or complex sounding.

All of this is just my opinion and observations. YMMV.

- Saxaholic
 

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Likewise the 52nd street tenor sat at a shop for several years. I was allowed to take it home due to my relationship to the store owner. I thought it was very similar in build to my Cannonball Mad Meg at the time. The CB sounded better. The price of the 52nd is now north of 3k.
I would never choose a Taiwan horn over a Yani at the same price and condition. Yani is probably the best built horn with Yamaha in a close second. I had some issues with altissimo on the 52nd street, but my 640 is very easy. There are lots of posts about the 52nd tenor, but not much about the alto.
 

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No I am asking something.

Thank you for clarifying that Eastman makes Giardinelli saxophones.
I should have clarified I am talking about the GAS10 alto and the GTS10 tenor being the same as the 640. Both labels have student horn and who knows where they are made.
 

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Eastman has two pro horns, the 52nd street and the 640.
It's worth noting that Eastman has just introduced a new alto(s) designed to appeal to the classical market: the EAS 650DS/850DS. (I'm not sure whether Eastman views the 650 and 850 as two distinct models or as two levels of one new model. Or maybe there's only one model, and the people reporting about it are confused.) You can see it/them in some short NAMM 2019 videos featuring Eastman, available on YouTube.

Needless to say, I haven't played these horns, so I have no comments beyond the above.
 
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