I really enjoy your website and your approach to music. I am a tenor trombone player and teach elementary school music in the Jacksonville Florida area. Most of my trombone playing has been commercial horn section work. I’m looking into getting an alto as a new challenge and I also think it would blend nicely with the singing voices of the children that I teach.
I have never played an alto and they are not common in my circles. The sticker shock of new pro models is daunting and over my budget. I love your sound and I have been looking for a used Yamaha horn, but so far none have turned up in classifieds.
What I do see in my budget are new Chinese made horns by JinBao and JP Rath. Any experience with these? Also I’ve noticed that the bore size varies widely with alto bones. Any Help would be much appreciated.
I keep wanting to buy one of the inexpensive altos on eBay. I’d like to be able to tell people about inexpensive horns, since I get asked this a lot. Last summer at the International Trombone Festival, I tried a bunch and must say that most felt and sounded like crap. I also notice that some of the altos on eBay are labeled as a children’s or student horn. That certainly doesn’t sound too inviting for players who want a decent horn!
I think that you might just gamble on a cheap alto ($250) to at least see if you take to it. Even though its tone or intonation may not be pristine, you may get a sense of how well it serves your needs as a teacher and player.
I guess writing that last reply motivated me to buy a cheap alto. Slated to be delivered Friday, I’m anxious to try it out. It comes with a 30 day return so if it turns out to be unplayable, I’m only out the shipping. If it plays, maybe I can be a source for inexpensive horns for guys like you! Stay tuned…
We had a big discussion back on The Trombone Forum about the Jin Bao alto with a custom leadpipe. I think Hornguys was selling the combo for around $500 (the leadpipe cost as much as the rest of the alto).
I’d really like to hear what can be done with a cheap alto to make it playable.