Saxophone Forum


by smithm0205
(1 post)
3 years ago

Need recommendations and info on best sax for son

Hi! My name is Michelle and my son has only played the alto saxophone for a year and has done really, really well with it. My husband played the saxophone in middle school, high school and a little time in college and then his saxophone sat in a closet for the next 30 years and now we brought it out thinking it would help save us money for at least our son's first couple of years of playing the saxophone. And we also wanted to make sure this was the instrument for him. He also plays classical acoustic guitar and had piano lessons for two years so he has a musical background which has probably helped him to excel in playing the saxophone. We took him to band camp this week and when he performed for the judges so they could decide what his placement would be....the judge at the first try out said he was "out-playing" his instrument. He still was placed in a high school level band (he just finished the sixth grade) and is the youngest in the entire band, he is a 3rd level out of 5, and we are very proud of him. He really, really loves playing the saxophone. He is also VERY, VERY loud, his band teacher likes to tell him he needs to stop trying to be "the hero" of the band. :) We are hoping he will learn how to better contain his volume, etc. soon! So, here is my question, and I am sure you have been asked this before by many other parents, but now that we are definitely going to have to buy him a saxophone (or we would probably be doing him a disservice) what brand should we go with? I found one on Craig's list for $550. It is a Yamaha YAS-23 for only $500 and it was played by a high school student for only two years. I really hate to pay retail when there are many instruments out there that are available for so much less. Our son would like to continue to play in college (at this point anyway). He is taking a jazz class as well at band camp. He really, really loves playing the saxophone. We plan to enroll him in private lessons at a local university as well so that he can be challenged. He finished his band book at Christmas this last year and the rest of the class didn't even finish by the end of the school year. I think his teacher would like him to possibly play tenor sax eventually. Is this something that you any of you would say would be a recommendation for a student who is good playing alto and is VERY loud? He definitely wants to pursue other saxophones, but I would like him to focus on one by h.s. He also wants to learn all woodwinds in general....he definitely doesn't think like a typical 12 year old. :) BTW, I believe the saxophone he is playing right now that we gave him to use from when my husband played is a Conn. I can try to get the Serial number if necessary. It would have been purchased in the late 1970's...possibly 1980. We would be happy to completely refurbish this one, if it would be good enough for our son. That is what I had planned to do all along, but he just hasn't wanted to part with it long enough since he started playing in order to do so. I have read some posts about the mouthpiece being very important? I looked on amazon.com and saw that the recommended mouth piece is around $150??!!! Wow! Any help anyone is will to give, or if there are posts you could direct me to that would help me, I would greatly appreciate it very, very much! I played the flute for five years and I'm not all that musically incline but both of our children are (our daughter plays the piano) and I really want to do what is best for our son and be financially responsible at the same time!!!! Thanks again for reading my very long post! Michelle

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  1. by rb2054
    (3 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: Need recommendations and info on best sax for son

    Hello Michelle, You first need to understand what your son wants to do. If he really wishes to continue playing into the college level then I would consider buying him a professional saxophone. There are many established makers (Selmer, Yamaha, Yanigisawa) and new up in coming makers (P. Mauriat). Choosing makers is all based on personal taste. Try to have your son try out each and he can decide for himself. Saxes are usually divided into 3 level makes (beginner, intermediate, professional) with each of course experiencing better craftsmanship and quality. Whether your son wishes to buy alto or tenor needs to be decided before buying anything especially since he could lose interest in saxophone altogether within the next year. Used saxophones are great but you must make sure they are in good working condition. Just take care in that but there is no shame in buying a used. Second, Mouthpieces are expensive. You can try getting used ones as well on ebay and such but you just have to be careful with them being in original condition and no damage to the mouthpiece especially where the reed lays against the top and bottom of the piece. Selmer C* are usually the first mouthpiece if not second mouthpiece for many novice players. Third, playing loud is never a good thing in a band setting! Your son will have to learn with time to blend his sound as saxophones can cut through a band easy. This only comes with experience and maturity in playing the instrument. Tell your son he needs to learn to listen and play with dynamics. Creating a "donut" for your son's sax will also help muffle the sound a bit and even give it a more centered sound. Just get a shower ring and fold with stripes of cloth in a circular motion to create what looks like a donut. It is placed inside the bell and holds against the walls of it. Anyways good luck to you and your son. Hope I helped.

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  2. by gloss1
    (27 posts)

    3 years ago

    Re: Need recommendations and info on best sax for son

    Sounds like you have a very talented son withj a great set of lungs. Since he is already grown use to the Conn i would stay with the Conn. Mouthpiece selection is the best way of controlling the volume. Call my friend Dave Jary at Jary Custom Mouthpieces on the web and Dave will fix you right up. When it needs new pads don't get ripped off because some guys want to charge an arm and a leg. I could repad that thing so fast and make it sing sweet for him. Maybe you can find a reasonble honest tech close by. Make sure he has lots of experience. So important that your son stays on the correct path. Blessings and good luck. JB

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  3. by Kattamaki
    (15 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: Need recommendations and info on best sax for son

    Dear Michelle, First of all I want to applaud your interest and concern for your son's well being. I am a retired saxophone professional performer and have taught saxophone for over three decades. May I make a few suggestions:
    1. The Conn saxophones have a warm big sound that is rather mellow. Have it overhauled by a professional. To find a good repair man, write to
    www.MusicMedic.com  for information. Rent a saxophone from your local music store or borrow one from the band teacher during the overhaul time.
    2. Usually a child that plays "too loud" does not have the fitting mouthpiece, it sounds like your son is not getting enough "resistance" from the mouthpiece. In other words, the air flows through the mouthpiece too easily, too quickly. 
    3. May I suggest you look for a Sigurd Rascher mouthpiece that was designed to fit the older saxophones in order to get a smooth and warm sound. Let your son try a number 3 reed with that mouthpiece.  www.raschermouthpieces.com You may find some on ebay also.
    4. Always let the child decide what instrument it wants to play. In the long run this is the better solution. A tenor for a twelve year old can be a big burden on his neck, the bones are not finished growing. He can always choose later. 
    I hope I have been able to help you. Keep me posted about your progress!
    Kattamaki 

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