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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm a Selmer guy and has been since almost 25 years (except for on soprano).

I've been having this (Yamaha) YAS-23 lying around. Lately I decided I was going to try to repad it just to see if I could learn how to do it. Down the road and many burns and curses later it now has a new set of pads.

My Selmer has developed super sticky pads and is at the tech for a round of new pads so when rehearsals came up I needed to use a backup horn. For the fun of it I started using the Yamaha 23, and I must say it is a REALLY nice horn!
I can find it a bit thin sometimes and maybe a little bright when playing classical/orchestral music, but comparing the price tags with a Selmer I could live that. On the other hand this turns the horn into a TERRIFIC horn for jazz and commercial music. Very easy to shape the tone and it responds very well.
I'm kind of shocked, actually. I did not expect this at all of a horn of this price range and reputation of a "student horn".

There are only two things I really don't like about it and those are the octave mechanism and the right thumb rest. The octave key I think I could learn to use with some more hours under the belt. The thumbrest does not fit me at all as I find it totally off. I guess it's located where it is because the horn is meant for younger (smaller) musicians who need to have the horn to the side. I play it in front so the thumbrest is a bit "off axis" for me.

The Selmer is still in the shop, so on sunday this baby goes on stage with me.

We live and we learn, folk. We live and we learn. :)
 

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I think the earlier models are good instruments. When I was trying to upgrade from another model, I had some good people tell me how reliable the YAS23 was and that a number of pros like them as a backup. Modern ergonomics, good build. Quality horn.

I'm using a YAS23 now.
 

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I'm playing a YTS-21 that leaks. I like it better than the Buescher Aristocrat 156 I just bought. I guess I like a bit brighter sound and the modern keywork.
 

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I use to play all my students Yamaha YAS-23 saxophones when they had problems. I'll never forget trying one students 23 out of maybe hundreds I had tried and that sax blew me away. It as incredibly resonant and incredible sounding. I was shocked. I should have bought that sax right there on the spot.......the student later quit and that sax was lost to the nebulous world of saxophone rentals..........
 

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I like my 23. I really don't have any issues with it and it
feels good under my fingers. A 23 with a good mouthpiece is a good setup. I probably wouldn't sound any better with a Mk VI or Super 20 or anything else. It's not the coolest cube in the tray but it's a good tool.
 

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I have had several YAS-23's that I have bought and sold over the years. It is regarded as the benchmark for a student alto sax, and if it is set up well, it will play well.
But it is not a top level pro horn. The tone is somewhat overly bright and a little thin, without a depth and complexity that some pro horns have. The keywork is adequate, but not as good as some pro horns.
It is good as a backup horn for a pro because it is easy to go from most modern keywork horns to the 23 without any significant adjustment.
 

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I have a yas-21 as a backup, but never take it out, it stays in the closet, hopefully I'll never have to play it again:Rant:...I also have a King super 20, 369xxx, double-socket, made in Cleveland, a great little horn that I love, and love playing it:smack:...it's thick, rich, complex tone is the opposite of the Yamaha's, which in comparison is thin, weak, and is way too bright sounding.:cry::crybaby:
 

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I have a YAS-23 and also a YAS-21. Both are really nice in IMHO but I actually like the 21 a bit more. Not real pretty but have character..


YAS-23
YAS-21
True-Tone Alto (1925)
York Alto (1908)
King 615
And too many clarinets to count..
 

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I love the YAS23, learnt to play on one. As a tech they are in my experience the most sturdy and well constructed saxophones ever built.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
How does that happen?

Congrats on your successful repad!
Thanks Doc. :)

I think the stickiness has several reasons. I have also tried all suggested remedies I've found here on the forum to no avail. Someone I spoke to had the theory that the "new" laqcuer on the Reference horn somehow reacts with the coating of the pads after a while. Also add to that that the pads are quite hard set so the tone holes go deep into the pads and thus there will be a larger contact surface. I don't know...
I have not had this problem with any of my other saxes, so I could be innocent! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
It's not the coolest cube in the tray but it's a good tool.
That is true. I didn't think about that until I actually felt a pang of embarrasment when I was carrying it on the bus (like a little kid) to the gig the other day! I had a good silent laugh at myself. :)

It did the job just fine, though.

My first own horn was a second hand YAS-32 after having a beat up rental for almost a year. I got it on my 11th or 12th birthday, and I was so happy! Later it was traded for a SA II.
 

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Ode to the Student 23

"oh lord, won't you buy me, a Selmer, Mark Six?
My friends all have Keilwerths, I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Selmer, Mark Six?"
 

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I have a YAS-23 which I don't play much because tenor just seems to 'fit' better, but there's nothing much wrong with it. The intonation is good, the keywork is good, the sound isn't quite as nice as my TT (which I also don't play much) but it's quite a bit easier to play. I also have a YTS-62 III and a YTS-21 and the difference is the low notes are a little easier to get on the 62 and it has a high f# key and tilting table and obviously the 62 has scroll work and prettier lacquer. There's not all that much difference in the intonation, sound, or 'playability' and the 21 was 1/3rd the price.
 

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I have a VITO (Made IN Japan) YAS-21 that was made back in 1978, I bought it in 1982 so I have had it 34 years and it performs outstanding. The intonation is spot on from low Bb up to F. This Alto has even taken me in the Lower & Middle Altissimo with no problem. The only difference between the YAS-21 & 23 are the Bow's of 23 are soldered on. This YAS 21 was a good investment, and it's a keeper.
 

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I'll be the Fly in the Ointment. I have had to start including 21's and 23's in my refurb repertoire due to market-related reasons.

To call these 'really nice', 'great', 'amazing', 'just as good as a _________' (insert vintage top-shelfer here) is, from my point of view as a musician and repairer....really a reach.

They are what they are. Pretty well-made, very reliable budget horns.

Arguably if someone only has $400 to spend, they can do NO better on a contemporary model. (FWIW---the diff's between a 21 and 23 are absolutely minimal. Besides aforementioned tension ring at bow/body being soldered on the latter -a few mechanism details in the keywork design is all; upper stack A, G# mech, low C#...maybe one other someplace). Their sound is nothing to write home about - better than most budget contemporary fare, but nothing near that of vintage second-shelfers or a good upper-line contemporary model. Ergonomically, I have actually played better modern horns in that dept.

A good free-blower, though.

And despite comments to the contrary, they are no 'easier' to 'service' than any other horn. A lot of the keywork is easy to access and remove..and some places (just like 95% of other saxes out there) you just look at how you gotta get in there or reassemble and think "they couldn't have done this better ? Really ?".

A solid player horn. Again if someone has $400 and wants a modern horn with a modern tone, these are hard to argue against. It's a fixture and for reasons of reliability, it should be. Good workhorse.

That's about as much of a rave as I can come up with.
 

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My day gig is being a Middle School band director. The 'go to' also was always the YAS-23 or the VITO (Made IN Japan) altos. But alas, Yamaha started having the 23 made in China and now it's not available anymore. Yamaha OWNED the alto market and now they seem to be just one of the crowd.

By the way, I did a gig on a YTS-23 and it was killer. The 52 Alto & Tenor are also excellent and can be had for cheap.
 

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I test played a YTS-23 for a friend/student of mine and it played very well. It had a really nice sound to it and was easy to play. I personally wouldn't want one because IMO the Keilwerth keywork is a lot better.
 
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