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  1. #1

    Default Cheap alto recommendation

    Hi, I'm a pianist and I always wanted to try an alto just for fun. I'm looking for a cheap alto sax. I found a store in my neighbourhood which sells alto's and I can also rent one at first. I found this model which isn't really expensive:

    However, I don't understand which model this is. The description:
    MAIN ‘Student’ Altsaxofoon.
    Yamaha style model

    But which model is this? Is this a good one? If not, which one do you recommend?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician & columnist clarnibass's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Jerusalem, Israel.

    Default Re: Cheap alto recommendation

    This seems to be a Chinse copy of a Yamaha student model alto saxophone. This means the keys are copied from that model, but it doesn't necessarily mean much if it's good or not. It is probably comfortable at least close or similar to a Yamaha (which IMO has a good feel for he keys) but whether it sounds good or built well, there's no really way to know unless you try/check. These Chinese saxophones can really vary, I'm just working on two of them that look nearly identical but play and built very different, one decent and one terrible.

    Since the store is so close to you, best to find a good saxophone player and ask them to come with you and try it. Maybe they can try other models for comparison, so you can also hear the difference. Being a pianist, likely you know someone? Maybe the store will let you bottow one (maybe for a deposit) so you can take it to someone (maybe a teacher) to try? Some of those cheap Chinese saxophones are a greast value and good option for a student, but I wouldn't want anyone to get stuck with one of the bad ones...

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Sacramento California

    Default Re: Cheap alto recommendation

    If I were in your shoes, I would buy a used yamaha YAS-23. Why buy a copy, when you can have the original? Spend the money now rather than buying a horn that will fall apart and then you end up having to buy the yamaha later anyway. Check ebay or better yet, put a want to buy ad in our marketplace section and buy from a sotw member. The horn will probably be ready to play right out of the case, where ebay horns normally need some work to make them play properly. Good luck!

  4. #4
    Distinguished SOTW Member
    Forum Contributor 2012
    JayePDX's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009

    Default Re: Cheap alto recommendation

    You are in the Netherlands, yes ?

    Start by contacting member Milandro, who is also there and always helpful. Do a search for his name, then find a thread and click on his username to contact him.

    He would have some recommendations as to where you can buy locally, and he knows the market over there.

    There could potentially be so many available saxes which are better than this asian one, your money could be much better spent. I would not do eBay only because you are new to the instrument and it becomes risky. The suggestion of buying from a trusted European member here is potentially a good one, if you cannot find anything good locally.

    278eur = $370usd . That can get you a lot of alto. I would not suggest you buy a brand-new asian horn with a name of no repute.....
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cheap alto recommendation

    Thanks people. I rented that sax, which is a Main brand sax.

    However, certain notes are shartp. Middle "C" (which would be Eb above middle C on piano) is sharp. If I use the side key it sounds better. Low C sounds ok.

    Is this normal, or is my technique just bad (or is it the instrument which isn't working properly)?

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