Saxophone Forum


by jazzina
(18 posts)
8 years ago

Is this an ideal soprano?

Okay... I play a selmer alto but i'm looking for a soprano under $600. I have had my eye on a cecilio and/or a selman. Psst... I have a low price range so if you could remember this although I want a Selmer VI. Also, our highschool is restarting its jazz band and since I am an alto... want is the ideal type of mouthpiece... I play on a Vito reed (2) and I want to give off more of a jazzier sound because I don't believe my sound is legit. Keep this under $100... i have no idea what my existing mouthpiece is because recently the name is wearing off and it's a selmer but i've had it since the 5th grade. thanx for giving this a look and adding your input. I really need some help since my band director is busy and doesn't realize how serious i am... he makes me angry!

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  1. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

    First of all, avoid names like Selman. I've never heard of them, but Chinese companies like to play this name game, where they try to come up with a name that sounds familiar to people. It would be easy for someone with little knowledge of saxophones to confuse Selmer with Selman. My guess is that this is a very poor quality Chinese made horn that won't last a year before falling apart. Personally, I would concentrate on alto, and maybe pick up another mouthpiece and lig rather than buying a soprano at this point. The soprano is more of a solo instrument that really doesn't fit in too well with the other instruments in the band due to it's higher pitch. There is very little music available for soprano sax also. I know a local band director who allowed a soprano in concert band, and she read clarinet music. The soprano, in case you didn't know, is in Bb, the same as a tenor sax or a clarinet. If you're looking for a better jazz sound, try an Otto Link Tone Edge mouthpiece. You can buy one through www.giardinelli.com for well under $100.

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  2. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

    If you are determined to buy a soprano, I would look at either an Antigua Winds or the Winston. The Antiguas are nice, though i think they're a little closer to $800. The Winston though is within your price range, and they're not to bad for a beginner soprano.

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  3. by Enviroguy
    (5 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

    On the sop. sax, I've got no answers. But here's what I did for my son's setup to get him to a "legit" sound on the alto. First, on eBay you can find copies of Selmer Jazz mouthpieces for about $40. I love these. They seem to play just like the real ones at a third of the cost. I got one for my son for his 20M Conn alto. We matched this with standard #2.5 Vandoren reeds and placed a leather donut mute in the bell to help with tone. That's a very important part, by the way. The results is a bright but sweet sound full sound that's both jazzy and "legit". And all together, I've only got about $60 in this setup. My son's only twelve, but the highschool kids get up a take notice when he plays. He's pretty good for his age but having a great sounding setup really helps. Good Luck, Enviroguy

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  4. by Sax Mom
    (964 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

    If you're really as serious about this as you want us to believe, please complete one thought before moving on to another. What do you want to know? I would stick to better brands for a soprano, as even the best will have entirely different intonation issues than the alto, tenor, bari saxophones. Plus, the keys on off-brands are very easy to bend out of whack, and then you've got nothing, because repair technicians often refuse to try to repair them, because they'll just bend out of whack again. I can't help you with mouthpiece questions.

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      8 years ago

      Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

      for legit, try tthe rascher. as for the sop - you cna get a good new "student" sop for a little under 800. Try antigua, the selmer ss600...and maybe the buescher if you can find one. everything else that I can think of is way more in cost and in some cases, inferior to a student/intermediate, selmer, buescher or antigua

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      1. by jazzina
        (18 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        I looked up the three sopranos you've mentioned but if you were in my scenerio... which one would you purchase or serves as your preferred sax. What will give me good intonation/sound. Also... the necks that come with the soprano, the curved neck is used for more concert band performances and the straight neck is used for jazzier performances. Am i correct? Back to my first question about the Selman and Cecilio... has anyone heard anything about these saxes. My friend order one for his sister and she's a beginner... in fact he got a Cecilio. I have heard nothing about Selman. Could someone please give me a background of these two besides the fact they are genaric (spelling). I really want a soprano of my own and I keep researching then I found this site and I read every forum pertaining to sax brands. I NEED TO KNOW THIS INFO FOR MY PERSONAL GAIN!!! i think i'm going crazy...

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        1. by SaxMan
          (559 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          I couldn't say. I have played all 3, but there were HUGE time gaps in between. the buescher I only played for a couple of minutes. all I know is that all 3 played really nicely. I think if I absolutely had to make a choice though, I would probably pick the antigua. try and play all 3 though if you can.

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        2. by sdierdre
          (1 post)

          8 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          Regarding Cecilios: I purchased one (a tenor sax) for my son off eBay from a company named KK Music in May 2005. While the instrument arrived just as advertised, and was at a very attractive price, it has been in for repairs 3 times (!) in the past five months. Parts have literally fallen off the instrument, and I can attest that this has NOT been due to mishandling by the user. The last repair was performed by a very knowledgeable technician who informed me that the instrument had an unusually soft touch, and was a good beginning-student instrument but not much more than that. While, as I said, the price was attractive ($500), I wouldn't recommend this brand to anyone unless you're just looking for a beater to use in a marching band. Get a Yamaha instead... argh.

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      2. by arathald
        (1 post)

        8 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        I can't help you as far as the soprano goes -- The only thing I can say is I'm looking for one too, and a heavily used sax from a good brand that you get fixed up might be the best way to go (that's what I'm doing for my alto -- upgrading to a vintage 20's -- theres a repair shop near me that will completely overhaul an instrument for $150). As far as the alto mouthpeice, I think a more important thing than a different mouthpeice is a different reed. I play bari sax in my jazz band and I get a great sound out of 3 1/2 Fredrick Hemke brand reeds. I also use 3 1/2 on my alto (4 for classical music). You're gonna neeed to work up to that level (even a 3 should do you-- I don't know many sax players who actually use a 3 1/2), but it'll be well worth it. If you really want a new mouthpeice, I'd suggest taking a look at some metal mouthpeices. I have found that I like playing on metal a lot more than plastic. By the way -- what year are you in?

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      3. by ClickRec
        (5 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        I make a good living playing saxophone and I always felt I should use only the best equipment, no matter what kind of gig I'm on. I've recently changed my position. I bought a SELMAN tenor for the gigs where my Selmer SBA may be in "danger". Guess what.... the horn is great. Understand, however, that out of the box it barely got below low D. I guess there is not much going on in Selman's quality control department. But with a regulation and a few swedges I got a great knock-around club date horn for about $300.00 total. Pitch is quite good. And it's shiny! (I've never had a shiny horn...) When it needs an overhaul I'll just throw it away! It's almost suicidal to walk the streets of NYC at 3am with a MKVI or an SBA. I now reserve my SBA for studio, legit and jazz gigs.

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        1. by oldbluesman
          (2 posts)

          7 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          Saw this post. I did the same thing with that Selman. I use the Selman tenor for those juke joint gigs where I'm afraid the my BuescherTT will get damaged. Right after I got it I took it to my sax tech and man the thing actually sounds pretty good for 250 bucks.

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      4. by saxtribute
        (11 posts)

        7 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        First off, there is no chance that you will find a good soprano for under $600. If you are really serious about playing soprano, save up and look into Cannonball or P. Mauriat. Those are both new horns that have devolped a very good reputations in the past few years, not to mention that they are a lot cheaper than Selmer, Yamaha, etc... One thing to consider is how much will you play soprano. Many high school jazz bands don't have many (if any) songs where a soprano part is required. If I were you, I would spend my money on really good alto mouthpiece. (jjBabbitt models are quite good.) For jazz playing, I would recommend on alto a Meyer hard rubber 5. That is a very standard jazz piece for under $150. Also, if I read your question correctly, I would try new reeds. Vandorens are quite good and have a very good jazz sound (java reed) I would hold off on the soprano for now, eventually maybe, but even before then, it would be a better idea to invest in a flute and start doubling.

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      5. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        8 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        I know you're not going to want to hear this... just wait a bit until you can afford something better. No sense to rush into something "right now" and get a piece of frustrating crap - when you could wait a few years and get something very nice. Remeber this is a life long hobby, not a date to the prom. and you should be able to find a good mouthpiece for that range, keep asking, look though old posts, and/or post a new thread about it. =)

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        1. by definition
          (963 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          Yes, chiamac put it well. The Selman and cecelio horns are not worth the money you would pay for them. The Antigua Winds horns are very good for the money however, and If you can get one used, you should be able to get in your price range

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      6. by djgifts
        (1 post)

        8 years ago

        Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

        Hello, You might check out LA Saxes on eBay. I'm a clarinet player who wants to learn soprano sax. I was in the same situation- not wanting to spend a million dollars on an instrument (in my case, I can't play it yet. though- you're way ahead of me, you can). I talked to one of the reps. at Woodwind and Brasswind and asked him about two very inexpensive (comparatively) horns they had and that were on sale to boot. He said he wouldn't recommend getting either one for the reason already mentioned- they're not made well and instrument repair folks can't (or as stated above, won't) work on them. (I also saw some even cheaper ones on eBay that even I was suspicious of- about $199.) I decided I agreed with the WWandBW rep.- that it would be better to spend more money on something that wouldn't fall apart immediately, would be decent, and is reparable. I'd read some fairly good things about LA Sax in catalogs and online, so I checked them out on eBay and found a reputable dealer who sells (slightly?) used LA Sax horns, exclusively. I know they're not up there with the really great ones, but it's all I need (and it was less than $600 for their pro model). It's quite heavy (at least for someone used to the clarinet), so it must have a lot brass in it and isn't puny. Others here can tell you what they think of LA Sax horns. If you're interested, let me know and I'll look up the user name of the eBay seller. I've watched his auctions since, and he seems to have at least one soprano for sale every week, with the option to "buy it now" instead of waiting for the auction to end. I made sure to check his feedback before buying from him and it's excellent. However, you must be 18 to register and bid on eBay, so perhaps your parents could help you with this if you decide to go this route. For such a big purchase, please make sure to check the seller's feedback (his reputation on eBay for good customer service, honesty, and just being a decent person to deal with) very carefully before buying. This seller gives a warranty period of a year (additional?) with his purchase. The horn I bought looks brand new. I can't tell that it was ever used. Could have been a very well taken care of demo model. Good luck. Deb J.

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        1. by niclow
          (1 post)

          7 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          phew...pretty lucky to have found ur comment..i wanna know the seller if thats alright with u..btw the way where do u live?the us?cos i live in singapore and maybe there is a chance of something going wrong in the transaction?

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        2. by saxjunkie89
          (393 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

          the best way to get a new instrument is to test play it first, in person last year, as some of you may know, I got a soprano for $500 (says J. Erich on the bell, but has a yamaha-like serial#). So far, the only problems w/it are a sticky G# and a sticky automatic octave key every once in a while (the key that goes up when you press the octave and G key). But since I had tested it beforehand, I knew what I was going to be getting.

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          1. by Sax Mom
            (964 posts)

            8 years ago

            Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

            I bought an E.M. Winston soprano last year. I would call that brand mid-grade, not in a class with Yamaha, Selmer, or the vintage horns, but not like the generics from China, either. They sell for about $800 new, but mine I got used for under $200. I had to glue the pearlized key buttons back on, and had to have the neck corks replaced, but have no complaints beyond that. I am very happy with the sax. Now if I can only learn to play SOFTER!!!!

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            1. by jazzina
              (18 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              Thank you for informing me about the off brand saxes and I've decided to wait to get a soprano until I get a better job or my christmas raise but anyway. Now... since I play concert band and jazz, the other three saxes do not have a specialized mouth piece. I will play on my normal mouth piece that I already have but I mainly purchased the specialized jazz one for jazz band (obvisously). Now, since the other sax players are in jazz band to, will my mouth piece put them to shame or big us together. My alto sound truly means alot to me and so does the sound of our section. I am normally the main solo player and the funkier adding player in the section because my band director once said "you are more creative than the rest of your age group" and leaves the "added touches" to me. (i hate it when he mentions things like that on the side and ignores me later... it's so annoying) do you think this is a good choice to use the mouth piece. Also, for solo and ensemble... what kind of mouth piece shouldd i use? I play on my alto and usually the pieces are minuets and various forms of allegro. The judge says I need to give out a stronger tone and be careful of intonation. Since I haven't played my sax for awhile (regurally, sorry my life is busy right now) could you remind me what these two words mean(TONE AND INTONATION. for your help... I play on a (2) Rico or (2) Rico Royale reed and have one of those "fancy tightening devices with one turner." Also, who would be a good sax player to listen to so I have an ideal what I should sound like. (cd please) I think have have good tone accuracy and breathing techinques. Could I have some helpful tips jsut on improving my sound in general. Also... coulod someone tell me what is altissimo. I thought it was when a sax player wails and it's above the high D (the one with the thumb on the back and all keys are open and the left hand is pushing on the corner button with the side of their hand in between the thumb and index finger) THANK YOU FOR YOUR GUIDING KNOWLEGE!!!

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            2. by Sax Mom
              (964 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I can't answer all your questions, but don't be annoyed that your director praises you on the side and doesn't do so in front of the group. I believe he is trying to avoid having the other players snub you because they're jealous that you're better than they are. Altissimo is those notes that are above high f, and are reached harmonically with odd fingerings. the following link might be helpful. www.wfg.woodwind.org/sax/sax_alt_4.html The only way you'll know if your Jazz mouthpiece makes you stand out or pull the group together is by listening as you play (and maybe asking the director for his opinion after he's listened as well). Best way to develop tone is practice, practice, practice. You might experiment with a 2 1/2, now that you're more experienced.

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            3. by NewSax
              (8 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              A nice new offering in straight sopranos, either one neck or two necks, is from Kessler Music in Las Vegas under their own brand name. If these new sopranos get the reviews of their altos and tenors it could be a very good instrument for the price. Also I know someone very happy with a FE Olds intermediate model NA60M1-1 straight soprano with 2 necks. Both from Kessler and the OLDS are in your price range. Good luck and keep us posted as to your progress.

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            4. by hornblower
              (1 post)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              Lately

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            5. by definition
              (963 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              No, its china the whole way through. Conn hasnt been in Nogales in years

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            6. by JayB
              (2 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I started playing the alto sax a good 6 years ago, and back in the day i used a 2. I then got a little older and wiser and moved to the tenor. I loved playing Vandoren 2s and 2.5s but as i moved into senior highschool i found they just gave out in the higher notes. Then one of my best moves ever was moving up to 3.5s. I find the 3.5 ideal for me because they give me a god mix of ease of range and playability. Right now for classical i use a 3.5 Vandoren or Zonda, and 3.5 Vandoren V16s for jazz. These reads are perfect for me, and occasionaly i still play alto and i use 3.5s on it too. I hope you find a good read for you?

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            7. by jazzina
              (18 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              Recently I have been trying new reeds but I am having a hard time re-adjusting to them... it sounds airy and not as strong and emotional as it used to, any advice for the 3.5 Vandoren V16s... it's driving me nuts because I had such a beautiful tone. Any tips on making my alto sound better (dealing with new reed adjustments)? please tell me what you did or if it came naturally... any advice please!!

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            8. by definition
              (963 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              When I first got to college, the first time I started goin thru reeds looking for a good one, my teacher sent me to the store for a reed knife and clipper. When you get it, you can use it to make nearly any reed playable, by making sure its flat, tip is even across, etc. *warning* you're gonna mess up a ton of reeds before you get good at it Its been my expirience its been that anything you can do with reed rush, you can do 10 times faster with sandpaper. anything you can do with that you can do ten times faster with a reed knife Other than that, when switching reed strengths, it just takes a bit of time to readjust, just like a new mouthpiece

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            9. by Donnie The B
              (282 posts)

              7 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I understand the Winston is a well-made Taiwanese horn - so sort of like China. I have not seen a real good mainland China horn, although I'm sure I will someday. I believe P. Mauriat and Steve Goodson models are also made in Taiwan and are actually worthy of consideration. The Goodson saxes have some really innovative features. - - - Later.

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            10. by saxxyboy
              (1 post)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I am a buyer for band & orchestra instruments for a large chain of music stores. I can help you with sop saxes, mouthpieces and any other info you may need. I have been reading that you are looking at some no name instruments. It is true you should stay away from them. The intonation is the pits and repairs are a nightmare. Always stick with a brand name if you can. People mentioned the Winston 350GL. This was not a bad horn for the money. Street price is about $499. Let me know if you need any more info, it is what I do for a living and would be glad to help. R

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            11. by Carrie
              (2 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I'm a clarinet player, but want to move on to soprano sax. I'm considering a very close to new E.M. Winston Boston 350GL neighbor's kid used for about 20 lessons. It's only $120. and looks in great condition. Is it a good sax for the price, for an occassional player like myself? Is it easy to get repaired if necessary? Thanks for any info. you can offer. :)

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            12. by Carrie
              (2 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              check reply

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            13. by Sax Mom
              (964 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I have an E.M. Winston with which I am very happy, and I paid about that much for mine. Make sure you play it first, to see if it's in good shape. Remember, though, that sopranos take more practice to play in tune, more lip work than an alto or a tenor requires.

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            14. by CountSpatula
              (602 posts)

              8 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I'll leave the soprano deal with someone else. Normally the easiest alto mouthpiece for regular concert band is a Selmer Soloist C*, and with that I usually use a size 3.5 java reed (I find java reeds better than ZZ/V16/Classic) Jazz band, I like the beechler Diamond inlay, they're only about 50 dollars at wwbw.com, I got a size M6S, with a 2.5 Java reed. The more open and thicker reed you have the airy it gets, which probably means its too big for you so you might wanna go back down a reed size. I wouldn't recommend v16s, all my friends tried them and don't like them...

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            15. by saxmachine777
              (57 posts)

              7 years ago

              Re: Is this an ideal soprano?

              I would recommend waiting on the soprano for already mentioned reasons, foremost fluid intonation. As far as mouthpieces go, I have always supported the Selmer C* in the S 80 or Soloist models, but with the traditional blue box Vandoren reeds. The traditional reeds have a markedly longer heart along the center of the reed, giving them superior tone quality (compared to any of the other Vandoren reeds, though V16 brings a better response for some players) for blending in large groups and for dark, warm classical soloist sound. I would not recommend JAVA or ZZ due to the comparitively short, broad heart, which adds some edge and brightness to the sound, which sticks out in concert bands and has somewhat of an aggressive timbre for solo classical performances (especially when overtones run into each other between a solo alto and the violin section of an orchestra). For jazz, I think for the price and playability I recommend something ebonite or hard rubber to start. Metal mouthpieces, while great especially for small combo jazz work, are thinner externally, and thhus can be hazardous on an embrochure that is just getting used to the feel of open tips and jazz facings. I suggest something along the lines of a Meyer in the neighborhood of a size 7 tip opening. This will give you a good amount of pitch and tone flexibility while keeping a more familiar embrochure and seemless blending in a large jazz combo (like an 18-21 piece big band). You should be able to easily find such a mouthpiece for $80-90, and you could play on it (as I have) for a number of years. Whatever you decide, make sure to go to a good music shop or a few shops if possible to find out what feels right for the sound you like. Remember, comfortable playing is key. PS: Be prepared to shell out some dough for reeds while trying out mouthpieces, as different tip openings (and facings, but mostly openings) will command different reed strengths or types. Using the proper reed for your embrochure as it reacts to a mouthpiece will give you a more accurate reading on what mouthpiece truly fits your musical mannerisms and expression.

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