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Yamaha Saxophones

How many members are playing Yamahas?
What type do you have ?
How long have you had it?
What do you love about it?
What don’t you love about it?

I’ve got a YSS475 & a brand new YAS63iii.

I LOVE Yamahas. The tone is so bold, crystal clear and beautiful. They are very easy to play. It takes less air to get a great sound.
They are very reasonably priced.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I don't currently have a Yamaha, but I love the 875s and if it wasn't for owning Selmer and Couf (Keilwerths) I definitely would have a stable of Yamahas. I kinda got hooked back in 1982 when I tried a friends 62 purple logo. I had my Selmer mk VII. The 62 keywork was so much smoother and easier. Tone was pretty good too. Everytime since I've tried the 875 (and 855 alto) I've nearly bought it as a backup to my backup, backup horn.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I'm retired from playing, but I've owned a YBS-52 (intermediate bari), a couple YAS-23s (student altos), a YTS-23 (student tenor), and a YCL-34 (intermediate wooden clarinet). I've tried, but not owned, several other Yamaha clarinets and saxophones over the years.

The reason I recommend Yamaha so highly is that their quality is consistent across the instruments I've played. Their prices are reasonable, compared to other manufacturers, and their used horns still stand up. I do understand the criticism that their student (2xx) through non-custom pro (6x) horns are kinda bright-sounding, but I think the other features these horns have compensate for that.

I have noticed that student-level Yamahas aren't quite as durable as, say, the Bundy II. However, my sample size was not large and I'd love to hear comments from a tech.

If you're looking for Yamaha saxophones in the used market, look for Vitos stamped "Made in Japan" that look like Yamaha 23s. Those are Yamaha horns in disguise. Note that the Vito VSP horns also stamped "Made in Japan" are Yanagisawas. Not that it'd be a bad thing if you got a Yani.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I love Yamaha student instruments.
I never liked old US saxes. The old design keywork, weird table keys, etc. Except Martins, I liked Martins even the keywork.

The only negative I've had with older student Yamaha horns is that the edges of the side keys were not as rounded as I would like. This as it would feel like it's nearly, but not, cutting my skin. Also, some of the much older student horns used barrel pivot screws instead of pointed pivot screws.
Also the side keys many would have the ball and pin including the old 875s. But the student models were a bit better designed materials that were quiet compared to the Selmer mk VIs of the era.
 
I've played a lot of tenor saxophones in my life; Conn Fireworks, Selmer Modele 26, Selmer Mark VI, Selmer Mark VII, Pan American (bought cheap as a backup sax), H. Couf (my favorite tone to date), Grassi Prestige, Custom built Taiwanese MacSax Classic and my newest a Yamaha YTS-52.

I play in a few places where it is as important to look good as it is to sound good. In some high-end yacht clubs, having good-looking instruments can be the difference of getting the gig or not. They want everything ship-shape. They also pay more than the average gig around here.

In the past, when you had your horn overhauled, they automatically stripped and re-laquered it. So when the saxes got grungy, starting with the Mark VII, I just traded them in for a newer one.

I bought the Yamaha as a backup horn to my MacSax, as my Grassi was getting pretty worn. I find myself playing the Yamaha more than the MacSax. It's freer blowing, the tone is a little brighter, but they both are nice in their own way.

I'm a believer that for pop and jazz, tone is secondary to expression. After all, what is good tone? Getz or Trane? Turrentine or Dexter? Desmond or Bird?

As long as what I play turns the heads of the audience, it doesn't matter what horn I play. Even when I played the Pan American that I got for cheap, the audience reacted the same way.

I think when the YTS-52 wears out, a 62 might be in my future.

I gig with them, I do one-nighters, and that is hard on gear. By the time I'm done, they horns need a lot of work.

Notes ♫
 
I don't currently have a Yamaha, but I love the 875s and if it wasn't for owning Selmer and Couf (Keilwerths) I definitely would have a stable of Yamahas. I kinda got hooked back in 1982 when I tried a friends 62 purple logo. I had my Selmer mk VII. The 62 keywork was so much smoother and easier. Tone was pretty good too. Everytime since I've tried the 875 (and 855 alto) I've nearly bought it as a backup to my backup, backup horn.
That’s interesting. I’ve only played a Selmer once and that was when I rented one for a couple of weeks while my SML was getting re-padded. It’s not really in the price range I could afford.

I made a mistake with the numbers. It’s not a YAS63iii. It’s a YAS62iii. I read that the purple logo version of this one was awesome.

I’ve never tried anything above a Yamaha 62.
 
I'm retired from playing, but I've owned a YBS-52 (intermediate bari), a couple YAS-23s (student altos), a YTS-23 (student tenor), and a YCL-34 (intermediate wooden clarinet). I've tried, but not owned, several other Yamaha clarinets and saxophones over the years.

The reason I recommend Yamaha so highly is that their quality is consistent across the instruments I've played. Their prices are reasonable, compared to other manufacturers, and their used horns still stand up. I do understand the criticism that their student (2xx) through non-custom pro (6x) horns are kinda bright-sounding, but I think the other features these horns have compensate for that.

I have noticed that student-level Yamahas aren't quite as durable as, say, the Bundy II. However, my sample size was not large and I'd love to hear comments from a tech.

If you're looking for Yamaha saxophones in the used market, look for Vitos stamped "Made in Japan" that look like Yamaha 23s. Those are Yamaha horns in disguise. Note that the Vito VSP horns also stamped "Made in Japan" are Yanagisawas. Not that it'd be a bad thing if you got a Yani.
I’ve heard several professionals say they are quick to recommend the student YAS ‘23. Doesn’t that come with the 4C mouthpiece?

I’ve never heard a Yamaha clarinet so haven’t a clue.

Do you not play at all any more?
Do you ever miss it?

I hadn’t a clue about Yamahas being stamped by another company. That’s interesting.

Both my Yamahas are stamped ‘made in Japan’
 
I love Yamaha student instruments.
I never liked old US saxes. The old design keywork, weird table keys, etc. Except Martins, I liked Martins even the keywork.

The only negative I've had with older student Yamaha horns is that the edges of the side keys were not as rounded as I would like. This as it would feel like it's nearly, but not, cutting my skin. Also, some of the much older student horns used barrel pivot screws instead of pointed pivot screws.
Also the side keys many would have the ball and pin including the old 875s. But the student models were a bit better designed materials that were quiet compared to the Selmer mk VIs of the era.
This is something I had no idea about.
Comfort in playing is very important to me.
As I age, I find playing a bit rough on my finger tips; especially on my thumbs and baby fingers ( playing lower B(b),) making the Yamaha a good choice. It’s also easier to blow into to get a nice sound and have complete control of that sound.
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I’ve heard several professionals say they are quick to recommend the student YAS ‘23. Doesn’t that come with the 4C mouthpiece?

I’ve never heard a Yamaha clarinet so haven’t a clue.

Do you not play at all any more?
Do you ever miss it?

I hadn’t a clue about Yamahas being stamped by another company. That’s interesting.

Both my Yamahas are stamped ‘made in Japan’
The YAS 23 is a great instrument.
Unless you have bunches of horns in your hands one may never notice any differences from a $1,000 to a $6,000 horn.

There was a VITO yamaha (YAS 23 by another name) I was playing and always wondered why my fingers were hurting. Now keep in mind somethings when you play test you don't want to play it "perfectly" in order to find oddball issues. So I figured out that when I had my fingers on the edge of the RH side keys, the edge of the key was somewhat sharp - at least sharp to my feel and comparisons. The same with the LH 3 D/E/F high keys. Whereas an 875 was rounded around the edge. This is just part of the 875 being more refined everywhere even on the edges of keytouches. The springs on the 23 price point are basically straight gauge piano wire compared to needle springs which give a more consistent feel and action of the keywork. Stuff that is easy to overlook, but adds to the overall price.

But there's nothing wrong with the 23. It's priced right with the amount of manufacturing and materials that is designed at that price point. I think my first tenor was one of those dark lacquer Vito Yamaha 23 tenors.
Most of the Yamahas come with a Yamaha mpc, normally I think a 4C.
I like the Yamaha Custom mpcs, they are a bit nicer.

And Yamaha does make student, intermediate and professional clarinets, trumpets, cornets, french horns, etc too. Same time. As you move up in price they spend more time manufacturing and perfecting the instrument.

Yes I still play.
But family / kids life and age takes away time from other things.
 
That sharpness around the edges of keys would drive me nuts. Having never played a student model I wouldn’t know. It does seem very reasonably priced though. I’m so glad that my 62 model doesn’t have that problem.

I’ve just been playing it with my Meyer mouthpiece and it truly has a nice sound. Maybe I haven’t tried enough saxophones to know any differences between different makes and models . I just know the features I was looking for and this has them all.

It seems Yamaha makes a lot of things.
It wasn’t until later that I realized there already are sections for Yamaha and other different saxophone manufacturers.

Yes family life should take priority. :)
 
I have one of those Japanese Vito altos and a YAS-52. Tonally, they are quite different. Ergonomically, I like Yamahas and I would consider them more damage proof than the Bundies.

I remember that Merlin published a doubling video some time back stating that the orchestra pits are full of YAS-23s.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I’ve heard several professionals say they are quick to recommend the student YAS ‘23. Doesn’t that come with the 4C mouthpiece?

I’ve never heard a Yamaha clarinet so haven’t a clue.

Do you not play at all any more?
Do you ever miss it?

I hadn’t a clue about Yamahas being stamped by another company. That’s interesting.

Both my Yamahas are stamped ‘made in Japan’
The YAS-23s I had did come with 4Cs. It's a nice plastic copy of a Vandoren mouthpiece. The YCL-34 is a really decent, easy-to-play clarinet. The sold price range I see on ebay, minus the highest and lowest, is $186 to $429, which makes it easy to recommend. Although, you can sometimes buy better clarinets in that $450 to $500 range. Of course, all will probably need work.

I'm pretty sure that Vito is the only company that bought student horns from Yamaha. Some of the Yamahas with a Vito stamp have copper-colored posts, which I think is quite nice looking.

Yamaha now makes student horns in Indonesia and Taiwan. They're Yamaha-only factories, so the quality control should be the same.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
No, I don't play at all, anymore. My wife's got a couple nice clarinets and two alto saxophones, but I don't play any of them. Do I miss it? Yes. Unfortunately, the head pain is at too high of a level for me to want to continue playing. I also miss not being able to sing. I do sing along to YouTube, on occasion. I can't sing too high, as that will also cause head pain. Helen has a worse version of what I have and she can still play. I have no idea how she does it. I admire her ability to do so.

I also have a bad back and some nerve damage in my leg, so standing for any length of time is kinda out.

I think I've been able to appreciate music more since my head problems started. That's because there can be long stretches of time (days, sometimes a week) where I can't listen to music because sound is bothering me.
 
I have one of those Japanese Vito altos and a YAS-52. Tonally, they are quite different. Ergonomically, I like Yamahas and I would consider them more damage proof than the Bundies.

I remember that Merlin published a doubling video some time back stating that the orchestra pits are full of YAS-23s.
This is really quite interesting. I had no idea that Yamaha made instruments stamped by another. It’s great that you can tell the difference. When you say they are more damage proof, are you referring to the caged tone holes?

YAS - 23 has a great reputation. When I was looking for a second alto, I was impressed by the research I found.
 
The YAS-23s I had did come with 4Cs. It's a nice plastic copy of a Vandoren mouthpiece. The YCL-34 is a really decent, easy-to-play clarinet. The sold price range I see on ebay, minus the highest and lowest, is $186 to $429, which makes it easy to recommend. Although, you can sometimes buy better clarinets in that $450 to $500 range. Of course, all will probably need work.

I'm pretty sure that Vito is the only company that bought student horns from Yamaha. Some of the Yamahas with a Vito stamp have copper-colored posts, which I think is quite nice looking.

Yamaha now makes student horns in Indonesia and Taiwan. They're Yamaha-only factories, so the quality control should be the same.
Also had no idea that the Yamaha 4C mouthpiece is a Vandoren copy mouthpiece. No wonder it’s so amazing. Vandoren is a great name.

Copper coloured posts would look very attractive. I tried to get the silver plated alto but they don’t make them any more and I didn’t want to trust eBay. I’m really very happy with my choice however I lost the sax cleaner kit I purchased with it.

Yamaha quality does seem consistently good though which is great.
 
No, I don't play at all, anymore. My wife's got a couple nice clarinets and two alto saxophones, but I don't play any of them. Do I miss it? Yes. Unfortunately, the head pain is at too high of a level for me to want to continue playing. I also miss not being able to sing. I do sing along to YouTube, on occasion. I can't sing too high, as that will also cause head pain. Helen has a worse version of what I have and she can still play. I have no idea how she does it. I admire her ability to do so.

I also have a bad back and some nerve damage in my leg, so standing for any length of time is kinda out.

I think I've been able to appreciate music more since my head problems started. That's because there can be long stretches of time (days, sometimes a week) where I can't listen to music because sound is bothering me.
I’m so sorry to read this. It’s only been recently that I’ve thought of all of this. This year I’ve really felt my age and came to the conclusion that soon I’m not going to be able to play or sing which is what prompted me to join a karaoke app as well as purchase a new instrument. I had no recordings of my singing or instrument playing ( sax / keyboard ).

I wouldn’t have thought of head pain as being something to worry about but I supposed that makes sense. I wonder if there’s any type of product or exercise that can help with that?
( thinking to myself here ). Do you play the piano or keyboards at all? If you don’t, it might be something you might enjoy that might not hurt your head.

I can certainly relate to the back pain. I’ve broken both sides of my collarbone and smashed my tailbone which wasn’t really fixable. Now it causes problems for sure. Even walking is more difficult but I force myself to do it. A big problem for me at the moment is weight related so purchased an ebike.

It’s a good thing that your gratitude of music has expanded. That’s a great attitude to have. Loss has a way of doing that.
I’m also very grateful for music and all the subtle passions life has to offer.
 
No, I don't play at all, anymore. My wife's got a couple nice clarinets and two alto saxophones, but I don't play any of them. Do I miss it? Yes. Unfortunately, the head pain is at too high of a level for me to want to continue playing. I also miss not being able to sing. I do sing along to YouTube, on occasion. I can't sing too high, as that will also cause head pain. Helen has a worse version of what I have and she can still play. I have no idea how she does it. I admire her ability to do so.

I also have a bad back and some nerve damage in my leg, so standing for any length of time is kinda out.

I think I've been able to appreciate music more since my head problems started. That's because there can be long stretches of time (days, sometimes a week) where I can't listen to music because sound is bothering me.
Pete, have you ever thought about wind synths?

I don't know your challenge, but I do know you can play a wind synth with very little breath support, and if you use an external synth module, it won't vibrate in your mouth.

Notes ♫
 
The YAS 23 is a great instrument.
Unless you have bunches of horns in your hands one may never notice any differences from a $1,000 to a $6,000 horn.

There was a VITO yamaha (YAS 23 by another name) I was playing and always wondered why my fingers were hurting. Now keep in mind somethings when you play test you don't want to play it "perfectly" in order to find oddball issues. So I figured out that when I had my fingers on the edge of the RH side keys, the edge of the key was somewhat sharp - at least sharp to my feel and comparisons. The same with the LH 3 D/E/F high keys. Whereas an 875 was rounded around the edge. This is just part of the 875 being more refined everywhere even on the edges of keytouches. The springs on the 23 price point are basically straight gauge piano wire compared to needle springs which give a more consistent feel and action of the keywork. Stuff that is easy to overlook, but adds to the overall price.

But there's nothing wrong with the 23. It's priced right with the amount of manufacturing and materials that is designed at that price point. I think my first tenor was one of those dark lacquer Vito Yamaha 23 tenors.
Most of the Yamahas come with a Yamaha mpc, normally I think a 4C.
I like the Yamaha Custom mpcs, they are a bit nicer.

And Yamaha does make student, intermediate and professional clarinets, trumpets, cornets, french horns, etc too. Same time. As you move up in price they spend more time manufacturing and perfecting the instrument.

Yes I still play.
But family / kids life and age takes away time from other things.
The only Yamaha saxophones that ever "grabbed me" are the YxS -61 series and the Custom Z series (I own a silver-plated pair of alto/tenor).
There is nothing 'wrong' with the 23, but it doesn't take much money to get a middle aged Yanagisawa, or even an early Cannonball, for example.
 
Hello All you Greats

To answer the Op - yes
1.What type do you have ?
Flute- YFL-225
Clarinet - YCL-26, YCL-275, YCL-62,
Saxophone Alto - YAS-100, YAS-21, YAS-23, YAS-275 (JAPAN), YAS-280, YAS-61, YAS-62, YAS-62ii Silver-Plated, YAS-62-iii
Sax Tenor - YTS-100, YTS-21, YTS-23, YTS-275 (JAPAN), YTS-32, YTS-475, YTS-62 - Purple logo, YTS-62ii

I have many other brands of saxsin the stable too. Total around x37

How long have you had it?
- Since I was 13. That was 35 years ago.
What do you love about it? Relaxation and the sound of the sax accompaniment to the piano and guitars&bass

What don’t you love about it? - Nothing that i can think of. Every Japanese made saxophone i have has been made with extremely care and consistency. The higher up in the models the superior and ease of your sound will come. Yamaha saxs are one of the easiest saxes to try out different mouthpieces for different sound concepts.

P.S. I'm a professional wood wind repair so have ample opportunity to try many saxophones and add to my stable/collection when I wish. I play 100% by ear. Can't read dots...

My main 4x horns are Jupiter Artists series Silver-Plated bari, H.selmer SA80II tenor, YAS-62ii Silver-Plated, Yanagisawa SC-991 curved sop.

Yes, I agree family gets in the way, but have found that married to a pro piano player, all 4 kids have learnt their own instraments and join in for jam sessions. I learnt some time ago that if you want some piece and quiet you have to go for an extra long walk...
 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Pete, have you ever thought about wind synths?

I don't know your challenge, but I do know you can play a wind synth with very little breath support, and if you use an external synth module, it won't vibrate in your mouth.

Notes ♫
I've owned a Yamaha WX-11 in the distant past and I've owned the Akai USB and Yamaha WX-5 in the more recent past. I really didn't like the Akai because it doesn't have "real" keys, just capacitive touch pieces. I did like the WX-5, but it's really easy to push too hard and that hurts and/or makes me feel like I'm about to pass out. I know that's partially because of me not tweaking various sound patches good enough, but it's still pretty hard for me.

Notes, I know you've written a lot about wind controllers/synths. If you have some suggestions, I'll give 'em a try. I still have the WX-5, somewhere, and I'm not overly adverse to spending some cash.

I should mention what's wrong my head without being overly specific: I have a nerve that goes around my right ear that's bad. I also have cluster headaches and migraines. The feeling that I'm going to pass out is mostly because of the drugs to treat the migraines/ch problem. These meds keep my blood pressure artificially low.

I wouldn’t have thought of head pain as being something to worry about but I supposed that makes sense. I wonder if there’s any type of product or exercise that can help with that?
( thinking to myself here ). Do you play the piano or keyboards at all? If you don’t, it might be something you might enjoy that might not hurt your head.

I can certainly relate to the back pain. I’ve broken both sides of my collarbone and smashed my tailbone which wasn’t really fixable. Now it causes problems for sure. Even walking is more difficult but I force myself to do it. A big problem for me at the moment is weight related so purchased an ebike.

It’s a good thing that your gratitude of music has expanded. That’s a great attitude to have. Loss has a way of doing that.
I’m also very grateful for music and all the subtle passions life has to offer.
The only product is medication. There is the possibility of removing the nerve, but my neuro said that the success rate is around 50%: either it works or it doesn't. I've had a couple shots in my head to numb the nerve and they didn't do anything. (If you ever have to have shots in your head, you can "hear" the needle going in. It's an interesting experience.)

The back pain is because of some herniated discs. How it got this bad is subject to some debate.

I know what the notes are on a piano. I don't "play." On some occasions, my wife has asked me to transcribe some music and I use a synth keyboard to enter the notes into whatever music software, but I only do it one at a time.

I did take piano lessons when I was a very young kid. As is the case with most kids who are forced to take piano lessons, I hated them.
 
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