The Yamaha Saxophone is an established Saxophone brand across the world for both intermediate and professional horns. According to Yamaha’s website, their research and development began in 1964, with production following shortly after in 1967. Many players know Yamaha today in two separate realms: gigging players know them for their professional models, while band directors and teachers know them for their student models.
The student models are quite popular in school music programs among parents and students seeking affordable entry-level horns to learn and grow on. Also, the professional models often have wonderful tone and action. As always, do not take this article (or the other opinions on the Internet) for granted before purchasing a new horn. Always try out a possible horn before purchasing it to make sure your mouthpiece and embouchure work well with the saxophone for your comfort and ease.
Technically, the Yamaha saxophone has some unique characteristics that other brands have not tried in combination or at all yet. For example, the YAS-62II alto and YBS-62 baritone saxophones have annealed brass. Annealing itself is a heat treatment that modifies the strength of the metal by heating and cooling it under specific conditions. Most Yamaha saxes also have an adjustable thumb rest. The YBS-62 Baritone also has a three-vent octave mechanism to help eliminate the fuzziness that sometimes occurs when playing the midrange G, G#, and A with the octave key depressed. Yamaha also makes a straight soprano, the YSS-875EX, with a high G key option.
Their high-end model Yamaha Sax, such as the YAS-875EX alto, YTS-875EX tenor, and previously mentioned YSS-875EX soprano, can also be purchased with silver plating or black lacquer.
In general, silver plating adds brilliance to a saxophone’s sound. However, silver has the downside of tarnishing over time and requires proper care at all times. Black lacquer is usually quite similar to standard lacquer, but has a subtle, darker tone aside from its striking appearance. In contrast, the standard lacquer placed on most models of saxophones is in place to center the saxophone’s tone and provide some protection for the horn’s metal body.
Here are a few professional saxophonists and groups that have endorsed the brand according to Yamaha’s Artist site:
- Robert Kyle
- Mike Tomaro
- Michael Hester
- Jeff Coffin
- Richard Rath
- Frankie Perez
- Frank Catalano
- Sue Terry
- Gregory Yasinitsky
- Joe Lulloff
- Willie Hill
- Nelson Hill
- Michael Ghegan
- Capitol Quartet
You can learn more about Yamaha from their website or look below for a video of a tour of the Yamaha sax factory: