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Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 14, 2009 08:03PM
My son started 4th grade this year and can join the school band. He wants to play the Sax. Rental will run roughly $110 for 4.5 month trial or $200 for 9 months. Liability damage waiver is another $10 and 20 respectively. If I rent, the ldw seems like a no brainer as I could be on the hook for an instrument that they have listed at about $1,000. LDW doesn't cover loss of the instrument though.

Amazon, Sams, BJ's and other online vendors have Alto Saxophones for $290 to $400. Not sure if there are issues or pitfalls to these instruments. I wouldn't mind spending $70 to $180 more to own the instrument and not have to worry about being out of pocket more if he looses it. Can anyone provide guidance or recommendations on buying a student sax?
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: zeppo2
Date: September 14, 2009 08:14PM
We chose to go the Craigslist route and are glad we did. He quit after a year, and we ended up selling the sax back for almost what we paid.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: weapon
Date: September 14, 2009 08:16PM
just pick one up at a pawn shop. There are tons of kids who just wanted to play the sax, then lost interest.

Not to belittle the woodwinds but I would try to steer him toward piano, guitar or drums. Those three instruments seem to be the beginning building blocks of a lot of good musicians, plus you look cool playing them later in life (high school/college).
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 14, 2009 08:22PM
Quote
weapon
Not to belittle the woodwinds but I would try to steer him toward piano, guitar or drums. Those three instruments seem to be the beginning building blocks of a lot of good musicians, plus you look cool playing them later in life (high school/college).

First two aren't offered in school. I suggested a string instrument as he could take that on to guitar. Drums starts of with a bell and small xylophone. Not exactly what most kids want to play.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Zoidberg
Date: September 14, 2009 08:22PM
Trumpet player here; second generation in my family (my granddad played during the big band days). Haven't played in some years but was a major part of my life for many of them (met my wife via band).

I'd have to second the Craiglist/Pawn Shop route. You could also contact the band director, not to mention the local music shops, and see if anyone's selling one. I think my first cornet (a Conn, of course) was a return. (Of course my granddad didn't let me use his horns (at first); I was in 6th grade and his trumpets were quite rare. Proud day when he gave me one of his horns, though; a Martin.)



(BTW, it's spelled < y'all >.)
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: TLB
Date: September 14, 2009 08:41PM
Watch out for the cheap Chinese horns. The Yamaha YAS-23 (alto) or YTS-23 (tenor) seem to be the "preferred" student sax. A good alternative is the Vito Japanese sax which is a Yamaha clone. If you don't know if he'll stick with it a good used Bundy II is an OK starter instrument. There is a lot of info on the web on "good" and "bad" brands. It is a big plus if you know someone that plays that can look at a used sax with you. Nothing can discourage a new player more than a horn that is hard to blow or that has sticky keywork. You could also budget $100-150 into your purchase price to clean, adjust and service the used instrument to make sure it is ready to play.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: blooz
Date: September 14, 2009 09:05PM
Get earplugs.



And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.
—Friedrich Nietzsche
Western Massachusetts
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: iaJim
Date: September 14, 2009 09:06PM
Closets all over this country contain perfectly good band instruments that are quite good enough to use as starter instruments. The trouble with saxes is that the pads can dry out and repairing them can be pretty expensive.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Harbourmaster
Date: September 14, 2009 09:36PM
try to steer him towards the clarinet if you can. It's much easier for a beginner to learn (3rd & 4th graders typically lack the lung capacity that is necessary to play the sax well and quickly get discouraged) and he can always move up to a Sax later if he sticks with it.



Aloha, Ken


“I have developed significant attachments to several members even though I wouldn't recognize them if I sat next to one on a park bench. I'm often tempted when in an airport to walk around, hollering "The Løpe", to see if anyone other than the Homeland Security people will acknowledge me. ” - The Løpe
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Jack D.
Date: September 14, 2009 09:48PM
Quote
Harbourmaster
try to steer him towards the clarinet if you can. It's much easier for a beginner to learn (3rd & 4th graders typically lack the lung capacity that is necessary to play the sax well and quickly get discouraged) and he can always move up to a Sax later if he sticks with it.

I played the bass clarinet for 3 years and finally gave it up because i hated lugging that beast to school on practice days. I think it was 3 times a week.



- Jack D.




New tasteless sig coming soon!
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: andypie48
Date: September 14, 2009 10:11PM
buy, don't rent.

brand makes a big difference in sound. talk to some musicians. try some out. maybe get a sax player to go to the store with you.

for example, a yamaha flute sounds shrill; an armstrong sounds sweet. (so says my flute-playing friend).

don't buy a conn or a bundy.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Black
Date: September 15, 2009 12:14AM
The Woodwind and The Brasswind in Indiana is sort of the Amazon.com/Crutchfield for American musicians.
[www.wwbw.com]
I probably spent upwards of 15k there back in my musician days.
If you want to call and ask advice I'd trust the folks that work there to steer you right. Prices ought to be in the same ballpark as the other e-tailers too.
If there's something about the saxophone that spoke to your kid, go with it.




New forum user map 8/2015: [www.zeemaps.com]



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 09/15/2009 12:16AM by Black.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Racer X
Date: September 15, 2009 12:18AM
try and dissuade him. I think there is too much sax and violins in schools these days.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: macphanatic
Date: September 15, 2009 06:28AM
Quote
Black
The Woodwind and The Brasswind in Indiana is sort of the Amazon.com/Crutchfield for American musicians.
[www.wwbw.com]
I probably spent upwards of 15k there back in my musician days.
If you want to call and ask advice I'd trust the folks that work there to steer you right. Prices ought to be in the same ballpark as the other e-tailers too.
If there's something about the saxophone that spoke to your kid, go with it.

Thanks. What say you on this one? Three good reviews and the price has been significantly reduced.

[www.wwbw.com]
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: ScottG
Date: September 15, 2009 07:45AM
Quote
Racer X
try and dissuade him. I think there is too much sax and violins in schools these days.

Brilliant! How long have you been waiting to use this?

cheers

scott
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: BernDog
Date: September 15, 2009 09:43AM
BEGINNING BAND DIRECTOR ADVICE BELOW:

Do not buy a new saxophone for $290 to $400. These are cheap crap an only look like real instruments. Most repair shops won't even work on them, so when something goes wrong (which it will, much sooner than with a reputable manufacturer) you're screwed.

Spend the same amount of money on a used instrument. Make sure to have it checked out by your local repair shop (before purchase if possible) and get anything done they recommend. Please start your son out right. Don't make him struggle with either a sub-par instrument or one in a state of disrepair. There are also enough of the crap instruments around that they also pop up as used. Ask your son's band director or the music store about the brand before you commit to purchase. Regarding pawn shops, they can be a good source for a used instrument, but many of them also sell new instruments. These are the same cheap Chinese crap available elsewhere.

Disregard any of the above advice about the tonal qualities of one reputable brand or another. These days (and for many years now) all student instruments made by reputable manufacturers are equal in playability and tone. They are built for toughness and ease of tone production. That being said, Yamahas, as well as some other more recent student horns, are built with adjustment screws on the keys. This may give these instruments a slight lead due to the ease with which a repair tech can put them back in adjustment. Other instruments may require key bending and shimming with cork. However, this really only concerns the repair tech. DON'T TRY TO ADJUST ANYTHING YOURSELF!

Regarding clarinet, I've heard of a few directors that require stuents to spend a year on clarinet before they switch to saxophone. Sax is much easier to get an initial sound. That might sound like a good thing, but it can allow bad habits that will hurt the student's tone in the future without hindering the student in the short term. A clarinet requires a more proper embochure from the start. That being said, if your son wants to play sax, I would not dissuade him. I just wanted to clarify what some others were saying.

No.
[www.wwbw.com]
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: September 15, 2009 10:00AM
....I envy you....nothing beats really good sax........



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: AllGold
Date: September 15, 2009 10:14AM
This thread made me remember the smell of valve oil/key oil. smiling smiley



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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: mikebw
Date: September 15, 2009 12:34PM
I was the same kid back in 4th grade. My Mom did some pricing and decided to just buy me a $300 used alto sax which was great. I played it for 3 years, then switched to tenor sax, then to drums.

For the added cost of renting you could easily pay for some private lessons instead.
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Re: Need guidance - Son wants to play the Saxophone
Posted by: Racer X
Date: September 15, 2009 09:41PM
Quote
AllGold
This thread made me remember the smell of valve oil/key oil. smiling smiley

and being able to dribble spit without getting in trouble.
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