First 'Professional' alto saxophone
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    Default First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Hello, I'm James. I recently came into a little bit of money and I've needed a new saxophone for a while. I have a Jupiter 500 alto sax but, it's on the verge of dying and now is as good as ever for me to get a new sax.

    I've had my sights on the Cannonball Big Bell Stone Series saxophones but, I'd like to know if there are some cheaper and better alternatives out there.

    Also, I was wondering about the finish... I like the nickel and silver-plated version but the vintage-looking finish of the 'brute' is pretty good looking. Which finish do you think stands out and looks better? I play in a band in my school and I'd just like an impressive sax that isn't the usual gold/brass.

    I like playing pop/rock/jazz but, I need a saxophone capable of playing almost anything. I'm a fan of the fancy colours (they look good, okay?) and I have 2600 to work with. Thanks for reading and any help that you may be able to give.

    Thanks again,
    JamesTheUnknowing

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    How about a Jupiter Artist. Silver plated, solid silver neck, gold lacquer keys. I have one that is in new condition for sale. You might take a look at Viking. Cannon Ball is a fine choice. I personally think their lacquer doesn't hold up very well.

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    That's a pretty healthy budget; you could easily get a Yanagisawa AWO1 or Yamaha 62 (these horns do have unlacquered and silver-plated options, if you want a different look). You should try to visit a sax.co.uk store and actually play some altos.

    Also, don't forget that your money will go much further if you buy a used sax.

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by LostConn View Post
    That's a pretty healthy budget; you could easily get a Yanagisawa AWO1 or Yamaha 62 (these horns do have unlacquered and silver-plated options, if you want a different look). You should try to visit a sax.co.uk store and actually play some altos.

    Also, don't forget that your money will go much further if you buy a used sax.
    I would definitely go used but in good shape. That's hundreds off...For instance I saw a used Selmer Reference alto for $2800 today.
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    If you would like a new horn, do some research on the Chateau top of the line models. I have not had a chance to play one, but the reviews I have read suggest that this is a great new horn for the price. I think you would be looking at $2500 or possibly less for their altos. Definitely try to play a horn before you buy. There is a lot of variation in how the horns sound and play, and one of them has the sound you are looking for.

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    I'm a big fan of Cannonball saxophones, so I don't think you can go far wrong - especially if the look is important, as you say you don't want the usual brass finish. Unfortunately nobody can tell you what looks best, as all opinions are very subjective. If you like the brute finish go for that. It's time to have some self confidence and value your own opinion on what looks best to you.

    You say you are at school, it may be considering that if you go on to music college it just possible there could be a policy against different looking instruments. I hope not but I have hear some horror stories - I used to teach saxophone at University and it never bothered me as long as the student was getting the best sound performance, but you never know.

    It's also good advice you have been given to visit sax.co.uk and try out lots of different instruments, though sadly I don't think they stock cannonball.


    Another stunning saxophone is the new range of Adolphe Sax. (Better than Cannonball IMO)







    Also I'd recommend if you like cannonball (and IMO as good as but less expensive) is the Bauhaus M2, which is available in a brown finish

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Someone here on the forum just posted a Yanagisawa 992 alto with a Sterling silver neck for $2500 ......grab it!!!!
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Hi James,

    are you in the UK. ? I would take a trip to sax.co.uk and play as many sax's as you can make a note of teh ones you like then look for a decent second hand one leaving a little in the kitty for a good service and set up. By you going and playing them you will make up your own mind as to what you like both the sound and feel of, you can then take your time to search out ones that you like on the second hand market.
    never a dull moment when playing your horn

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    No One can tell you what the "right " sax is for you. Only their own personal experiences. Some love modern horns, some love vintage horns - each with their own pros and cons. What one loves, .another may hate. Best bet is do research, pick some reputable brands and try them and figure out what feels and sounds best to you

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    And my own personal opinion is looks dont always matter (nice but not as iportant as feel and sound) - I have a lot of horns, and my one 10M looks like it should be in the trash from the awful discoloration but is one of the best playing horns Ive ever had my hands on. :-D

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    It's also good advice you have been given to visit sax.co.uk and try out lots of different instruments, though sadly I don't think they stock cannonball.
    The Cannonball company makes it very difficult to buy their instruments. They don't allow online sales (sax.co.uk probably said, "Screw that -- we have plenty of top brands to offer"), and they don't even publish a list of dealers for easy reference. You have to email Cannonball and beg them to tell you where you might find one of their horns for sale.

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    I'll check it out- they may have one in my local store for me to play with

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Thank you for all of your replies. For some reason I can't reply to each of you to thank you personally. I didn't expect such quick replies, thank you. I'll check out some of the mentioned saxes at my local woodwind shop. They stock cannonball which is why I jumped to them so quickly. A problem I've been having is about the 'Sceptyr'. It's cannonball's "semi-professional" sax. It's 600 cheaper and still comes in the nice finishes (even though that's not my main concern). My main concern is that I've not been able to find a definitive difference between 'semi-professional' and 'professional'. I've not found it yet. If I do go for a cannonball I will still go for the big bell stone series but, I'd like to put my mind at rest and find out what the difference between 'semi-professional' and 'professional' is.

    Thanks again.
    JamesTheUnkowing

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesTheUnknowing View Post
    I'll see if they have some in my local sax store. I have tried the Big Bell Stone series and love the sound but, I was looking for alternatives. I'll try these at the weekend. Thank you

    Where are you located?
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    I'm in Maidenhead and my most local shop is Dawkes music.

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesTheUnknowing View Post
    I'm in Maidenhead and my most local shop is Dawkes music.
    Ah, Maidenhead....knew it well, many years back. (Assuming it is the one in Berkshire, not Kent.) Spent a year next door in Taplow (at Cliveden House). Just met a chap from Beaconsfield yesterday. Loved that area. High tea at the Copper Kettle in Cookham......

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesTheUnknowing View Post
    I'm in Maidenhead and my most local shop is Dawkes music.

    OK, they have a good rep, not sure how varied their stock is. But still I would recommend a trip up to town. It's only about 60 minutes to Euston from Maidenhead. Unless there is a strike or snow.
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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesTheUnknowing View Post
    If I do go for a cannonball I will still go for the big bell stone series but, I'd like to put my mind at rest and find out what the difference between 'semi-professional' and 'professional' is.
    Terms like "semiprofessional" and "intermediate" are basically marketing categories, the meaning of which varies from company to company. Generally, they denote instruments that are lower-priced, and may have fewer features, or less impressive cosmetics. Sometimes they also may indicate a different source, i.e., the "pro" horn is manufactured in one place, while the "semipro" or "intermediate" horn is manufactured in another place (maybe even a different country) where costs are lower.

    The best value is almost always a used pro horn in excellent condition.

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Thank you very much. I was just wondering for a long while. Cheers

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    Default Re: First 'Professional' alto saxophone

    Cannonball is all about marketing, and they're not above making some rather fantastic claims in regard to their horns. They once had a rep here claim that the stone key touches improved intonation.

    If you want to go "professional", then I'd suggest going with more tried and true brands that better hold their value. Yamaha, Yanagisawa or Selmer France (and bonus if you can find a decent used one).

    Also, "semi-professional" or "intermediate" are solely marketing terms geared to selling parents a beginner, intermediate and pro model horn while their children progress in school.
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