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Discussion Starter #1
After recently hearing more and more good things about the Z, I went to my local shop and got one on trial. I started with a new reed and put it on my DV and on my ref54. I broke the reed in nicely and played some riffs. Then, I put the mouthpiece on the Z and played the same riffs. What a great horn that Z is. I'm inclined at this point to say that it plays better than my 54. They both sound VERY similar with the Z being a little more free blowing, which I like. The ergonomics of the Z seem better than the 54 as well. I'll do more play testing when I get home though. Has anyone else tested both and preferred the Z at all? If I end up buying the Z, I'd probably still keep my 54.

Oh, and this is a lacquered horn. My shop only special orders the UL and you have to keep it since it tarnishes so easily. I'm not 100% convinced the UL would sound that different anyways.
 

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I think the 82z's are the best horns i've ever played.
I've owned a mark Vi 200,xxx tenor, a 62, a keilwerth SX90R and have played a SBA and a conn naked lady. the Z beats them for me. I have also played the reference 54 alto and found my Z alto to be its rival ( i prefer the Z's sound, especially down in the bell notes), and since I double alto and tenor, matching horns, intonation wise was very important to me. saving 2K was also very important to me.
the z is so flexible in it's sound and very mouthpiece friendly.I recently switched from a dukoff D-8 to a JodyJazz classic 7 and really love it.the JJ classic has a much warmer tone and fits jazz and big band styles perfectly.
 

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I'll tell you...I played a YAS-82Z UL today that just blew my socks off...I didn't want to put it down...

Saxaholic
 

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Yeah, I am ultra impressed with the 82Z. I spent about 2 hours playing both my ref 54 and the 82z and found myself playing the Z more. I could easily end up buying it and if I play it more, sell my 54. That's how good it is. My shop said that if they special order a UL it's mine, meaning no trial. I wonder how I could expect it to sound vs the lacquered one I have.
 

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Yeah, these Zs continue to impress me. I absolutely love my tenor. My alto is an 875 and I have played many alto Zs that I like better...but the 875 was my first pro horn so it remains.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
So, I picked up the Z this morning and praticed a tune a few times. Then, I picked up my 54 and played the same tune a few times. I couldn't wait to get the Z back in my hands. What's up with that? ;)

So now my dilemna is do I buy the Z I have or special order a UL? Since I can't get it on trial I am wondering whether or not it is going to have a different core sound than the lacquered one.
 

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i say buy the one you try. there have been a few double blind tests and players could not identify which finish they were hearing. if you love that horn you have tried, buy it.every horn is a little different anyway so you may not like the UL and you would be stuck. unless the vintage look really appeals to you, buy the lacquer version.BTW,both of my Z's are lacquer.
 

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My 82Z tenor is lacquered but I did own a UL model over a year ago. Hard to tell if there was much difference in tone but the tenor I have now certainly plays better. More than likely it's due to setup rather than finish.
I agree that if you loved the one you tried then buy that one.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for the tips guys. That's probably what I'm going to do. I might just take it to my teacher and see how he likes it.
 

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Another less expensive option would be to have your Z chemically stripped of its lacquer finish. Figure this...

You buy the unlacquered Z for about $2500 new, which is what they go for.

If you don't like it...you sell it for $2000, average price for a used, great condition UL Z.

You lose $500, and you're not even sure you would like the UL Z.

However, you could have your horn chemically stripped for around that $500 difference...and you're guaranteed to love the horn since it already plays great. Also, you have the unlacquered finish many people enjoy.

Just another option.

Saxaholic
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Hehe, I probably wouldn't ever go to that extent. I just seem to see a lot of artists playing the UL version for some reason.

I did a lot more play testing and comparing last night. I also did some recording to hear from a different perspective. The Z continues to be my favorite over my 54. I'm 99% going to buy the Z. Just not sure I can let go of the 54 completely. Maybe I'll keep both and become a collector. ;)

The only thing somewhat hard to get used to on the Z is hitting the low Bb. The key seems to be slightly out of reach compared to my 54. It doesn't always come out clearly either which I am sure is a setup issue. The pads do seem fairly wide open so I'll have to check tuning eventually.

EDIT: I thought I'd mention that my local shop sells the Z alto for $2149 and tenor for $2525. Those are the best prices by far I've seen anywhere. They do internet sales and ship, so if anyone is interested, PM me.
 

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the low B flat pad is probably leaking. on the z you can finger low B and just rock your pinky down to close the B flat key.i do that whenever i go from low b to b flat. i just lean on the key with the side of my pinky. works well.if you have a leak light you can probably fix this if its an adjustment issue. in fact if you buy the yamaha, buy a leak light and a mini screwdriver set to fix your own leaks. almost every key has a screw to adjust action.unlike the selmer, that must have corks filed, sanded or replaced to adjust the action or key heights.on the yamaha you can fix most any leak unless the key is bent or off center. I believe all yamahas have this feauture except the 875.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Where do you get a leak light or something to use as a leak light? I'm probably going to go pay for the horn today.
 

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patseguin said:
So, I picked up the Z this morning and praticed a tune a few times. Then, I picked up my 54 and played the same tune a few times. I couldn't wait to get the Z back in my hands. What's up with that? ;)
It's an affair, a date with a hot partner while your spouse is at home. Something new and exciting in contrast to the familiar.

patseguin said:
So now my dilemna is do I buy the Z I have or special order a UL? Since I can't get it on trial I am wondering whether or not it is going to have a different core sound than the lacquered one.
It doesn't matter, the Z will be a passing fancy too.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
So, what are you saying George? You think I will like the Z for a while then go back to the ref 54?

I'll probably take the weekend since the store owner gives me extended trials. Every single time though that I've picked up the 54, it's seemed dead in comparison.

I like your analogy though. :)
 

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Yes, I suspect that you may be fickle - whether you return to the 54 or find another fascination is yet to be determined. ;)

Either horn could be wonderful for you - if you stay with it for a while.

If the 54 seems dead and the Z not so, I'd suspect that your mouthpiece favors the Z. I would not expect a mouthpiece to play equally well on two horns of different design. Whenever I switch horns, it's always the beginning of a new mouthpiece quest - that's part of why I am so reluctant to commit to a new horn once I have a winning combination in hand.

Perhaps the "dead vs live" sound issue is one of dominant frequency in the core sound. It's a fairly well established fact that many people buy speakers that sound "live" and "dynamic" in the showroom only to find that they become "harsh" and "wearing" in daily use at home.

To hang on the mouthpiece issue for a moment... If the JJ DV gets you closer to the sound that you prefer, maybe the Ref 54 is not the horn to suit your concept. Not to get on you about your preferences, I'm just acknowledging the diversity in our world of concepts.

Hey! Have you tried a Yanagisawa A-992 yet?

"Thin is in but phat is where it's at." ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Dr G said:
Yes, I suspect that you may be fickle - whether you return to the 54 or find another fascination is yet to be determined. ;)

Either horn could be wonderful for you - if you stay with it for a while.

If the 54 seems dead and the Z not so, I'd suspect that your mouthpiece favors the Z. I would not expect a mouthpiece to play equally well on two horns of different design. Whenever I switch horns, it's always the beginning of a new mouthpiece quest - that's part of why I am so reluctant to commit to a new horn once I have a winning combination in hand.

Perhaps the "dead vs live" sound issue is one of dominant frequency in the core sound. It's a fairly well established fact that many people buy speakers that sound "live" and "dynamic" in the showroom only to find that they become "harsh" and "wearing" in daily use at home.

To hang on the mouthpiece issue for a moment... If the JJ DV gets you closer to the sound that you prefer, maybe the Ref 54 is not the horn to suit your concept. Not to get on you about your preferences, I'm just acknowledging the diversity in our world of concepts.

Hey! Have you tried a Yanagisawa A-992 yet?

"Thin is in but phat is where it's at." ;)
Excellent points. Particularly where you mention that maybe the 54 is not the horn for my DV. You're probably right about my being fickle which why I may keep both. ;)

I have not tried an A992.
 

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musicmedic.com has the lights for around $30.00 work great. they are also a good supplier for pads, corks, tools, etc.
I think you will love the Z. it is basically a perfected mark VI design with 30 years of engineering and listening to players behind it. selmer walked away from the design 30 years ago when the patent ran out and yamaha has been improving it ever since. first with the 62, then the 62II and their crown jewel , the 82Z. I think phil woods is right when he says the 82Z will be the vintage horn of the future.
I also think the pros that are using the unlacquered version are doing it for the cool vintage look, not the sound. It makes them stand out a little.
 

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The Z is a fine horn and fun to play. I've owned a lacquered Z and 2 silver plated Z altos. All were great horns but eventually, the upper register brightness started to get to me after several months, even dispite mouthpiece changes. I strongly feel that the Ref. 54 has a fatter, deeper, more powerful sound accross the entire range and is effortless to play as well provided it's set-up properly.

Don't get rid of the Ref. 54. Make sure it's properly set-up and regulated. I strongly believe you may come back to it after a while with the Z.
 
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