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Yamaha 82ZII Tenor, Yamaha 481 Flute, Fender American Telecaster, Martin Acoustic
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had the pleasure of taking a few days to test drive three great modern Tenors. All new versions from Selmer, Yani and Yamaha. I ultimately purchased the Yamaha 82ZII you see pictured. Note the photo is not altered, that's the new lacquer with more ornate engraving.
Although I am not the reviewer Steve Neff is, I have been playing for 35 years and have my preferences. Like most, I love a great Mark VI, BA or Super 20.

Couple of observations:

Selmer SA80II Jubilee - Freaking gorgeous horn that feels and sounds fantastic. Of the three, the Selmer's action is by far the most comfortable much like the cockpit of a fighter jet. Within the first 10 minutes this horn felt and sounded like a Selmer should, dark, focused and punchy. I have played a few older SA80 II's with mixed emotions but this wasn't the same, very even up and down the stack with some resistance. The Selmer had the darkest tone of the three, very versatile and easy to get around. The new engraving takes some getting used to if your are a Mark VI guy. The dark gold lacquer is stunning, much like that of the Reference 36. Overall a great horn and something anyone looking for a Selmer would be super proud of for a very long time. I was pleasantly surprised.

Yanagisawa W010 - I am a huge fan of Yani's, especially the older 880's and 990's that had the hand engraved logo on the bells. The new Yani is very elegant and sounds great. The brightest of the three for sure. Build quality and intonation are superb. The one thing that caught be by surprise however was the reduction in size of both the palm keys and pinky cluster. I understand what they were doing in that you could really fly after you got used to it but I am one of those guys who didn't mind the Mark VII and I need my raised Palm keys! Other than that, a great horn. Better build quality than the Yamaha and equal to the Selmer.

Yamaha 82ZII - So I had originally intended to buy the Selmer after trying out the above mentioned until I really got to spend some time with the Yamaha. You can see by the pics that Yamaha has been busy. The new V1 neck on make's a huge difference in that it has a wider bore and thus sounds huskier than the G1. They soldered the bow and added metal reso's as well as making some improvements to the octave key mechanism. The lacquer you see is very close to that of the Selmer Reference 36 and Jubilee in color and FINALLY the engraving is much more ornate than previous models. Best of all this horn absolutely kills in the ease of playability category. Unlike the above horns, altissimo G is effortless and this too plays very even up and down the entire stack, an improvement over the older 82Z's. Most importantly the Yamaha has the least amount of resistance of the three. Build quality isn't that of the Selmer or Yani but the Yamaha won me over in that it does whatever you want it to do.

In summary, I bought the Yamaha. I admit the Selmer still has that supermodel appeal and for good reason, but I think the changes Yamaha has made finally gives the 82Z some serious attitude. A great alternative to a Mark VI at the $4K range.

A huge note of thanks to Matt Stoecker AKA QuinnTheEskimo for the great deal and patience allowing me to pic the right horn. Next stop, a nice Rafael Navarro BeBop HR MPC.
 

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Best of all this horn absolutely kills and for every style of music which is what Yamaha's are known for.
Interesting how tastes differ, though.

I'm no killer player, for sure, but having owned first version of YTS-82Z with G1 neck for almost half a year I found it lacking a character. No kidding, but my previous YTS-31 was far more funny to play even with original older Yammy MP and neck.

Still, intonation and overall comfort for player of 82Z is just perfect.
 

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Yamaha 82ZII Tenor, Yamaha 481 Flute, Fender American Telecaster, Martin Acoustic
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
No I hear ya. I had an earlier 82ZU and sold it after about six months for a Keilwerth which were once great horns.
 

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Interesting observation on the build quality. When I bought both my YTS-875 Custom and a Selmer SA80II alto in the early '90s it was the opposite. Selmer build quality was terrible. I loved the sound of the Selmer alto but eventually tired of the corks, felts, and other bits and pieces constantly falling off of it so I sold it. What I've been hearing lately is that the Selmers are built better than they were and sound great but there's not enough difference between them and the Yamahas to justify the price difference for most folks. I played the Series III tenor and Reference tenors when they first came out many years ago but didn't find anything really compelling about them at that time. Maybe I should give them another try when I have a chance.
 

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Distinguished Member, Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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I tried all of these horns also I didn't buy one but I would have bought the Yts 82z ll also amazing horn!! Played the easiest I'll be selling some of my gear to buy one at some point they are expensive but great !
 

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New 82Z II tenor here...only a couple/three quibbles with an otherwise perfect new horn!
1.) The new pads are treated and therefore all uniformly sticky, but the G# is too lightly sprung and needs adjustment or a thicker spring;
2.) The V1 neck is SO big -- even compared with the "old" G1 neck -- have to be very careful about mouthpiece placement and intonation up-top;
3.) The case -- some sort of faux "pleather" fabric, I haven't dared take it out anywhere, can't imagine it being very durable. WHY can't they PLEASE bring back the ATC-900/ASC-900 textured hard-shell, shaped cases (made by SKB I'm certain)? Have one for my "old' 62 II tenor, ISO one for my alto, would have been much better with the new Z II -- I gather some got this case with the orginal Z models way back...? I will be swapping my tenors around to use the OLD case...maybe will just buy the SKB Pro Contoured's and be done with it, great cases for the low $$ you pay.
 

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Tried the Selmer SA80 Series II and Yamaha 82Zii a couple years ago along with the Yani T901, P. Mauriat 66RUL and Yamaha 875. They all were really nice horns but I bought the Yamaha 82Zii and have not regretted it since. It's a very easy to play horn with great intonation throughout the range and can play bright or dark as you choose. Congratulations on your new acquisition!
 

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Over the decades I've played here is the list of tenors I've owned:
Conn 16m
King Zephyr
H.Couf SuperbaI
H.Couf SuperbaII
Yani 990
3 Selmer VIs
Selmer Series II
Conn 10M
Buescher Crat
Keilwerth SX90R Nickel Silver (wish I still had that one!!)
Keilwerth SX90R Black Nickel
Older Yamaha 62
Barone Classic
Yamaha 82Z unlacquered

There's a few others mixed in that I'm sure I've forgotten but in the end I've played a Yamaha 82Z with a Barone neck. For me this is the perfect combination and has cured any desire to try another tenor over the last 7+ years. It really comes down to finding a horn that you can play and think about the music and not the equipment.
 

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I got the 82Z Atelier... Love the horn and the C1L neck. I just traded a Theo Wanne Mantra 7* for a V1 neck so that I could hear the difference, as I have read a lot about people buying and liking the C1 more... I"m a little mixed on them, I find the V1 make the horn blow easier than the C1, but I think I'm preferring the more focussed tone of the C1L... I can definitely sense times when I might like the V1 though...

I haven't owned a ton of horns, but this is my favorite by far...
I started with an H.Genet? in high school, then got a SA80SII after comparing to about 15 other horns at Rayburn (back in the 90s), Had a 68' Mk Vi for a few years, and now the 82Z Atelier... Very happy with the horn so far...
 

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Forum Contributor 2014-2015
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I prefer the 875EX, Yamaha's best Tenor IMO.
I completely agree that out of the box the EX is Yamaha's best tenor saxophone. If you want to spend $750 more, you can get the Boston Sax Shop's neck and improve the Z enough that it's right there with it tonally, perhaps debatable among reasonable minds. But it will not ever get their ergonomically.

I have play a Z with the BSS neck and love it. The Atelier is also an amazing horn.
 

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Yamaha 82ZII Tenor, Yamaha 481 Flute, Fender American Telecaster, Martin Acoustic
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Following up with a 2021 update. Play tested a few new horns today including the Yani Bronze W02 Tenor as well as a Silver 875EX. I still love both the early Keilwerth SX90R and the 82Z's so it's good to see nothing has changed. Those Ishimori's are tempting to try though
 
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