Home Forums Saxophone Tips is it worth buying a Pro horn?

This topic contains 43 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by Johnny Johnny 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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    Jazz Cat
    Jazz Cat

    Another Really Important point: many of today’s new pro horns are Inferior to pro horns made 15-20 years ago, because manufacturing costs have made former top names outsource manufacturing to mexico, indonesia, china etc.

    A great classic horn like a 20-yr old mk vi or yts/yani/other kept in top shape is often better than a new horn. The manufacturers don’t publicize this of course. For example, yam__ I think still makes their top pro horns in japan, for top quality, but student horns are outsourced. Check into it, where was this horn manufactured (vs assembled, which often varies), before buying. Today’s horns may use cheaper quality metals and not be as resonant or good-sounding as earlier pro horns.


    Also on a fun note re buying, here’s a popular thread on another forum I started re :

    Explaining to Your Wife How Come You Need Yet Another Sax…


    Jazz Cat
    Jazz Cat


    thanks Jazz Cat,
    its just a simple question ‘is it worth buying a Pro Horn’? its not a question about the mouthpiece or a question about the reed, or a question about the player behind the mouthpiece, or about the strsp around his neck, or god forbid the type of underpants he’s wearing?

    its a question just about the Pro Sax, and nothing but the Pro Sax.

    like when you buy a microphone, you can look at the technical spec to see what its capable of doing, cold hard facts.

    so far the only reasons i can see are quality of materisls built to last longer and not wear out quickly.



    i don’t believe this – i’m actually going to go to my local sax shop and try out out some pro sax’s. Why? mainly because the one i’m playing at the moment now feels just like if i’m playing a typewriter…..

    Michael Bishop
    Michael Bishop

    Sxpoet: At the beginning of your post you mentioned the following “never really found any evidence to support this question” and you included a couple of articles to go along with it. The comments that you see are Members, including Johnny himself, who read that article that you posted here on the forum and they kindly offered their own insights, based on what they read in that article. If someone really wants to get a pro model Sax, why even ask anyone about it? If you want it and have the financial means to get one, then go for it and get one. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. But does someone NEED a pro model Sax? No, they don’t and that’s what members, even Johnny, were simply saying based on the articles that you posted and we read, has nothing to do with whether you should get one or not. That’s totally a personal decision and no one has the any place telling you what to do with your hard-earned money…and no one was trying to say what you should do. I just bought a new Selmer Soprano and I didn’t have to ask anyone about it. I realize not everyone here is a fan of the Soprano; but there are a lot of people that do love it. I fell in love with it and bought it, just don’t ask me to learn any Kenny G songs LOL I’m not a fan of his music. I didn’t have to ask anyone about it. I wanted it and I got it.
    If you’re going to get a pro model Sax, have any idea which one you’re looking at? I got my Soprano from the good folks at Sax.Co.UK, very nice folks to work with 🙂



    i’m going to repeat myself agsin-
    “Is it Worth buying a Pro Horn?”

    Thankyou everyone for taking your time to give me your feedback which includes oppinions, facts and sorry to say it ‘unrelated facts – imo’.

    Theres a lot of people like me who need to justify spending extra cash on a Pro Horn! not just to myself but to my wife included who has read your comments as well. (so mind your language – ladies present & they don’t hold back on their oppinions of people)

    One day you might be standing in a music shop trying to wriggle out of spending extra cash on a more expensive model for your offspring, or you might just try and understand what they could be getting for the extra cash and what benifit they may gain.

    Its not a trick question about who knows it all or who doesn’t know what their talking about, all feedback is important, i might actually find out something i don’t know?

    It’s a aimple question that i have asked, as i feel there does not seem to be any clear evidence for buying a Pro Horn and what makes a Pro Horn stand head and shoulders above a student Horn.

    yes a Pro Horn will cost more based on the longer man hours taken to build one, and possibly more expensive materials used in building it – compared to a cheap mass produced atudent horn.

    But everywhere i turn it seems as if 99.99% of top players use Pro Horns – do they know something i don’t and don’t want to disclose it for fear of offending lesser players like myself – be it that i could never afford one, or i’ll never be good enough to play one or its just one big con by manufacturers to rip everyone off.

    Jazz Cat
    Jazz Cat

    biggest difference I found is pro horns are easier to play with more precise machining of keywork..

    my pro yas62 plays fast like silk, instantly

    my student yts23 is clunkier and slower action, though it’s still good

    example: only pro yamahas have crescent-shaped octave key (easier to play), the student model octave key is clumsier, slower

    one can get by w/student horns, but if there’s $ it may be worth getting a pro model. like leather vs plastic sofa, they both are functional though



    Thanks Jazz cat – you raised an interesting point, as right now i feel that the sax i’m playing seems very clunky when i’m playing faster stuff, and that honestly feels like its holding back my development on trickier pieces.

    As for comments that you will sound the same on two different models of sax is complete &@£@£&/!

    When i was buying my sax, i tried out a student yamaha and a intermediate yamaha and i could tell the difference in sound between both sax’s and i could tell the student sax wasn’t playing certain keys as in tune as the intermediate model. That was using the same mouthpiece @ reed on both sax’s.

    I didn’t want to buy the intermediate model in the first place, but when i heard the difference between the two, going up and down the registers – no way would i have bought the student model.

    i can understand mass produced student sax’s all sounding the same, but i would expect hand finished sax’s to sound slightly different, as in the case of mark Vi’s from the comments i’ve heard from people who have tested them out in shops.



    This is a odd question! Rather like – Why do people buy expensive cars, when the cheaper vehicle will also get you from A to B?

    I bought an entry level sax because I wasn’t sure how much I would play it. This was a mistake which I now regret because the saxes, which are all imported have gone way up in price. There is a noticeable difference in sound, material quality, and playability of the more expensive instruments. Some are truly beautiful works of art. Good design, better materials and more time spent on by skilled craftsmen, all cost money and the biggest advantage of buying a top quality saxophone is that it retains its value.

    My YAS-26 cost R18000 when I bought it and I’ve seen some for sale now, just two years later at nearly twice that price.

    Yamaha states on its website :-

    “Yamaha offers a complete line of saxophones to suit every level of player from the beginning band student to the seasoned pro. Through the Yamaha ideology of ‘vertical integration’, the highest level Custom saxophone models are designed first, and elements of those models are carried down into the professional, intermediate, and even standard level saxophones. Through this process, Yamaha designers take great care to make sure that each saxophone model combines the ideal levels of form, function and value for the saxophonist who will be the recipient of that instrument.”

    … and then why buy an expensive mouthpiece? My answer would be, simply because you can feel and hear the difference!



    Thanks Jeff – i’ve got to the place where i feel my sax is holding my progress back (i’ve noticed similar comments from other players on the internet, not on this site).

    I have an agenda, and i’m not the type of person just to go out and willy nilly buy an upgraded sax, and i certainly wouldn’t buy one without trying it out, i need to feel the key action, as well as hear what it sounds like with my own mouthpiece and reed.

    when i get time i’m going to try out the yamaha, yani’s and some selmars (just for a laugh), and i’m glad for all the comments posted, from comments implying a waste of time buying a pro sax to the opposite extreme. My sax teacher is on holiday this week, and i’ll get his feed back when he returns – he plays selmars, his son has turned pro and he bought his son a mark vi, and a gifted upcoming sax player i know personaly aged 14 (grade 7 distinction) has just got upgraded to a selmar. All the people that i have met and play at a high level all own pro sax’s, they all swear by them. These are all people in the music industry and i can’t dismiss their comments lightly.

    But i can 2nd guess my teacher is going to say not to bother unless i’m going to play for a living.

    It’s not a case of trying to draw attention to myself.


    Very interesting discussion guys! I have 2 PRO horns. A Selmer 6,,, 1956 5 digit,, A Yamaha 62-2, 5 years old. I started late in life. I’m 73 now. The MP I use is a, Otto Link New York Tone Master. 6*. I have had many compliments on my tone and all that goes with that. Some more background on my thoughts an buying equipment. A lady that I flew with when I started as an airline pilot at Western Airlines in 1972 was an amazing piano player. Latter when my 2 kids came along, she told me to get the very best instruments that I could afford for them to learn on! Why, there better made and will hold up and be easier to take care of. My home looked like a music store for a few years. The both wanted to play many instruments. They both started on the piano. This is the base instrument for learning music. Long story short,,,my son was a pro drummer. He recorded for Ron Howard on some movie work and other projects too. When I bought my 2 horns,,I got read good prices on them. The 6 is now insured for $14.5 grand?? Amazing. Johnny can tell you how good it sounds, and so Can Mike Bishop. For what it’s worth,,,my 2 cents. Tim



    Thanks Tim.
    most comments seem to be divided into 2 separate camps, each camp is entitled to believe in what they feel is correct, even though i can’t find any valid evidence to support who is correct. Its like smokers, some say hand roll ups are better and some say machine rolled are better (no one knows)

    one camp feels it doesn’t matter what you buy they feel its the player’s sound that counts (so just buy anything that sounds good) and the other camp believes that some saxs (not the cheap massed produced student saxs) may actualy sound different when played by the same person/mouthpiece/reed (so you could be onto something there).

    Others just want me to shut up and just go and buy one and stop bothering people and wasting JF’s bandwith – at the end of the day i feel everyones still being helpful.

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