Guide to Yamaha Saxophones
Saxophone on the gray background Yamaha has long been associated with producing superb quality instruments, placing them at the forefront of instrumental suppliers. The saxophones are no exception, with their student models often being recommended by many teachers, and their professional models used by many famous performers including Otis Murphy, Nobuya Sugawa and Phil Woods to name a few. We have put this helpful guide together to aid you in the process of buying a Yamaha saxophone, including the models that we stock and why each of the models are a good choice for saxophonists of all playing abilities. The Models:
Instrument Model Ability Level
Bb Soprano Saxophone YSS475II Intermediate
YSS875EX Custom Professional
Eb Alto Saxophone YAS280 Student
YAS480 Intermediate
YAS62 Professional
YAS875EX Custom Professional
Bb Tenor Saxophone YTS280 Student
YTS480 Intermediate
YTS62 Professional
Eb Baritone Saxophone YBS32 Intermediate
YBS62 Professional
It should be noted that the above models are the most popular ones, and therefore we regularly hold stock of at Normans. We are able to order in other models (such as the Custom 82Z) and different finishes (lacquered, gold plate, silver plate, black lacquered) on request. If you would like more information then please contact our sales team on 01283 535333 (option 1) or email us at sales@normans.co.uk. TENOR 280 Models The Alto and Tenor saxophones that fall under the number 280 are Yamaha’s entry level models, aimed at beginners. They are highly regarded for their excellent intonation, and the easiness of producing a great sound from the get-go. They are designed with the young learner in mind as the model is made of a relatively lightweight brass-alloy, has an adjustable thumb-rest, and ergonomically designed keys. The 280 is a study and durable saxophone, which produces a clear and strong sound that is ideal for building the confidence of new players. SOPRANO 480 and 475II Models These saxophones are Yamaha’s intermediate level models, for the player looking for the next step up from their student instrument. The 480 Alto and Tenor saxophones provide a little bit more resistance in comparison to the 280 model, giving a more flexible, authoritative sound for the more advanced player to work with. Again the intonation of these instruments is second-to-none, lending the saxophones a homogeneous sound throughout the octaves. In terms of aesthetics, the 480 is the first model in Yamaha’s range to feature a hand-engraved pattern on the bell, giving the instrument a distinctive look. The 475II Soprano saxophone is the equivalent to the 480 Alto/Tenor model. This intermediate horn is a good introduction to the Soprano for players who may already play another saxophone and want to explore the other saxophones. Based on the design of the Custom professional models, the saxophone has a warm tone and quick response, which makes playing it feel comfortable and easy. BARI 32 Model Yamaha’s intermediate Baritone saxophone, the YBS32 offers many qualities of a professional model, but at an intermediate price. The keys are ergonomically designed and easy to reach, making the large instrument comfortable play, and yet again the intonation, tone, and quick response of the instrument makes it very enjoyable to play. The resistance of the 32 is very similar to that of the 62, making it a great choice for intermediate to entry-level professional players who are looking to branch into baritone playing. Again this saxophone features some engraving on the bell, making it an attractive looking instrument. 62 Models The Yamaha 62 is one of their most famous professional level saxophones due to its reliable performance and exceptional quality. Having hard steel springs and a slightly narrower neck bore compared to the 280 and 480 models, the 62 Alto and Tenor saxophones have a faster response and better tone control than the lower spec models. The 62 is known for its moderate resistance, solid core and deep tonal colour, making it a long-standing favourite of both professional musicians and advanced students alike. This model also features a hand-engraved pattern on the bell, which Yamaha describes as “more elaborate, with finer detail, offering delicate beauty”. The 62 Baritone saxophone is much like its smaller counterparts, again being well known for its reliability and high quality. It offers a strong and clear sound, with accurate intonation and a comfortable tonal response. The baritone saxophone also features Yamaha’s specially designed octave mechanism for ease of play and smooth octave transitions. This model again features a hand-engraved bell boasting an elaborate design. ALTO Custom 875EX Models The Custom 875EX models are at the top of the pile when it comes to professional model saxophones, and used by some of the worlds best saxophonists such as John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. The Alto and Tenor horns are instruments of exceptional quality, built from years of research and trials involving some of Yamaha’s performing artists. They feature a smooth response and a deep, highly refined sound that offers a variety of rich tonal colours. The bell of the Custom models is larger than that of the student/intermediate models, allowing for a well-balanced sound and great projection that is ideal for live performance. The newly upgraded Custom necks that are supplied with these instruments enhance the tonal resonance, and give a quicker, more comfortable response adding to the flexibility of these saxophones, making them suitable for any kind of music. The keys on the Custom models feature mother of pearl buttons, which not only adds a luxurious feel, but offers more grip under the fingers when playing fast passages. The bell on the Custom model features an intricate floral engraving, which adds to the overall quality feel of the saxophones. The 875EX Soprano saxophone is amongst some of the finest soprano saxophones ever made. With precise intonation, which is a triumph when it comes to building a soprano saxophone, and a gorgeous sound with rich harmonies that give the player broad expressive capabilities and wide dynamics, the saxophone lends itself to tonally colourful playing. The soprano saxophone also has excellent projection that is perfect for live performances, and has a ‘blendable’ sound that is well suited to both solo and ensemble performance. Again the saxophone features the Custom mother of pearl buttons on the keys, the floral engraving on the bell, and the soprano also comes with a straight and bent neck, to suit different playing preferences.