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  1. #1

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    Default MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Hello,
    I am sure that the answer to WHAT IS THE BEST GOOD INEXPENSIVE STUDENT INTERMEDIATE SAX question is easily found if you do a search in this forum for the Yamaha alto/tenor sax "YAS-21" or it's later variant the "YAS-23". (YTS-21or23)

    There is almost uniform agreement on the subject of, "inexpensive, but perfectly suitable through college" level horns. The above mentioned models fit perfectly, as previous posts say, "They are out there."

    You will discover that the true, USED BARGAIN HORN is the Vito/JAPAN labeled horn. Yamaha made these horns in Japan and put the name VITO on them. The were manufactured for the Leblanc company, which specified a rose-gold tinted lacquer, versus clear, to be applied by YAMAHA. And they had slighly different keyguards. But the horns were ALL YAMAHA, MADE IN JAPAN. The Leblanc corporation actually marketted these horns as being somewhat UPSCALE. And when last sold; their NEW, retail, price was higher in America than the exact same model which was labelled YAMAHA.

    I personally work for Two Local Musical Equipment Retail/ Repair Shops doing landscape work, and have been educated about, and pointed in, this direction. That is to say the," Buy a Vito/Japan!" direction.

    Now to clarify the only ISSUE that I have not personally seen discussed on this forum concerning VITO horns. I am sure that it has been, but not in conjuction with the above VITO/JAPAN YAMAHA/JAPAN issue. The only real thing to worry about when buying the (good-enough-for-most-cases-inexpensive-horn) is this: YES--- buy a good example of a YAMAHA labeled JAPANESE made horn... YES--- buy a good example of a VITO labeled JAPANESE made horn... NO---- Don't buy a Vito-labeld horn made anywhere OTHER than JAPAN... unless someone REALLY knows what they are looking at.

    Why?????? Some time during Leblanc's corporate history they decided to experiment with the keywork. They created a DIFFERENT way of organizing the fingerings to create the notes. This was an effort which they called the LEBLANC SYSTEM. There are folks on this forum who know much more about this than I do. So I will not go any further than to say this, " Unless you want to learn a totally different way to make notes on a sax, DON'T by a Leblanc System horn." And how does one avoid one of these horns???? Either know what you are looking at, or simply, buy ONLY a Leblanc Vito/Japan.

    This confusion about the Leblanc VITO horns is what has them currently undervalued, and thus the better bargain. And until the above clarification TRULY Becomes Common Knowledge, the Yamaha Vitos will remain UNDERvaluled.

    So to simply restate: Looking for that "inexpensive, but perfectly suitable through college" level horn? FIND a good used YAMAHA/JAPAN or VITO/JAPAN labeled, less expensive horn. Either purchase one of these from a reputable seller who says that it is in AT LEAST good/playing condition... "freshly PC'd". Or have your local expert inspect the horn for it's playability, BEFORE finallizing the purchase.

    Be aware that one can easily spend a Minimum of $50-100 to get a horn in Playing Condition (PC'd). And, depending on what part of the country you are in, totally repadding a horn commands a Minimum of $200. Also if you choose to have major work done on any woodwind, be certain to get a "written description" of what is to be done, and for what price. Definitions vary as to what a PC/ repad/overhaul/rebuild/relacquer IS..."

    Frequently what one wants to have done to an inexpensive horn is either the aforementioned "PC it". Or secondly a REPAD. But Be Sure to ask for: full disassembly, removal of all old oils, cleaning/sterilization of body and neck pipe, all NEW pads, new corks where needed, reassembly, oil, and regulation. DO NOT feel shy about requiring the shop to play-test it using a tuner, right in front of your eyes. A VITO/ YAMAHA JAPAN horn should easily pass. All the technicians that I have spoken with say that they love to do the work described above on these horns, because they are so easy to work on... In other words they get the job done quickly, with less effort, and great results. Did I just give away a secret that they make more money per hour when doing these horns... Uh Huh.... Yup...

    So now that you know that, you might be in a position to ask for a little bit of SIMPLE dent removal to be included in the very specific bargain that has been described above. Some places call it a repad, some an overhaul. And I did say "simple" dent removal. A fella's gotta eat... If you want the horn to be Dent-Free, plated keys machine-buffed, body/bell hand polished. Or lacquer removed, machine-buffed, relacquered....??? Now you REALLY gotta pay... moving toward a $ grand American.

    As an aside. I believe that most folks in the know would GENERALLY not recommend any machine buffing (except on the keys). As this can involve removing metal from the horn's body and bell, thus changing the sound. Also the relacquering process can be too heavy, etc. If you own or buy a vintage/lacquer horn DEFINATELY don't machine-buff, or lacquer as you WILL reduce it's value, and the aficionados will GLARE at you. I've seen it. SMILE.

    So I hope that I have CLARIFIED a couple of things aboout the whole, "VITO/JAPAN equals YAMAHA/JAPAN thing" in conjunction with the, "Be cautious about all Vito horns, NOT labeled Japan issue."

    And one more thing before more educated folk beat me to it. If you were to find a Made in Japan, Leblanc Vito/Martin engraved horn WITHOUT nickel plated keywork. You may have lucked onto a professional grade Yanagisawa horn. Some of these, depending on the year, and whether soprano, alto, tenor, etc., are totally, wholly, completely Yanagisawa professional level. STAMPED JAPAN and MAY also have the YANI symbol stamped also.

    I personally own a Leblanc/ MARTIN engraved tenor horn; stamped Japan and obviously ALL Yamaha, however. It has all brass keywork and is as professional grade as they get. Yet another Mystery unravelled with much effort...

    Hopefully when folks search this site For BEST GOOD INEXPENSIVE STUDENT INTERMEDIATE SAX they find this link; and it eases or simplifies their search. And if they choose to read further for hours to confirm these statements, I hope that they find great pleasure doing so... I HAVE.... ALL SMILES...

    Oh,,, 1+1=1...??? Welll... 1 Vito plus 1 Yamaha (sometimes equals) 1 Yamaha

    Best Wishes,
    CLAY
    Last edited by claybo77; 01-28-2010 at 03:02 AM. Reason: where's the spell check? Got some bad keystrokes too

  2. #2
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Well...some good info in there, and thanks for your opinion. However....some of it's a bit dogmatic for my tastes.

    Very few Vitos are actually Leblanc System..and I mean VERY, VERY few.

    Tons of Vitos ARE Beaugnier-made. I have not played a bad one of these. Beaugnier-made horns aren't just respectable...most of the seven or eight I have had thru here are downright kick#ss. The kind of experience where you pick it up thinking "hh, Vito", and blow a few notes before your eyes open really wide and your head jerks back slightly.
    Same can be said for the Kenosha-assembled ones. I have one each of a Tenor, Alto, and Bari which I have kept to play for a bit...and they are all very good saxes.

    Yes, different beasts entirely from the Japanese ones, which are also very solid (I am currently working up a tenor and it is pretty good). But you sell the pre-Japan horns very, very short. I would suggest you try a few older Beaugnier-made ones which have been worked up into good playing shape.

    They put to shame many other makes which cost 3-5 times their price......

  3. #3
    lhoffman's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    I get the feeling you might be selling a Yamaha Vito soon...

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician & columnist clarnibass's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    YAS-21 and YAS-23 are very good saxophones IMO in that they have a good tone and intonation, very comfortable (modern keys) and generally have a good design. However they have some problems, these are mainly loose rod screws in stack posts and unlevel tone holes. They last some time with these issues, but by the time they need more significant repair these issues need to repaired too. Other instruments from Yamaha don't have those problems so it must be a compromise to lower costs. I've also recently saw a Vito made by Yamaha in Japan and it had another problem that I've never seen on a Yamaha. The low B and Bb key arms were too short and the pads were hitting the tone holes on the edge. This was definitely from the factory and not because of damage. It did have good tone and intonation like all student Yamahas.

  5. #5

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    Cool Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    I know that this is a really long post; and actually so long that it might even be labelled a tutorial... But hidden within all those words one might notice this...

    "NO---- Don't buy a Vito-labeld horn made anywhere OTHER than JAPAN... unless someone REALLY knows what they are looking at."

    When I said, " unless someone knows what they are looking at." I meant someone knowledgeable about Beaugniers and ALL the various OTHER EXCELLENT CHOICES. The post I wrote was just to help folks who don't know a local expert and SIMPLY want the best, widely accepted, NEARLY common knowledge, need look no further, NO-BRAINER, inexpensive, sure-fire, choice.

    I AGAIN said in the original post:

    "There are folks on this forum who know much more about this than I do. So I will not go any further than to say this, " Unless you want to learn a totally different way to make notes on a sax, DON'T by a Leblanc System horn." And how does one avoid one of these horns???? _ Either know what you are looking at,_ or simply, buy ONLY a Leblanc Vito/Japan.

    So... If a person does not have an expert available to help them wade through ALLLLL the multitude of choices, new and old... Follow the advice of MANY other previous posts. Yamaha/Japan.

    My only contribution was to hopefully clarify the FACT that one can get a Vito/Japan and generally save some money.

    And YES,,,, I have,,, and will continue to buy Yamahas and Vito/Japan horns for my own use. Or to pass on the bargain to others (knowledgable enough) to take advantage of them.

    Just trying to increase the Knowledge Base. I see all those Vito/Japan horns Languishing on ebay, with so many folks chewing up the search engines looking for Yamahas. "Water, water, everywhere, and nary a drop to drink!" Sketchy allusion. I know...

    Thanks,
    Clay
    Last edited by claybo77; 01-29-2010 at 04:37 AM. Reason: spell check?

  6. #6
    Distinguished SOTW Member artstove's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    I have a Vito Kenosha alto. It is a very heavy, solid horn with a nice, rich tone. I had a Yamaha YTS-21 tenor. It was well enough constructed, but I didn't much like the sound of it. Too thin. My tech said the 23 is a better horn.

  7. #7

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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    I appreciate and welcome any added information to this post.

    I would hope to not cause bad feelings in anyone concerning OTHER, Non-Japan Vitos or any Leblanc horn. I definately defer to anyone else concerning these other horns.

    And there certainly has been LIVELY debate as to the differences between the 21 and 23 models of Yamahas. But I would hold to the GENERAL assertion that EITHER would make a good beginner/doubler horn. I assert that because I have seen scores of posts that claim either, or both, to be more than adequate. Please feel free to use this site by entering YAS-21 and YAS-23 IN THE SEARCH ENGINE.

    Once again, I defer to MANY previous posters

    Thanks,
    Clay

  8. #8
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Quote Originally Posted by claybo77 View Post
    So... If a person does not have an expert available to help them wade through ALLLLL the multitude of choices, new and old... Follow the advice of MANY other previous posts. Yamaha/Japan.


    Clay
    Fair enough point ....but ...one doesn't need an expert to help them examine all choices, really. Who is capable of that? Maybe a half-dozen members on this whole board.
    One just needs someone familiar with a few makers. Plus, I would hope that when buying a horn, someone's gonna do some research first.

    I agree with you, the Yamahas seem to be the default most folks go to...and actually it has been noted by others here that...as of late...the 23 models ain't exactly going cheap anymore (which raises the issue: if they aren't going cheap anymore...can you actually get something better with little research ?). So, if what you are suggesting is that the Vito Japan is just as good a default horn...OK, that's valid and one could do far worse than getting either a Yam or the V-J. And indeed one can pick up the Vito for less. I got my Tenor for under $250 and it plays fine.

    Just wanted to set the record straight on older Vitos. The name doesn't exactly instill confidence in most people, but Vito produced a long, long line of very respectable quality in around 40-50 years of production...regardless of where they were made.

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member and Champion of the Holton geauxsax's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Now we return TO our regularly SCHEDULED programming, BROUGHT to you BY Yamaha/Vito/Japan . . .

  10. #10
    Distinguished SOTW Member DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    It's pretty easy to avoid the Leblanc system Vitos, since they sell for more more I have an alto and love it.

    Come to think of it, I believe altos are the only ones I have seen with this keywork, labeled as "Vito". Does anyone know if they made tenors with this keywork for Vito?

  11. #11

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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Thanks to geauxsax,

    With all that DRY "factual-izing" in my original post, HUMOR is definately welcome...

    And thank you for making one of the main points of my original assertion AGAIN. As you do so clearly, in your humourous manner. I quote beauxsax, "Now we return TO our regularly SCHEDULED programming, BROUGHT to you BY Yamaha/Vito/Japan" !!!!!! (see post #9)

    That point being that it does indeed SEEM as though there is, or ought to be, some kind of organized effort by so many posters and "experts" waving the Yamaha banner. Especially for students/doublers.

    Wish I had bought some of their stock back in the Seventies!!!! I'd have my otherwise non existant ASSISTANT typing and spell-checking for me... SMILE!!!!

    And to DavidW (post #10), I am so pleased to hear that some folks have the skill set to manage the different fingerings... I, myself, am variously hindered by dyslexia and can barely handle one version... But KUDOS to the better-brained....!!!

    Thanks,
    Clay
    Last edited by claybo77; 01-31-2010 at 10:26 PM. Reason: Oooops correction

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    I only recall the high F# being different (it is by the F palm key on the Vito). I really don't use an F# key anyway, so it doesn't bother me.

  13. #13

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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    Since I have been guilty of taking up bandwidth by double posting before; I know NOT TO DO IT!!!!! Soooo In answering another post, I have inadvertantly added information which SHOULD be included here. If anyone wanted to see that information, I suppose the only way to go about it would be to look at a post in this forum --------lead me not into temptation----- reply #10. I wish I knew how to create a link...

    My reply to that post, includes some credentials of some of the people, that I got some of my thoughts and knowledge--- about the subject of good, better, best.--- Vintage vs modern, American, German, Japanese, French. (My English/Composition Instructor would shoot me, sorry)

    Hopefully a little humor is recognizable here and there also.

    Cheers,
    Clay

    PS I guess it's time to admit that when it comes to computers; I barely rise to the level of moron,,, barely....

    MORON-- definition: "a person with a mental age of approximately 13, and can NOT work UN-supervised." chock full of 'em...
    Last edited by claybo77; 02-01-2010 at 12:42 AM. Reason: editing

  14. #14

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    Default Re: MYSTERIES REVEALED: Best Good Inexpensive Student Intermediate Sax 1+1=1

    And to make my point so clearly... Here is a knowledgable, reccomended, ebay seller with 2) Yamaha altos. One with the Vito label... item # 310197701215 (buy it now $350.00). And it's Yamaha labelled brother... item #310197560548 ( Buy it Now $600.00). They both appear to be in EXCELLENT condition, but the seller knows that the Vito label won't command the REAL price.

    SOMEBODY who needs an alto, ought to jump on that VITO right now...!!!!!!!!!!!!! They both appear to be in near mint condition. Both SUPER bargains. But $350 VS $600 This seller gets good prices for his stuff AND I've investigated his feedback.

    I am not offering a personal guarantee here, and do not know the seller personally... But... If there was something wrong here I would be SHOCKED....

    Do the math!!!

    Good luck and best wishes,
    Clay

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