Yamaha Saxophone Overview
Yamaha 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
January 24, 2012 @ 1:40 pm
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.
January 24, 2012 @ 8:06 pm
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!
February 18, 2013 @ 7:20 pm
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.
March 5, 2013 @ 2:34 pm
Wow, your horn has “cancer” – doesn’t sound good, but I guess that these horns really know how to take a lickin’ (no pun intended).
January 25, 2012 @ 5:16 am
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?
January 25, 2012 @ 10:15 am
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.
March 18, 2012 @ 10:13 am
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.
March 18, 2012 @ 11:21 am
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?
April 26, 2012 @ 12:23 pm
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?
March 18, 2012 @ 5:30 pm
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.
March 19, 2012 @ 8:38 pm
The trusty old Mark VI remains at the top of the list…
Anyhow, thanks for the kudos on the site, looking forward to your account of the Yamaha product rep adventure.
March 20, 2012 @ 9:36 am
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.
March 20, 2012 @ 8:27 pm
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!
March 21, 2012 @ 4:42 am
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.
March 22, 2012 @ 8:30 pm
Sounds like you’ve gained a tremendous amount of experience that most sax players don’t have. Thanks for sharing!
May 19, 2012 @ 1:42 pm
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
November 5, 2012 @ 3:30 pm
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.
November 5, 2012 @ 8:40 pm
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.
December 15, 2012 @ 10:34 am
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.
December 16, 2012 @ 8:36 pm
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!
February 17, 2013 @ 12:45 pm
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.
February 17, 2013 @ 8:11 pm
I would say buy the best horn you can afford, unless you don’t see yourself playing very seriously. You might want to check out this article series: https://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com//is-it-worth-buying-a-pro-model-saxophone-part-i/
I hope that helps,
February 18, 2013 @ 2:15 pm
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.
February 18, 2013 @ 7:44 pm
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.
March 2, 2013 @ 8:12 am
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.
February 4, 2014 @ 2:00 pm
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!
February 4, 2014 @ 2:42 pm
Actually, Yamaha is probably your best bet in terms of new horns. Yanagisawa makes some great instruments too.
February 4, 2014 @ 5:07 pm
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.
carlos roda cid
February 9, 2014 @ 3:17 pm
I have an YTS-52.-It is true that this horn is closely the same as the YTS-62.? Thanks !
February 12, 2014 @ 11:14 am
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.
March 2, 2014 @ 4:57 am
Same body,fancier trimmings.
March 24, 2014 @ 2:31 pm
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.
March 24, 2014 @ 2:34 pm
The neck screw is also broken and the neck is just dangling most of the time.
March 24, 2014 @ 6:47 pm
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.
March 26, 2014 @ 3:05 pm
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.
April 15, 2014 @ 4:50 pm
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)
April 16, 2014 @ 2:07 pm
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
March 19, 2015 @ 3:42 pm
I have a YTS-61 that I bought in 1974. It has been on the road with me and for years played five to seven nights a week. It still sounds and looks great. I have had very little work done to in relation to how long I’ve had it. I actually traded my mark iv in when I bought it. I paid 725.00 for m,y mark iv in 1971 when I was in high school. Every penny I had. I also play a yas-61 alto which I bought in 1972.They are great horns.
April 27, 2015 @ 12:43 pm
I have a YAS-31 alto with the purple logo on the very front of the bell . Serial number in the low 3XXX range . Looking for info on it . I purchased from a Japanese seller on Ebay . I think the YAS-31 is the same as the YAS-61 minus the engraving . My YAS-31 does have pearl key touches as well , which leads me to believe it’s the same body tube as the YAS-61 made at that time . If anyone has any idea how old or when my saxophone was made , please feel free to leave a comment . Thanks , Soup !
July 6, 2015 @ 2:00 pm
I recently had the chance to test play the new Yam 62 alto and 82Z custom alto which were very impressive, even if a touch bright! Yamaha certainly make excellent quality horns although personally I prefer my Selmer SA80 II alto because of it’s darker tone. One thing I noticed was just how free-blowing and bright the yamahas were when compared to the selmer ( the 62 and Z were very similar… Nice though ) , not bad just different. If you were thinking about buying new the yamahas are far cheaper than selmer and yani horns ( the A901 was a joy to play, I prefer the 62 but that’s a personal preference ) . I’m curious as to what people think about the 62 tenor when compared to the yani and selmer alternatives… But I give the yamaha altos a solid thumbs up!
July 19, 2015 @ 5:41 pm
My high-school-aged son currently has a YAS-475 that I bought him used a few years ago. He is looking to move up to a new “pro” alto sax. We tested a YAS-62III and a Cannonball “big bell”. Both sounded nice, but the Cannonball was a bit muffled (my term…as I’m not a saxophone guy) compared to the Yamaha. The 62III was very clean and clear…and maybe a bit “bright”…but definitely better than his 475.
He has not tried a Selmer or a Yana but he definitely wants to. Any recommendations?
Also, any thoughts on buying a very recent “used” horn versus a brand new one? Thanks in advance for your help.
July 19, 2015 @ 11:11 pm
Well Selmer saxes as new are verrrrry expensive but if you were to look around on the second hand market you might be able to find one at a reasonable price; in my eyes they’re a little overpriced but I absolutely adore Super Action 80 II alto so… I think it pays to shop around they’re certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. The Yanagisawa 901 ( now the AW01 ) is a very popular alternative to the YAS-62 III so that would be worth a look or a second hand A-991, those horns are fantastic in every regard! In the UK there’s a brand called ‘Trevor James’ who have a ‘Signiture Custom’ range which are held in high esteem by many players and these are in the Yamaha and Yani price point, however, I’m not sure about their availability in the US and there’s always the P.Mauriat saxes if fancy lacquer is your thing… Sorry for drifting away from the topic, in any case never buy ‘blind’ ( I’ve made that mistake with mouthpieces!… *sigh* ), I hope this helped :)
July 19, 2015 @ 11:21 pm
And a short note on second hand, there’s no reason why second hand horns should be disregarded however make sure you have a look and try it out before you buy and see if you can have a trial period ( after a week with my second hand Selmer it needed some light work ) but if the sax is in good condition and it plays well it’s a fantastic way to buy a top instrument at great price essentially! Try to steer clear of quirky vintage horns as these can prove expensive and mouthpiece compatibility is always an issue as well as tuning… A second hand YAS-62 Mark 1 ( pre 2003 I think please correct me ) is worth a look or if you’re looking upmarket a second hand Selmer SA80 II or ( if you can find one, these horns seldom appear on the used market ) a Yamaha Z or a Yani A991 / W010. In any case, if there’s a second hand horn you’re interested in then give it a try but never buy without prior testing :)
July 21, 2015 @ 5:41 am
Oscar, thanks for all the feedback. We have an appt on Thursday to try an 875EX and an 82ZII. Haven’t found a Selmer or Yana yet to demo. I heard an online demo of all the YAS models…and the 82ZII has a wonderful jazzy sound. Not sure if that’s where he’s looking to go with his music…but it sounded great!
We’ll see what happens with the demos, and I’ll let you know. Gonna try some different mouthpieces as well. That way, we can compare everything to his current 475. Thanks again.
Sam Holland Jr.
July 20, 2015 @ 2:21 pm
I’m a new student on alto. I invested in an overhauled purple logo 62. I’m wondering if the more modern Yamahas are better or will Selmer’s be a better all around horn? I’m looking for a more warmer sound.
July 20, 2015 @ 2:33 pm
The modern yamahas are very free blowing and in my opinion you can’t go wrong with the brilliant 62 or Z custom, I had the chance to try the Selmer Reference 54 alto today which was much easier to play than my own SA80 II but it cost a small fortune! Yamahas tend to be warmer than the selmers and if you like your purple logo 62 then it might be worth just sticking to it and getting to know it inside out. The 62 is an excellent alto :) I think that it’s worth finding a horn that you like and then getting everything out of it before moving on, it saves a lot of money too!
July 20, 2015 @ 2:48 pm
Oh and if you’re after a different sound a new mouthpiece might do the trick, that’s a whole different ball game though! It might be worth going to your local music dealer and just seeing what mouthpieces they have… The 62 is really good with almost any ‘piece and it’s a fairly warm sax compared to other ones out there
July 25, 2015 @ 10:00 am
My son was able to demo several horns, including the Yamaha 62III, 82ZII, and the 875EX. He also tried a P. Mauriat…which he liked the least. Perhaps the action was just to different from the Yamaha’s he’s used to. Of the 3 others, he liked the 875EX the least…and then it was basically a tie between the 82ZII and the 62III. Obviously the cost difference makes the 62III dad’s choice.
Still need to try a Selmer and Yana to know if those hold anything special for him…but I’d have to buy those used, based on the high prices of both…especially the Selmer.
I’ll keep you posted. Thanks.
July 25, 2015 @ 10:10 am
Sounds good to me :) the 82ZII and 62III are very similar…. If he likes the 62 then it might be a winner and there’s always the issue of mouthpieces ( the 62 is very flexible in this aspect ) meaning you could always improve the 62’s performance without breaking the bank! ( I recommend the selmer soloist or jody jazz HR* mouthpiece, although there’s plenty of choice – it might be worth looking on another forum aha ). The yani 901 is the best alternative to the 62 if he’s interested and I hear that selmer have a new sax out called the ‘seles Axos’ that is more or less the same cost as a 901, I had the chance to try one recently and I rather liked it – I hope the sax searching goes well!
Reba Abrassart Worth
January 27, 2016 @ 9:14 pm
I am trying to price a YTS-475A, and I cannot find a reference to what the “A” stands for. Most hits refer to just “475.” When we bought it new at Sam Ash, I remember the guy saying it was the last of that model to be made where they were being made(Japan?) Anyone know what the “A” stands for and if it has an effect on value?
October 18, 2016 @ 5:43 am
I didn’t know that saxophones could range up to $4,000! I thought it would maybe cost $700 at most. Maybe I am better off renting one instead. Thank you for the average prices!
February 5, 2017 @ 9:32 am
I am an adult thinking of learning to play the sax. I just received my sisters tenor sax. We bought it for her when we lived in Japan in the early 80’s. She went on to play in the USC Trojan Marching Band. I had a local shop repad/cork it. They said it was in very good playing condition despite the exterior scratches.
It is a Yamaha YTS-32 with a purple stenciled logo.
Can you tell me anything about this horn?