Saxophone shopping

May 9, 2008 at 5:28 pm 5 comments

With the internet, a lot of possibilities can be attained. I am specifically talking about online shopping in this post. As said earlier, I am quite serious about getting a saxophone after putting it off for so long. In the Malaysian retail shops, I have very few choices regarding the brands of alto saxophones that I’m looking for. What people are suggesting for me to get as a beginner is a Yamaha Yas-23, student model, which costs about RM 3890. That is a lot of money. And since I don’t have that much, circumstances have me scout around in cyber space- just to see what ebay has to offer.

Now in ebay, you can get tonnes of information and products, the straining part now is to filter which are the worthy buys. Unfortunately, Malaysian ebay takde saxophone, so I was forced to divert to the international market. The first one that caught my eye was a China-made model but branded under an Australian brand. A Fine Pro Series Vanguard Alto Sax by Largo Australia. Chinese made saxophone? I think I’ve gotten quite some reviews in the past about these makes, in retail shops as well. So, the best way to find out more was to key in the model into the internet and scout for reviews about this particular model. Results? It was quite acceptable, as in the sound and playability of it. A few minor flaws, but nothing you can’t live by at that price (RM 14xx). I decided to scout more and deeper, for other brands, possibly.

The good thing about forums and reviews is you get a whole load of comments and suggestions from people who have played it, or people who asked very good questions. From there, I got a link onto an article about ultra-cheap horns. I thought it was going to be a negative report since it had such a negative vibe to its title. But this person who wrote and own the site was making an overview on his opinions about these horns. In my opinion, he seems unbias enough. The more I read on his site, the more I feel his opinions and reviews are genuine. And this is where I stumbled on my current favourite potential horn: Walstein Phosphor Bronze Alto Sax. He gave such a good review that I almost bought it. There’s only one dealer in UK selling it, and it’s about GBP 300, equivalent to about RM 19xx.

I’m not going to go into details about the reviews and prices, you can click on the links above and check it out. I’m quite vowed over by this particular Walstein model. Okay, it’s China made, but he has tried it and find that it plays well for that asking price- at times better than some student horns, I think it’s a worthy buy for a starter like me. I reasoned, for someone who has no concrete knowledge and skill about playing one ( my achievement by far has been a few notes on the jazz band tenor sax) and may be just playing for the fun of it, better to start off with a simple, cheaper model. If I’m really into it, then let’s think about upgrades then. It was the same for me when I learned the piano. Back then when I was about 5, I couldn’t tell an old piano from a new by playing, moreover a Kawai from a Yamaha. As the years progressed, I learned to tell the texture, touch, sound difference with the various pianos I managed to lay my hands on. In time, I knew what kind of tone I liked, which kind of touch I favoured ( Always, solid piano better than electronice ones for me), and about 10 years ago, my parents got us siblings a piano, and I loved the sound of the Kawai upright grand. So, it’s the same for any other instrument. Start of with a less ideal one ( if you’re lucky you might end up with a gem at first try), hone your skills, find your niche, then go find your perfect sound with your perfect instrument. Now, when I say perfect, I mean it not in a generalized manner. Perfection is in the eyes/ears/hands of the beholder. I would say, you will have to find your instrument, there is only a few rare ones that will fit perfectly with you. Perfection can not be achieved by just constantly finding for a perfect piece of instrument, it’s about seasoning as well. Meaning, building a bond with the instrument, hone it, play it enough so that it will just fit and mould to your liking. Ah… my own seasoned piano… Too bad I can’t spend much more time with my piano at home. There is so much excitement in playing a particularly favourite instrument of yours. It’s like a car, you know you can take it to greater speeds if you push it in the right direction, if you train it. That’s it for me with the piano, the sound can be enhanced and suited to my liking. So, I hope it’s the same for my potential saxophone.

Coming back to internet shopping. I wish Malaysia had more avenues for these kinda shopping. In just a few clicks, the net has revealed to me so many overseas shops having their goods sold through the net, excluding amazon.com and ebay.com. Unfortunately, they only ship within the US. Darn! The prices are so much cheaper as you can sometimes get discounts and stuff. The options out there are enough to drive me nuts.

Alright, enough about me ranting. Now to show you my future (if possible) baby:

Walstein Phosphor-Bronze Alto Sax

Walstein Phosphor-Bronze Alto Sax

Nice, eh?

Music lovers, you would understand the sentiments I feel about instruments.

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. u-jean  |  May 23, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    heya,

    i’m back at my old blog. gimme a holler!

    Reply
  • 2. The KookyMonsta  |  May 23, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    I used to yearn and dream of playing the saxophone.

    And I did. Learned a few easy songs back here in campus.

    I still love the sound of it, but I’d prefer playing the guitar.

    It’s a big investment, the sax… and it’s not exactly a lone-ranger type of instrument. Goes much much better with a generous amount of jazz drum beats, a dash of bass and a hint of piano.

    Just sharing what I know. 😉

    Reply
  • 3. Pkreli  |  June 5, 2008 at 3:48 pm

    Hi

    Yes I perfectly understand your sentiment about the musical instruments. I care for my instrument like my child.

    Yes I am going through exactly like you regarding the Walstein sax. I found the same review of Steve Howard and I had the same opinion as you. So I have also decided to buy the Walstein alto instead of the Yamaha YAS-23. Check my thread here :

    http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=86022

    Have you bought it yet ? What is your opinion now after you receive it ?

    Reply
  • 4. Pkreli  |  June 10, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Well I got mine today !!!

    You cannot imagine how nice and beautiful it is. It is simply a pleasure to look at it. Its very sturdy and very well constructed very nice and beautiful finish – phosphor bronze with gold keys looks really nice.

    It was well packed and comes with case, mouthpiece with cap, padsaver and 4 Rico reeds.

    Yet to check in detail about playing, I haven’t played sax ever so I will have to let someone expert check it out.

    I am very pleased with my own birthday gift to myself !!!

    Reply
  • 5. james huggins  |  July 27, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    if they as good as you say. why don,t more usa co.carry them.i,am pro.sax player. i would love to try them out.i luv the prices been playing for 49 years.my king super 20.tenor sax berg larson mouthpiece

    Reply

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