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Discussion Starter #1
In the last few weeks I've played about 30 Yamaha saxophones and some are great - others not so much. What I've noticed is that I've been impressed with all of the silver plated horns (I've played 6 of them). I've been playing tenor and alto Customs (both Z and EX).

Now, I am a firm believer that finish does not make a difference in tone, but I'm wondering if they are doing something different to these horns that they are not to the others?

Or if anyone has any other opinions about the difference, I'd love to hear it.
 

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I've owned two Silver Z Tenors and 3 Silver Z Altos over the years. Each time I compared the silver plated horns to the lacquered versions, I've come away that the silver plated horns simply had a fuller richer sound, not brighter but rather fuller, less edgy and were richer sounding.

Most on this forum would argue with the fact that plating does not alter the sound and simply would attest that the bore dims and geometry variations attest to the slight character differences perceived from horn to horn within the same make and model.

I'm one who agrees that each horn within a series will differ, however, I also do believe the plating or lacquer has a bearing as well. It certainly did with my Silver Z's and a recent comparison I had the chance to do with a Selmer III Tenor in Silver vs. Lacquer. Both were nice but the Silver was fatter, richer, more colorful, not so bright, and more powerful in my view. Those listening to me sample each horn back to back came to the same conclusion.

Oh well, the debate goes on. Ultimately, the horn that makes you step back for a moment and say "WOW" is the one, regardless of finish.
 

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I had exactly the opposite experience a few years ago when I went looking at Yamaha Z altos. I played a bunch - some okay, some mediocre, at various stores. I played all the available finishes. The best one I ended up with was a lacquered brass Z that came from Anaheim Band (got it from Rob Fleming). I attributed its good playing condition to the set-up it received at Anaheim Band. I sold it back to Rob a while later. As good as it was, it didn't compare to other brands I already owned.

However, in the early 1990's, I tested a silver Yamaha soprano (YSS62S) in Vancouver, B.C. that was VERY nice. Upon returning home, I ordered one sight-unseen from some store that advertised in SAX JOURNAL at the time and it too was VERY nice. I played it for years. My daughter has it now and it still plays well. I just moved on to other sopranos. I'm one to argue against the finish issue but will agree that the body material may have some subtle effect. I have lacquered brass, bronze, gold-plated, silver plated, etc. and I think it is other factors that create playability. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Dave - what factors do you think they are?

I'm really curious on everybody's thoughts. I've played a huge number of horns, and I know what I like when I feel it, but always thirsting after new angles.
 

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the silvers ive played were very good, those were 62s, but if i got another 62 i would look to go for a silver model,to me the sound is a little different!,not sure why it seems that way but they always impress me!.
 

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In the last few weeks I've played about 30 Yamaha saxophones and some are great - others not so much. What I've noticed is that I've been impressed with all of the silver plated horns (I've played 6 of them). I've been playing tenor and alto Customs (both Z and EX).

Now, I am a firm believer that finish does not make a difference in tone, but I'm wondering if they are doing something different to these horns that they are not to the others?

Or if anyone has any other opinions about the difference, I'd love to hear it.
I think what is happening that at the factory they are looking for horns with certain qualities because they don't want to silverplate or goldplate a mediocre horn. These are their flagships.

I think those horns would have had those sounds if they had a regular gold lacquer.

And I guarantee that they hear mediocre horns coming off the line but they pass them on. And really sometimes all you have to do is switch necks.

They're not going to reject horns because all are not great. They would go out of business real quick. Maybe that so so horn has a quality that appeals to someone anyway.

I believe you are making a logical fallacy in assuming that the special quality came after the silverplate came on.

The horn was already special and you're simply attributing that fact to the silverplate.

So I believe each of those horns were special but not why you believe it.

And you have to understand they want you to believe that. It's called marketing.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That makes sense to me. I thought of that, but I was wondering what other people thought as well.

I happen to work with Yamaha on a regular basis (and market their products), and they couldn't explain why these horns were different. I wanted another take - another player's take.

Especially because I don't believe that the finish makes a difference, I'm not sure why you would think that am attributing it to the silver plate. I wanted to know what other people thought.

Please don't put words in my mouth.
 

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I think what is happening that at the factory they are looking for horns with certain qualities because they don't want to silverplate or goldplate a mediocre horn. These are their flagships.

I think those horns would have had those sounds if they had a regular gold lacquer.

And I guarantee that they hear mediocre horns coming off the line but they pass them on. And really sometimes all you have to do is switch necks.

They're not going to reject horns because all are not great. They would go out of business real quick. Maybe that so so horn has a quality that appeals to someone anyway.

I believe you are making a logical fallacy in assuming that the special quality came after the silverplate came on.

The horn was already special and you're simply attributing that fact to the silverplate.

So I believe each of those horns were special but not why you believe it.

And you have to understand they want you to believe that. It's called marketing.

I agree. I think this "reverse causality" (where we have the cause and effect reversed) issue shows up quite a bit but because we lack all of the relevant information or it doesn't make sense to us we refuse to accept other possibilities. I've always said that about my Yani B992 bari- it's a really great horn but not necessarily because it's made of bronze but because it got all the little extra attentions during manufacturing as Yani knew they were going to be charging top dollar for it.
 

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That makes sense to me. I thought of that, but I was wondering what other people thought as well.

I happen to work with Yamaha on a regular basis (and market their products), and they couldn't explain why these horns were different. I wanted another take - another player's take.

Especially because I don't believe that the finish makes a difference, I'm not sure why you would think that am attributing it to the silver plate. I wanted to know what other people thought.

Please don't put words in my mouth.
Sorry about that. In my haste to respond I selected the wrong post. I should have responded to Saxplayer 1 in post number 2.

Here's what he said:


" I've owned two Silver Z Tenors and 3 Silver Z Altos over the years. Each time I compared the silver plated horns to the lacquered versions, I've come away that the silver plated horns simply had a fuller richer sound, not brighter but rather fuller, less edgy and were richer sounding.

Most on this forum would argue with the fact that plating does not alter the sound and simply would attest that the bore dims and geometry variations attest to the slight character differences perceived from horn to horn within the same make and model.

I'm one who agrees that each horn within a series will differ, however, I also do believe the plating or lacquer has a bearing as well. It certainly did with my Silver Z's and a recent comparison I had the chance to do with a Selmer III Tenor in Silver vs. Lacquer. Both were nice but the Silver was fatter, richer, more colorful, not so bright, and more powerful in my view. Those listening to me sample each horn back to back came to the same conclusion.

Oh well, the debate goes on. Ultimately, the horn that makes you step back for a moment and say "WOW" is the one, regardless of finish."



That's why I said:


"I think what is happening that at the factory they are looking for horns with certain qualities because they don't want to silverplate or goldplate a mediocre horn. These are their flagships.

I think those horns would have had those sounds if they had a regular gold lacquer.

And I guarantee that they hear mediocre horns coming off the line but they pass them on. And really sometimes all you have to do is switch necks.

They're not going to reject horns because all are not great. They would go out of business real quick. Maybe that so so horn has a quality that appeals to someone anyway.

I believe you are making a logical fallacy in assuming that the special quality came after the silverplate came on.

The horn was already special and you're simply attributing that fact to the silverplate.

So I believe each of those horns were special but not why you believe it.

And you have to understand they want you to believe that. It's called marketing."

Again I apologize for responding to the wrong post.
 

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My apologies for snapping so quick. Sometimes I get defensive because there can be quite a bit of negativity on forums. My mistake.
No you didn't make a mistake at all. It was mine. I have an ascerbic writing style and I can really get on people's nerves.

So you were not being overly defensive because you were saying the exact opposite of what I was alluding to.

So don't feel bad. I get passionate about saxophones.
 

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I don't know about the factory selecting only certain horns for silver-plating, but I'd like to believe it. I do suspect that not every horn that comes off a production line is their whiz-bang best, and I'm suspicious of everyone's marketing departments.

I think the other factors are neck design, pad seating, individual bore characteristics, and store set-up. Why would they come together for silver horns and not the others? The great mystery. But, the plated Z I played sure didn't trip my trigger while the one lacquered brass did, at least enough for me to go with a trade/purchase with Rob Fleming. DAVE
 

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I have owned three Silver-Plated Yamaha 875s (SAT). I think the difference is only in the feel, not the sound (most certainly two entirely different things.)

Visually they are much more striking than the lacquered ones. This aspect surely plays a part in the player's mindset, unless he knows better.
 

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After owing many many great horns heres a list of the best 1's i had
Saturn silver plated MK6 Tenor
JK silverplated alto,it was great
Borgani pearl silver tenor
Selmer Serie III Silver plated tenor
My current silver Z tenor.

I have had many more gold lac horns compared to silver

now can you see a pattern here,i sure can.As for the Z's i have had 3 gold lacquer Z tenors and for me my silver Z has that X factor,what it is i dont know but i find it to be more full in the range.When i bought my new Z i compared it to a ZUL,a couple of gold lac Z's,a silver 875 pre Ex.The final fight was the UL and Silver,I got the silver Z.I think silver plated horns have there own vibe,its slight but i think they do,many will say they dont but my best horns to date were all silver,go figure.
 

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A lot of people are calling the yamaha customs the Mark VI of the new saxophone. I'm no promotor, so I'll just stick with facts. These horns are very well engineered and have a lot of buzz around them. They are very common among pro players and really have a great tone projection and that extra lingering sound. I love seeing silver saxophones like that, I personally prefer a silver finish over gold any day. Silver is known for giving a brighter more punchy sound, but some people claim that this is absolutely false when it comes to horns and that the silver finish doesn't change the tone of the horn at all. What for sure is a fact about silver is that it doesn't indeed add weight to the horn and protects the horn a lot better than other horns without it.
 

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I've owned two Silver Z Tenors and 3 Silver Z Altos over the years. Each time I compared the silver plated horns to the lacquered versions, I've come away that the silver plated horns simply had a fuller richer sound, not brighter but rather fuller, less edgy and were richer sounding.
This has been my experience also. I compared my Z to both lacquered and unlacquered versions and found my silver Z to be 'fuller and richer, less edgy'...and it has nothing to do with the roo pads and metal resos! :)
 
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