Untitled Document
     
Advertisement Click to advertise with us!
     

Yamaha Saxophones

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
I have to take a list of meds to my various docs because I can't remember them all. 12 to 15, IIRC. Yay. That's practically a meal. A not very good tasting meal, but a meal.

Trying to get closer to the thread's topic, I would like to try a Yamaha bass clarinet. I've also not tried Yamaha's Custom Z saxophones or Custom clarinets, but I've read good things.
 
I don't like the Akai EWIs for the same reason, plus the vibrato on the bite sensor return to zero pitch is regulated by a capacitor, not the player.

The WX5 is lightweight, and doesn't take a lot of air to play.

Since the WX5 only sends out MIDI data, the synth module is as important as the WX (controller).

I've run the WX5 through a lot of synth modules, and the only one that makes me feel like I'm playing an instrument instead of triggering a synth voice, is the Yamaha VL70m, sadly discontinued. The Physical Modeling synthesis responds to my breath to change the tone of the sounds, and unlike simply triggering a sample, it feels organic.

Matt Traub of Patchman Music makes a replacement voice chip for it that elevates the VL to a higher level. He calls it the TURBO chip.

Matt often has a VL for sale at https://www.patchmanmusic.com/yamaha.html, although there isn't one up there now. If you get one elsewhere, he can also sell you the replacement chip.

Since you have a WX5, you should see how you adjust to playing it before springing for the synth module.

I have some WX setup suggestions here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/wx5.html - Of course there is more than one right way to do it, but this is what works for me.

I have some audio clips of me playing with VL and the Turbo chip. They are very old, and at low fidelity (56k mp3) as I posted them when we were still using dial up Internet connections. The tone is compromised, but you can hear how the combination can express itself.

I never took piano lessons, and wish I had that opportunity when I was young. I get around on a synth keyboard OK for my needs, but I would never take a job doubling on keyboard. I did play in a band where I played a few songs on it. Just basic, learn the parts and play them. I do better on the guitar than I do the keys.

If you have any more questions, or if there is something else I can do to help, don't hesitate to ask.

Notes ♫
 
I have a YBS-52 I purchased new in 1987. I played it a lot for 28 years semi-professionally In big bands and HS pit orchestras.

I have a YAS-62 made circa 1990. I’m the second owner.

The wife and I have Yamaha 500 series flutes from the 1980-90s.

I’m not playing much sax lately. Mostly my Selmer bass clarinet, Leblanc Contra, and an China made vertical bass flute.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
@Notes_Norton
So, your comments resulted in me researching stuff for a couple hours.

First, I did look up the VL70m. I did find some for sale, generally with other stuff, in the $450 range. However ... I really was not fond of how the patches sounded.

I went to the Yamaha website and it said that the VL70m was replaced by the Motif . Those are $4500+, so, waaaay to rich for my blood.

More research sent me to something I've looked at before: the Respiro software from https://www.imoxplus.com. Their saxophone sounds at least halfway decent. (Search for the "Jerusalem.Duo" sample toward the bottom of the page. The player is using the EMEO wind controller.) It's appx. $190, but there's a free iPad version.

I'll type more later. Tired.
 
With the Patchman chip the VL sounds better.

But for me, it's not the way the VL sounds, but the way it responds. I can get more expression out of it than I can with other forms of synthesis. But perhaps it just suits my personal playing style.

These clips were recorded in 2004 at a low bit-rate Archos Juke Box hung close to the PA speaker on a gig, so the fidelity is terrible and the tone way too thin, but it's an example of how the VL can respond (I need to make some newer recordings).

Sax 1 "Brecker" patch at 56k (It was still dial-up modem days when I posted these)

Sax 2

Guitar 1 This one in 2008 but using the same Juke Box and low bit rate

Guitar 2 This one recorded later at 160k at a friend's house who was recording a self-made album. It's a rough mix that I took home from the session. It was also in 2004.

Note: what works best for me of course might not work best for you.

There are a lot of wind synth players here https://www.patchmanmusic.com/forum/ that play just about every wind controller/synth made. You can get a lot of info from these people, and I go there to learn as well.

Notes ♫
 
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.

Yes, I've seen a few instruments with wire style guards where the impact deformed the tone hole, particularly on the Eb which would leave middle and low D unavailable, as well as anything low C# on down. I think the same type of hit would crumple the cup style guards and maybe leave the Eb itself unusable, but the rest of the range would be intact. AFIACT, fixing a smashed sheet metal guard is easier than fixing a big dent and a warped tone hole and a wire guard.
 
Me:
YTS-61 I purchased in '75, I used it for many years until I bought my MK VI in '91. I still use my Yamaha when I play certain horn-band-gigs that require playing off-the-horn when soloing.
YBS-61 purchased in '82 I luv that horn (I use a Brilhart Level-Air 6* mpc)
YSS-62 purchased about 10 years ago... I think that I paid 8-9 hundred for it. It plays well but is way-brighter than my WWII Conn Sop.
 
Me:
YTS-61 I purchased in '75, I used it for many years until I bought my MK VI in '91. I still use my Yamaha when I play certain horn-band-gigs that require playing off-the-horn when soloing.
YBS-61 purchased in '82 I luv that horn (I use a Brilhart Level-Air 6* mpc)
YSS-62 purchased about 10 years ago... I think that I paid 8-9 hundred for it. It plays well but is way-brighter than my WWII Conn Sop.
I just purchased a brand new YSS-62 and I love it. Between my SML and this, I can get the particular sound I’m looking for.

Im more into pop or classical than jazz so am perfectly fine with the brightness. It’s one of my reasons for choosing it as well as the fact that it has a lonely tone and is super easy to play.
 
fixing a smashed sheet metal guard is easier than fixing a big dent and a warped tone hole and a wire guard.
Yes but perhaps if the tone holes had better/ stronger guards protecting them, there wouldn’t be a need to fix them.
It’s just a thought.
 
I just purchased a brand new YSS-62 and I love it. Between my SML and this, I can get the particular sound I’m looking for.

Im more into pop or classical than jazz so am perfectly fine with the brightness. It’s one of my reasons for choosing it as well as the fact that it has a lonely tone and is super easy to play.
To be truthful, of the four saxes that I own/play I really don't like sop....maybe it's the way I play it....or....probably my personal taste of the register it plays in.
I've tried to like it, honest!
I played my sop way-more when I was in a GB band (in the 90's) as I would walk around the dance floor (running pentatonics) on my sop w/ wireless and everyone thought that it was voodoo.....it was a good schtick.
My sop playing these days is when the inst appears in a musical/show Reed book as a double.
My sax order of preference: Tenor then Bari then Alto then Sop.
 
I used to own a soprano, but never bonded with it. When Kenny G was a pop star, I played a few Kenny G and Grover Washington, Jr. songs on it. Although it wasn't difficult to play, I just never got lost into playing it. I never got to that place where there is no space, no time, no me, just the music flowing through me.

Now if I need a Soprano, I use my Yamaha WX5 wind controller and a very good KennyG patch on the Yamaha VL70-m synth module.

The VL70 uses physical modeling synthesis, and it's the only synth I've played that makes me feel like I'm playing a musical instrument instead of triggering a synth.

Notes ♫
 
To be truthful, of the four saxes that I own/play I really don't like sop....maybe it's the way I play it....or....probably my personal taste of the register it plays in.
I've tried to like it, honest!
I played my sop way-more when I was in a GB band (in the 90's) as I would walk around the dance floor (running pentatonics) on my sop w/ wireless and everyone thought that it was voodoo.....it was a good schtick.
My sop playing these days is when the inst appears in a musical/show Reed book as a double.
My sax order of preference: Tenor then Bari then Alto then Sop.
I actually made a mistake. I recently purchased another alto - a YAS-62. My first alto is a SML and I like it but I find the Yamaha much easily to play especially now that I’m getting older.

Oddly enough I was the opposite from you.
I like the soprano sax but was intimidated by all the people who claimed how difficult it was to play in key.

It had been years since I’d played my 1952 saxophone which had been sitting in our basement getting all musty. By the time I pulled it out, it stunk. There’s no way I was playing it.

Anyway I aired it out, cleaned it and purchased a new case. Smell resolved however when I went to play it I couldn’t help noticing how heavy it was on my thumb. My thumb ached and was becoming damaged.

A couple of months later I saw an ad selling a YSS 475 for a very reasonable price which included an S80D mouthpiece.

Do you ever get an obvious, distinct gut feeling that something is absolutely right for you? That’s the feeling I got from this. I knew when I saw that ad that I’d love this instrument. Well I played it and did NOT find it the least bit difficult. In fact, the guy selling it was surprised I found it so easy.

It was so much lighter and I think FAR easier to play , probably due to my natural embouchure. I found it so much easier to play the straight instrument as opposed to the bent one mainly due to the position of the mouthpiece and the weight of the y instrument.

Anyway I do LOVE my soprano so much that I wanted the alto to match. I thrilled how easy every note is to play as well as their tone clarity. So beautiful.
 
Yes but perhaps if the tone holes had better/ stronger guards protecting them, there wouldn’t be a need to fix them.
It’s just a thought.

As far as I can tell, the strength of the wire guards is in fact the disadvantage/problem. They too easily transmit the impact straight into the body. The more you strengthen it, the more easily impact would be transferred.
 
As far as I can tell, the strength of the wire guards is in fact the disadvantage/problem. They too easily transmit the impact straight into the body. The more you strengthen it, the more easily impact would be transferred.
That’s interesting and something I wouldn’t have ever considered. One thing I know for certain, I’m loving playing this alto. It’s so incredibly easy to get a lovely tone. My SML gets a nice tone but it’ takes a lot more air to get that especially while playing softly. I’m starting to like my alto more than the soprano. The tone is richer and has more depth. It sounds more sophisticated somehow. I am enjoying playing it so much.
 
  • Like
Reactions: JfW
I didn't find the soprano difficult to play, I just didn't bond with it. I have no idea why. I gigged with it along with my tenor and alto for a couple of years, and played a couple of songs on it almost every night, but I just never got lost in it.

I'm a believer that you don't play the instrument, you let the instrument play you. I play the alto very differently from my tenor, or they play me differently. The soprano never did that for me. Perhaps I haven't listened to enough soprano players, or perhaps the tone is just off for my psyche. I don't know.

I do guitar much better than keyboards, and love playing the bass. I'm OK on the flute and enjoy playing the few songs I do on it. Drums are good, but I'm not in shape to do an entire gig on them. I tried trumpet, and all my attempts were dismal. Fortunately, I can do a decent trumpet emulation on my wind synth.

The most difficult instrument I've leaned to date is voice. I had the breath support part down, but training my voice to sing in tune, and then become expressive as well, took years. I'm a decent singer, but married to a fantastic singer, so I just pick the songs that suit me well.

Notes ♫
 
Top Bottom