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Thread: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

  1. #1
    Agasfer's Avatar
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    Default Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Hello,

    I am a "late bloomer" - 57, without any previous experience. I have started couple of months ago. The tenor I'm using -- Amati Craslice unknown model -- is rented from the musical school (where I'm taking lessons once a week) -- it is absolutely usable accordingly to my teacher but it has definitely seen better times. I want to have an instrument of my own and my teacher agrees that this is a reasonable step.

    I wonder, should I as a beginner be satisfied with an entry level instrument (I'm deciding between Yamaha-275 and Keilwerth ST-90), or should I aspire for something better -- I don't think I am going to change this instrument in the future, I will stay with this one indefinitely. In what way I will be limited by the student horn (assuming that I will like its sound)? I will appreciate your advise.

    Alexander

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Agasfer View Post
    I wonder, should I as a beginner be satisfied with an entry level instrument (I'm deciding between Yamaha-275 and Keilwerth ST-90), or should I aspire for something better -- I don't think I am going to change this instrument in the future, I will stay with this one indefinitely. In what way I will be limited by the student horn (assuming that I will like its sound)? I will appreciate your advise.
    First of all, I don't think you can oversee yet whether you will stay with your next sax forever ... tastes change, etcetera

    Apart from that, my opinion is that you should buy the best instrument you can afford.

    What's your teacher's opinion on this? By all means, have him involved in your instrument selection.
    Grassi low A bari (1976) Meyer 9M / Martin "The Martin" tenor (1951), OL vintage Tone Edge #7
    Martin "Indiana" alto (1954), Meyer 6M / Buffet Crampon "Continentale" Bb clarinet (1972), Vandoren V360

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    I was talking a few days ago with two co-players in a band where I play where all sorts of people play together . Both of them play on very expensive Selmers reference 36 (alto and tenor) which are way above their needs and capabilities. Both enjoy their instrument and in the alto case , although her playing is not really much of a muchness, she definitely has a tone which is way better than most at the same level of experience.

    Buy a horn that you are happy with and enjoy it, if you have enough money for an expensive horn .......buy that........ if you need to appease your conscience do some charity work to balance your hedonism but do not waste too much time in misplaced feelings of guilt. Enjoy your horn!

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Good advice there in #2 and #3...

    If you stayed 'student' model, the Yamaha is the better of the two options you mention. The Keilwerth isn't really a Keilwerth...they subbed the ST line out to asia; it never really received much praise...and now that Keilwerth has been folded into Buffet (but still producing in Germany) they have discontinued it altogether.

    I guess the main Q becomes....do you really think you are going to stick with sax for several years at least ? If so,then an investment in a good-quality horn is never a bad idea. Would a Yamaha suit for a long while...? Probably, yes.
    Would it hold you back ? Unlikely.

    Now, here's the thing, though. I presume you were thinking of a new ST or 275 ? Because those run, what, around $1500+ ?

    If that is really what you have as a budget to invest....then you can do much, much better than either of those. So, if you really wanted to get a lotta bang for the buck, you may want to consider some other alternatives.

    If you are still on the fence about playing forever...then I wouldn't spend more than $500 on a Tenor (used). You can still get a very respectable, solid, good-sounding used one for that sort of money.
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    Forum Contributor 2012 dexdex's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Same comment here. As long as you don't sacrifice any of your beloved, go for it. A late bloomer friend of mine decided to start in his 40s. I tried to steer him to a used Yamaha to save his budget. He asked me what I play (see my signature ....). He went to the local store, and bought a brand new Series III. He has been shedding his scales on it for 2 years now and is the happiest sax player around.
    Sop Yana SC900 - Vandoren S25 - Fiberreed Carbon Classic MH ¦ Alto SA-II - Meyer 7M - Fiberreed Carbon M
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    Hear them on The Groove Merchant.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    There's never anything wrong with a beginner buying a new "top end" horn, but only if they have money to burn.

    As you get experienced, you get to know what kind of saxophone works best for you, so at some point even (or especially) with the most expensive "pro" saxophone, you are likely to find something that suits you better. In regard to the way you play and what you play.

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    As you get experienced, you get to know what kind of saxophone works best for you, so at some point even (or especially) with the most expensive "pro" saxophone, you are likely to find something that suits you better. In regard to the way you play and what you play.

    Yeah, that's a very astute comment. One might wanna consider that as a relative newbie, you may not really be experienced enough to know how to make a good decision on an upper or top-shelf model quite yet...
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    You haven't said what your budget is. First of all, yes, get a pro line horn. Why not have the best instrument you can get? Secondly, if money is no object get one that will hold its value. That way if you decide to trade horns later you can get most of your money back out of it. Or, if you keep it the rest of your life you'll have something valuable you can leave to your heirs.

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    There's never anything wrong with a beginner buying a new "top end" horn, but only if they have money to burn.

    As you get experienced, you get to know what kind of saxophone works best for you, so at some point even (or especially) with the most expensive "pro" saxophone, you are likely to find something that suits you better. In regard to the way you play and what you play.
    As a late bloomer myself (started at 50), this makes a great deal of sense to me. It took me a good 5 years of lessons and intense playing and practice before I knew which horn and what kind of sound I wanted (and another 5 years to realize the sound part was mostly me, anyway). I thought I knew when I began, but it turned out I was all wrong. My advice would be to buy something like a solid, used Yamaha 23 and in a few years, if you are still serious, look for a more advanced horn and sell the Yamaha (at close to what you paid) or keep it as a backup.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    I'm feeling a bit bolshie so take this as you might. You are two months in so your task is to learn 12 major scales and 48 chords (12 keys X major triad, minor triad, major seventh, dominant seventh) and then you will know a lot more about what feels good when you play. Make your purchasing decisions at that time. If, of course, you currently feel comfortable with 12 keys and and 48 chords, then splash the cash around. I'm assuming that you are playing jazz/blues/pop.

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    Forum Contributor 2011 Steve Stockham's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    At two months he's not playing jazz/blues/pop unless he's some kind of musical genius! He's probably still learning the basics. This would be maybe eight different keys, probably no chords (as of yet) one or two alternate fingerings... The guy's just getting started! I'm not great on anything over five sharps or flats and I've played for years! To expect proficiency in two months from a complete novice, especially with chords of keys with six sharps or more, isn't realistic!

    Personally, I would find a good intermediate horn to purchase. The horn will suffice for any but the serious player that plans on going professional. Even then, if one has chosen well, the intermediate horn will work just fine! What differences occur between professional and intermediate horns is usually ergonomics. A beginning sax player isn't going to be able to discern the differences and when they have amassed enough skill that this becomes an issue, they will know what they want. The intermediate horn will hold it's value better than the professional one (lower initial cost means less variance from the asking price) and in the event that one prefers to keep the instrument as a back-up, you have a much better sax than a student model to work with!

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    if any person driving a Ferrari a Lamborghini or an Aston Martin would deserve ( because of their driving abilities) or NEED any of these cars I am sure that they would sell only 10-20 a year BUT the fact of the matter is that a lot more people who don't, strictly speaking, NEED a super car or know how to extract all the power in it own one.

    No doubt some do this in order to show off, but a number of people do this because of the tremendous enjoyment of owning a great car. The same thing applies to saxophones.

    As I wrote in another thread there are more than 100.000 Mark VI alto and tenors out there , I doubt they are all in the hands of deserving accomplished players.

    Some would be probably wasted with show-offs but the great majority are in the hands of more or less gifted and committed amateurs some of whom would not only enjoy having an object of beauty but also play a lot more because they own an object of beauty.

    Gratify yourself, one of the nicest teaching for me was a Persian proverb which says " if you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy roses for your heart ", life is the things we nee and also the things we don't need but which we like and give us pleasure.

    Nothing wrong with pleasure!

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Quote Originally Posted by milandro View Post
    if any person driving a Ferrari a Lamborghini or an Aston Martin would deserve ( because of their driving abilities) or NEED any of these cars I am sure that they would sell only 10-20 a year BUT the fact of the matter is that a lot more people who don't, strictly speaking, NEED a super car or know how to extract all the power in it own one.

    ……………..

    Gratify yourself, one of the nicest teaching for me was a Persian proverb which says " if you have two loaves of bread, sell one and buy roses for your heart ", life is the things we nee and also the things we don't need but which we like and give us pleasure.

    Nothing wrong with pleasure!
    Yes, this is another (better) way of saying what I did. There's no harm in it if you have the money. To continue the analogy, A beginner driver won't really appreciate the difference between a Ferrari and a Lamborghini. But they will enjoy either, right from the start (if they stay alive). Only after a while, they will realise whether they really want to drive a Lamborghini or a Ferrari. Or both. I've only driven a Ferrari, but if I had 250,000 to spare I'd sure as hell test drive both, something a learner can't really do adequately.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 MoonMind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    To the OP: I'm in two minds about what to tell you. Fact is, I got a great deal of motivation out of laying my hands on very potent horns pretty early - but another fact is that it turned out just as Pete Thomas said: I found other horns that suited me better later on. That's why I'd finally support the notion of getting a reliable horn while not spending too much money on it. I personally favour the YTS-23 - or, if that isn't available, the 275 which is a little bit less expressive, but the more modern horn - because it's a great starting point and capable of growing along with you; while it's not my best sounding tenor, but it's the one that gets the most playing time of all my tenors, and for a reason.

    But if you really want to get an outstanding horn and have money to spare, it may still be worth it. Strange as it may seem, it was one of my major saxophone experiences that after learning to play my Selmer well, I learned to appreciate the merits of my cheap-ish Yamaha and my inexpensive Yanagisawa (which became my favourite alto). In other words, if you can get a lot out of a renowned strong player, you'll get better at getting lots out of other horns, too. But this way, you may end up with an expensive horn in your closet...

    M.
    ss: King (H. N. White, curved); Bauhaus Walstein Bronze AI (straight); Mantovanelli (an Orsi stencil, straight).
    as: King Super 20 SilverSonic; Yanagisawa A-6; Selmer SuperAction 80 II; Lyrist "Briard"; Yamaha YAS-25; Jupiter JAS-769-767.
    ts: Yanagisawa T-500; Conn 10M; Cannonball T5.
    bs: Conn 12M; Yanagisawa B-6; Keilwerth The New King.
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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    oh well, I have a few horns in my panoply, can't complain .........if OP gets an expensive horn now he might very well keep it and buy something else along the way. Come to think of it. Isn't it what most of us with a multi-horn ownership status have done in a few (like me) or many years ?

  16. #16
    Forum Contributor 2014 MoonMind's Avatar
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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    You're right, milandro... But you already knew that. Money issues aside, I don't think it was a mistake either...

    M.
    ss: King (H. N. White, curved); Bauhaus Walstein Bronze AI (straight); Mantovanelli (an Orsi stencil, straight).
    as: King Super 20 SilverSonic; Yanagisawa A-6; Selmer SuperAction 80 II; Lyrist "Briard"; Yamaha YAS-25; Jupiter JAS-769-767.
    ts: Yanagisawa T-500; Conn 10M; Cannonball T5.
    bs: Conn 12M; Yanagisawa B-6; Keilwerth The New King.
    => Support Free Software! <=

  17. #17

    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    I say go for whatever you can afford that rings your chimes. If you've got disposable income where better place to park some of it than in a high quality musical instrument?

    I can say this because I've got a couple years on you: You're not getting any younger
    How hard can it be? You only play one note at a time.

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    I am 55 and started on the tenor two years ago without any previous experience. I am learning on a Kohlert stencil (1958). It cost me about $800 and I enjoy it as much as I would enjoy a much more expensive horn. As an adult, able to indulge myself, I could have spent a lot more. I chose to wait until I could, myself, choose between the ferrari and the lamborghini rather than go by other peoples opinions. I suggest you spend a reasonable amount and get your teacher to help you test the horns. You can choose the price, how shiny it should be and what colour while, your teacher can decide if it plays well and will last long enough.

    Good Luck and welcome to SOTW

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    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Since you are 57, Agasfer...you should buy a Kohlert 57.

    It's just a Kharmic thing.....trust me.....
    Go for the Old-Skool, homies. www.2ndending.com

  20. #20

    Default Re: Should an absolute beginner buy an advanced horn?

    Yes, if you want too..

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