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Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys,

I'm just curious. I found this soprano for sale in the local ads. The seller bought it at least 15 years ago. He plays alto and do not use it anymore. View attachment 227584 It's an unbranded horn and obviously a Mark VI copy. Seller says it plays well from top to bottom, but the Bb side key is missing.

The main thing I'm wondering about is that it's not a China made sax, but it was made in Japan ( it's stamped under the thumb rest ). Seller would let it go for CAD $100 which is not a fortune. I join the 2 best photos I could get. Sorry, I know they are blurry and crappy.

Does anybody have an idea of who made this horn?

Thanks.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
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For a $100 - buy it. My be a great player.
 

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For a $100 - buy it. My be a great player.
Exactly. Buy it, even though it is colored lacquer...for $100, if it doesn't suit you or even if it cannot be definitively determined to be a Yani....you can certainly sell it for that in a minute if you are disappointed. Not a huge risk IMHO...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
They stenciled a lot of horns for others. Their sopranos were Mark VI copies, back in the 70s. See if you can find out the serial #
Oh, I think I won't question myself any longer and I'll grab it. I play soprano mainly and though I have a good sop, it would be great to pick a Yana for this price.

Who in Japan made some saxes 20 years ago other than Yamaha and Yanagisawa?
 

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Are you SURE that it is marked JAPAN on the back - have you seen it? The reason I ask is that as far as I know, Yanagisawa was the only maker in Japan who made a Mark VI clone (I could be wrong). And from what I know, Yanagisawa marked all of their saxophones with a brand-name (Dorado 600, Whitehall, Vito, etc.; again, I could be wrong). I don't think Yamaha made a MKVI-pattern soprano.

The reason I comment is because I own a MKVI-pattern soprano labelled KUSTOM with no other markings except for a serial number. It is a good player. From everything I could find out when I bought it from a fellow SOTW years ago was that it was probably made by Antigua, a Taiwanese-based manufacturer. Antigua did make a MKVI-pattern soprano several years ago.

Few make such a soprano these days. The Kenny G MKVI-style soprano made in China has different left palm keys so it doesn't totally resemble a real MKVI. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Are you SURE that it is marked JAPAN on the back - have you seen it? The reason I ask is that as far as I know, Yanagisawa was the only maker in Japan who made a Mark VI clone (I could be wrong). And from what I know, Yanagisawa marked all of their saxophones with a brand-name (Dorado 600, Whitehall, Vito, etc.; again, I could be wrong). I don't think Yamaha made a MKVI-pattern soprano.

The reason I comment is because I own a MKVI-pattern soprano labelled KUSTOM with no other markings except for a serial number. It is a good player. From everything I could find out when I bought it from a fellow SOTW years ago was that it was probably made by Antigua, a Taiwanese-based manufacturer. Antigua did make a MKVI-pattern soprano several years ago.

Few make such a soprano these days. The Kenny G MKVI-style soprano made in China has different left palm keys so it doesn't totally resemble a real MKVI. DAVE
Dave, no I didn't see it.The seller mentioned it in the ad; I asked him at our first chat and he told me it was marked under the thumb rest. Then we got a phone conversation and he said the horn has a good quality build cause he's made in Japan, not in China. I asked him: Are you sure? and he said again it was marked Japan.
 

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If it’s marked made in Japan, buy it and figure out what it is later. If it’s not marked, it’s probably Chinese and woukd be a nice $100 lamp.
 

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JoJo: OK. If it IS marked Japan it probably was made in Japan.

FWIW, my KUSTOM has no country of origin on it. I guessed Antigua made it (in Taiwan) based on several things I was told by Dave Kessler and Pete Hales when I researched it, combined with a photo of an actual Antigua I saw then. Mine is very well made and I'm guessing it is maybe 30 years old - or more - a time when Asian manufacturers would be making sopranos based on the earlier MKVI pattern. It certainly is not similar in quality with Chinese-made saxophones of that era.

I agree that for $100 you can hardly go wrong. Even putting $500 +/- into an overhaul will most likely get you a good soprano. DAVE
 

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Did Yanagisawa build black laquered sopranos in the seventies? However - buy it!
 

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Maybe Yanagisawa would make a black finish on sopranos in those days - on special orders . . . I don't know. Just because I haven't seen one doesn't mean it couldn't or wouldn't be done.

The photo of an Antigua MKVI-pattern soprano I saw when I was researching my KUSTOM, showed a black-finished soprano.

Without any identifiers on the soprano being questioned in this thread, I doubt if we will ever know its source. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I asked the seller to send me a photo of the ''japan'' marking on the horn. I told him I will buy the horn as soon as I see it. No photo yet, but it's possible the guy is at the job right now. I'll try to get in touch tonight.
 

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Hey guys, I finally bought the horn for CAD $120 shipped. Seller sent the photo of the markings under the thumb rest and it says JAPAN with a serial number. Not easy to see cause the horn recieved a light layer of black paint ( according to the seller ).

The more I check the details on the photos the more I'm convinced it's a Yaganisawa stencil ( MK VI copy ). Even the case has the inside yellow plush like many vintage Yaganisawa cases I saw.

Hope the horn won't need too much repair and adjustments; it plays supposedly well from top to bottom and don't have any major dent ( experience taught me to slow down my enthusiasm on how well used market horns plays ). I will evaluate if the horn needs to be stripped. I'm not in love with the black paint but if it's sounds OK then why bothering with a long and harrassing paint and lacquer stripping job?

At the end I think this is a great deal and I thank you all for the comments and advices. I will post good photos in a couple of days when the horn will be here.

Anyone knows where I can find parts for the horn? the ''button'' of the upper side key is missing. I'd like to find a replacement part asap.

Thanks again, JO
 
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