Saxophone Forum


by mikeand
(2 posts)
10 years ago

Sax help

I'm just starting out on the sax. I've been reading the posts here and they are very helpful. I know that at 47 I can still learn and enjoy. You have also convinced me not to go the cheap chinese ebay sax route. I have decided to rent locally and my choices are a new Selmer AS500 or King 665 or a used AS300. The price delta is not that big so I am inclined to go new. What are the differences between the 500 and the 300? It is my understanding that the 300 is made in the US and the 500 in Taiwan. Does that matter? Since I may eventually own whatever I rent which is the best choice and why? I appreciate any and all help and advice that you may have to offer. Thanks!!

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  1. by FredCDobbs
    (77 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Sax help

    Mikeand: My advice, which will be similar to others' on this forum, is to buy a sound vintage horn. For what you'll end up paying for a new intermediate instrument (either as a purchase or a rent-to-own), you can buy an older Conn, Buecher, or Martin, to name a few, have a pro-horn, and not lose any money should you decide to sell it in the future. There are many reliable online dealerships (Saxquest included) that will sell you a gorgeous, completely reliable vintage horn for a reasonalbe price. You can also check ebay, but do plenty of homework first, and count on adding about $350 for repad work and regulation. I'm 54, been playing for 3 years, and love it. Go for it, and best of luck.

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    1. by connsaxman_jim
      (2336 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Sax help

      I agree with Fred. Typically I do not recommend renting unless it's for a young student just starting out, who may change instruments 4 times before deciding on something that works for them. Of those that you mentioned, I honestly don't care for any one of them, especially the imported AS-500 and King 665 student models. If you do decide to rent, I would recommend a Yamaha 475 or 62 model, as I think they are a MUCH better horn for the money! My advice is to buy a nice vintage horn! Jim

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  2. by syrasax
    (75 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Sax help

    Your story is similar to mine so I feel a kinship to you mikeand. I played trumpet all through college and was never great at it. At 47 I picked up the instrument I should have started with, the tenor sax. I've been playing now for three years and make steady progress. I play in church, with a very good community band and in the spring I'm going to begin sitting in with a small jazz group. I also recently purchased a soprano sax so some day I can "double." When I started I thought I knew what the tenor and saxophones were all about becuase I had spent so much time around muisc . . . I didn't. I had a lot to learn, still do. Picking an "ax" is a very personal thing and many of the opinions shared on this site are born out of experience, the genuine desire to educate and most of all, passion for the decision they have made. Which brings me to my point. It seems to me there are MANY good instruments to choose from but I wouldn't saddle yourself with too much mental anguish over which to pick now. Selmer, Yamaha etc. all make decent horns but the "sound" also comes from the reed, mouthpiece, neck and so forth. My advice? Buy what you can afford, think of something that you'll be able to sell easily down the road but also one that you would be happy to keep as a back-up and begin searching for the "sound" you want. Then when you're ready, move on to another horn. By the way, I have the Yamaha YTS23 with an SR Technologies mouthpice and I use a Rico Jazz reed (filed) 2S. Good luck and love the music first!

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  3. by jazaddict
    (41 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Sax help

    My 2 cents: I sort of disaggree with the "go with a vintage" advice for a person "just starting out". WHile the tone is argueably, though not necessarily, better; the baggage that comes with them is not worth what a moderate level new pro horn offers. That baggage can include, but is not limited to, querky intonation, frequent adjustments to remedy leaks, and unfriendly ergonomics. A new, properly set up, Yamaha will play easily, in tune, and stay adjusted longer. As a beginner its helpful to know that the horn is "right" and YOU are in need of adjustment/development. :-)

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