When shopping for an alto student sax, there’s no way around stumbling upon the Selmer Bundy II and Yamaha YAS23 quite a lot, and with both being such good student horns, making a decision can be quite hard.

In this article, I’ll go through all the differences that could help distinguish each instrument in certain ways to make it easier for you to choose the one that suits you better.

Selmer Bundy II vs. Yamaha YAS23: Short Answer

Long story short, if you’re looking for a sax that’ll give you excellent intonation and quality, opt for the Yamaha YAS23. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a loud and good tone and you’re okay with subpar intonation in the face of a much more affordable unit, you might want to opt for the left-bell key Selmer Bundy II.

Image Product Details   Price
Yamaha YAS23 Yamaha YAS23 Best Overall Check Price
Selmer-Bundy-II-Alto-Sax-1-1-1-1 Selmer Bundy II Best for budget Check Price

The Full Comparison

Now, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of these saxophones, down to the very last detail.

Design and Construction

The Bundy II’s body is made of brass and nickel, a mix that’s quite common. Mix that with the tough lacquer and you get good durability from the Bundy II. Generally speaking, it’s tough to get any dents on it, and except for a few scratches, it would be in tip-top shape.

The Bundy II’s neck is equipped with solid bracing, which enhances the durability of the neck, and makes it a very viable pick for students. However, the finish isn’t this horn’s strongest suit as some of the edges are rather sharp, and the assembly isn’t so great either.

As for the Yamaha YAS23, it’s all made of brass, including the bell, body, and neck. Moreover, it comes with power-forged keys, which feel nice to play and are way more durable than the average. And like the Bundy II, its lacquer finish makes it feel solid and extends its lifespan.

In terms of rigidity and construction, there are little to no complaints about the YAS23 from its devout players.

  • Winner: The Yamaha YAS23.

Sound

The Bundy II is a good sax for hitting the basic tones well. It sounds loud and clear, though it’s not the richest in sound, so don’t expect the jazzy vintage feel.

It does tune well and maintains the tuning for a long time to give you consistent tones, even if it sounds a little sharper at the top range. However, it comes without a high F#, which is a bummer seeing that it doesn’t shine as a vintage horn either.

Check out our an in-depth Selmer Bundy II review.

Alternatively, the Yamaha YAS23 produces fantastic sound and its intonation is just mesmerizing. You can definitely see how the high-quality materials affect the resonance, timbre, and resistance, which makes the sound you get while playing worth every penny. 

  • Winner: The Yamaha YAS23.

Handling and Playability

Between the handling and playability of both horns, the Yamaha YAS23 definitely takes the cake. It comes with tapered pivot screws equipped with precise adjustment for the smoothest key action you can get from a student sax.

Not only that, but the dimensions and shape of the keys are also improved to make the handling even more pleasant and provide all the ergonomics a beginner would need and an intermediate saxophonist would appreciate. Not to mention, I was particularly impressed with the adjustable thumb rest, which further increases how comfortable it is to play as well as how easy it is to reach the altissimo G note thanks to the front F-key mechanism.

On the other hand, the Bundy II just doesn’t feel ergonomic enough, especially if I think of a complete novice trying to get a grip on it. The palm keys are low, and the G# key is placed in a position that makes the player look a little awkward. And don’t get me started on the tiny left thumb button and thumb hook, which are almost impossible to press the first time you try to do so.

I also didn’t really enjoy how the D key isn’t distinct and requires a little bit of reaching to push it in. Despite all that, I don’t think it’s an absolute no-go, as it weighs around only 10 pounds, which is quite light when you compare it to other options, especially the Yamaha YAS23 that weighs almost 15 pounds.

It’s definitely light enough to keep you playing for as long as you need to get used to its key placements, unlike the YAS23. But the latter doesn’t really need any getting used to, so, you can sense whose side I’m leaning towards.

  • Winner: The Yamaha YAS23.

Durability and Case

The Selmer Bundy II comes with a low-quality case, which doesn’t keep it well-protected enough. So, despite the strength of the horn, it wouldn’t be enough to keep it in shape when you’re moving it around. This means that you should think of buying another case if you’re planning on carrying it around to different places a lot.

Alternatively, the Yamaha YAS23 comes with a plywood case that provides it with enough protection during transportation. Not to mention, the horn itself is quite tough, with solid construction and polyester buttons on the keys to further enhance the durability of the horn as well as give it a nice look.

  • Winner: The Yamaha YAS23.

Price

This is one critical distinction between the Bundy II and the YAS23. The former is much more affordable than the latter. In fact, it comes at two-thirds the price. So, if you want to get a brand new instrument, you would need to save up a little if you’re planning on getting the YAS23.

Still, if you’re a player with some experience, you’ll appreciate what incredible sound, tone, and intonation the Yamaha has to offer as opposed to the subpar intonation and smaller range of tones that the Bundy II seems to capture.

  • Winner: Selmer Bundy II.

Selmer Bundy II vs. Yamaha YAS23: Pros and Cons

Selmer Bundy II

Pros:

  • Full, loud sound
  • Much more affordable than the YAS23
  • Incredibly tough lacquer
  • Solid construction
  • Stays in-tune for the most part

Cons:

  • Intonation isn’t that good
  • Doesn’t come with a high F#
  • Subpar ergonomics

Yamaha YAS23

Pros:

  • Amazing sound and intonation
  • Very durable
  • Equipped with an adjustable thumb rest
  • Bright tones

Cons:

  • May not be as loud as the Bundy II
  • A little pricey

Conclusion

So, in simple terms, if you can afford the Yamaha YAS23 or even find a more pocket-friendly used model, that would be a much better route. However, if you’re only starting out and aren’t sure that you’ll be playing the sax for long, you should opt for the much cheaper -yet high-quality – Selmer Bundy II.

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