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Discussion Starter #1
I was tenor saxophone shopping in February and March and after trying thirty horns, I found that the one Yamaha YTS-875EX to play and it suited me best. I checked the forums here and I haven't seen much talk about this horn in the last ten years; plenty of people are quite taken by the Custom Z, which was updated in 2014 to the Z-II.

I thought it would be interesting to point out that the warranty card for my Custom EX reflects "YTS-875EX//02." I did a little research and it seems that the 2018 Yamaha Wind Instruments catalog has a YTS-875EXII on page 13:
https://usa.yamaha.com/files/download/brochure/1/1152261/2018_Wind_us_DB_W255UR5.pdf

I contacted Yamaha and was told it "was produced in Japan around 2017." I couldn't find any promotional materials regarding changes made, nor can I say how my saxophone compares to the older 875EX. What I can say is that for me, it had the best keywork, tone, and intonation of all the thirty horns I played. If wonder if anyone has more information about whether this is truly an updated Custom EX or just a regional coding adjustment (such as the YAS62-III vs YAS62-IV as per sax.co.uk) I'd be interested to learn more.

Scott
 

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After trying thirty horns, and this particular YTS-875EX suited you the best, then perhaps this is the best choice for you!
 

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Discussion Starter #4
To be clear, I bought the horn on the spot. I just find these little differences to be interesting.
 

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Interesting
 

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They make small incremental changes to their horns every so often. The difference between the EX and EXII altos were smaller bell key toneholes and different engraving mostly. They never designate a difference in model on the serial number stamped on the horn. I think that James Houlik is now consulting on the tenors though, so they may have bigger changes than the altos. I’ll reach out and ask.

Anytime you see a II or whatever behind a Yamaha model number, and not a NEW model number, it means they have made incremental revisions. It’s like a bugfix release.


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I loved these, I found the 875 and the KW S90R all very similar to the Ref36, the 36 won, not by a lot though. All like big ballsy limousines
 

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Not that I am anybody -- but I have not seen anything about a new tenor EX. That catalog linked seems to faithfully show the changes to the ZII, but the "EXII" doesn't look any different...? I'd have thought a tenor EXII would have the horizontally linked front F like the new EXII alto...
 

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I know they have been having the main focuses on the neck and some keyhole placement mostly for tonation adjustments. They are not terribly different from the 875 ex. Or like said here before, they would have named it different.

I've played both the Ex and the Exii altos and tenors, and also own one. They shared very similar core sounds and imho resonate and ring way better than any 82z's ive played. Even tho the Z's are "freeblowing". I figure what's the point if your sound doesn't have much to it.

The tonation seemed a bit more dialed in on the 875exii than its predecessor especially around the right hand notes. Also I noted slightly less resistance on the newer tenors but honestly those necks come in so many different number/letter combos who knows how you can set it up. The overall sound was generally the same and those "upgrades" don't warrant me selling my horn and upgrading anytime soon.
Congrats on the new buy! Thats Super exciting!
 

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Most of us who have been playing for years know that every saxophone can be different, even exactly-the-same models side-by-side. I once again will caution you NOT to make assumptions about a whole model line based on the playing of one or even ten of them.

Not too long ago I was in a store that carried Yamaha-brand saxophones and they had several different models of altos although not more than one of each model. Some of them represented the "II" "upgraded" version of the older model without the upgrade.

While the local Yamaha rep and the store manager (both in the store at the time) tried to convince me that the "II's" had significant differences (by pointing out all of the differences, many of which I immediately forgot), I couldn't hear or feel any differences. In fact, in some cases the older models I played were better players than the newer "II" versions. To me, it was all about sales and marketing.

Maybe engineers and repair-techs can get all jazzed about the "upgrades", but to the customer/player, they are insignificant. Just ask an old pro who loves his 1927 Conn New Wonder II that plays just as good or better than a new Yamaha or Selmer or whatever. And yes, we all know that Phil Woods switched . . .

Sure, please play-test before you buy, and buy the horn that speaks to you, but don't put too much faith in so-called "upgrades." DAVE
 

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very well said, Dave; horns are so personal; eg "improved ergos" may be a step down for someone who plays better on original table etc... in my case I like my yts62 purple label because i like the smooth dark sound vs lighter tone new models, etc like software sometimes earlier versions are better than new releases, eg i use win7pro and refuse to upgrade to w10
 

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I've had an EX alto for 10 years now, and it's the last alto I'll own. They don't get as much press as the Zs, probably because they're mostly marketed towards classical saxophonists, but they're incredible horns!
 

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They make small incremental changes to their horns every so often. The difference between the EX and EXII altos were smaller bell key toneholes and different engraving mostly. They never designate a difference in model on the serial number stamped on the horn. I think that James Houlik is now consulting on the tenors though, so they may have bigger changes than the altos. I’ll reach out and ask.

Anytime you see a II or whatever behind a Yamaha model number, and not a NEW model number, it means they have made incremental revisions. It’s like a bugfix release.


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Actually there are quite a few significant changes to the YAS-875EX II, including several tonehole locations/diameter, keywork rearrangement, and the Selmer-style front F...but for the life of me I don't know anything about a YTS-875EX II or what would be different on that from the current (?) YTS-875EX?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
After eight months, I find the YTS-875EX was a great choice. I don't have any new insights about it's model details, but this horn has exceeded my expectations. The only issues are sticky pads (Bis, G#, and C#), just like many other saxophones. The issues with sticky pads started in the days after I purchased the horn. Even with lighter fluid and the help from a first class saxophone technician, the G# remains problematic. So much so that for my next horn, I switched away from Yamaha when looking for a new alto in June 2018 (I had read the pads on the Yanagisawa horns were less sticky than the Yamaha pads). I purchased a brand new Yanagisawa AWO10 and found that the pads are in fact much better. On the other hand, I am only satisfied my sound on the Yanagisawa horn. In retrospect, I think it's worth fooling around with the G# pad each time I play to get a better performance. I'm likely going to replace the problematic pads on the Yamaha and keep it forever.
 
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