The Yanagisawa Saxophone wasn’t put into production until 1954, although the company was originally started in 1896. Yanagisawa Wind Instruments, as the company is known, was originally a family instrument company in Tokyo, Japan. Their first saxophone being the tenor saxophone (model T-3). Their first alto sax was made in 1956, and the first baritone was made in 1966.
Many players know the Yanagisawa horn as reliable instruments of fine craftsmanship. There are also claims of great intonation and responsiveness from these horns. Their construction also appears to be superb.
Many online reviews sight little or no problems when playing a new saxophone that has been purchased directly from the factory. As always, don’t take this article’s word (or the Internet’s word) for granted. Be sure to play a saxophone of any model or make before purchasing it.
Most models have the option of being purchased lacquered or unlacquered. Although this may seem like a purely aesthetic choice, lacquer can have a huge influence on the sound of your sax. Saxophones that have not been lacquered can have a more mellow tone than their lacquered counterparts. You can hear the difference if you play the same model saxophone with either option (using the same mouthpiece/reed/player setup on each, of course). However, the lacquer has been in place on saxophones as a means of protecting the metal. Therefore, you need to be very careful with an unlacquered horn. Bumps and dents can be catastrophic on an unlacquered horn!
The Yanagisawa Saxophone is known for a handful of technical advancements that are unique to their horns. For example, most models have an adjustable front F key to assisting in producing tone. They also prefer the use of steel springs. Joints have a pointed pivot screw at the tip, rather than a rod going through a hollow outer rod, to achieve better action. Some players also note the double arm on keys as a construction strength, making the durability and key strength greater than that of other horns. There is no doubt the the Yani deserves a place as one of the Top Saxophone Brands.
You can step through the creation of their saxophones in their online assembly gallery.
Below is a list of some players who currently play or endorse Yanagisawa:
- Steve Slagle
- Peter King
- Antonio Hart
- Vincent Herring
- Tommy Smith
- Antonio Hart
- Barbara Thompsom
- Greg Osby
- Matthew Neill
- Gilad Atzmon
- Ingrid Laubrock
- Mark Gross
- Tim Garland
You can visit the Yanagisawa online catalog for more information: http://www.yanagisawasax.co.jp