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Yanagisawa Saxophones have been handmade in Tokyo, Japan for many years. Originally starting out as a saxophone repair and upgrade workshop,  Yanagisawa now produces some of the world’s very finest instruments. With globally renowned tone and legendary keywork, a Yanagisawa saxophone will last a lifetime. 

Read more about Yanagisawa

Hard to Spell!
We love Yanagisawa saxes – fabulous instruments but notoriously hard to spell! We regularly get asked by customers for Yanigasawa or Yanigisawa saxes. The spelling is made even more confusing by the fact that many players refer to them as Yani saxes. Don’t worry if you spell or pronounce it wrongly – you will not be the first or last!

Why have I never heard of Yanagisawa?
Yanagisawa is a small Japanese company that exclusively makes top quality professional specification saxes. They don’t make other instruments or motorbikes – and it’s a very “Japanese” name that’s hard to spell and pronounce! However, together with Selmer (Paris), Yamaha and Keilwerth, they are one of the “big 4” sax makers in the world – so if you know your saxophones, you’ll know Yanagisawa!

Technology forged with Craftsmanship
The beauty of Yanagisawa instruments is that they have that rare combination of being both technically superb and possessing real character or magic, a cocktail that is really only present in fabulous instruments.

Yanagisawa saxophones are produced in a small family run factory of around 80 staff in Tokyo . The quality of production is second to none – with both the specification and consistency of product being superlative as you might expect from a specialist Japanese firm producing state of the art products.

However, what differentiates Yanagisawa instruments is the way in which superlative production techniques are married with the care and attention of its experienced artisan workers – creating instruments that are not only high specification and reliable – but which possess an extra magic “human” dimension imparted by Yanagisawa’s team of passionate master craftsmen.

Still a family run business, over 100 years after its founding (current CEO is Nobushige Yanagisawa), many of the firms master makers have been working for the business for over 30 years and have unrivalled experience in creating wonderful instruments that our customers love.

For more detail on the Yanagisawa manufacturing process, please see the Yanagisawa Virtual Factory Tour.

The Range
Yanagisawa produce a relatively small range of instruments – all of which are of a high professional specification. So how do you know if you need a S901 or a T991?!

Firstly the letter at the front of the model number denotes the type of instrument – A = Alto, T = Tenor, B = Baritone and S = Soprano. Simple!

Secondly, there are predominantly 2 instrument specifications 901 and 991. Available for each instrument, the 901 is the standard specification Yanagisawa – roughly equivalent in specification to a Yamaha  6 series instrument, whereby the 991 is the enhanced specification model  - roughly equivalent to a Yamaha 8 series “Custom”.

So an A901 is the standard specification Alto, whereby the T991 is the enhanced specification Tenor.

Finally, the final digit of the model denotes the material the instrument’s body is made from. 1 is Brass, 2 Bronze and 3 Sterling Silver. So... an A902 is a standard specification Alto with a bronze neck, body and bell.

The 2 specifications and 3 material types therefore creates a myriad of models. Whilst we often supply saxes from across the range, by far the most popular models amongst our customers are the Brass bodied instruments. We therefore keep in stock the 901 models for Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Baritone; together with the 991 Alto and Tenor.

What’s the difference between the 901 and 991 Models?
We often get asked about the differences between the two models, and whilst there are a number of key technical differences, it is important to note that the underlying body specification and shape are exactly the same.

The most significant difference is the way in which the keys of the instrument are attached to the body. The 991 features a ribbed construction, whereby the keys are attached to a long brass strip “the rib” which is in turn attached to the body, whereby with the 901 the key posts are attached directly to the instrument.  A ribbed construction creates a more solid construction and greater mass to the body – making for a darker tone.

Another significant change is the orientation of the octave key. 901s feature a standard “on top” key, whereas the 991 has an “under slung” mechanism.  The under slung mechanism uses different bracing from a traditional octave key. This increases the mass of the neck, subtly altering its balance. This also creates a warmer tone.

In addition the 991 features upgraded pads from the (admittedly already superb) pads on the 901, together with a number of technical improvements, such as double arm construction of the low B & C keys & C#-B connected roller. These features, whilst upgrades, do not significantly change the sound or performance of the saxophone.

What’s the right Instrument for You?
The majority of instruments we sell are 901 models – which are perfect instrument specification for most advanced students and amateur enthusiasts. All Yanagisawa instruments offer a professional specification, which will last most saxophonists a lifetime. When we sell 991s, it’s usually to top level (Music College) students or enthusiasts who want to treat themselves to the ultimate Yanagisawa. Whatever you choose, you won’t be disappointed!