Saxophone Forum


by ALF
(5 posts)
10 years ago

First Sax

I'm looking for a budget sax for my grade schooler, and only looking to spend $250 tops. From checking out eBay I would guess a Bundy II or if lucky a YAS-23. Most of the Yamahas are in the $400 - $500, but I've seen quite a few in $150 to $250 range. Any suggestions? What should I look out for? What would it cost me to tune-up, replace pads if I get stuck with a lemon? Thanx for your input.

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  1. by zrice03
    (6 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: First Sax

    My recommendation would be to rent a horn. You can get a good YAS-23 for around $25-$35 a month and avoid having to spend all your money at once. If your child wants to continue, you've already paid some for the horn in rental (many music stores have a rent-to-own policy). If not, you haven't lost that much.

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  2. by p-apple
    (49 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: First Sax

    To be completely honest, I don't think you would be doing your child a service if you bought him a cheap $250 sax off the eBay. Although saxophones are great instruments, they are relatively expensive to other instruments. Before you set your mind on saxophone, keep in mind it's a VERY high maintenance instrument, from my past experiences. Keep in mind, I'm just a freshman saxophone but I do have 4 years of alto saxophone playing experience. I know one of my saxophone got a very cheap saxophone off the internet, and to be completely honest it plays like crap. It's extremely hard to play out the notes and your child will be wondering why he sounds so much worse than the other player. I would recommend you rent a YAS-23 which is a very good sax and has faithfully served me for four years (I'm now looking for a professional alto saxophone) and has been in good shape more or less. Or I would recommend you have your child look for another instrument which is cheaper. Saxophone although is a great instrument is by far not "the best" of the best. Have your son look for other instruments. The reason being is that saxophone is a much more complex instrument and costs more money to make. If you do decide to buy an alto saxophone, be sure you don't sink in the last $250.00 you have to get that instrument because I *guarantee* you will spend lots more money afterwards such as: --> Reeds - You must get reeds and depending on how much your son plays the saxophone and how careful your son is about not cracking or damaging the reeds. Personally, I use up a reed about every 7-10 days, however when I started playing I used up a reeds only about every other week. Again this is all based on my personal results and may or may not be the same for your son. --> neck strap. Although most saxophones come with neck straps, be sure to buy one if you don't get one with your saxophone! A neck strap is completely necessary and never, ever get open hook. What I mean is that you never want those "curved open" hooks that connects the neck strap to the saxophone. The reason being is that I've had a friend drop his saxohpone because the hook came off the saxophone. You will want to get swivel hook. Trust me, for about the same price you will save yourself an almost certain accident if you otherwise bought an open hook. --> Annual tuning. While I'm not sure if you absolutely need to get your saxophone tuned up every year, I always tune up my saxophone every year during summer. I got a special deal with my saxophone that gives me a free annual tuneup. (Note: I did pay $1000 for my YAS-23 brand new). Annual tune ups cost around $50-100 depending how much needs to be tuned. - Mouthpieces. I absolutely guarantee if your son plays alto saxophone he will crack the mouthpiece sooner or later. I have personally cracked two alto saxohone mouth pieces. The mouthpiece is extremely fragile and breaks extremely easy (for beginning mouthpieces) Expect to pay $40.00 for a brand new mouthpiece if this happens. I don't want to scare you with all these price figures, but I want you to know what to expect and not have any unexpected headaches in the future. William Chen

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: First Sax

      Ive been playing for 6 years, own at the moment, 6 saxes, some where around thrity mouthpieces and never have I cracked a single one, on any of my saxes.

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      1. by tenor562
        (297 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: First Sax

        I've cracked two used Yamaha 4C's, one of which I still play. One of them came in my case, and fell on the great room floor, and the other fell on the cafeteria floor on the way out of band, but's still playable. funny thing is, my teacher commented on how my tone improved the other day, and I was playing a chipped 4C with a Yamaha 23, my worst setup.

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      2. by p-apple
        (49 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: First Sax

        Okay. I should rephrase from "absolutely guarantee" to "very possibly". Also, assuming you're an adult based on your username, you should consider that young children are much more likely to crack it. BTW, the comment was for the 4C mouthpiece (which is the standard YAS-23 mouthpiece). My C* mouthpiece on the other hand seems to be a lot stronger.

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: First Sax

          Im 17 - started playing in 6th grade - havent broken one yet - started on a selmer student m/p - another brittle, plastic mouthpiece, I still have it, play it on occaision for nostalgia.

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        2. by p-apple
          (49 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: First Sax

          Oops. Sorry about my assumption. I guess you're just a lot more careful than me.

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        3. by tenor562
          (297 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: First Sax

          lol, it might be that once you get older, and start using your mouthpiece more and practicing. In the last two months, that's when I started cracking mouthpieces. I also started just transfering my mouthpiece instead of my horn, so maybe that makes it something. You don't want to hear my tone on a 4C with a 23, it just stinks compared to it on a 62II.

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        4. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: First Sax

          Well, I guess playing could lead to their demise if you use some pretty stiff reeds - I only used mine for about well, less than 2 years before i bought a rubber piece.

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      3. by ALF
        (5 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: First Sax

        If it's not obvious from the models, I'm looking for an Alto Sax.

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        1. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: First Sax

          you mean when you get stuck with a lemon. why don't plan on spending $400-500 and give your child a good start, insted of being frustrated with poor or abused equipment.

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          1. by ALF
            (5 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: First Sax

            Money is tight, and $500 is a lot to spend on a nine year old with ADD. The real question here is, is it possible to get your money's worth for $250, or do you have to spend the $500? And if you do, do you buy a new no name brand instrument, or a used one? Paying more for a used instrument is no guarentee that it's any better than one for half the price. BTW, the answer to your quote - H2G2

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            1. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              Saxophones are mechanically complex and expensive because of that. Cheap new horns break easy or can be dificult to repair if something goes wrong. Even good horns break sometimes, but it's an odds game, unfortunately. The more you are prepared to invest in your child's instrument - particularly the saxophone - the more likely it is that you will be able to acquire an instrument of sufficient quality to get them off to a good start. Sure, you might find a Yamaha on eBay for $250, but there's no guarantee that it will be ready to play right out of the case. So figure that you are facing at least a $100 trip to the repair tech to get things in working order. Could be on the order of $200 or more if it is in need of new pads and other significant adjustments, which is likely. Maybe you get lucky and buy a ringer at a good price. The tech may look at the horn and say it's just fine. But be prepared for the worst, financially and emotionally. You face, essentially the same trouble with a more expensive horn - it's just that your odds are maybe better that you are getting something that's ready to play now. Saxophones are an exciting instrument to play, but finding good gear at a good price is a real racket. If I had an alto ready to go right now, I'd offer you one. I might have one ready in a few weeks or so. Good Luck.

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            2. by chiamac
              (586 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              " lot to spend on a nine year old with ADD" I hope this child isn't on drugs for "ADD" speaking of... did you know Meth and Ritalin are a part of the same chemical family? Did you know they both have the same effects? did you know you're taking away the childs life if they are on "behavior changing drugs" blah... did you know some children and people CAN'T study with ritalin because it effects their short term memory... ok I'm done now

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            3. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              I have a beginning student (4th grade) who is going through diagnosis for ADD. I don't know if he's currently being medicated or not - only that he's going through diagnosis which means he's probably not medicated. Putting aside the controversy of ADD diagnosis and treatment (I'm with chiamac but on a somewhat smaller soapbox)... I don't know if this has anything to do with him possibly having ADD or the fact that he's a 9 year old boy, but he's enthusiastic about wanting to learn, and that's half the battle when it comes to capturing ANYONE'S attention. He does occasionally slip off into what I'd classify as remotely tangential comments and questions, but I give him a moment to get things out of his head and then bring him back to why we're there. A musical instrument can be a great outlet for kids (and adults) who need something constructive to mentally latch onto. It's a great opportunity to work on listening skills, patience, and a sense of accomplishment. Playing saxophone might just be theraputic enough that drugs don't have to become part of the child's regimen. Good Luck.

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            4. by ALF
              (5 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              This discussion took a left turn when I mentioned ADD, which I wasn't expecting. I appriciate the input, but the truth is while my son has been evauated many times at the teachers and schools request he's never been diagonsed with anything. I threw out ADD as short hand. The situation is long and complicated and not something I want to get into in this forum. The short story is very straight foward; "I've got a highly inteligent great kid!"

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            5. by chiamac
              (586 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              ok sorry about the turn... (ADD is made up by the evil drug companies to sell their drugs, just look at how many childern in other countries are diagonsed with it) But seriously... $250 prolly isn't going to cut it, best case you get a cheap sax that will work good for a while but need repair later (unless of course, you find a great student model that works good) or you save for a little more and spend around $500 for a good used student horn. now we arnt even getting into reeds, mouthpiece, neckstrap, music, lessions, and the other things that come with playing. Also remeber, this is a life long hobby - not a big race. There is no hurry to start your child out young, or right now. Wait until you can give them the best chance with some good equipment and some funding. I bet it would be better for them, and for you since there woudln't be any muddling around with poor equipment and constant repairs.

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            6. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              I recommend taking your son to a music store to make sure he can hold the saxophone properly. My young student's left hand doesn't bridge over the left hand palm keys very well, which means they get pushed down on accident, which means that no meaningful tone is coming out when that happens. He will grow into it before long, and it is possible for him to do it right, but it is difficult.

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            7. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              To reinforce my "watch out for eBay horns" comment, I went and looked at 3 horns today (first-hand) that are currently on eBay. Two altos and a tenor. The seller is hoping to make probably a minimum of $250-$300 on the altos and both of them are in need of SERIOUS repair. They look pretty as there's not any big dents, so they make for great pictures on eBay. But the keys are so far out of alignment and in need of regulation that you would be looking at an additional $200-$250 (minimum) from a repair tech to get these horns to be playable. So watch out. If there's not a return policy or it's being sold "as-is" or the seller claims they "know nothing about saxophones" then you are likely looking at buying a headache - not a musical instrument. All it takes is one pad leak or flaw in the action to make a horn unplayable.

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            8. by Sax Mom
              (964 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              It is possible to get a good student model saxophone on ebay. I got a student model Conn for under $150, and spent only about $30 more to get it in good playing condition. I was lucky, though. My advice would also be to start with rental at a music store, but be sure to work with a reputable dealer. Be sure your child is well-trained in how to care for the horn as well. Another option might be to try to find someone (a neighbor or family member) who has a saxophone they'd like to sell. Take it to a dealer for an appraisal, and work it out from there.

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            9. by sax_maniac
              (984 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              Sax Mom is right. Do you know the difference between a lawnmower and a saxophone? Your neighbor gets mad when you don't return the lawnmower.

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            10. by martysax
              (148 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              No! The difference between a lawnmower and a saxophone is VIBRATO!

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            11. by PsuSax
              (25 posts)

              10 years ago

              Re: First Sax

              The real difference is that you can tune a lawnmower.

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