Saxophone Forum


by lfloyd
(2 posts)
5 years ago

Very,very new wanna be!

thanks for my membership! I am a retired 64 yr old male. I have played guitar for almost 50 years lol. I don't read music, I play by ear. i have always loved the sax and admired the players I heard. I'd like to begin playing sax and have NO idea what to buy or even where to begin! I've looked online at many different saxophones but don't know what's best for an old fart to start off with lol! Any suggestions would be welcome to say the least. With retirement budget restraints I'd like to purchase a good instrument that will get me through the learning process without breaking The bank. Also are online lessons worth looking into? Thanks for any and all help!!

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by mijderf
    (282 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Very,very new wanna be!

    There is a buyer's guide on this site http://www.saxophone.org/resources/guide

    It is a great place to start.  You do not state which saxophone (alto, tenor, etc) you are interested in.  If you haven't decided yet, then you should listen to youtube videos to help decide which sound you like.  Then of course you will need a mouthpiece, ligature and reeds.  Typical beginner mouthpieces are Yamaha or Fobes Debut in 4 or 5 sized tip openings.  As a starting point for reeds, I would start with a 2 strength reed.  As a beginner, I wouldn't focus too much on the ligature, just get a low priced one that fits the mouthpiece and holds the reed securely in place.

    I do not have any experience with online lessons, but I really think that you should start lessons with a local teacher, at least for a while to get your embouchure developed.  Both local or an online teachers, will not go very far until they start wanting to teach you how to read music.  You should consider learning this...it's really not very hard at all.

    Good luck, and have fun!

    Reply To Post


    1. by lfloyd
      (2 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Very,very new wanna be!

      Thank you for your input!! I guess I should have said that I'll most likely be starting out with an Alto sax. I'm sure at some point I'd HAVE to learn to read music. Looking online is overwhelming with info on buying a sax!! I don't have a lot of money and I don't want to buy an inexpensive Selmer or another high end sax then have to pay "through the nose" to have it fixed or re padded and such. I'll check out the site you mentioned, thank you very much!!

      Reply To Post


      1. by mijderf
        (282 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Very,very new wanna be!

        The standard advice for beginner sax players is to buy a used Yamaha YAS-23 horn.  They are well constructed, with good intonation, and there are a lot of them on the market.  You can probably find them in the $500 range for a horn that might still require about $100 of tech work, but the horn will be a nice player.  Also try to set aside another $75 - $100 for a mouthpiece, reeds, cork grease, neck strap......

        A final note on the YAS-23.  If you really start to get good and want to trade up, your horn (if maintained) may sell close to what you paid for it.

        The link I listed is to the buyer's guide on this website.  They discuss the Yamaha YAS-23 and some similar other good starter horns. 

        Reply To Post


    2. by bjroosevelt
      (47 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Very,very new wanna be!

      I just started playing the Tenor Sax about 6 months ago after a 35 year hiatus from playing woodwinds.  Let's just say I am about 50 right now.  I had no idea where to start either.  I ended up going down to the local music stores, checking out their inventory and writing down the model numbers and serial numbers of each one of them.  I then went home and did research on the internet.  First I determined the year of manufacture from the serial numbers and then did a search on reviews of that specific model from that decade.  (Trust me, there is plenty of very specific information out there.). Google does wonders for finding this type of information on websites such as saxophone.org.  From the online reviews I selected a horn.

      Why did I go to the local repair/music shop?......for a bunch of reasons......mainly, dishonest repair shops for the most part aren't in business anymore.  The internet has taken too much business.  The other reason is that it limited my selection to a handful of horns rather than the thousands available online.  The product was also easily returnable without costing me any extra money.  (The costs of returning a horn to an online shop can add up.....and with a new instrument you have never played, you have a high risk of being dissatisfied).  In addition, the local repair shop was pretty good at giving me tips and pointers.

      Funny thing is that I ended up buying the cheapest horn shown to me because it had the best review.....who wants an ugly 1959 horn?  (The shiny newer ones cost more but don't sound better and are not made as well as the worn looking ones).

      I am thrilled with the sound that my horn makes.....however, now that I have been playing my horn for a few months, I realize that my selection of this amazing vintage Conn horn (16M made in America) was imperfect.......the sound quality is great, but the key lay out is old and it makes the horn very difficult to use, as I have small hands.  (Recently, I went back to look at other used horns in repair store inventory and I discovered that I liked my current better than any of the other ones offered....For example - I hate the sound of the Yamaha student models, even though they are easier to play.).

      I hope these key learnings will help you:   There is no way that I was going to be able to select the perfect horn for me when I started playing (I had never put my lips on a sax before).  I have only started to have a sense of what I really need now that I have been playing for 6 months.  There is a good chance you will be in the same boat.    So start used and inexpensive and buy something that you can afford to replace in a year or two, after you learn what you really need.

      Reply To Post