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View Full Version : Antigua alto sax. Any good?



spol73
01-05-2004, 11:00 PM
It looks like the new Antigue soprano saxophones are really nice, definitelly worth the money. How are the alto saxes? How are they comparing to the YAS-23? :shock:

BrianL
01-05-2004, 11:41 PM
I've heard the Antigua sopranos are pretty nice. However, from what I've seen, I'd recommend you'd stay away from the altos. I've seen them fall apart in a hurry. Keep your eyes open for other brands of horns.

spol73
01-06-2004, 01:40 AM
I respect your opinion, but would you please specify what might go wrong with a relatively new model 505 or 520. After all, they are computer copies of MVI and Super 80? Thanks.

Dave Dolson
01-06-2004, 02:34 AM
Spol73: You may want to review the whole SOTW forum, then if that hasn't addressed your question, we can pursue it further. I've made comments elswewhere about my one experience with a new Antigua alto (okay, but nothing special) and I recall others have, as well. DAVE

goodsax
01-06-2004, 04:13 AM
Paul Coats is using an Antigua Winds A530SC silver-plated body with gold lacquered key work as his primary gig alto. He has nothing bad to say about that particular Antigua alto and especially praises its intonation as being among the best he's played. (I'm paraphrasing liberally here.)

I did some quick research and found that Anigua's A520LQ, gold lacquer, is the same as the 530 except for the silver-plate and gold keys. Having said that, I've never played either of these Antigua altos, but I owned an Antigua A582LQ soprano and was very impressed with its quality, looks, feel and sound, and I've played several other model sopranos that were not as good.

There was an Antigua Winds A530S, all silver-plate, on eBay a couple of weeks ago with a BIN of $995. Based on Paul Coats positive comments about his alto, I almost went for it, but something held me back and I wonder to this day if I made the right decision. I since bought a Conn 6M alto thinking that was a safer move. Maybe, maybe not...

BrianL
01-06-2004, 08:19 AM
Mind you, I've never owned an antigua, so this is based just on what I've seen from other students. The higher end models, probably NOT the ones Paul's using, dont seem to hold up too well. I've seen the Bb spatula key fall off several of the horns, one of my friends put an enormous dent into the bell by setting it down on the pavement (No, thats not good for ANY horn, but thats just what happens in marching band). They are a good bang-for-the-buck horn, you just have to be extremely gentle with them. Dont be afraid to look into other horns though, modern Yamaha 62II horns are pretty cheap these days.

BrianL
01-06-2004, 08:31 AM
also, I'd be careful about any horn that claims to be a 'computer copy' of the MKVI and the SA80s. I feel that this is just a cheap stunt to get people to buy their horns, but this is just my opinion.

goodsax
01-06-2004, 08:50 AM
Brian - In general, I agree with you about claims of comparability with MK6's, Yana's, JK's and similarly well-known brands with deserved reputations. However, I feel certain Dave Kessler of Kessler Music has researched this issue very carefully with regard to Antigua Winds designs of their newest models which lends more credence to the "computer copy" statement in this case.

BrianL
01-06-2004, 12:48 PM
Thats true, I've heard the same thing about the Antigua's that Paul Coats plays on, but I'm just trying to warn Spol73 about horns that do say that. It doesnt mean that it isnt true, I'd just be weary about them and research them further before jumping to conclusions. If I'm correct Dominique over at Ebay makes those claims on his Moniques. And we all know that those are -fantastic- horns *cough, cough*. Just be sure that you research these horns and many other horns before jumping out and buying one.

goodsax
01-06-2004, 01:22 PM
BrianL - Out of curiosity, have you played a Monique? I owned a silver Monique Pro alto for a few months and wasn't that repulsed by it for the money - $398 brand new. You just can't expect to get a high quality, solid construction instrument for that kind of money. But the one I got was all together, no missing, bent, or otherwise damaged parts and it sounded not too bad for that price range.

Don't get me wrong, I agree with you completely on doing your homework before making a sax purchase but, if you only have less than $500 to spend, for example, you can't have terribly high expectations for what you get, unless you fall into a super deal that comes along very rarely, and even less in my lifetime. And the SOTW forum is a great place to get answers to sax purchasing questions, but there are myriad other sources as well.

I'm a saxoholic buyer and, as a result, I've been able to try many of the more "economical" brands during the past three to four years since I revived interest in playing again. In addition to the Monique, I've owned and played Unison, Prestini, Selmer USA, Kohlert, vintage Conns and Bueschers, and just arrived today, a Noblet Paris and Conn 6M altos. I've also had vintage Conn (1925), Milwaukee semi-curved, Monique black-gold curved, Unison and Antigua Winds 582LQ sopranos. In the tenor category I've had an Evette Buffet-Crampon made in Taiwan, a Jupiter Artist 889SG and my current Buffet-Crampon SDA/S1 transition which is a keeper.

I just keep cycling them through until I find the one that best suits me based on pre-purchase research, trying to grab what looks like a good deal opportunity, or just plain gut buying (the riskiest kind). I purchased all but one of these horns on eBay. Those I don't want, I just put back on eBay and let someone else have a chance to try them.

Not everyone can afford to buy saxes from the "Big Four," and not everyone really needs to have a high-dollar saxophone to meet their individual need. But you're right, that doesn't mean a buyer shouldn't be careful and not do a lot of research for saxes in the price range they can afford. The more homework you do, the less chance of suffering disappointment when you get your "new" sax.

spol73
01-06-2004, 02:41 PM
Thanks for the hints guys. I'm a woodwind collector my self. I don't know if I have enough seniority in the field to say this but I specialize in vintage French clarinets. I have about 30 of them or so all in need of overhaul.
I do own a couple of student line alto saxes and I must say most of them have terrible intonation. The BundyII altos sound awful. So far I've found Oxford by Pierret have good if not very good intonation and a decent sound. I'm working on an older T.T. '30 right now I wonder what the outcome of the overhaul is going to be. I'm thinking about a brand new intermediate alto (urge of owning brand new alto) that's why I was wondering about the Antiguas. I will look for more comments under other topics.

Dave dix
01-06-2004, 07:31 PM
Just repair the true tone.The intonation will be spot on and a lot better horn then some of the others.
Dave

BrianL
01-07-2004, 12:24 PM
I know there's a lot of people who cant afford one of the 'big four' horns. I was one of them. I played on one of those Conn mexican made altos for many years until I finally bought a Yamaha 52 (then got a 62 about a year later).

And I actually have played a Monique alto. It was at a local music store (Dont ask me how it got there. These guys are always getting strange horns). To me it sounded really stuffy and the keywork was horrid, but hey, I'm the same guy who said that about a modern Selmer. Its just my opinion, there's other's who'd disagree with me.

Even though I've told people to be weary about them, Antigua is near the top of my list for the so called 'cheap horns'. However, I think it would be a better investment to get a vintage horn, say from Junkdude. For the price of a new intermediate antigua or monique, one can get a True Tone, like Dave said, for a good price. 700 dollars would buy you a TT silverplate.

goodsax
01-07-2004, 12:51 PM
I had a gorgeous 1925 TT gold-plate that I could not get to play in tune in the upper register, always sharp, and I got tired of having to compensate by "lipping down" the notes. Granted, this is related to a Korg tuner that I don't normally use when playing in a group.

So, I traded it back to the original seller for the Kohlert (JK) I have now, but still have the same, but not as severe, problem. I got a 1951-52 Conn 6M yesterday and I'm finally in intonation heaven. The first time I tried the 6M with a Meyer 6 HR I kept that Korg green light shining from bottom to top.

Because of that negative intonation experience, I'm lukewarm on vintage Buescher TT's. They have a great quality sound, and I have no complaint as to the fingering, but intonation was an issue even after trying several different mpc/reed combinations.

That's why I took particular interest in Paul Coats' claim that his Antigua Winds A530SC alto was almost dead on - I think he said within about 5-10 cents top to bottom. That's a heck of a testimonial from a veteran pro, author and teacher who is not on Antigua's payroll.

Dave Dolson
01-07-2004, 04:28 PM
My experiences with vintage sops and altos has been just the opposite of Rob's (goodsax) with the same instruments he mentioned. The only vintage intonation problems I've had were 1) King Saxello, 2) curved Conn sop, 3) MKVI sop (if you consider that vintage - some don't).

I have four True-Tones (sops, alto, and C-mel) and all have good intonation. I have two '20's Conns (alto and sop) and their intonation, while not as good as the Bueschers, are playable without much fuss.

Plus, the vintage alto voices are so much better to my ears than are the modern altos I've played (with the exception of my own A992 which is a nice, resonant horn). The modern keywork is not an issue for me, either. DAVE