(Weekly?) List of Yamaha Altos Under $500

Discussion in 'Saxophones' started by pete, Jul 11, 2016.

  1. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I'll start by reiterating that the best way to get a horn for the beginning student is to have the student's teacher test some horns and buy the one he likes.

    OK, that being said, it's sometimes not economically or logistically possible to have someone test a horn, so I can at least tell you about some good ones you can buy.

    =========

    This is a list of horns currently on eBay with the following considerations:

    * $500 US (all numbers are US dollars) or under, excluding shipping.
    * Horn looks to need less than $300 in repairs. Assume all these horns need to be looked over by a real wooodwind tech and you'll have to pay something.
    * Seller has over 1000 feedback.
    * Buy-it-Now listings. No need to wait to see someone outbid you.
    * Yamaha YAS-23s or the Vito stencil equivalent (Model 7131, IIRC). "YAS" stands for "Yamaha Alto Sax." "23" is their old student model. They were about $1900 new (probably list).
    * Always remember that if it isn't listed in the ad, it's probably not going to come to you. You don't see a mouthpiece? You're probably not going to get one. (Check this thread for mouthpieces.)

    Standard disclaimer: I don't know these sellers and I can't guarantee anything. Ask the sellers if you have questions, not me.

    ========

    Here are some from dealers:

    YAS-23 $379 and up + $40 Shipping @ MusicGoRound
    (several at this price at different MusicGoRound stores)
    YAS-23 $399 to $950 @ Reverb.com
    YAS-23 $499 to $699 @ SamAsh

    Note that I didn't list the Vito stencils from the above dealers. Vito student saxophones were made by a variety of companies and their quality varies greatly. If the horn isn't expressly stamped "Japan," it's not a Yamaha.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 20, 2016
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  2. TrueTone

    TrueTone Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History

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    This would have been helpful back when I got my first alto.
    Howeber, having 1000 feedback seems a bit much- maybe 500 could be a better low limit?
    Maybe this list can have YAS-32s and 52s, as they might meet that range of price. (Let me check now)
     
  3. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    There were a couple of 32s that were in the sub-$500 price range, but had an awful lot of damage, so I didn't include them.

    The "1000" number is not necessarily indicative of a nice guy, but it sounded like a nice round number to me. Hey, I think I only have like 30 feedback, which is a number more indicative of how much stuff I've bought and sold on eBay than the quality of the stuff I've sold. The other thing is that there weren't that many horns that were being sold by folks with lower feedback that were that much better, so it was easy for me to pick that number.

    I did a very cursory search for other make/model horns that I would consider OK as beginner models. I didn't find any I'd consider significantly better than, say, a $327 Vito Yamaha 23 stencil, even if said $327 horn needed $300 worth of work, which, in this case, it really doesn't look like. Of course, the horn could be bent in half or something :).
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito. $299. 14 day return policy.
    Vito. $327 last week, $319 this week.
    YAS-23. $395. w/7 day return policy.
    Vito. $395. w/Selmer S90 mouthpiece. w/7 day return policy.
    YAS-23. $449. w/Buyback option.
    YAS-23. $479.
    YAS-23. $489.95. w/3 day return policy. "Recently serviced."
    YAS-23. $499.

    And, just for kicks, here's a YTS-23 for $450.
     
  5. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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  6. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito. $279. $199. 14 day return policy. This thing's almost at the price that I'd buy it just because I could resell it and make a $200-$300 profit on it.
    Vito. $319.
    Vito. $325.
    Vito. $349. "Recently serviced."
    Vito. $389.
    Vito. $395. $390. w/Selmer S90 mouthpiece. w/7 day return policy.

    YAS-23. $385. 7 day guarantee.
    YAS-23. $400. Auction w/Buy-it-Now. Currently $250.
    YAS-23. $419. "Just serviced."
    YAS-23. $489.95. $439. w/3 day return policy. "Recently serviced."
    YAS-23. $449. w/Buyback option.
    YAS-23. $449.
    YAS-23. $449.99. w/5 day guarantee.
    YAS-23. $465. w/14 day guarantee. Selmer C* mouthpiece.
    YAS-23. $499.
    YAS-23. $499.
    YAS-23. $499.95. 14 day guarantee.
     
  7. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito. $200. Buy-it-now, auction. Currently at $100. (Seller feedback is 574.)

    Vito. $245.
    Vito. $319.50.
    Vito. $325.
    Vito. $410.
    Vito. $410. w/14 day money-back guarantee.
    Vito. $499.

    YAS-21. $349.
    YAS-23. $354.99. w/30 day money-back guarantee.
    YAS-23. $399.
    YAS-23. $434 Buy-it-Now, auction. Currently at $324.99.
    YAS-23. $439. w/3 day return policy. "Recently serviced."
    YAS-23. $449. w/Buyback option.
    YAS-23. $449.
    YAS-23. $449. w/Buyback for entire year.
    YAS-23. $449.99. w/5 day guarantee.
    YAS-23. $465. w/14 day guarantee. Selmer C* mouthpiece.
    YAS-23. $499.
    YAS-23. $499.
    YAS-23. $499.95. 14 day guarantee.
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito. $499. "Serviced prior to listing."
    YAS-23. $499.
    YAS-23. $449. "Freshly serviced." "1 year guaranteed trade-in."
    YAS-22. $395 Buy-it-Now; currently at $275. If you can get this at the $350 - $375 range, I think that would be a good deal.
    Vito. $349.
    YAS-21. $299.
     
  9. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Wow, that first one is super clean.

     
  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    It's definitely the best looking one of all the horns I've listed. I also tend to believe the guy that the horn's currently in playable condition: he's got a lot of feedback.
     
  11. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Vito: $410. 14 day return policy.
    YAS-23: $99.00 (buy-it-now $450). I'd go about $300, max, on this one.
    Vito: $469. Best cosmetic condition of the bunch. Pads don't look half bad.

    I think that's it for my alto recommendations, this week. There were an awful lot of Yamahas that looked like they had been hit with a weed whacker and/or had large spots of rust on their bodies. You can replace a key on a YAS-23 for all of $30, but an entire horn body is a lot more expensive.
     
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Almost forgot. There is ONE Kessler Custom alto for $499. It's a horn patterned after the Yanagisawa 901. Reasons I'm mentioning this horn:

    * I'm a fan of Dave Kessler and I know that he doesn't sell junk, so I know the horn is decent quality. It might not be as robust as the Yamaha designs, but it'll probably suit a beginner relatively well.
    * They're $829, new, so not a tremendous price, but not bad, either.
    * Seller has a lot of feedback and a 99.6% rating.
    * They're in Western New York, so they deserve a bit of a break.
     
  13. Bari Sax Guy

    Bari Sax Guy

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    Great information Pete. It's much better to buy one of these than to rent a horn for a beginning student! I had 2 Vito Beaugnier Altos and got them in shape, then sold the more modern one to a lady for her young son and who reconognized the bargain these horns are. I kept the older one with the left side bell keys because my wife liked it better - it also came with some case candy - a Selmer Soloist short shank mouthpiece and got me interested in these pieces.
     
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Yah. I don't think I'd want to rent anything. Well, maybe a bari for a brief time, if I really needed it.

    If I had the time, I'd look through all the non-buy-it-now horns and make some picks. There are some very good deals out there. I do like the ones on my list, but you can do better in an auction. If you come across an auction horn and want my opinion on it, go ahead and post here. I generally check the forum at least once a day.
     
  15. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    YAS-23s are currently trending at $449 on eBay, so let's try for cheaper!

    Vito: $435. 8/10. Nice shape.
    Vito: $410. 7/10. Needs a guard resoldered.
    YAS-23: $380.
    Cosmetics are about 6/10.
    YAS-23: $399. 7/10. Needs pants guard reattached.
    YAS-21: $350. 6/10. Playable, but kinda ugly.
    Vito: $299.99. 6.5/10. From Music-Go-Round (lotsa feedback). Great price.
    Vito: $299.99. 6.5/10. From PawnAmerica (lotsa feedback). Great price.

    =======

    Kessler Custom: $299. 7/10. I mentioned a more expensive one a couple posts ago.
    Selmer Bundy II: $195. 7.5/10. Hey! My first sax was a Bundy II! These horns were made to be beat up and still play decently. Nice price and nice looking horn from a seller with a lot of feedback. If you have a super low budget, choose this one.
     
  16. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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  17. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Yamaha 23 altos are now trending at $400 on eBay. Keep this in mind while browsing.

    BTW, someone will eventually ask, "How does Pete know about the trending prices? Is he some sort of psychic?" The answer, of course, is yes. Or eBay lists the trending price in some ads.

    Note: BIN = "Buy It Now." OBO = "Or Best Offer."

    VITO
    $450. Cosmetic: 7/10. w/Otto Link hard rubber mouthpiece.
    $425. Cosmetic: 8/10. Copper highlights are 100%.
    $299. Cosmetic: 6.5/10.
    $250. Cosmetic: 6.5/10.

    YAMAHA
    YAS-21. Cosmetic: 6/10. BIN at $400 OBO over $300.
     
  18. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    This week, it's "List of Altos." There are a couple I want to point out:

    * A little out of the price range is this 1953 Martin Committee "III" alto for $750. It's a pro horn. I'd say it's about a 7/10 cosmetically and the user has 820 ratings with 100% feedback. Selmer S80 mouthpiece, too. I owned a tenor version of this. Loved the tone, hated the intonation, but Helen's got a bari version where both are good.
    * There's an ad up for (several) new Vibrato A1 SIII polycarbonate altos. It's very much a student horn and it's not out-of-this-world fabulous, but it is the lightest alto on the market and it looks kinda funky. If you really want one, go here and get one for $65 less. They're the US distributor.
    * There's a 1962 Yanagisawa A3 for sale for $580. The A3 was a pro horn and that is still a possibly attractive price -- but the horn's got water damage. There are seized keys and all the pads are shot.
    * There are two Kessler Custom altos for sale, one for $399 and one for $249. The prices are fairly decent.

    We now return you to all Yamaha, all the time:

    * $580 - YAS-32 intermediate model. 6/10 cosmetics. Needs a full overhaul but may be worth it.
    * $449.99 - Vito (YAS-23 Stencil) - 7/10 cosmetics. Includes old Otto Link hard rubber mouthpiece.
    * $450 - Vito (YAS-23 Stencil) - 7/10 cosmetics. Allegedly recently overhauled.
    * $415 - Vito (YAS-23 Stencil) - 6.5/10 cosmetics. New overhaul. 14 day return policy. My pick of all these.
     
  19. JfW

    JfW

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    For some odd reason, I wouldn't mind having one of those rainbow padded Vibratosaxes in my possession. I'm pretty sure that it would be an absolute waste of money, though.

    I could not for any sensible reason see why you would want to pick up one of those at that price when there are so many working sub-$500 YAS's available.

    Also, I hope you don't mind me intruding on your commentary with my own, but my personal choice on that list would be that cheap Kessler. I'm familiar with the YAS-23 and like them, but Kessler's reputation at that price seems like the most solid deal to me...
     
  20. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    I know Groovekiller has/had a Vibratosax and wrote a small review either here or on SOTW. Stephen Howard has a rather in-depth review on his website. Arguably, as this is an SIII as opposed to the original, the Vibratosax has gotten better, but I really don't know by how much. I do think their horns are aesthetically pleasing -- there was also a limited clear edition for awhile, if you don't want colors -- but I think that both you and Mr. Howard are right: they're a bit too expensive.

    As far as the Kessler horns are concerned, I do like the prices of the used ones. I've seen some good reviews, too. I think I was focusing a bit too much on the Yamahas :). There is one thing to be sort of wary about on the Kesslers: what about longevity? They haven't been around for that long. We already know that the Yamahas are durable. It's not a gigantic concern, as I think that if you're wanting to play for an extended length of time after the "beginner" phase, you're probably going to look at higher-end horns. Hey, it's still cheaper than renting.
     

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