New Yanagisawa Alto Saxophone WO Series
After 20 years Yanagisawa have finally released a new range of Alto Saxophones. So what are they and what are the differences from the previous models?
Professional and Elite Models
Yanagisawa’s WO Series offers two distinct ranges of alto saxophone in a variety of configurations and finishes, boasting improvements to aesthetics, ergonomics and materials.
The ‘Professional’ models, which include the A-WO1, successor to the hugely popular, market leading A901 Alto, are aimed at the advanced player who enjoys a variety of musical genres. They deliver a free blowing, resonant body, which houses a superb ergonomic key design, making those difficult passages that little bit easier for the player. The A-WO1 and A-WO2 professional models are available in a few different configurations/finish.
A step-up from this are the Elite models which include the A-WO10, replacement for the A991. These represent the very best from Yanagisawa and offer effortless tone with added depth allowing the player full freedom to express themselves. There are a few models within the Elite range, similar to the Pro range they are available in a few different finishes etc.
A-WO1 and A-W10
Yanagisawa have clearly spent a long time trying to improve all component aspects of these models. The A-W01’s predecessor, the A901 was extremely successful and became the leading choice for players who had reached grade 5+ and needed a competitively priced, advanced saxophone that would last them throughout their playing career. The A991 was a top pick for pro players. Yanagisawa are aiming to deliver even better models that are going to set the new standard.
Starting with the actual body, Yanagisawa have chosen a new source of brass for both WO1 and W10 bodies, which they believe offers a better sound and sonority. The body and tone holes have also been re-engineered for smoother blowing and better intonation.
A number of improvements have taken place here, focusing on all the crucial areas relating to keys. The front F key has been redesigned, the right pinky key has had its angle altered – both changes are to facilitate smoother fingerwork. There is a palm key plate on both models – previously only available on the higher spec models, which promotes added resonance and depth across the high range.
Yanagisawa have also acknowledged the need for a more up to date case, attractive but also practical, incorporating a robust backpack style design with useful external pocket.
Differences between the A-WO1 and A-WO10
Whilst the body specification and shape on these two models is the same, the first significant difference lies in the way in which the keys of the instrument are attached to the body. On the A-WO1 the key posts are attached directly to the instrument. However, with the A-WO10, a ‘ribbed’ construction is used whereby the keys are attached to a long strip (the rib) which is then attached to the body. This result is a more solid construction and greater mass to the body which facilitates a darker tone. The A-WO10 also differs from the A-WO1 in that it features an under slung neck mechanism on the octave key. This uses a different bracing from a traditional octave key mechanism which increases the mass of the neck, subtly altering its balance, creating a warmer tone as well as delivering better response and reliability.
Two great all-round saxophones, which will appeal to both Jazz and Classical players. The joy of fantastic sound, response, intonation and reliability combined with the established credibility behind the Yanagisawa name should ensure that these models stand the test of time and maintain Yanagisawa’s position as a front runner in the saxophone market.