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I'm just curious how some of you came to the realization that Yanis are spectacular saxes. Here's my story:

Couple of years ago, I was playing a lot of soprano gigs...had a Selmer SA80 (very heavy) and a Buescher TT (wonderful but difficult ergos for me). I developed elbow tendonitis in a bad way...bought a Cannonball curvy and the ergos helped a lot...sold my Selmer. Wanted to have a straight soprano so I bought a Yani S990 as I had heard good things and it seemed OK at first play (I'm one of those that believes you can't try a horn out without living with it for a month or two). Really grew on me and I sold my TT. Haven't looked back, the CB is reserved for situations where I'm playing miked, as it is wonderful through a mike.

Then sometime later, I lucked into an B991...local family had bought it for their kid for xmas, kid wanted to play tenor, so I traded for a working tenor and less cash than I would have expected...it was brand new. This was the horn that completely converted me.

I immediately started watching for tenor and altos...scored two altos in a package deal (A880 and A991) off SOTW, and still haven't decided which I like better...they are both great.

I came across a similar tenor to the bari on local Craigslist...rich guy had bought it...had several VIs and Yamahas, so I bought his T992 pretty reasonably. This is the only one that has yet to knock my socks off, but only because I have so many great tenors that I have collected over the years in trades, repos, etc...I'm still evaluating.

I no longer have any Selmers, and my Keilwerth collection is dwindling slowly (although some are too good to part with)

...what's your story???
 

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My first Yani was a Vito/Yani soprano I got from swapsax. It was also my first soprano, so I had no preconcieved notions. Learned to play it (funky keywork and all) and later tried it against a few other sopranos (including new Yanis) and it just couldn't be beat. I now play a Yani soprano of the same VI keywork, but a "proper" Yani with engraving.

My first bari (my "one that got away") was also an older Yani of the VSP era, but this one had no engraving or branding on it whatsoever. Absolutely killer. I foolishly sold it to afford some other stuff that I don't have anymore. Oh well. I'm giving it another go with a Vito VSP project.

I've since gone into older Yanis on alto (an 800) and most recently an Elimona sopranino (to high "E").

My SX90 tenor is the only bratwurst sitting amongst the sushi bar, but I will one of these days want to try an 880 or 99x tenor and see what comes of it.
 

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I was graduating from highschool going onto college. I played a bundy alto like about every other saxophone in the band (one kid who was a horrific player had a Signet, which was the most uppity equipment in the section). Others in the honors bands had Yamaha 52s as I recall (and probably a few Pro Selmers, but I don't remember them), and I kept hearing how great the 52 'Step Up' model was and I started dreaming of owning one. I had played on two different banged up old Bundy's since sixth-grade. I swear when I switched in the 9th I could tell that the old one was better. The one I played in Jr High might have been an old Buescher Bundy and the one in HS was most likely a Bundy II. It was clunky on the table and beat up of course, but was reliable even though it probably had significant leaks that I had learned to accommodate.

Going onto college, I knew I needed a horn so my parents began looking around. The first thing I looked into to was purchasing the horn I had on rental from the School. They were asking $500, which is about what they are going for in today's money, at most, and I was looking for something better. I'm glad I didn't go there.

The second option my parents came very close to buying was a relaquered Conn with wire keyguards and such. It had a nice sound and it just fit our budget: $800. It was for sale by a local tech to whom we put down a hundred dollar deposit to secure it while working on getting the rest of the funds.

In the meanwhile, I don't know what prompted my parents to keep looking. The Conn guy said he had other people looking at the horn, which prompted our deposit. An old Band teacher of mine had been talking with my parents about Groth Music in Bloomington, MN about a 30 minute trip away from my home. Perhaps it was that he heard I was seeking the much heralded YAS-52 that I wanted and knew they had one in stock. That's the most likely story as i knew when I was going there that there were two used alto saxophones I would be looking at (I've been to Groth many times since and they have many more horns for sure, but I didn't get to look at anything else that day). Finally, I had a chance to own my very own 52. It was a feeling like onto being picked first for something in PhyED or placing at Pinewood Derby. I ignored the other horn while I gazed at the familiar yamaha case and the clear-coat form which layed in a bed of plain black padding. I was very eager to play it with my Brilhart Ebolin 3* I had played on for most of Highschool to replace the stock plastic one I had in JR High .

Picking it up immediately started an experience of dissapointment. The coolest looking part of the sax to me was the Right Hand side of the bell where the manufacturer put their emblem or engraving right above the right-hand mounted bell keys. This YAS-52 had been plainly buffed removing part of the purple transform, making it an 'amaha' and leaving it in stark contrast to the lacquer finish on the rest of the instrument. Giving it a blow further added to the let-down. It was okay, but not noticably better sounding to my ears than my Bundy. They keys felt a lot better and I was resigned to purchasing this horn which I found to be better for sure than anything I'd played even though it lacked the sound of the Conn, but not being what i expected given the acclaim given the Yamaha.

Next, my attention turned to the other instrument now that the shock of jadedness faded from my attention. What does one have to lose at this point? The case was covered in a curious and attractive alligator leather and I thought to myself, "Maybe they'll let me trade cases allowing me to purchase it with the Yamaha". The brass handles and the covering contrasted the plain look of the Yamaha instrument as a then unrealized forshadowing soon to come as I was told it was a "Yaganizasgwamgsmms" or something, not really paying attention. It took me months to figure out how to properly say and spell the name. It was a 1986 A880.

Opening the case was an experience I won't forget. The lights and my perspective must have been in perfect alignment for when the top was pushed up I had a sort of bright gold beam hit my face like I had accessed Blackbeard's long-lost stash. Picking it up, it felt solid, heavy, but balanced. It was far more decorative and beautiful than the Yamaha with it's pink pearl touches and it's deep gold engraved surface. I then mounted my mouthpiece to give it a blow and I think I neglected to attach my neckstrap at that point, for when I blew, I came reasonably close to dropping it as a hiccup-like shock grabbed me! It was brilliant, full, and powerfull. It was nothing like the Bundy or Yamaha which both sounded dull and plain by comparison. It felt, and still feels like a master clockmaker's craft in my hands with everything responding perfectly to the touch. The Price? $1000, just out of the budget I thought we had, but my parents nodded approvement and agreed to the sum having afterwords acquiring the $100 deposit on the other horn back.

This has been my first alto ever since. It's not the best horn I've ever played having tried a Ref 54 or two and also finding instruments that are it's peer like the Yani 992 and Series II, but this one is mine and probably will always be.
 

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Needed a soprano sax in high school back in 79 and was considering a Selmer. Ronnie Laws asked me if I ever heard of Yanagisawa. I responded "Yani who?" He highly recommended the Yani over a Mk VI due to the superior intonation. I had the opportunity to test a few against Mk VI's and found no real differences in sound, however, the intonation was better and the price of the Yani was considerably less. For soprano, I believe up to this day that Yani's are the best soprano's made. Darn, all of their horns for that matter are great. I've tried several sopranos over the years and I keep coming back to Yanagisawa. I simply love my new one. When it comes to sopranos, Yani leads the pack in my view.
 

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I had a B6 Yani bari that was an absolute killer, until a WALT JOHNSON case killed it.:x

Love the A9937 too! My pick of all production altos today.
 

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went to wwbw about 5 years ago 'cause my balanced action was WORN OUT. Was certainI'd come home with a reference 54 or 36, or maybe a guardala, or yamaha. I really didn't enjoy playing anything. Was about to leave when my wife noticed a Yani (T9930) hanging on the wall. Played it and was insatntly smitten by the intonation, projection and color of the tone. Tried some other yani's then, and even though they were all much better for me than the other horns I tried I ended up with the 9930. (I love my wife!!!!!!!)
 

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Wow! Your wife let you buy a 9930? I'm starting to love her, too!
 

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Please extend my compliments & best regards to your wife for understanding your needs. She an excellent example for other wives to emulate.
 

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from matty's wife

I'm glad to hear you all love me.... hope you find someone who realizes that finding happiness in your passion brings happiness to the home.
 

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While we're on the wife thing, all my nearest and dearest saxes are Yani's. I like her 991 alto and 992 sop. Not keen on her 992 tenor prefer my Mk6. I play Selmer and have for 30 years but I can see where you guys are coming from Yani's are fine horns. If I was in the market for new horns I would certainly give them some serious thought. 'Spose at the end of the day its a personal thing. Haven't tried, probably because I couldn't afford the silver series, heard some good things about them tho. I know one guy that sold all his Mk6's to buy Yani's a few years back, he's now trying to buy Mk6's again!!!
 

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i bought my first soprano back in mid 80,s and it was a yani and like another poaster-i had never played any sop so it was allnew to me too. later i joined a band where the sax player had a mk6 sop and i tried his and couldnt tell any difference! i came to relize my yani was a good horn. i had never even heard of yani before i bought mine from a hippy girl who decided it wasnt her "bag". the mk6 copy yani is still my favorite sop and i traded mine for a selmer radio improved tenor but later bought a vito stencil. my yani vsp alto is the best alto i own! i have mk6-super bal and super20silversonic -sml etc. but none sound like the yani vsp.
 

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Great thread !

My story(apologies in advance for the length of it..):

I remember sending away for some Yani literature back in 1987,88 or so,
and marvelling at the whole line of saxophones w/the various neck options,
the curved sopranos, etc.

I think I had sent away for some Keilwerth info also in that period,and was
similiarly impressed..

Anyway, I had never played one in person, and wouldn't for a long time.

After years of playing MKVIs, I had settled into a period where I preferred
Conns and a King Super 20, and had kind of tired of the Selmer sound,
even though I had 2 VI tenors sitting idle(just in case I changed my mind..)

I sold my last VI tenor 3 yrs ago,out of need for $$, along w/ some other choice
saxophones(King S-20, Conn 30M,K'werth straight alto...). A sad day .

As it happens, your needs and tastes change as you come to realize certain
things about why different designs work or respond a certain way.

I decided to go back to the Selmer sound, as I felt it would work best for
me, overall. As compelling as a good Conn or King could be, I didn't need the
width of sound you can naturally get from them, at the expense of a certain
focus and stability that you can get from a great MK VI.

So, since I couldn't afford to suddenly go VI shopping, I thought I might try
to come up with a cheaper solution that would get close-enough for jazz, as the
saying goes .

I was considering just buying a beat VI for around $3k, or maybe a SA80 I tenor
and using a mint cond. VI neck I have, as I'd been told that was a viable
match, as well as having that confirmed by others, here.

..Was also considering a used III tenor if I could find one, under $3000

..Was even contemplating one of those P.Mauriat System 76's but was a bit
leery about the hype, and the resale value .

I started doing some reading here in the archives about Yanis, and suddenly
remembered one brief encounter I had w/ an 880 alto about 7 yrs ago.

A private dealer I used to trade and sell with, called me about a pair of old
Selmers he had - a Radio Improved alto and tenor. He was selling them for
a friend who needed cash and wanted $3600 USD for the pair.

So, I go down to his house and play them; very nice horns. I took my VI tenor
along to compare to the RI tenor and they actually played similiarly.

The alto was really something. I contemplated buying the alto, or selling my
tenor to get the pair, but ended up, not making a move on them.
This guy always had a variety of things coming in and out of his house, and
he pulled out a Yani 880 alto as part of his sales pitch, for me to compare
to the RI Selmer.

I now remember it was an 880 because of the larger bell brace ring they used
during that series. Well, I'd been playing that RI alto for at least an hour,
pausing only to comment on how easy it responded, and what a singing and
cutting tone it got. I was fully warmed up and tuned in to playing alto.

When I put my mpc on the Yani, I was surprised at how full it sounded and
it played very well. The guy tried to downplay it, as he saw my attention
being taken away from the deal he was trying to do ..;)

So, with that memory in mind, and some poring over the archival threads here,
as well as Ed Svoboda's helpful site,
I went to eBay to buy a Yani. to see if it lived up to my memory.

Pulled the trigger on an 880 tenor, and it totally surprised me with how good
it sounded.

Very happy discovery, indeed.

Of course, I had also been reading about the Bronze series, and at the least,
wanted to try one, as I had a hunch that they might be even more dialed into
what I was after.

I got very lucky a couple of months later in scoring a T902 on eBay, and when
it got here I was amazed with the added darkness/depth of tone while still
remaining vibrant, somehow.

I have to say thanks to SOTW for having enough available info to pique my
interest,
and saving me a lot of money.
Also, again, thanks to Ed Svoboda for his helpful site .

I got two excellent tenors that rival some great VIs I've played for
under $2500USD .
 

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my story:

I began to play (learn) sax 9 months ago as late bloomer and I bought a alto Jupiter student model. After a couple of months I understood that I will not give up and at the same time I had a couple of problems with the jupiter: intonation, heavy keywork, reliability...

Now, if I like something very much and if that "something" makes my life better, I think it's worh to spend some money for it - therefore I went to a sax shop, looking for a new, better horn. The choice was between Yani A992, ref 54 and Yami 875 ex. Why I chose the yani? Because I fell in love - great sound, superb keywork, excellent craftmanship.

Btw, my wife said to me: money? Who cares! Get the horn you like and we both will be happy! I love my Yani, but I love her even more.
 

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matty said:
went to wwbw about 5 years ago 'cause my balanced action was WORN OUT. Was certainI'd come home with a reference 54 or 36, or maybe a guardala, or yamaha. I really didn't enjoy playing anything. Was about to leave when my wife noticed a Yani (T9930) hanging on the wall. Played it and was insatntly smitten by the intonation, projection and color of the tone. Tried some other yani's then, and even though they were all much better for me than the other horns I tried I ended up with the 9930. (I love my wife!!!!!!!)
How do you compare the sound to a 992? Brighter or darker?
 

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My yani slowly grew on me until I found the right setup.

In the mid 90's I rediscovered the sax after a 15-year layoff. In the late 90's, I discovered vintage horns and mouthpieces on eBay. I had a massive GAS attack, and was buying and selling horns like crazy. I picked up an A901 for $500 that was my stand-by when I was between vintage altos. As I tried one mouthpiece after another, they all worked great on the yani. My sound continued to mature and I moved to increasingly larger tip openings.

While I adapted to the funky ergos and pitch issues of the vintage horns, it was always comforting to come back to the yani. I purchased an A880 on eBay, and it seemed stuffy. After a few A-B tests with the A901, I found the difference was completely in the neck. I read about someone using a Mark VII neck on a yani and found a new old-stock MVII neck on eBay. It's a larger bore neck, so I had to take it to a tech to be fitted. WOW!!! Big vintage sound with modern ergonomics and intonation. I sold the rest of my altos and stopped buying vintage horns.
 

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My soprano and bari are Yani´s. A S900 straight one-piece soprano and my beloved B992 bari. All other saxes this size I tried didn´t come close to these.
But my others, alto & tenor, are selmers. Alto is a ref 54 and tenor a unbelievable playing mk VI 104xxx. GAS for the horns is long over:D
 
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