Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Selmer or Yanagisawa?

User ID: 0840444
May 9th 4:52 PM
I've rented a Yamaha student horn for the longest time, and now I am interested in buying my own. I doln't know a lot, but I'm interested in either a Selmer Series 2 Super 80, or a Yanagisawa Bronze Series Alto. Which company is a better pick?
User ID: 9523443
May 9th 5:05 PM
Alex, both Yanigisawa and Selmer make great horns and are at the top of the line. I would suggest that you go with the Selmer because they have been in the business longer than anybody else. Selmers have great response and can be played for no matter what type of music you want. On the other hand Yanigisawa makes great instruments too, but it is all a matter of what saxophone you play best with. Try them both before you make your decision.
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
May 9th 6:41 PM
Alex: I have three bronze Yanas and a lacquered one. All are excellent horns. Yana has probably the most consistent quality-control of any of the new horns. Once I received mine, they did not need any adjustments. Not true with a recent new Selmer Serie III I purchased (and am selling). My A992 is a better horn than my original MkVI. My S992 and SC902 are the finest sopranos I've ever played. DAVE
User ID: 1759784
May 9th 6:44 PM
I have a Selmer Series II alto and a Yani 991. The 991 is easier to play. The Series II has a bit richer sound. I don't have a bronze alto (but I do have a bronze tenor). The bronze horns seem to have a bigger sound.

The Yanagisawa horns I have seem to be better made, more consistent quality control and work better out of the box. The Selmers I have had seemed to need to be rebuilt before they could play to their potential.
User ID: 9014973
May 9th 11:55 PM
I have a III they don't git any better.Git real Bro they don't get any better...!
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
May 10th 12:06 AM
Cashsax: Sorry to disagree . . . but they do get better. I'm replaced my silver III sop with a Yana S992. And from my experience, my SC902 is also superior to my III. The Yanas are everything my III wasn't, and I tested some other III's before buying the III I have now. I'm glad yours is a good one, but mine had some problems. DAVE
User ID: 8590713
May 10th 1:31 AM
I found both the bronze A992 and Selmer II were a bit dark and 'heavy' sounding for me. Probably if that is the sound you like, then they would be good alternatives, and it comes down to how you like the action and response, they are both very good. Personally I prefer the A991 or Selmer III, I play the latter.
User ID: 9892733
May 10th 1:36 AM
When it comes to alto I'll have to side with Cash....a good Selmer is hard to beat; whether it be a VI, VII, II, or III....if it's one of the really good ones it's probably a killer. Alex, don't take our word for it....try em yourself and decide which YOU like. You're the one that will have to play it for a long time. There are some killer Yanas too.
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
May 10th 11:40 AM
This must be why folks buy Fords vs. Chevy (etc.). My Yana A992 is a better horn than my MKVI alto (and my MKVI is a good horn). My S992 is much better than my Serie III sop (and the Selmer is a nice horn).

I'm sure there are examples of each top brand (and vintage, too) being favored over another of a different brand. I will agree that there may be a Serie II, III or a VI out there that will outplay any Yana. But I don't have enough time or money to find out.

To again answer the original question, in my experience, Yana is the most consistent of all of them. Alex would probably come across more suitable Yanas (without a need for fine-tuning) than the other brands. DAVE
User ID: 8917553
May 10th 12:17 PM
How about you just test drive both, and see which you like best? Wouldn't that be the most sensible answer? I personally prefer the Selmer company over anything else, but my student/friend likes to use Yani saxes and doesn't like the Selmers. It's all preference. Find out what gives YOU the best sound and the sound you are looking for.
Dave Dolson
User ID: 9209903
May 10th 2:48 PM
Andrew: Yes, play-testing different brands (even models within a brand) would be ideal. And, I encourage that type of research before spending the big bucks.

Unfortunately, even in a huge metro area like L.A., you may not find a retailer who has enough inventory to provide a real comparison. Over time, I've seen some stores with one Serie III and nothing else. Others may have a Cannonball and an intermediate Yamaha. But to find Yana, Selmer, Yamaha, and/or JKs in stock and ready for playing is rare indeed.

So, you play one here and you play one there and try to remember what you liked and didn't like. OR, you buy mail-order with a return privilege and take your chances. If you're gonna do that, might as well reduce your risk and pick one that has a reputaion of being made right the first time. That would be Yana. DAVE
David Apolloni
User ID: 0081374
May 10th 3:15 PM
Alex must be totally confused, since each response to his question is different. I notice that here nobody has even bothered to ask him what kind of music he wishes to play, and nobody bothers to say what they themselves play.

First some generalities. For classical music, the overall favorite of all the professionals is without question Selmer. For jazz, rock, R and B, hip-hop, the answer is less clear if the question concerns modern horns. Both Selmer and Yani will do the job, it is safe to say--both are fine horns. If one wants a flexible horn that can play classical music well and will work in any of the other kinds of music, try Selmer Serie II or III.

One always has to think of resale value, as well. The Selmer mystique is theirs and will probably remain theirs: no other company can claim it. Given this, it probably is best to go with Selmer.

But in the end it always comes down to personal preference. Alex, try some of these horns out and get your teacher or another professional player to try them out with you. You might want to think about what kind of music you want to play, what kind of sound you want and how each sax feels to you when you try it out. Also listen to the advice of someone who has done it all before you.

User ID: 0840444
May 10th 4:17 PM
Thanks for all of the replies-I'm going to try some of them out this weekend at music store. I am not really sure what to go for, but I'll try them out, and see which one I like the most.
User ID: 0840444
May 10th 4:29 PM
Thanks for all of the replies-I'm going to try some of them out this weekend at music store. I am not really sure what to go for, but I'll try them out, and see which one I like the most.
User ID: 9014973
May 14th 6:14 AM
David Apolloni, you hit it on the head, my personal preference IS primarily Selmer new or old. I've had many yrs to make up my mind and will try anything to check it out, but my horn are my bread and butter..I reall have no other choices..I've seen many pro players "return" to their Selmers after a stint with other makes. The investment quality factor is also important to me as I've got over 20K in my horns. American Vintage to me also makes sense,as I have several.. There is something sterile IMHO with the Japanese Horns, I have tried many, even the finest Sterling examples,although I may add a Sterling Tenor to my collection just to look at..Btw Dave D I spent over 8 hrs (and lotsa set-ups) with the finest solid Sterling Yana Sop & whatever the top Yamama was, before deciding on a new Soprano. There was no comparison, the silver III won that shoot-out hands down albeit the Ymamha was easier to play just a very "plain" sound, the Sterling Yanag never came alive at all, but boy was it PRETTY..! The Silver III a yr later is breaking in and feels and sounds incredible.The tone color is just so much prettier and different than the other 2 I tried..But I agree it's a Personal thing..Just heard a guy in a main lounge in Vegas on a "Winston" Soprano..(he told me somebody gave it to him)the guy was flat amazing with the Beautiful tone he got out of it ..Congrats on yer new horn,Glad yer diggin' it..Btw you made someone very happy with your III too..
User ID: 0777594
May 14th 5:59 PM
If you can wait, I've heard the Ref 54 alto will be a great sounding horn. However, you may not see one for a year.
el douche
User ID: 9043333
May 14th 7:53 PM
Don't get in to hype, try it and buy the one that you like most.
User ID: 1000714
May 21st 1:18 AM
It's the player that makes the horn. If you have bad technique and tone quality, you can play a VI, Series III, and and Vito and they will all sound alike. I used to have as Yas-23 with a Selmer mouthpeice that played almost as good as my Mark VI alto. I find pro horn help me with having a better feel and more comfort in altissimo range. A begginer, intermediate, and pro horn do about the same thing. I recommend if your a begginer or just play for fun. Don't waste $3000.00 or more on a pro horn. It won't do you any good. If you want to take it to the next level I recommend vintage. Partly because new horns today are more bright. I've heard it said the mark vi play flat. I believe it more the individual than the horn.
User ID: 8868883
May 21st 3:12 AM
Both the horns you mention are fairly dark sounding but do have a rather different feel to them.

You may prefer either of them, I did find the Yani blew easier and in fact was more like the Selmer III than the II in character. Personally, I wanted to like the 992 but on the examples I played, I found the sound a bit heavy and personally prefer the Selmer III which for me blows better than the II, and has a better playing feel.