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I have gotten so confused by the number of student altos put out by Yamaha. Yas-21,Yas-23, Yas-26, Yas-200, Advantage, Yas-280...did I miss some? What are the differences? If I had a row of all of them in front of me, in mint condition, and I had to pick one to be my only horn...forever, which one would you choose and why? I had thought the 23 was great, but there have been so many more models come out since. Please excuse me if this has been asked before, I wasn’t able to find anything in searches.
 

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the 21 was the first then upgraded by the 23 and then the 25.
Then Yamaha started producing models for certain geographical areas 275, upgraded to 280

From Yamaha page on wikipedia

“..Please note that many of the items listed here are no longer in production. For example, the YAS-21 student-grade alto saxophone of the 1970s was superseded by the YAS-23 and YAS-25 saxophones during the 1990s. When manufacture of the YAS-23 and YAS-25 ended they were superseded by the YAS-275, which was in production as of 2010, but was eventually replaced by the YAS-280. “


For each of those and combining most you will find lots of previous threads discussing differences. That is why SOTW keeps heaps of threads. For reference.

So, I refer you to those. Makes a good reading.



https://forum.saxontheweb.net/archive/index.php/t-120105.html
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?7010-The-YAS-23-vs-the-YAS-275
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?91119-YAS-21-or-23-Which-is-better
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?318514-Yas-23-vs-Yas-280
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?7010-The-YAS-23-vs-the-YAS-275
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?93832-YAS-25-forerunner-of-the-YAS-23-or-not
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?8786-Differences-between-YAS-275-and-YAS-25
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?47394-YTS-23-v-275-v-YTS475

And many , many more
 

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Thanks! I was just overwhelmed by the number of threads. I will check out those threads. I am Assuming I will find out if the “upgrades” were actually just cheapening up, or if they were improvements.
 

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In the US we also have the Made in Japan Vito saxophones which are stencils if the Yamaha 23 (the old blue cases are YAS21 stencils). These are the very high quality student saxes at very reasonable prices.
 

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Thanks! I was just overwhelmed by the number of threads. I will check out those threads. I am Assuming I will find out if the “upgrades” were actually just cheapening up, or if they were improvements.
Well keep in mind that Yama stopped making their base models in Japan at a certain point, and started producing those in Indonesia, then China. I have never done serious servicing on a Chinese Yamaha, but I have serviced/refurbed/overhauled oodles of Japanese ones...but from what I understand there are/were some quality issues with the Chinese made ones.

The 21 and the 23, Japanese made, are really the same horns, except for a few relatively minor changes to keywork mechanics which a player would never notice as they do not effect the feel, tone, or performance of the horn.

The 25's were the model which replaced the 23's in Europe, but never made available the US; I think these are still Japanese-made and had a high F# as opposed to the 23's stopping at the high F. The 25 also introduced a tilted Bb touch on the table. Besides this, the 25's are essentially the same horn as the 23. I have read some posters here say the 25's have "62 style keywork" but I can tell you just from looking at the 25's, that isn't accurate throughout at all. Supposedly the octave mechanism is different and it may in fact be more 62-ish, but the upper stack and palmkey mechanisms are not of the 62 design. The table, again, is slightly different than the 23's but it is NOT a 62 table. The 62's have different palmkeys, and also the 62's front F touch is teardrop, not pearl like the 25. So it may have some keywork elements similar to a 62, but it certainly does not 'have 62 keywork'.

The 275, which then replaced the 25.... I believe started being produced in Indonesia...and like the 25, it is essentially a 23 with a slightly different table and a high F#.

The 200AD "advantage" - some sport Indonesia, others read China - and again they appear to be the same horn as the 275 except the high F# is now gone (?)

Given my druthers, I would probably lean towards the Japanese-made models as opposed to the Chinese or Indonesian ones, given I can attest to the former's consistency. However I could see how the pinky table of a 25, 275, or 200AD might suit someone more than the tables of the 21/23. I personally do not like the 21/23 table, I think the Bb reach is bizarre and uncomfy and forces an unnatural movement of the left hand....so it'd be interesting to try a 25/275/200/280 to see if they got it better subsequently. And if one insists on the high F#, then only the 25, 275, and (am guessing) 280's have that key.

I guess the whole point here being none of the subsequent models in this horns evolution were/are radical, significant redesigns of the base horn, really. Just some tweaks here and there....
 

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I tune pianos and Yamaha produces then in those same locations.
I find very little difference between the 3 similar models.
Maybe the bass is cleaner ( less false) in the Japanese made pianos.
 

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I have a YAS21 I bought from a member one year ago and I love it. Previously, I owned a YAS80-something, which I sold to another member. It was quite expensive but no better than my 21, as I remember. BUT...I cannot realistically tell by comparing, side by side, as it were. I just known my 21 feels/sounds good to me.
 

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if you spend some time on the yamaha website, you can find references to older and current models
 

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I'm my opinion, all of the Yamaha student altos play and feel the same when they're in good condition. Looking at the mechanism will give away a slew of changes, but it doesn't really impact the player's experience. Generally speaking, I'm not too keen on the lesser quality felts on the Indonesian and Chinese made horns, but that's a quick fix. That's the only issue I've personally spotted, but wouldn't be surprised if the earlier run of the horns had other issues. The only other noteworthy quirk is that the early 275's had issues with the glue joints in the bell/bow connection due to lacquer over spray. If you're not located in Europe, you're unlikely to find one of these. Once again, it's an easy fix.
 

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When I worked in the repair shop of a busy music store as the "saxophone guy" I had a lot of Yamaha Advantage altos come across my bench. Having worked with YAS-23's for several years, my impression was that the quality of manufacturing, design, and quality control of the student model Advantage line was not quite up to the standard of their instruments made in Japan. This was over 13 years ago so things may have changed since then. I'm not saying the 23's were perfect, since you could usually count on some key play in the lower stack, but that in itself was both consistent and easily fixable.
 
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