Saxophone Forum


by flamom
(15 posts)
7 years ago

Son plays Alto...what to buy?

Hi everyone- I've follwed the "Jim's approved list" thread, which was tremendously helpful to get me started, but now have some specific questions. Any and all advice appreciated! My 7th grader is currently renting a Selmer USA (500, I believe). He is a serious band student, and I anticipate his staying with sax for years to come (he is in symphonic band, and has the jazz band solo, etc.). Renting is running us $50 a month. We've been renting for about 16 months. The place we rent from will apply accumulated rental payments toward purchase of that or any other horn, but my understanding is that they would apply it to MSRP - which is ridiculously high. So here's my question (finally)...should we put the accumulated $800 or so towards the full price Selmer student horn he's already playing, and maybe upgrade the mouthpiece? Or would that money be better put toward a new horn (I'm thinking Selmer La Voix, Yanagisawa 901 or maybe a Yamaha would be good choices in our range...I'm also very intriqued by P.Mauriat). Thanks in advance!

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  1. by bcwhiton
    (3 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

    If you're looking for a student model for him to buy you can basically go with any yamaha or vito model and it's pretty good...If you want to up grade him to a pro model(not intermediate because if you do that then if he decide to continue you'll have to pay more in the future)I would recommend a Cannonball or Keilwerth...Cannonball is really good and fairly inexpensive if from the right place...go to their website and find a dealer near you...as for a Keilwerth if you can find one that is a couple of years old you'll be far better off than buying a new one. The new Keilwerth models have some problems with them that would be costly to repair. Hope this helps

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  2. by flamom
    (15 posts)

    7 years ago

    A good step-up sax

    bump. Thanx

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  3. by saxmom13
    (4 posts)

    7 years ago

    Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

    Where do you find Jim's approved list?

    Reply To Post Yahoo!


    1. by flamom
      (15 posts)

      7 years ago

      Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

      I see you already found it up above :-) FWIW my 7th grader(quite serious) has the as 500 that you are considering, and its been pretty good, but when I asked the teacher about buying it, he thought we should step up.

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      1. by Selmer Lover
        (21 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

        For students i've always said go with a good yamaha but selmer is starting to make a really good student horn but I haven't personally played to model you mentioned.

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        1. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Thanx - Are you familiar with Selmer La Voix or Selmer La Vie? The La Voix runs $1750 on this site, and is listed as an intermediate horn. The La Vie has a bronze body, for a warmer, darker sound...which intrigues me. Thanks again for the advice.

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        2. by Donnie The B
          (282 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Mom- You could buy a lightly used, well cared for pro-line Selmer Paris horn for around that price - The Super 80 Series II or Series III perhaps, or maybe even a Reference 36 or 54 horn. I recently passed on a really nice Ref 36 tenor at $2200 for instance. It was a great horn, just too much money for now. Talk about pumping up your son! I've had the same Selmer Mark VI for 44 years - got it at age 12. I don't think I would have been as encouraged to try to excel if I had not gotten that horn - hard to say I guess. - - - Good Luck.

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        3. by Christian Anderson
          (73 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Yeah, any sort of higher level horn is a good idea because paying 1750 for an intermediate new will get you a nice used professional horn, either vintage or new. The point is that if you get the intermediate sax then you will just have to upgrade again in a few years.

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        4. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Thank you both for your advice. What are good sources for used? The only one I see listed here on saxquest that's in my range from Selmer Paris is a Series II for 2500. Is that a good deal? Also, someone posted about Mark VII being a good and reasonable alternative. Where might I find those? Thanks in advance.

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        5. by Donnie The B
          (282 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          There are lots of places where used horns are traded. This site has a trading area as well as a retail area. eBay probably sells more horns for it's members than any other spot. Junkdude, Worldwide Sax, Vintage Sax and others have varying and often large inventories of usually overhauled older saxes. I'd look everywhere I could find if I was going to spend this kind of money! Might be best to get your son a horn with modern keywork - 1950's or newer. They made great horns in the 1930's and 1940's but they might seem clunky to him. The key thing here is to learn before you leap - and I can see you are trying to do just that. You can read more about vintage horns and what to look out for, as well as how to buy online at www.saxophone.org - - - Thanks to Jason Dumars. Also - does your son have a private teacher? It would be to his great advantage to get lessons and that teacher might have some good ideas along these lines. A Selmer Super 80 Series II at $2500 could be a good deal or a bad deal depending on the horn. They sell for about $4000 new at normal retail discounts. I have seen these for $1700 used and $3000 used. You can read about model differences at www.selmer.com and click on Selmer Paris. All these new pro model Selmers are fairly close in price. You might also read about the Steve Goodson and P. Mauriat saxophones. I've heard good things, but don't know for sure. I'd avoid the Mark VII Selmers for the small amount of savings. Just personal prejudice. You'll find nice used Mark VII's around $1500+ I think. Happy Shopping!

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        6. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Hey Donnie - Thank you so much for all your advice! My son has taken private lessons from the beginning, and it has been great for him. His teacher, though, tends not to like the idea of a vintage horn (though he's okay with a newish used Selmer). He is not up to date on good online sources. The SA 80 II is 3150 new here, 2500 used.

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        7. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          You might talk to the teacher and ask why he doesn't like the vintage horns. You may find his reasoning sound, or not so great. If he's just being snobby, you are free to weigh his input appropriately.

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        8. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Hi Mom - I don't think it's snobbishness, just the same concern that others have mentioned about vintage horns having different fingering, etc. So here's another ignorant question... In what way will he outgrow an intermediate horn in a few years? Why won't it last him? What do pro horns have that int. don't? I've heard people say things like "fancy keywork" and "bells and whistles", but I must confess I don't know what this actually means. On an entirely separate note, what do you guys know about Buffet S-3? Thanks

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        9. by Donnie The B
          (282 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Mom- I know or have known dozens of pro sax players and maybe 30-40 more semi-pros. I remember in the 1980's one guy still had his Bundy sax from high school about 5-6 years later. I think another guy might have still taken his Conn 16M to gigs with a rock band in the 1990's. But literally every other person I know (and know of) that makes money playing a horn uses a pro model of some sort or other - even if it's from the 1920's. I do not think it's likely that they all have been duped into thinking they need a Cadillac when a Chevy would do. Now the guy with the Bundy could really wail - hence the saying it's the player not the horn - but he could not wait to justify a trade-up to a Selmer. I would guess the major differences between intermediate horns and pro-line horns by the same manufacturer lie in fit, finish and alignment quality - along with perhaps extra care of assembly. It's possible they chisel pennies in other ways and you know that this would be in the lower cost horns. I've heard that pro-line horns stay in adjustment better. The last time my Mark VI was adjusted, your son was not born. Sorry - I do not know the Buffet S-3. Liked the Dynaction model fairly well generally - but it was somewhat stuffy sounding to me and had something slightly odd about the keywork. As far as the question of vintage horns for your son - I know a great old horn would work just as well as a newer one, but you may as well keep the teacher happy. If you don't think the boy will play pro, a Yamaha 52 will take him through high school just fine at maybe $1200 lightly used and re-padded. - - - Later.

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        10. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Thanks for the follow-up, Donnie. I hope I didn't sound like I was being skeptical - I really didn't understand what the differences were. Your points about fit and finish, and about keeping in adjustment make a lot of sense. Will my kid go pro? Who knows! Right now he says he wants to be a music teacher and a video game tester. About the Buffet - according to what I read elsewhere on the net, it's essentially a Keilwerth SX-90, make in the JK factory in Germany under the Buffet name and for several hundred $$ less. I was hoping someone here could confirm or refute that. Thanks again for all your help.

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        11. by SaxAppeal
          (67 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Son plays Alto...what to buy?

          Hey, I got a Selmer Super Action 80 Series 2 (II) in the 7th grade used on eBay. I have been playing it and love it. I won it for $2000. And shipping was free because it turned out the guy lived 15 minutes away and I could see if 40minutes before closing, but anyways. I would go for a nice Selmer like the SA 80 II. Although eBay isn't always the best place to go, but you can get deals, especially if you buy during the school year not before it starts. cgi.ebay.com/Mint-Selmer-Super-Action-80-Series-II-Alto-Saxophone_W0QQitemZ290053963229QQihZ019QQcategoryZ64455QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem heres one, the guy is new but he has a store in Virginia and a number to call. But anyways good luck.

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        12. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          An update...

          We went to a local music store today,and he played a few horns and definite preferences! He did not at all like the Buffet or the Keilwerth EX-90. He loved the old Selmer Balanced action, and played easily. But at $3100 it was a bit out of our range. Interestingly, he tried a Yamaha Custom Z (Pro which the salesman highly recommended) and a Yamaha 475 (intermediate, supposedly inferior) and he preferred the 475. It was easier for him to get used to and just play, play, play. It was about $1500. The custom Z was $2200. One of the guys at the store said that intermediates are designed to be easier to blow, so my kid found it easier. I think tomorrow we'll go to Sam Ash to check out a Selmer La Voix (their int. line). I also called Worldwide Sax (Thanks for the reference, Donnie) and they were very helpful and asked a lot of questions about his preferences. He wound up suggesting an overhauled Buescher Aristocrat. It sounds like there's a lot to be said for this horn. I'm a little concerned about my sons sensitivities to different feel, though. We shall see.

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        13. by flamom
          (15 posts)

          7 years ago

          We got it!

          We ended up getting the Yamaha 62-II. He liked it the best of everything he tried in person, and it was probably the best we could do in our price range. Thanks for all the advice.

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