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Discussion Starter #1
Guys I am about to order. I need a good soprano with vibrant sound and precise even intonation. Any experiences on the following candidates?

:line6:Yanagisawa S991B Black Lacquer Soprano Sax
:line4:Yamaha Custom YSS875EXB Soprano Sax in Black Lacquer
:line5:Selmer Series II Soprano Sax in Clear Lacquer, engraved

All the 3 are of the same price Approx. ~£3000 GBP or approx ~€3400 each.

Also Do I need the high #G key? Never used it before.

Which one should I consider? I personally like the Yamaha brand......What about you?

Thanks
 

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Personally I don't like the Series II soprano, probably the most challenging of the 3 in the extreme (low and high) registers. The japanese are ways easier to approach.
The Yana has the richer tone, whereas the Yamaha probably is the most precise both in keywork and intonation.
I'd go with one of the japanese, but after playing them. As a strong Selmer fan, I still clearly prefer the japanese sopranos.
I have chosen Yana for their very rich "non-nasal", almost altoish tone, which is even more effective on the curved version.
My Yana goes up to the F#, I'm rarely up there anyway. Alternate fingerings do the G, G# and A pretty well, specially on the Yamaha.
So if you feel comfortable with Yamaha, you can't go wrong.
 

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Well, these are all the cream of the crop but if it was my money I would buy a Yanagisawa of these three, high G key can be nice
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you guys.

From what I see you both incline towards the Yanagisawa choice but you don`t decline the Yamaha choice.

I am really torn between the two.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Any more ideas and experiences between the above saxes would really be appreciated.

Thank you guys
 

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Selmers are challenging to play but present as stronger core, as typical of any Selmer saxophone. Yamaha will play brighter than a Yanigasawa, both will offer a little more spread to the sound, Yani the most. They'll also offer maximum consistancy throughout the range of the horn. As a player of a Serie II, I find that it's easy for the horn to choke up towards the top. If you can, also look for the Serie III, they're much more well recieved than the II, I find.
 

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I've owned all three brands but not in the exact models you list.

I had a Selmer MKVI for years but tired of the poor intonation and palm-key design. Sold it and never looked back.

I bought a new Yamaha YSS62S (at the time, their top-end horn in silverplate). I tired of its bland tone and handed it down to my daughter. It still plays well, though.

Then I bought a new silverplated Selmer Serie III which lasted a year or so before I tired of its lack of response on certain notes and the intonation. I sold it.

While I still had the Selmer, I bought a new Yanagisawa S992 (bronze). I've had it for years and had it overhauled by Jimmy Scimonetti. It plays wonderfully and I use it to this day.

I also have a Yanagisawa S902 (curved bronze) and a straight S901 (brass fixed-neck), among other sopranos, modern and vintage. Both are wonderful players.

I am a huge Yanagisawa soprano fan and highly recommend them. The ONLY problem with them is their lacquer - all of mine show lacquer wear where my finger-tips and hands touch the instrument. But that does not affect their playing - great tone, great intonation, and everything I've ever wanted in a soprano.

Elsewhere on this site, I described the problems I experienced with a new Yamaha German System clarinet. My experiences are anecdotal, but I was NOT impressed with the overall quality of the instrument in light of the constant rave reviews about Yamaha's build-quality. Given the choices among Selmer, Yamaha, and Yanagisawa, I'd pick Yanagisawa every time. However, in trying to keep an open mind (yeah, right!), if I had a chance to play all of them before buying, I would do that, just to make sure that I didn't pass up the one gem among those other brands. DAVE
 

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if I had a chance to play all of them before buying, I would do that
What Dave said is the best advice. Just play as many as you can, and then pick the one that you like the best ; that's all that matters.

Your audience, if you have one, won't know the difference between these horns in a million years.

And the "experts" don't really know either; I posted a soprano Blindfold Test a few threads down, and not a single person had the confidence to even try.
 

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I just test drove the new Yamaha 82Z and ZR yesterday (several actually) at the Anaheim pro shop . My advise is to wait until they become available this summer. Crazy good horn. I play a VI in spite of it's challenges. It's worth it for the tone and pitch center. This is very much on the lines of the VI, but improved in all the right places. The tone has that VI soprano core to it for sure.
 

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I'm hesitant to chime in on these threads, but the constant anti-Selmer comments from some parties here prompts me to. The Serie II and III are as good as anything out there. Honestly, if you can't make the high end sing or the low end roar on those horns, you have either a problem with your mouthpiece or a problem with your playing.

The Yanagisawas are fine horns, but they are not better than Selmers; they are equals. Playing as many horns as you can before you buy is the best approach. You may well chose to not buy a Selmer, but please do so because of your own research.

The "problems" with Mk. VI sopranos are so overblown by a few pundits on this forum as to be hardly worthy of comment. If you can't deal with the palm keys on a VI—which, if you're holding the horn properly, are actually easier to manipulate than modern palm keys—then in my mind your abilities (and motives) are questionable.
 

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love my yani sops (s991 and sc991)

could also consider the curved yani , I usually use my curvy rather than the straight

play them all and see which one sings for you
 

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IThe Serie II and III are as good as anything out there. Honestly, if you can't make the high end sing or the low end roar on those horns, you have either a problem with your mouthpiece or a problem with your playing.
I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. I told myself the same thing for far too long. I played a Series III for close to 10 years. I stayed away from the VI largely due to the bad rap. I could not get the Series III to have the proper pitch center. No matter what Piece I had. And I went through a ton. I probably had 10 different necks for it as well. I bought a VI on a whim and immediately fell in love with the tone and pitch. For me, I hate the Series III. Every issue I had with the III went away with the VI. The only new issue was with the palm keys. Both sides! Oleg risers help, but it sucks. I'm looking forward to owning a 82Z in a few months.
 

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I have to respectfully disagree with that statement. I told myself the same thing for far too long. I played a Series III for close to 10 years. I stayed away from the VI largely due to the bad rap. I could not get the Series III to have the proper pitch center. No matter what Piece I had. And I went through a ton. I probably had 10 different necks for it as well. I bought a VI on a whim and immediately fell in love with the tone and pitch. For me, I hate the Series III. Every issue I had with the III went away with the VI. The only new issue was with the palm keys. Both sides! Oleg risers help, but it sucks. I'm looking forward to owning a 82Z in a few months.
Well, I agree about the Mk. VI. I play one, and I prefer it to both modern Selmers and Japanese horns. However, I have no trouble with the palm keys, and in fact find them easier to play than those on modern horns. And the intonation on the horn is just about perfect, FWIW.
 

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Well, I agree about the Mk. VI. I play one, and I prefer it to both modern Selmers and Japanese horns. However, I have no trouble with the palm keys, and in fact find them easier to play than those on modern horns. And the intonation on the horn is just about perfect, FWIW.
Prior to 1976 I'd owned and got rid of several VI sopranos, for many of the reasons stated in this thread. In '76 I bought a Couf Superba which is physically nearly identical to a VI sop-especially the palm keys and I've played that horn virtually daily since then, tonally not at all like a VI but a great horn in my opinion. During this time I'd also owned a Yani and a Serie II-the Yani was boring and the Serie II was problematic for me, it just seemed physically too big and I hated those palm keys. I went a long stretch of years until about 2 years ago and I bought another VI sop-and I love it, no problems with any aspect of it. What I realize is that I couldn't appreciate how to play a VI soprano well until I became a more competent soprano player.
 

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We all have opinions, and I fully understand brand loyalty. For instance, I prefer BMW over Mercedes, Smith & Wesson over Colt, Jack Daniels over other whiskeys, Bechet over Coltrane, and Yanagisawas over Selmers.

My three Yanagisawa sopranos are superior to, not equal to, any MKVI or Serie III soprano I've owned - or played. So are my two 1928 Buescher TrueTones.

That doesn't mean that all Selmers are not up to my likes. My favorite alto is a Cigar Cutter, and I'm sure those who own and love their MKVI or Serie II/III sopranos have good reasons for doing so.

Personal likes are why we have choices in brands, styles, designs. But to question my playing skills (which admittedly are not flashy) or motives for saying these things is a little too much, Paul B. I don't care if the whole world loves their MKVI sopranos - I don't and I'm free to voice that opinion. DAVE
 

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My three Yanagisawa sopranos are superior to, not equal to, any MKVI or Serie III soprano I've owned - or played. So are my two 1928 Buescher TrueTones.
And the Yanagisawa sopranos I've tried out are superior to Selmers or Yamahas, although I completely understand that for other people the Selmers or Yamahas are superior. There' very little between those that you can be objective about. Still if it was up to me (and it is) and money being no object, I wouldn't buy any of them. (I didn't). I would just find out what is superior for me and my needs.
 

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Well, I agree about the Mk. VI. I play one, and I prefer it to both modern Selmers and Japanese horns. However, I have no trouble with the palm keys, and in fact find them easier to play than those on modern horns. And the intonation on the horn is just about perfect, FWIW.
The intonation on the VI for me is way better then any other soprano I've evr played. But I know why it gets a bad rap in that department. I have played some dogs for sure. While I've learn to deal with the palm keys, they are still awkward under my fingers. Just ergos alone, no doubt the modern horns fit my hands better. But I'd never trade ergos over tone and pitch. I felt the new 82Z plays tonally very similar to my VI. A touch more core perhaps. I'm not sure what that means, as I wasn't in my familiar room. It didn't feel hollow at all, which is the problem I've had with every other modern soprano I've tried. Not that I've tried them all by any means. I also feel the 82Z didn't choke off at any point. My VI tends to like a very controlled approach. Dare I say classical. Which is great for me in the studio, but live, I'd love to be able to loose it a bit and not worry about choking off the horn. That said, a great reed compensates for all. Let's face it, the soprano is a touchy horn.

On avail, I was told this summer. No concrete date.
 

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Personal likes are why we have choices in brands, styles, designs. But to question my playing skills (which admittedly are not flashy) or motives for saying these things is a little too much, Paul B. I don't care if the whole world loves their MKVI sopranos - I don't and I'm free to voice that opinion. DAVE
Yes, I agree; no offense intended. But I hear a constant chorus on this board (I don't mean you specifically in this case) about how difficult or impossible the Mark VI ergonomics are, or how out of tune the horns are, etc. I find the opposite to be the case, and many others clearly do as well (I see dozens of players here in New York still using Mark VI sopranos). So while it's certainly not for me to impugn anybody's technique, in the end I can't really fathom why anybody who can really play would have a problem with the ergonomics. It just seems irrelevant.
 
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