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Need a Saxophone For My Kid. HELP!

Discussion in 'Other Off Topic Forum' started by jimpo1, May 15, 2009.

  1. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Jul 30, 2001
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    Jim E
    My son decided yesterday that he wants to play the sax. He'll start next year in the 6th grade. I learned that I get to rent one for $60/month, and need to start next month. He'll keep it at minimum 11 months. I can do simple math, and that's $660.

    I then looked online, and I can buy a sax starting at about $200, up to as much as I want to spend. Does anyone here know about these intsruments? I hate to spend $1500 for a good piece if it's not something he'll stick with, on the other hand I can spend $500, he can have something that he owns, and I'll save some money too.

    Any advice on brands/models/sizes etc. for a beginner would be appreciated.
     
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  3. mseals

    mseals Two Time F1 World Champ
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    eBay is your friend...

    http://myworld.ebay.com/mendini_music/

    These guys sell very reasonably priced entry-level instruments... I can not tell you if they are 'good' or 'bad' ...

    As a working professional musician in a past life, I will say this...

    It is MUCH harder to learn to play on a cheap instrument than it is on a better one...

    just my $.02

    Mike in Kuwait
     
  4. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    My problem is I don't know good from bad. I don't know if I can get a good instrument for $300, or if I have spend $1000. I can roll the dice, but.......
     
  5. bounty

    bounty F1 Veteran

    Feb 18, 2006
    7,632
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    I would rent first IMO. I was in and out of band in a matter of 4 months.
     
  6. ferraridude615

    ferraridude615 F1 Veteran

    May 4, 2006
    5,534
    Texas
    Those saxes look pretty good and are about the same quality of the sax I started out with and that is a pretty damn good price. Believe mine cost over a grand when I got it. If he doesn't like the sax you could always sell it back and only lose a couple bucks on it.
     
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  8. ferraridude615

    ferraridude615 F1 Veteran

    May 4, 2006
    5,534
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    Having taken band myself, I'd start off with one of the entry level saxes like the ones listed above. If he sticks with it and gets better, in a couple years ask his band director a better quality sax you should look into. Also, please don't buy him a blue, red, green, purple saxophone, everybody has a gold one.
     
  9. luv2detail

    luv2detail Formula 3

    Mar 30, 2006
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    #7 luv2detail, May 15, 2009
    Last edited: May 15, 2009
    I'd start him on a student/entry level horn. If he likes it and wants to stick with it, he can buy a better one after a few years. And in the the meantime, he can improve the sound of the horn with different mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures. Beginner mouthpieces are usually going to be plastic and easier to play. Better ones are metal or hard rubber. Most people start out on an alto sax, but occasionally on tenor sax. Ask the teacher which horn he/she wants your son on just to be sure.

    There's a great retail/internet store in Indiana called The Woodwind & Brasswind. Here's a link to their alto saxes listed from low to high pricewise. http://www.wwbw.com/Alto-Saxophones-Saxophones.wwbw?o1=2&o=1 . There are some horns from $300-$600 listed, but I've never heard of them. (Not saying they're not good, just that I've never heard of them.) But on the first page, there's a Bundy, Conn, and Keilwerth that you may want to consider. Conn makes some good horns, Keilwerth is a great horn, especially their pro models. And Bundy, well, my first sax was an alto Bundy that I got about 20 years ago, and it still works.:) I've bought a few more since then and boy do the prices increase on the better models! I paid about $3700 for a tenor that was the best sax on the market, and that was 12 years ago.

    Most likely a beginner sax will come with the mouthpiece, ligature, cap, and strap. All you should need to buy are reeds. Try the basic reed from Rico (orange box) and Vandoren (blue box) and a size 1 1/2 or 2. (the smaller the number, the softer the reed and easier to play.) Buy a few singles (if you can) of each brand and size. Once he finds one that works the best for him, buy a few boxes. It's pretty easy for beginners to chip or split a reed, and that makes it harder to play.

    I think that's about it. I hope he enjoys it!:)

    Edit: Also if you have a local music shop get him on some private lessons. It makes it a lot easier and he will probably progress much faster than the other students in the band. Band directors are usually trained at least "basically" on every instrument. But that doesn't mean they're good at every instrument. Plus teaching each student how to play an instrument takes forever, so they probably won't get all the attention they need.
     
  10. ferraridude615

    ferraridude615 F1 Veteran

    May 4, 2006
    5,534
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    I agree on the above advice. Started on number 2 reed and after a few years was up to a 3.5. Music lessons are good too if he is interested, you can learn a lot and really become a better player. Another hint, when he gets his sax he'll get a pretty crappy neckstrap with it most likely, buy him a better one they are available at almost all music stores, I remember my neck getting all cut up and bruised from the one I had until I got a new one.
     
  11. Carsleuth

    Carsleuth F1 Rookie

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    Very good advice, I know a ton of sax players so if you have any specific questions, I can pass them on to my friends.
     
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  13. DIGMAN52

    DIGMAN52 F1 Rookie
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    Jan 30, 2004
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    Jim,
    Find the closest Brook Mays Music, if they are still around. Had an LBJ and Montfort store for a while ?
    They rent, sell new and used, and are one of the few old music stores left. Also contact the band/orchestra
    director at the school as he may know of some good used ones out there too. I think exposure to music is
    important for kids, and I wish there was more of it.
     
  14. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
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    #11 AnotherDunneDeal, May 17, 2009
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
    Brook Mays is out of business. Lost a lawsuit to First Act. That and some poor management at the top finally cost them the business.

    Do not, I repeat, do not buy a First Act instrument. Lots of plastic parts and you cannot get them repaired.

    I agree with the above reply. Private lessons will really pay off if he decides he wants to play past the first six months. Our son begins giving private lessons in about two weeks but unfortnately in your case he is a low brass instructor.

    Usually the band directors have some good contacts for used instruments and may even know of one available from a previous student who has decided not to pursue music. I would not buy the most basic student horn but one above it. It is amazing how much difference there is for a hundred or two more. If you can find a good used one that is what I would do, for a beginner. He can decide if he wants to pursue music seriously and then you can upgrade.

    Our son worked at Mr. E's Music in Hurst last summer before starting at TCU. It is on Airport Freeway/183. Call over there and speak to Kelli. She is charge of all the band stuff and can recommend a good horn for you. She will know where the good used ones are also. I do not know if mentioning our son, J.J. Dunne will do any good for you but might try. Kelli knows him well and thinks a lot of him. They stay in touch on Facebook all the time and she is the one who got him the job there last year

    Have fun with it. He will squeak and squawk and miss a lot of notes in the beginning but you will love how fast he improves and how amazed you will be at his first concert. You will not be able to get the smile off your face.....I wish him well in his new interest and hope he stays interested. Oh, you can get a 12 pack of earplugs at Tom Thumb for $2.59 on the drug aisle..............If he gets into practicing a lot you might decide you need them. J.J. practices a minimum of 6 hours a day and believe me, a tuba played that much every day does get overwhelming.
     
  15. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Some good advice here, thanks all.

    The good news is that this is my youngest kid, I've been through the whole band thing with my oldest and his French Horn. The horn my oldest plays belongs to the school and we pay a paltry sum to use it. I guess it's different with the woodwinds as they seem to be cheaper to buy so the school doesn't stock them. We get to go to a 3rd party and rent.

    He has to sign up for a years worth of band in school, he can't quit until next May. So, I'm in for $700 regardless. I'd rather we have something at the end of the school year, rather than just give them the horn back. Based on what I see online, I think I can get him a pretty good horn for $700, and if he decides to keep playing, we'll be 'making money' through Jr High.

    He starts private lessons in June, and they'll continue until the end of the school year. I hope the lessons are at the teachers house! :)

    James, thanks for the contact info, I'll reach out to her.
     
  16. 777

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  17. 4za

    4za Formula 3

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    #14 4za, May 22, 2009
    Last edited: May 22, 2009
    Have played the alto sax (and clarinet, flute, piano, etc...) for quite some time. A GREAT beginner alto sax is the Yamaha YAS-23, it's what I started on. A Vandoren b45 is a great beginner mouthpiece and Rico 2.5 single cut reeds are great to start out on.

    If you need a YAS-23, PM me. I have one lying around, but needs some work (need to replace a couple pads)...


    EDIT: Pick up a couple Charlie Parker CD's for him too. :)
     
  18. Aedo

    Aedo F1 Rookie

    Feb 22, 2006
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    I'll second this idea - getting a better secondhand instrument is better value than a new instrument of the same price (and - like cars - you can probably resell for similar price so little to loose :) )


    I'll second this idea too :) - plus Dave Brubeck :)


    In terms of specific instrument though I suspect at his age the alto is the biggest sax he will be able to handle. When I started on tenor my younger brother (~10 at the time) did not have the reach or hand span to use it.
     
  19. JJB

    JJB Karting

    Aug 5, 2004
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    Richard's Band Instrument Repair on Beltline Road, between Josey and I-35--(940) 381-2263‎. I looked on Google and it appears that he is still there. I graudated high school 20 years ago and Richard maintained my instruments from the 6th grade on. He used to dabble in pre-owned instruments as well (helped me sell my Selmer Mark VI when I had not played it in 10 years and needed the cash...wish I still had that horn in the closet).

    Good luck,

    JJB
     
  20. venusone

    venusone F1 Rookie

    Mar 20, 2004
    2,809
    I just sold my trumpet to a coworker for $75.00. Her son says his band director was amazed by the quality of the trumpet. Just a Conn I used in 3 & 4 grade mostly. It was museum quality & came w/ a velvet lined hard case. Her son watched "Drum Line" religiously & now plays on it.
     
  21. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    I haven't seen mention of what SATB sax you're shooting for...

    Soprano
    Alto
    Tenor
    Baritone

    ?
     
  22. AnotherDunneDeal

    AnotherDunneDeal F1 Veteran

    Jun 2, 2003
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    A French Horn is much more expensive to buy than a beginning sax. I bought my brother a french horn when he started at Texas Tech. I was fortunate enough to find a very good used one for him. Your son will probably know who my brothers private teacher was. Anthony Britten, former principal french horn player for the New York Philharmonic.

    My son has some good friends who currently play sax, one of them on full scholarship to Eastman. He agrees with the Yamaha being a very good instrument for your son to start on. Then he can move up to the one you have to take a second mortgage out to give him........

    Have fun with it Jim. Maybe we will see him in a competition one of these days. Let us know how it goes........
     
  23. DGS

    DGS Four Time F1 World Champ

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    There's also the contrabass and the sopranino. (I did most of the range in band.)

    If your son is looking to branch into the clarinet, go with a B-flat instrument like the Tenor. The Alto is an E-flat instrument.

    If your son wants to build muscles, get him the Baritone or Bass (or Contra-Bass). ;)

    (I got drafted into the school musical pit orchestra because I was the only one in school who could play -- or carry around -- a Bari sax. The band was internally known as the "Cole Porter Hate Club". :p When switching between the baritone and sopranino, you have to be careful not to swallow the mouthpiece. ;))
     
  24. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    He'll be starting with the Alto sax, and thanks largely to this thread, I think I'm well on my way to finding him an instrument.

    Thanks all!
     
  25. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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  26. nthfinity

    nthfinity F1 Veteran

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    Mine only was $1300 when I bought it... Like all my instruments, after years of use, they get a lot of character. I'd not recommend buying new like I did...
     
  27. DMC

    DMC Formula 3

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    I started on alto but somehow got "chosen" to switch to bari in the 7th grade. I would up loving it (unofficial Gerry Mulligan fan club) and played it through high school and college, switching to soprano when needed. One summer I played bari, tenor, and soprano in pit for West Side Story. Good times. Especially transposing the oboe parts to play on the soprano.
     

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