Looking for Alto Sax - help!!!!

My wife wants to start playing Sax and has showed an interest in an alto.

Looking to get one for her for Christmas but am completely in the dark with where or what to start with.

Beginner (but can play other instruments) so don't need to spend big time on a pro instrument but at the same time don't want a poor quality instrument.

Does anyone have any advice or anything for sale!!!
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  • I've been playing saxophone since I was 12, and had the same Armstrong student sax until the pads gave up the ghost last year. Because I'm so used to the ergonomics of student models of saxophone, I went for a Yamaha YAS-280. They are incredibly popular, and they sound great even with the stock mouthpiece. Can't go wrong with it, I reckon:

    https://www.justflutes.com/yamaha-yas280-alto-saxophone-product1313680.html?sku=1313680

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  • NomadNomad Frets: 508

    The Thomann own-brand ones have a very good reputation at the budget end of things (currently £263 for the alto). Add a better mouthpiece and a couple of cleaning doobries. Will probably want to seek out a better neck strap at some point as well. I've got the tenor, and I'm happy with it.

    With mine, I felt the supplied mouthpiece wasn't up to much, but it did improve with a bit of judicious sanding to smooth the face that mates with the reed. It's more stuffy and quieter than the Graftonite B5 I ordered with it, the latter sounding more typically saxy. The supplied one is handy for quieter playing. The neck strap is just a bit of webbing with a hook at the end, and isn't very comfy - I tracked down a really nice leather one that's padded.

    Also, get a stand. Saxophones are a stupid shape that doesn't prop up against anything, and doesn't really fit in the case when assembled. I lasted one evening and went out the next day to buy a stand.

    Nomad
    Nobody loves me but my mother... and she could be jivin' too...

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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1844
    edited December 2017
    Nomad said:

    The Thomann own-brand ones have a very good reputation at the budget end of things (currently £263 for the alto). Add a better mouthpiece and a couple of cleaning doobries. Will probably want to seek out a better neck strap at some point as well. I've got the tenor, and I'm happy with it.

    With mine, I felt the supplied mouthpiece wasn't up to much, but it did improve with a bit of judicious sanding to smooth the face that mates with the reed. It's more stuffy and quieter than the Graftonite B5 I ordered with it, the latter sounding more typically saxy. The supplied one is handy for quieter playing. The neck strap is just a bit of webbing with a hook at the end, and isn't very comfy - I tracked down a really nice leather one that's padded.

    Also, get a stand. Saxophones are a stupid shape that doesn't prop up against anything, and doesn't really fit in the case when assembled. I lasted one evening and went out the next day to buy a stand.

    ^^This.  I never cease to be amazed at just how good the Thomann stuff is for such low cost.  Yes - the Yamaha is great - but a lot more expensive.  The Thomann ones are properly playable in my experience (and unplayable instruments are, scandalously, all too common with beginner woodwind instruments) and it really can therefore be a 'see if you take to it before spending a fortune'.

    For the next level of quality, or if you're looking out for second hand, I agree with @BintyTwanger77 , you really can't go wrong with a Yamaha...  And I would suggest a Yamaha mouthpiece even if you go for a Thomann.
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  • NomadNomad Frets: 508

    Aye, when I was doing my research, it became evident that far east made saxes were becoming very good, particularly insofar as the metalwork is well made, such that the pads seal and the intonation is good. Mouthpieces and accessories aren't up to much, but decent upgrades aren't expensive.

    At the time, two of the brands that were very well regarded for the money were Thomann and Gear4Music. I ended up going for Thomann because it frankly looks better engraved onto the bell. Gear4Music might work as a name for a web site and business, but it's crap as an instrument brand (and I hate the dumb 4/for thing). If they had come up with a plausible sounding house brand, I would probably have bought from them instead. At least Thomann is a real person's name, and they do have a very good rep for starter and student instruments (sell a lot into schools, apparently).


    Nomad
    Nobody loves me but my mother... and she could be jivin' too...

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  • Yamaha for me. Both my sister and I play saxophone. She leant on a yamaha has 280 I learnt on a Jupiter 575 (i think). I always had sax envy, her's was easier to play and sounded nicer. Was more expensive, but not stupidly so. I gigged mine for a number of years in a folk-ska-punk band and it needed regular servicing to keep it playing ok.

    However, no matter what brand you go for, buy her a couple of lessons as well. With Sax, it's key to get a good embouchure and knowing how to setup the reeds, is also vital.
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