Go back a couple of decades and the Bach Stradivarius was the trumpet of choice for pro players and an object of aspiration for developing students. Many (including Yamaha) had tried and failed to compete head to head with the Strad but it continued to dominate the top end of the trumpet market. Then in the early 1990’s Yamaha launched their Xeno model (‘Xeno’ is a Greek word for ‘from the outside’) and finally the Strad had some competition.
I can recall being in our sales office (at our old Moor Street premises) when the first sample arrived at Normans. A very competent trumpet player on our staff at the time said to me ‘I think we’ve finally found something to challenge the Strad!‘. He wasn’t wrong, and although the Xeno has never really outsold the Strad it has without doubt taken a decent slice of it’s market share.
Last year Yamaha announced some major changes to the YTR-8335 Xeno but we didn’t shout about it too much as stock was hard to come by. We now finally have a regular supply so thought it was time to tell you a bit about what’s changed.
What do Yamaha Say (in a nutshell!)
They claim it gives a ‘better response in all dynamics‘, a ‘more centred tone with a stronger presence‘ and a ‘clearer and warmer tone colour‘.
- New Bell Design – providing a powerful tonal core and enhanced playability in the upper register.
- Thinner Valve Casing and pistons – for improved response.
- Knuckle Bend Angle Changed – to provide an ideal blowing resistance.
- 1st Slide Button – fine tunes the blowing resistance for better control.
- Improved Water Key – ends have been curled for improved response.
- New Case – modern looking double case with strap and integral backpack.
For further detailed information on all of the new features download the Yamaha brochure here.(It’s quite a big file so be patient!)
So what do we think?
Yamaha marketing ‘speak’ is all well and good but to be honest when reading some of the wording they use I’m not sure I understand exactly what they’re claiming! That said, we’ve had some great feedback on the ones we’ve sold so far and there is definitely a step up in performance from the original model. If the old Xeno gave the Strad a bit of competition then this will raise the Yamaha bar just that little bit higher.
The only true way to find out if the improvements will help you and ascertain whether this is the right model for your style of playing is to try it. So, if you’ve been thinking of treating yourself and upgrading your ‘weapon of choice’ then this might just be a good time to do it. Our Free Returns policy means that if you don’t feel it lives up to the claims of the Yamaha marketing team you can simply return it. Nothing to lose apart from a bit of your time, and who doesn’t like trying out something new, even if they ultimately decide it’s not for them.