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Discussion Starter #1
Gosh, I'm a little surprised that I'm considering buying yet another saxophone, but here goes: I've been wondering about the YSS 82Z. In the last year, I've play tested 19 soprano saxophones, but I wasn't able to find a YSS 82Z or 82ZR. I did have an opportunity to scour the SOTW threads about the 82Z and I noticed quite a bit of excitement between 2008-2011, but not as much excitement since. I heard quite a bit about the 62 and 62R and my thinking was that the 82Z was more or less a facsimile of that horn. I don't that a problem at all, but I am wondering whether anyone has found the YSS 82Z to be special in any way?
 

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I playtested the 82Z and was not keen compared to the 875EX. I found the tone quite thin and piercing. Let's say, something around Roscoe Mitchell. However, that maybe what you're going for. As with all Yamahas, playability was excellent.

Personally, I'm now saving for an 875, ideally a silver one.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Interesting. I liked the YSS 875 that I played (I didn't try the EX variant). However, I favor the one piece straight neck sopranos and I'm hoping that the YSS 82Z will work as well for me as a 62 might have. I thought I would fall in love with the Yanaigasawa sopranos, but so far it hasn't happened for me.
 

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I love my YSS 82ZR in silver. I don't have much basis of comparison to other sopranos though. I'm still learning how to make the palm keys sing but I think that's me & the mp/reed, not the horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Jimmy Von, I bought a new gold lacquer YSS 82Z back in January. I really like the horn, though like you I have trouble with the palm keys. I had the same issue with every soprano I've played, so it's certainly me and not the horn.

I'm don't have "the answer" to improving tone and response in the palm keys (I'm guessing it's long tone practice and Rascher's Top Tones for the Saxophone), but I will share my experience thus far.

I've tried many combinations of reeds and mouthpieces with the YSS82Z to address thin sound in the palm keys. I varied reed type and strength as well as mouthpiece type, chamber, and tip size.

For me, the mouthpiece/reed combination that allows for the best response and tone up to high F# is the Otto Link STM 6* with a Hemke 3 reed.
If I change to a Rico 3 or Vandoren Blue 3, it's a little tougher to get those notes out. With a Rico 2.5, Vandoren blue 2, or Java Red 2.5, I can't get anything out above D.

Using a Soprano Planet Missing Link with a 0.65" tip, I have a lot more difficulty in with the palm key notes, though the tone is quite nice.

I couldn't get anything out above high D with the included Yamaha 4CM, Selmer Concept, Kessler Custom 5, Vandoren Optimum SL3, or Rico Metalite M7.

I really don't understand why I can get the palm key notes out so easily with the STM/Hemke combination. Regardless, I hope this information leads to some dialog about optimizing response in the palm key notes.
 

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Scott E: It may not be you. I've owned many sopranos over my playing career and I've concluded that it is the horn. Some of mine were really difficult up there while others spoke right out. Sure, a good mouthpiece and carefully selected reed-match are necessary, but once that is done it is the same old story. Some do, some don't.

However, the music I play allows me a choice of NOT playing up there regardless of the horn's ability to do it . . . so I don't. DAVE
 

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I have no experience in this compared to Dave Dolson, but I have owned many different sopranos. Ones that spoke the best in the palm notes were Yamaha 675, Cannonball Arc, Vintage Martin, Vintage King, Straight Yani(not curved).
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the feedback guys. I did play test 20 sopranos and I found the 82Z had the best response in the palm keys (with the setup I was using to play test). I'm going to keep working at it and will be back with an update.
 

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I have an 82ZR in silver and it is a lovely sounding soprano in all registers. In fact Dave has played it. I really like the horn, it is not my main soprano for some areas of music but, when I play in certain situations (guests, String groups, intimate settings), it's a horn that cannot be beat. great intonation also.
 

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Vinnie ("noresponsenecessary") has so many neat saxophones that I've forgotten specifically his 82ZR, but everything of his played nicely. I had a ball the day I visited his home. He is a player alright AND has a wonderful collection of mainline as well as off-the-wall instruments.

In my opinion, it is mostly the condition of the instrument that makes for a strong high end, assuming the instrument is a well-made instrument to begin with. I've played a few 82Z's and 82ZR's and they were nice sopranos. But so are most of the top-line brands.

I've owned three Mark VI sopranos (still have two of them) and regarding the palm-key notes, one of those Mark VI's was really weak up there. But the two I still have speak very nicely in that range. I also have a 1927 Conn that is one of the strongest sopranos I've played in that palm-key range.

I'm not sure that because one example of a model had a good high end that all of them will have good high ranges. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I'm back with an update. Joe Giardullo got in touch with me and was kind enough to give me some advice on getting the palm key notes to speak more easily. He generously invited me to his studio to figure out what could be done to adjust the equipment and my playing. He checked out my 82Z and he had no trouble getting around the horn and his tone was fabulous. So it definitely wasn't the sax that was limiting me.

Joe studied my playing and found that I blow pretty hard, have a fairly loose embouchure for soprano playing, and take in more mouthpiece than necessary. Based on these characteristics, Joe felt there were some mouthpiece adjustments that could make my playing easier. Joe also spent quite a bit of time adjusting my Soprano Planet Missing Link mouthpiece. He opened the tip, increased the size of the chamber, and shortened the facing. He made these changes incrementally and eventually I noticed that the upper register started to open up and I could get into the palm key notes much more easily.

With my stock Otto Link STM 6*, I could get up to high F# without much difficulty. However, this mouthpiece had an airy character in the sound. Joe flattened the table and adjusted the facing; the airy character was gone and the tone was much cleaner.

Problem solved thanks to Joe. Joe is an absolute mensch! His knowledge and mouthpiece refacing skills are phenomenal!
 
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