Six Months later, I gave my first Christmas Concert:
It was the first time in life I have received a standing ovation. I still remember the day. It was emotional for me. To conquer (I use this term very loosely, as I have hardly conquered it. To me, this moment was a conquering of sorts), such a difficult instrument and actual entertain people with the joy of sound.
What Instrument do I prefer for a Beginner?
Definitely something in the Yamaha YSS Category of Soprano Sax instruments.
Here is a list of how I see it: If I am a beginner soprano saxophone player, the ONLY instrument that I’m going to be interested in purchasing is a Yamaha YSS 475 Series either I or II.
The Yamaha 475 is the nicest playing instrument for the beginner/intermediate soprano saxophone player on the market. I went to our local music store to rent the 475ii. They said they would charge me $300 per month (only refundable if I bought the instrument for $2500). Too expensive for me. It’s cheaper on Amazon. I did spend an hour playing it though and ABSOLUTELY LOVED IT! It played so much easier than the horn I was struggling with. I used three different reeds with it and it played each of them beautifully.
Or this Rendition of I’m Yours that I like:
Questions to ask before you purchase a soprano sax on Amazon
I have bought 3 soprano saxophones off of Amazon. Generally, I prefer to make purchases of new instruments on Amazon, if available. The difficulty is that Amazon has a very limited selection of soprano saxophones and they have virtually zero used soprano saxophones. (Although now, the number of used soprano saxes on Amazon has increased).
1). Who is selling it? The first question I ask the seller or seek to find out on my own is if it is their instrument, if they play it or if it is a pawn shop type seller. The first soprano sax I bought on eBay was from a ‘Non-Playing’ eBay seller that had Zero clue about the instrument or its playability. I took a 100% risk on the first instrument. Fortunately, I was not burned and I got it at a great price because the seller didn’t want it and didn’t know its value. In fact, I watched it all the way until the end of the auction and the price continued to drop until it reached about 15 minutes left in the auction when she had dropped the price to 1/2 of its original asking price.
My second instrument I purchased from a musician, that took beautiful care of the instrument, but he also understood the value. Before we completed the sell he let me call him and listen to him play. He was a very good seller and I got a very good instrument, I didn’t get a great price though.
My third instrument was from a pawn shop. It is the purchase that I am least proud of because they charged me full price for the used instrument and it had some definite issues that I spent quite a bit of money fixing after I got the instrument.
2). Check the Mouthpiece: As discussed before, a good performing mouthpiece is absolutely critical. Many eBay sellers will throw in a cheap mouthpiece with a decent sax. They may break up the set to increase their sell value. So, check what mouthpiece you will be getting. You may already have a mouthpiece picked out and it may not be as important to you which mouthpiece is included with the instrument.
3). Ask when it was last serviced: Inevitably, you will end up taking your used soprano sax purchased off of ebay into a technician to get it tuned up and fix any stick pads or air leak issues. However, it is a good idea to ask the seller when it was last taken in. This will give you an idea on its maintenance record.
4). Ask for the Serial Number: If you are buying an upper level soprano sax, such as a selmer, yamaha or Yanigasawa make sure you get the serial number. You want to know that it is not stolen and what the year is. Here are the Selmer serial #’s.
5). Summary: I really believe that if you are diligent in your search efforts, you will likely find the best deal on a used soprano sax on Amazon or Ebay. If you are a beginner like I am, I would definitely recommend your first couple of soprano sax purchases be used. Spend as little money as you can before you really decide if this is the instrument that suits you.