Buying a Beginner Saxophone for Child

wire-n-wood

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
4,516
My daughter is 10, she is looking at learning the alto saxophone. The local music stores have Yamaha alto-saxes (which I assume would be good student quality) for around $1300 (Australian dollars). They have other brands on special in-store for around $1000.

On ebay, I see new saxophones for around $250. That's a huge price drop. My instinct tells me to steer clear of that price range. But I know nothing of saxophones.

Any advice from Saxophone players about a first instrument for a 10 year old?
Many thanks.
 

Smow09

Member
Messages
399
I would steer clear of anything under 500 new. Yamaha makes fine student instruments. Try checking the used market. And focus on wind and brass instrument shops, music stores that try to do everything usually focus too much on guitar stuff.
 

blueworm

Member
Messages
3,207
Ask her teacher. Cheapo sax can be really bad for intonation, tone, stuff like that. With wind instrument it's crucial to have a good, well maintained instrument to start with. Teachers usually know pretty well what is good and what is to avoid.
 

a1briz

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,757
Can you rent for a year before she decides she wants to stick to it? My 10 year old son just started with sax too. For the price I decided it was best to rent for a few months first.

I was also told to stay clear of the cheaper instruments. Those Yamaha ones you mention were recommended, but they are pricey.
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,062
10 is and isn't young...depends on the child. I was lucky to start with a pro sax. The Yamaha line is a good way to go. Saxes get banged up a bit from other kids and their instruments. Those are solid. Saxophones do not play in tune, so you need a small tuner and patience all around. Cane reeds are disastrously bad these days, but still a good way to start. I recommend Plasticovers. Everyone, including me, is playing Legere synthetic reeds. They're pricey and I wouldn't let her use them for a long time.
 

59Vampire

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
4,444
I bought a used Yamaha ya23(?) for my son when he was 9. Had to put 150 into to getting padded up and straightened out. He won't out grow it for a while but I think the newer ones have an f key?
 

wrxplayer

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
7,505
I agree with everything that's been said. Yamaha makes a fine sax.

As with everything else, there's a lot of manufacturing that's moved to China. Some are pretty nice horns but resale stinks.

Going used is a great idea, especially if the seller is a retailer that's given the sax a once over. "Tune ups" on saxophones can be very expensive.

Lastly, depending on what you get, it might be worth dropping another US$100 or perhaps a little less on a quality mouthpiece for ease of play.

You can do research here: http://www.wwbw.com/ (owned by Musicians Friend) as well as www.saxontheweb.net.

I purchased an excellent horn via their emporium. Users there tend to be more pro than hack. http://forum.saxontheweb.net/forumdisplay.php?160-Horns-For-Sale
 

xroads

Member
Messages
2,464
I agree with everything that's been said. Yamaha makes a fine sax.

As with everything else, there's a lot of manufacturing that's moved to China. Some are pretty nice horns but resale stinks.

Going used is a great idea, especially if the seller is a retailer that's given the sax a once over. "Tune ups" on saxophones can be very expensive.

Lastly, depending on what you get, it might be worth dropping another US$100 or perhaps a little less on a quality mouthpiece for ease of play.

You can do research here: http://www.wwbw.com/ (owned by Musicians Friend) as well as www.saxontheweb.net.

I purchased an excellent horn via their emporium. Users there tend to be more pro than hack. http://forum.saxontheweb.net/forumdisplay.php?160-Horns-For-Sale
Excellent advice.
The Yamaha student line is very good, Yanagisawas as well. You can buy used, and if your kid gives up, sell at little loss. If you buy one, new or used, make sure it is set up well (the teacher can check that pretty easily). It can be VERY frustrating to learn on a horn with bad setup (I speak from personal experience...).
 

jay42

Member
Messages
7,062
As with everything else, there's a lot of manufacturing that's moved to China. Some are pretty nice horns but resale stinks.
When I was following it many years ago, it seemed like Cannonball and others were issuing new lines every couple of years, with better reviews each time. I would think it would make buying a used Chinese sax very difficult in terms of knowing which ones are better than others, unless you bring a pro along.

Cannonball, btw, at least used to be a Salt Lake City marketing company who spec their horns for factories either in Taiwan or mainland China. That's how a lot of it has gone. LA Sax sells saxes with wild lacquer jobs and I think they're pretty good.
 




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