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Yamaha Saxophone Overview

Yamaha SaxophoneYamaha has a reputation as the “new kid on the block” compared to old standards like Selmer and Conn. Nevertheless, the Yamaha saxophone’s keywork and intonation are considered top-of-the-line, and it’s known for producing bright, clear sound at any level. In particular, the quality of the craftsmanship – how the saxophone feels in your hands, how your fingers feel on the keys – is most notable. Especially after the introduction of the 62 line of alto and tenor Yamaha saxophones, Yamaha has consistently been ranked as one of the best saxophone manufacturers in the world. Many famous sax players, including Phil Woods, Bobby Watson, and Jeff Coffin all played a Yamaha sax.

Tenor and Alto Saxophones

Note: Alto saxophones are prefaced by YAS (for Yamaha Alto Saxophone), while tenor saxophones are prefaced by YTS.

23 series

Best for those just starting out, this YAS-23 Yamaha student saxophone typically runs about $1,300 new or $500 used. The YTS-23 tenor sax costs about $2200 new and about $500 used. With optimum intonation and an emphasis on comfort and durability, the 23 series is perfect to help new players get a hang of their instrument.

475 series

Designed for intermediate players, the 475 series’ sound is richer with more body than the 23 series, making these saxes an excellent buy for Yamaha sax players who want to show off their growing skills. YAS-475 costs around $1,800 new and in the $1,300 range used, while the YTS-475 costs about $2,300 new.

62 series

Yamaha’s entry-level professional option, the 62-series is quite simply the best saxophone in its class. When the 62 series came on the scene, it set the bar extremely high for non-custom pro saxophones due to its even, smooth, polished tone, which gives skilled players tremendous control over their sound. The YAS-62 costs about $2,500 new and $1,800 used, while the YTS-62 is around $2,800 new and $2,000 used.

82Z series

The 82Z series was designed specifically for professional jazz players, and it shows. YAS-82Z runs a hefty $3,200 new and close to $2,300 used, while the YTS-82Z is about $4,000 new with few used to be found. The sound is worth the price, however. It has the smoothness of the 62 series with a fatter, full-bodied tone, it’s the perfect Yamaha saxophone for filling a room.

875EX series

Perhaps the most versatile custom Yamaha saxophones, the 875EX series is best for skilled musicians who like to play many different genres. The sound isn’t quite as oriented toward jazz as the 82Z, but depending on your skill, you can use it for many more genres of music, from the dark sounds in classical orchestra to the bolder rock tones. The YAS-875EX costs about $3,500 new while the YTS-875EX will set you back about $4,000.

Soprano Saxophones

YSS-475II

The budget-level soprano sax, the YSS-475II is perfect for the beginner to intermediate player looking to break into a new instrument. Its one-piece design may come as a surprise to some, but its bright, even tone is all trademark Yamaha. A new model will cost on average $1,500, while used models are generally hard to come by.

YSS-675

Good for high-level intermediate players and extending well into the professional realm, the YSS-675 is renowned for its comfort and clear, resonant tone. It is among the best professional soprano saxes out there, with new models costing close to $3,500 and used ones around $2,500.

YSS-875EX

For a gutsier, fuller sound that’ll add an extra oomph to your soprano sax playing, the YSS-875EX is a great choice. Due to the high-end materials used on this horn, the instrument is bit heavier than its less expensive counterparts. New models typically cost about $200 or so more than the YSS-675, but are generally in the same price range.

All in All

While it lacks the legacy of the great vintage horns, as far as new horns that you can easily pick up today, Yamaha makes quite simply some of the best saxophones you can buy – particularly if you’re at the student level.

Anyone have experience with Yamaha saxophones? You like, dislike, don’t care, etc? Let us know!

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About the Author

I've been playing the sax since the late 80's, but my musical journey has run quite the gamut. The musical rap sheet includes tours with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and reggae master Half Pint, center stage at the L.A. Music Center, cozy cafes, raucous night clubs, gear-drenched studios, and the pinnacle of any musician's career - playing weddings in New Jersey! (duh). There's a lot of other stuff too, but you should be reading these blog posts and leaving comments instead. Now off you go!

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Comments (37)

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  1. David says:

    Hello. What about the 61 series? I have read this series is better than 62 series. Specially tenor 61 saxes are good valued. By the way, theres is so little information about 61s.

    • Hello David,

      To be perfectly honest, I haven’t tried the 61 series, so I can’t really speak intelligently about those. I was just at NAMM, but the Yamaha horns were on a different floor than the rest of the horns and I never made my way up to that booth.

      Hopefully someone else can chime in here. Sorry!

      Doron

    • Tom Colwell says:

      I have a 61 I bought new in ’79 when the Mark VII’s first came out and were having problems. The YTS-61 was half the price and played great out of the box.
      Mine has cancer and has fallen off the stage, been in motorcycle wrecks, and sat out on the stand most of the time, and still plays great. Using an ARB wint Rico Royal #3. I bought my son a Yamaha Custom in ’99 and he’s had no complaints.

  2. Bruce says:

    Hello,

    I understand that the Yamaha soprano 82Z is pretty new on the market, but why is there so little critical review to be found posted? Is it because of the high price in this lousy economy, is it failing to meet expectations of those who’ve tried it or is it just too soon?

    • I think that saxophone reviews in general are pretty rare because very, very few saxophonists have access to instruments other than their own, and out of that small population – which is probably made up mostly of successful full-time professionals – how many of them will take the time to write a review and see that it gets published?

      Hopefully I’ll be able to add some horn reviews here in the near future, but in the meantime, I suppose thing to do is to go try out the horns yourself at a local music store.

  3. Larry Weintraub says:

    I was issued a Yamaha 875 Custom Tenor Sax in my Navy Band in Norfolk,VA. I had turned in a MK VI Navy tenor that was on it’s last legs. It had been relacquered at least 3 times which included buffing the heck out of it. Unfortunately even though it still had a really nice sound and played in tune well the repair tech at Fleet Support said she would never be able to get it to seal perfectly. Needless to say the horn played rough down low. So I turned it in for the latest Yamaha.

    The Yamaha 875 Custom that they gave me had a very bright sound, to bright. Also certain notes played extremely sharp, especially middle “E” top space treble clef. I would have the horn tuned to “A” concert perfect and the middle “E” was 40 cents sharp. It did play nice over the whole range of the horn though.

    So what I did was use the Yamaha for for Ceremonial Band gigs. For big band and combo gigs I used my own personal Selmer Mk VI. Eventually I got tired of having my own horn exposed to the lousy environments we had to play in so I switched over to alto and used a SX90R Keilwerth that the Navy had bought which really played in tune a lot better than the Yamaha tenor. Then I switched to bari and played a Selmer Series 2 they had.

    The reason I didn’t pay a Keilwerth tenor is because they did not have one to issue me. At the time they only bought the altos. The reason I didn’t use a Selmer Series 2 in big band/combos is because I was so used to my Mk VI and I was very picky about playing tenors. More so than playing bari or alto. The Series 2 just didn’t have the sound of a Mk VI.

    FYI – at 1 time the Navy had a lot of Mk VI saxes. However because of the elements we perform in they were getting very weather beaten. I was told by 1 of the repair techs that an Admiral had told the Music Program that he wanted to see shiny horns. So all those Mk VI’s were buffed down & relacquered several times. That in effect ruined all those beautiful sounding Mk VI saxes. Really sad story but it’s true. That my friends is your tax dollars at work.

    • Hey Larry,

      Wow, I never knew that the military paid for musicians’ horns, but I guess it makes sense, especially when they’re putting you on a horn that you don’t normally play (Ie: bari). Sounds like quite an journey you’ve been through finding a good horn to play.

      I know that the Yamaha’s have a reputation for playing bright. Maybe brightness is a Yamaha thing all around- since even their pianos sound bright.

      So did you ever find a horn that worked for you?

      Doron

      • Nels says:

        Yamaha in general produces bright sounding equipment. That goes for their musical instruments as well as electronics as well. Although they make quality products-in most cases at least- I do believe its an issue of taste and design preference with them and other Japanese products. For instance, Japanese speakers usually (but not always) have a particularly bright sound to them. One goo question would be: Are there other Japanese designed and build saxophones which produce a warmer tone?

  4. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron:

    Well yes I use my Mk VI tenor on all my jobs & for teaching now that I am retired from the military. Last year I bought a Cannonball Nickel plated Black lacquer horn. The pro model w/the big bell and the fancy stones on the keys. I use this horn as a backup for my Mk VI. I got the Cannonball because it played similar to my VI and to a Keilwerth SX90R. But it was several thousand dollars cheaper than the Keilwerth. The Cannonball is made in Taiwain but ADJUSTED in Salt Lake City, Utah by the owner of Cannonball & his staff. I tried them at the Sax Symposium at GMU near Wash DC for 2 yrs in a row.

    Navy wise I just used their horns for big band (alto & bari) my horn for Jazz Combo (I was the leader so I had a say in controlling the environment we played in. Man I could tell you stories but another time). Besides combo gigs were usually inside at a reception or under a tent. I used the Yamaha tenor when I played Ceremoniaclarinetl Band gigs which were usually outside. When I played on any Navy gig I used the Navy Buffet Greenline. Now that was a great horn. The most in tune clarinet I ever played.

    Yes they will give you a horn to play while you are in the band. Hardly anyone walks in owning a bari, bass clar etc. So if they want to have big bands, show bands, rock bands w/horns and someone has to play bari they provide it. They also will buy you the reeds you need for 3 months at a clip.

    In a another post I will tell you about our experience w/the Yamaha product rep who lent us a bunch of horns for 2 weeks and how the band sounded when everyone played their loaner Yamaha horn on a gig.

    Take care and nice site, I’m digging it.

    Larry W

  5. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron:

    Okay so the Yamaha Product Rep/Sales Rep comes to our Navy Band around ’04 in the summer. They are trying to convince the Navy Music Program to buy more of their instruments. So he unloads every woodwind and brass instrument they make.

    All of a sudden we have new saxes, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, piccolos, trombones, euphoniums and sousaphones to try out for 2 weeks. The boss (our Band Officer) says to give them a blow during rehearsals and on gigs. Everyone got 1 instrument to try out. I was given their latest clarinet, I do not remember the model number.

    At this point you need some background information. My secondary duty (which usually felt like my primary duty) was Building Manager. As such it was important that I keep the building nice and cool in the summer time. I had that building at a constant 70- 72 F. Indeed sometimes it even felt like Stockholm, Sweden in October.

    Well at this point the building was at 72 degrees. I took the clarinet in my office and started playing it. Remember the building is cool. After playing it for several minutes I put it on my trusty tuner. The clarinet was 10 cents sharp. So if this horn is sharp in a cool building imagine how sharp it will be when we are doing gigs outside in the summer heat and humidity.

    So as an experiment I pull out my Navy issue Buffet Green Line clarinet, warmed up on it for a few minutes and played it into my tuner. It was slightly flat, between 5 – 10 cents, maybe 7 cents and some change. Now this is good because when we play outside the whole band is going to go sharp. It gives me room to play with.

    Okay so now I take the Green Line barrel and put it on the Yamaha clarinet. I warm up again on the Yamaha and then play it into the tuner. Low and behold the pitch is a perfect, dead center A – 440. All the other notes seem to line up better too. The Yamaha barrel looked to be the same size as the Buffet barrel when I lined them up next to each other on my flat desk surface.

    So with that experiment over I go back to playing my Buffet except for the 1 gig we did outside when the boss asked everybody to play the Yamaha horns. Well I must tell you that was the absolute worst gig the band ever played. The whole band was extremely sharp, the pitch was all over the place. In essence it really sucked.

    The Yamaha clarinet did have a really nice sound. Also the bell had a notch cut out inside it that made the sound really project and spin. It looked kind of like the inside of a Berg Larsen mpc.

    So after 2 weeks the Yamaha Rep comes back and I get a chance to meet with him. My building is still a cool 72 degrees. I told him I liked the sound of the horn and the concept of the notch in the bell. I said the horn really projects. But I said now watch what happens when I play it. I played the clarinet for about a minute and then put it on my tuner. Sure enough the clarinet was 10 cents sharp. I showed it to the rep. Everything was pushed in all the way. “Now” I said “watch what happens when I put my Buffet Green Line barrel on it. Same clarinet, everything pushed in, no tricks”. I played the clarinet with the Buffet barrel, played it into the tuner. The clarinets pitch was dead on perfect. I showed him how the barrels looked to be the same size.

    “Okay” I said, “you saw it and heard it”. “Even though I like the sound and projection I cannot recommend to the Navy to buy this horn. We cannot start at 10 cents sharp, especially in a cool building. When we play outside it is only going to go sharper. I prefer that I start a bit flat, then warmup to the band. We can’t start sharp and then go sharper”.

    I said, “you saw what happened, how the clarinet was sharp and how it came in tune with the Buffet barrel. Now you need to go back and tell the engineers to fix the instrument”.

    Now here’s the kicker. I said, “that will be $30,000 consultation fee”. He shot me a you’re crazy look. I said “what, if I was Eddie Daniels you’d pay it wouldn’t you”? He just kind of half laughed and took his clarinet back.

    So that was it, at that point the band did not buy large amounts of Yamaha horns en mass. It just continued to buy 1 or 2 as replacement horns for those guys who wanted them. Mostly this was the younger guys, especially the younger sax players. The trombone players liked a horn called the Edwards trombone which the band ended up buying for them.

    During a Navy Band trip to NYC I was able to go around to the various music stores on 46th and 48th street to try the Keilwerth saxes. After a long e-mail to the Supply guy/Buyer for the Navy Music Program I convinced the Music Program to look into and buy the Keilwerth SX90R saxes. This is how I ended up with the Keilwerth SX90R alto in my previous letter. The Supply guy/Buyer for the Program told me that the younger sax players liked the brighter playing Yamaha’s but that the older guys who grew up playing the MK VI’s liked the darker sounding and closer to a Selmer feel of the Keilwerth’s.

    Okay that is my take on the Yamaha horns. This story is true and it is exactly how I experienced it. I hope you liked it. Also to the best of my knowledge the Navy Band Program never bought any Yamaha clarinets. They just continued to buy the Buffets and Leblanc Concerto clarinets.

    I hope I didn’t blow you out of the water with the length of the story. I can be verbose at times. Btw I listened to the Bob Shepard interview last night. It was really good and insightful. I also studied with Tim Price for a year or so back in the 90’s. We did it by tape through the mail. I learned a lot. Also I did meet him as I took my last lesson with him while I was on leave. I drove up to his house in Reading, PA. Good stuff all around.

    Larry W

    • Wow, that is quite a story, especially how those Yamaha horns nuked your gig. I know that Yamaha is a controversial brand. This is just another reminder to bring a tuner with you when you go horn shopping.

      And I’m glad you liked the Sheppard interview, definitely some nice stuff in there.

      Thanks for sharing your stories, Larry!

  6. Larry Weintraub says:

    Doron: The standard of A – 440 is the result of a treaty that was drawn up in 1914. Before that instruments were made with pitches all over the place. I’m sure you have heard of the high pitch saxophones. From reading Paul Cohen’s Vintage Saxophone column in Saxophone Journal it appears that prior to 1914 the pitch could have been anywhere from A – 438 or lower to A – 448 or even higher.

    From what I’ve been told and have seen Yamaha is trying to bring the pitch up to at least A – 442. I believe right now they are making flutes and clarinets at A – 442. I know that some of there saxes play high as noted in my previous letter.

    I have not seen anything in the trade journals about a new treaty to raise the pitch higher than A – 440. However Yamaha seems to be on a campaign to do this single handily. I do know that in several European countries the pitch is creeping up.

    My Navy Band was in a Tattoo with a Belgium Drum & Bugle Corp. They refused to pull their slides out and play at A – 440. Everybody else had to push in and play at A – 442. This was especially hard for the clarinet players who couldn’t push in any further. They needed shorter barrels but unfortunately they didn’t have any. I was playing my Navy Yamaha tenor so going higher was no problem for me.

    Now a few other experiences. In 1990 we played with 2 Soviet Navy Bands. There pitch was right with ours. We also played with a German Band, Spanish Band, the British Royal Marines and the 1st Irish Army Band over the years, all without pitch problems. So go figure huh.

    Well have a nice day.

    Larry W

  7. Don Schafer says:

    My son is with a R&B band that just released their debut their album/CD. They tour the U.S., Canada, and Europe. He wants to replace his student tenor sax, Yamaha Vito 7131TK, with a used pro vintage tenor sax for $2000 or less. Could someone with some expertise and knowledge suggest brands, models, and serial number production years that would meet this criterion?

    Thank you ……………….. Don

  8. Anonymous says:

    I have played a YAS-23 for about 7 years. I absolutely love it. It was gently used when I received it and I couldn’t have asked for a better horn at the time. It’s brought me far, and it’s been instrumental (pun intended) in my education. I’ve only had minor things done to it. A key cork was replaced, a few pads (I’ve practiced a lot) and the repairman adjusted my keys. It played beautifully when I got it back. I considered buying a Selmer for their reputation, but I tried one out and I just wasn’t impressed. I’m definitely considering the YAS-875EX, it’s a beautiful horn and when I tried it out, it filled the room. The keywork is extraordinary, extremely fluid. It responds immediately. So, all in all, if you’re looking for a beautiful and reliable horn, Yamaha won’t disappoint you.

    • Yep, the YAS-23 is the go-to alto sax for beginners. There are some great new-ish brands that are coming out with great horns, many would say better horns than Yamaha, but Yamaha is indeed considered one of the top brands.

  9. Carl Silvestri says:

    The YAS-23 has been a solid, reliable horn for me over the years. I’ve had this instrument about 10 years , but didn’t really start using it heavily until I joined a local amateur community band about 3 years ago. Down the road, I may start thinking about a premium/pro horn and I will probably stay with the Yamaha line. For now, however, the 23 suits me fine.

    • Yep, the 23 is a rock solid horn. I think that you’ll definitely notice a difference in sound quality if you move up to something more advanced, but I also think that you can go a pretty long way with the 23. Thanks for sharing that, Carl!

  10. Stefan says:

    Hello, i am wondering and i dont know what to do.. I am a clarinet player like 7 years, but i am switching to alto sax now.. I wanna play soul/funk/jazz and i am asking you if you could help me.. YAS 62 or YAS 480 is better sax for me? YAS 62 seems to be pro, and 480 is like intermediate saxophone. Can you please give me a propper advice or any expirience if u have about these two instruments. Thank you very much in advance.

    Regards,

    Stefan

  11. thank you all for that in put ,i am myself in the market for a decent alto and am watching a few on eBay ,U bid, Amazon etc.. there are a lot of horns out there on offer and when you try to research them on line you will find there are always 2 sides.i once researched a Venus tenor and after reading through a thread on a forum that had at that point been running for about 10 years -a lot of reading that took weeks- eventually with my decision largely influenced by a “noted” technician i purchased one
    it is currently in storage somewhere in south Africa
    i had hoped to upgrade from a conn selmer prelude to a more professional quality horn.there after followed a few other ventures into “other ” highly acclaimed [by some]
    tenors as well as two alto-saxes –a prelude and a [martin]lewin.vintage, i have since resood the prelude at a slight gain. but am not altogether happy with the lewis ,hence the look into the YAS 23 OR VITO -LE BLANC
    as for the tenor sax i now own 3 -Venus, Hanson t8, and my precious YTS62 == needless to say the Yamaha is everything they say it is ==but the point i make is this it was proof of the pudding is in the tasting.. unless you know trhe reliability of any given opinion, you can be persuaded of just about anything ,,to your COSTLY HORROR .not that they may be deliberately misleading anyone ,but all saxes generally differ from each other -even within same model ranges =and then there are the other variables mouthpiece, reeds, ligatures, tuning personal techniques,,, so i was blessed with the yamaha yts62 i got at a good price £1150 in near perfect condition [12 years old] BUT without the friendly and extremely helpfull staff at saxco london to guide me i would have continued making poor choices based on reams of reviews =there was no substitute for personal experience =they allowed me to see for myself the difference by a;;owing me to blow some wonderful instruments and then guided me to my own choice based on that so i will try for a YAS23 as i cannot now afford another 62 i hope it will be the right one [not a dud ] that i eventually get.

  12. Tom Colwell says:

    Reading the Navy bandsman’s tales brought back some foggy memories. In ’66, I turned 17, and, in an effort to dodge the draft, joined the Army. Worked. Never had a draft card to burn, though. During basic training, I auditioned for the band and passed. Went directly from basic into the 60th Army Band at Ft. Polk, La. They handed me brand new King Super 20 alto and tenor saxes. We went TDY to Mardi Gras, and, when I rotated overseas, the 296th Army Band handed me brand new Selmer MK VI’s. Wow. Now I play a ’65 King SilverSonic for soft stuff and a ’79 YTS-61 for the hard stuff. Also a mid 80’s YAS-23 if needed. Sure do miss those MK VI’s, though.

  13. Art Manchester says:

    I’ve been playing a Yamaha YBS 52 Bari with a Beechler #5 mouthpiece for almost 14 years and I really like the horn a lot. I have thought about upgrading to a 62 or even a Selmer, but the 52 does such a great job that I hang on to it. Initially I went through some mouthpiece changes, but once I settled on the Beechler its been great! A friend of mine dubbed the horn SHOGUN – a great horn for the price.

  14. Scott says:

    What is a great brand for intermediate Tenors? son plays looking to continue into the high school years…therefore he shows great love for it I want to get a quality that will see him through. Thanks!

  15. Larry Weintraub says:

    Just for your information Jazz tenor sax/clarinet player Ken Peplowski plays a Yamaha YTS 62. I heard him play at a gig in Va Bch and asked him why he wasn’t playing his Selmer Balanced Action Tenor from the 30’s/40’s. He said it was wrecked beyond repair due to an accident. Ken said the YTS-62 was as close the the BA tenor sound that he could get to. When the 62 first came out it was basically a Selemr MkVI copy. It plays different than the other Yamaha Pro horns. So the guy who was wondering about it might want to check it out. He may also want to check out the Keilwerth and the Cannonball Series of horns. I have a black lacquer Big Bell Stone Series Cannonball that I use as a spare. The sound is a bit brighter than my MkVI but it’s still a good sound. Plus the big bell on both the Cannonball and the Keilwerth make the low notes easier to play. All things being close to equal the Cannonball is several thousand $$ cheaper than the Keilwerth. However because I played the Keilwerth when I was in NYC w/my Navy Band at various music stores if I had the money I would have bought a Keilwerth. The sound is somewhere in between a Conn 10M and a Selmer Mk VI. Do yourself a favor and try out as many horns as you can before you buy one.

  16. carlos roda cid says:

    I have an YTS-52.-It is true that this horn is closely the same as the YTS-62.? Thanks !

  17. Sal says:

    I have the YAS 62II and its awesome. I’ve decided that I will upgrade to the 82Z. I always wanted to be a jazz musician but never put forth the effort. Ever since I came home from deployments I decided that I will put forth the effort and get back in to playing. I am glad I did. I still have ways to go but I put in at least an hour a day. Its so soothing and relaxing when I play. I forget where I am while I am playing. I played my first solo 3 months ago just for a small group and my Fiancee was very proud of me. She is heartless.. LMAO… but when she ran up to me and said babe, you were awesome. Then I knew I had to keep at it. So with that, Yamaha look for me to purchase and upgrade to the 82Z in the next coming months.

  18. Doug Horn says:

    Same body,fancier trimmings.

  19. Matt Howell says:

    I play on a yts-23 in my high school band. I have been playing it for two years now with difficulty. From a G in the staff down I can’t play very well. The instrument itself looks rough. The laquer is wearing away and the bell is dented. There is a good possibility that this saxophone is over five years old and hasn’t had any matinence. Now I haven’t have the chance to play another tenor so I don’t know if its me or the horn. I’ve played on alto, soprano, and baritone saxes without difficulty. I think it could be the pads wearing out but I don’t know how to diagnose the problem properly.

  20. Larry Weintraub says:

    Matt: From what you describe I would bet your horn is leaking really bad. The body may also be bent. Get that tenor to a good saxophone repair guy asap.

  21. Matt Howell says:

    I’m actually looking into a new tenor because the tenor is the school,s horn and the school doesn’t really have the money to get it fixed.

  22. Manda says:

    I’m in high school and have played (saxophone) for a shorter amount of time (but I’ve played other instruments) then most. Having played other instruments of other brands and hated them, I’ve always ended up getting a Yamaha. I have a YAS-200AD (which is no longer made) and am looking for a new (pro) Alto that has a darker center but is adaptable enough that I can match the brighter tones of the other instruments in the band. Would the YAS-62 be the way to go? or the YAS-875EX? I’ve heard good things about both, and I’m leaning towards the YAS-875EX. Any suggestions? (I also am in the jazz band, if that makes any difference)

    • antonius smink says:

      i am not a pro by a long shot ,but have shopped around quite a bit looking for that sound i wanted. as far as the alto sax goes , i find that the yanigesawa alto a991 has a darker sound than the Yamaha but of course the mouthpiece will also make a great deal of difference as werll . on both scores i found sax co to be very helpfull

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