Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
For those who enjoy shootout type of COMPLETELY SUBJECTIVE reviews, here's what I thought when I popped my head into Sam Ash in midtown yesterday after I got out of a rehearsal and tried a few horns. FWIW, quick impressions.

The Shadow black nickel plate was a very nice player, and though I don't believe the finish changes your sound, was a nice, dark sounding horn with a rich sound.

The Yamaha Z gold lacquer was fantastic. Great focus, vibrant sound throughout the range, easy altissimo up to G4, comfortable ergos and fast action. Well in tune.

The Yamaha EX gold lacquer was a good player with a sound more reminiscent of fatter sounding vintage American horns or like a Yanagisawa tenor. I found the tone to lack the same depth as the Z. The action was good. Altissimo and overtones were rougher for me.

Series III with a matte finish. This is James Carter's old Series III. The sound was great. Really similar to the Z, I thought, but a bit warmer. Good altissimo and overtones were easy. James obviously likes a big sound because the keys were opened WAY up, though it somehow still played in tune. I found the action fast but uncomfortable because of the key heights.

Final ranking of these specific horns:
Z, Series III, Shadow, EX. I thought the Z and the Selmer were head and shoulders above the other two, soundwise, but that's just personal preference.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
4,881 Posts
Wow, not what I was expecting. Thanks for weighing in. It's not often one finds all these horns side by side to try and all apparently in good playing condition. Looks like the Z is the new VI!
 

·
The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum
Joined
·
27,650 Posts
Your observation about the difference between the Z and the Serie III were like mine.

I had a terrific unlacquered, no high F# key, YTS 82Z. I happened to test out some Selmers and just thought that, although the brightness and tones were very similar, the III had slightly more substantial core to the sound. I think this was one instance where if you can't hear the difference, you shouldn't buy the more expensive horn, but if you do hear it and it matters to you, you still have to decide if the price difference gives you the same degree of added value in sound that you're paying for.

In other words, it's possible to have a crappy horn and by buying another horn for double the price, double the quality. But IMO the difference between the Z and III is much smaller. The difference between the extra percentage you must pay for the III is larger and disproportionate to the percentage of added sound you get. (In my case, I went for the latter, sold my Z and got the III.)


**arbitrary percentage just for the sake of illustrating my point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
Shame you couldn't toss a Ref54 and Serie II in there for kicks! The Ref54 is my favorite against all the tenors listed here, apart from my Barone of course.

I'm glad you can like the Z though. It's funny, Yamaha tenors and the Selmer III and I never have gotten along...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,780 Posts
I can guarantee you I would take the Selmer IF it was a good blowing horn. I think the OP's comparison was skewed by playing a modified (opened-up) Series III. But I was intrigued by something you said, Gary; that you had a YTS82Z without high F#? I did not realize that was an option. if it is, I'll have to try one. Any Yamaha tenor I have played immediately gave me the impression it had a thin sound, like they tried to make up for lack of a meaty sound with more edge. Obviously one would have to live with a horn for several weeks before being able to get the most out of it, but like most people I go on those first impressions because of the logistics involved in an extended tryout.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,780 Posts
Indeed it is available. That is an attractive option for me and others who don't want the F# key.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Shame you couldn't toss a Ref54 and Serie II in there for kicks! The Ref54 is my favorite against all the tenors listed here, apart from my Barone of course.

I'm glad you can like the Z though. It's funny, Yamaha tenors and the Selmer III and I never have gotten along...
They had a couple of 54s there, but I've yet to like any of the Ref horns I've tried, so I skipped it.

...you still have to decide if the price difference gives you the same degree of added value in sound that you're paying for.
In this case, they were priced fairly close!

I can guarantee you I would take the Selmer IF it was a good blowing horn. I think the OP's comparison was skewed by playing a modified (opened-up) Series III.
Yes it was obviously skewed by that. If the action were setup normally on that III, I think I'd like it best, but then the sound would have been different, so who knows. They had a black lac III that I could have tried, but I wanted to see how James Carter had his set up. I've played a bunch of III tenors, some of which were among my favorite horns I've tried. The gold lac Z that they have at that Sam Ash is a beast, though!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,367 Posts
They had a couple of 54s there, but I've yet to like any of the Ref horns I've tried, so I skipped it.
Funny how that works. And yet, I can't stand the MK VI's I've tried.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
Interesting review. I recently bought an 82z unlacquered no f# key alto. It was the first alto I've played in about 20 years, I've mostly been playing tenor. My tenor is a very early mark VI, 54xxx, and I love the tone. But, I live in Singapore, and have never found a good tech, so this definitely influences things. Anyhow, I'm so impressed by the action and sound of the yamaha alto, I was also considering buying a similar tenor (no, I will never sell the mark VI). I'm not surprised this version of the 82z is doing well in comparisons.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,596 Posts
I find this pretty interesting. I tried a Yamaha Custom Z Alto, and a Series III and found them NOTHING alike. never did try the Tenor Series III I think I might like it more than my Z if it had the stronger core that I preferred.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
On alto, I find the III bright and warm with projection, and the Z bright and buzzy with projection. Both have the depth of tone and focus that I like, and I'd be happy, at this point, with either one. When I was looking for an alto, the top end Yamaha was the 875 Custom, which I don't think was called Z. I found it too bright for my already bright sound, and also it didn't seem to me to have the focus or tonal malleability that I like. Dunno what I'd think of it today.
 

·
(formerly borganiboy)
Joined
·
5,566 Posts
After owing 4 Z's and a silver serie III tenor i agree on your findings also.But for shear brute force the Z wins.My last Z was a silver plate z and was a monster ,so easy a player.Just went back to a fantastic Borgani jubilee that can wail like the z and if i get the funds i will get yet another z to join my borg.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
I'm glad you can like the Z though. It's funny, Yamaha tenors and the Selmer III and I never have gotten along...
Which goes to show that people are different. I bought a Selmer II because I got a fantastic deal and it sounded OK when I tried it. We never got along. Sure, it was no problem playing LOUD, but I want to be able to play the whole dynamic range. A month ago I traded it in for an 82z which suits me much better (having played an YBS-62 baritone for the last 5 years may have something to do with it..).

Anecdote: when I first decided to take up sax, I toured all the local music shops in order to find out what they stocked. One shop had a used tenor that was badly in need of overhaul, but it sort of played. I took it home to test it, but I could not decide. To get a second opinion, I brought it to work and asked a competent jazz player to test it for me. He did so, and told med that if I did not want it, he would by it on the spot. He bought it - it turned out to be a Selmer Mark VI.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,121 Posts
how'd you find the ergo's on the III vs. the Z??? that was why the III won for me over the Z and any other japanese horns for that matter.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
5,092 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Ergos are similar on the two horns. The main difference in feel is the concave pearls that Yamaha uses. Anyway, it's too long ago now for me to remember more specifics than I wrote here. I can say for sure that ergos wouldn't be the deciding factor between Selmer and Yamaha for me, and I am picky about ergos. I do play a Series III alto that I specifically chose over the top of the line Yamahas of the day when I bought it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,121 Posts
i found when i played them that the RH keys on the yamaha where sort of further around the side of the horn and because of have bigger hands i hated it and found it quite uncomfortable. however the Z i played blew fantastically and had a killer tone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
241 Posts
This is an interesting review. It's always nice to hear what another player says about horns.

Out of those horns I would probably go this way:
Yamaha Z, JK Shadow, Series III, Yamaha EX.

Yamahas have this real in your face presence about their sound the Z's are usually quite in your face but they have a real thickness to the sound which I like. The Z is also a really free blowing horn which I like.

The Keilwerths have my favorite action out of all the horns, they just feel like a real working machine. I don't mind the ergonomics, I used to play a Late 10M and that horn felt really ugly in the hands, so I have no issues with keys being placed anywhere (usually). I think this horn is just a little too dark for me, and I don't think it's all in the design, but the body is made out of a nickel silver, and I feel like the horn doesn't vibrate the same way a brass horn would. I'm a huge fan of the Vintage, or the Gold Lacquered SX90s though

The Series IIIs are usually too bright and direct to me. There is sort of a thinness about the sound that I don't really like about them in the tenor and it always bugs me (I've tried atleast 6 of these). I find it difficult to play subtly on any series III tenor that I've tried. I find the series II to just have a little more depth and spread to the sound and I really like that. I would play a Custom Z over the Series III any day.

I don't like the Ex's I find that there is too much back pressure for me on them. I don't understand how they play so well as an alto (to me) but on tenor I just don't like how they feel, especially with a custom G3 neck, I think the G1 neck is much nicer than the G3.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,594 Posts
.


Final ranking of these specific horns:
Z, Series III, Shadow, EX. I thought the Z and the Selmer were head and shoulders above the other two, soundwise, but that's just personal preference.
Hi Dan, I know that you play a Gold lacquer Lien Cheng T601. This horn is a high quality build Taiwan horn.

Does your L&C have any chance against these machines? how would you compare your L&C horn against this bunch?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
10 Posts
I am selling my Selmer Ref 54 tenor and bought a Yamaha 82Z. The 82z has it all over the selmer in my opinion. Yamaha is more vibrant-not simply brighter-much easier access to lower register and subtones, keywork is good on both. Ref 54 required more attention. For 2K less, this is a no brainer to me.
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top