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Discussion Starter #1
The yamaha Z versus the Yamaha EX? Which is better? is one better than the other, considering price as well as the horn itself? Pros, cons(not the horns), and suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks alot.
 

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Alto or tenor? Also, use the "Search" function or just check out the "Yamaha" sub-forum. There is loads of discussion on this point.
 

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The Z is more of a jazz horn compared to the EX. From my knowledge, the Z was modeled right after the Mark VI.
 

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Keegan: Beware of marketing hype (and myths perpetuated among saxophone players). . . either of those horns will play any music the player wants to push through it. I doubt if many players would agree that a Z is a jazz horn and the other . . . isn't.

They are what they are - good saxophones, that's all. And, the Z I once owned wasn't anything like the MKVI I still own.

Other threads have discussed the specific design differences between the Z and the EX, but recognize that any two saxophones will most likely differ, even if they are the same model. Comparing two different models is even more difficult because each player hears and feels things differently and has individual playing goals. The most consistent new alto I've ever experienced is the Selmer Ref 54 - everyone I played sounded similar, yet each one felt different.

You'd probably need 100 of each Yamaha model tested side-by-side before anyone could say which model is better. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Dave:

Would you then be recommending a reference? Because I am in the midst of trying to choose a new horn right now - I'm in high school, and basically I'm upgrading from an intermediate level horn to a pro horn. I've got price to consider, as I am your average poor tenth grader, and I've got the competition to consider - all of my peers are on prolevel horns now. Two of them play references, two of them play Z's, and one owns a Keilwerth. What's an all around good horn, for jazz and classical, that's really flexible? Because as of now I'm in the district band, the symphonic band, and also the jazz band. I understand what saxyacoustician says, but I do need a rather flexible horn that can stand up to the competition. What do you suggest? My preferable range would be around 2000. But I can sway a bit in either direction. I've heard alot about Keilwerths, Yanagisawas, yamahas (Z's, EX's), Selmers (References, la voix, paris), obviously.
 

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Only one thing to do: Try some out!
(btw a reference is way out of your price range, and you want to stay away from the la voix)
 

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Keegan: I think the Ref 54 alto is among the best new altos on the market. I own one and that's usually what I use on gigs. I used to own a Yamaha Custom Z (for a short while) and sold it.

I suspect your problem is going to be cost and the Ref 54 is pricey. But there are lots of different saxophones (new and used, modern and vintage) out there worthy of consideration. Surely, the Yamahas that you asked about are worthy, as are Yanagisawas and JKs. The next level down (like P.Mauriat, Cannonball, and some of the other Taiwanese-made saxophones) are worthy, too. And if vintage interests you, the old Bueschers from the late TrueTones of the 1920's through the Buescher 400 Top Hat & Cane models (I have six vintage Bueschers, altos and sopranos) are terrific.

The only guy who can make that choice is you - and to do so, you gotta try 'em all. DAVE
 

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Keegan802 said:
all of my peers are on prolevel horns now. Two of them play references, two of them play Z's, and one owns a Keilwerth.
Keegan802, it's not the horn you play, it's how you play the horn. A good player could whip your peers on your "intermediate" horn. Along that line, in music you don't compete with your instrument. You compete with your playing. Flexibility is all up to the player.

Having said that, the Reference 54 alto is a fine horn but it's ridiculously expensive. If you want a horn that's similar to a Selmer that is half the price and just as good, go with a Yanagisawa A901 ($1895 at Kessler Music). The A901 is the same horn as the A991 save a few mechanical features (things that aren't related to the sound of the horn, i.e. the bores are the same) and my recently purchased A991 has leap-frogged my Yamahas. Yanagisawa makes incredible saxophones.

Your next bet at the $2k price point is the Yamaha 62. After playing on my 62 for several years after having played Customs for over a decade, I've come to believe that the 62 is the finest horn in the Yamaha professional line. Expensive does NOT mean better in saxophone land. The 82Z is merely a glorified 62. Don't listen to the hype.
 

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First off, I second the motion that you go to the Yamaha section of the forum and just start reading. Because of that, I'm not going to elaborate on this - for what you are doing, and since you're looking at Yamahas, my recommendation would be a YAS EX II. Great for both classical and jazz. You just might want to use two different mouthpiece/reed setups, though.


(I have a Selmer Serie II alto but was impressed with the YAS EX alto. Your question is Yamaha-specific, but you just might want to see if you can try some used Serie IIs. Selling price seems to be around $2200.)
 

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Keegan, get a B&S alto and just slay your peers with it! Make them think they made a mistake!
 

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All good posts . . . I agree about no such thing as a jazz or classical saxophone; and that it is the player, not the horn (assuming the horn is well made and tight).

I especially agree about Yanagisawas (I own three now). I like my newly acquired S901 soprano more than any soprano in my closet (and that includes two terrific old Bueschers and an S992 bronze). You could do a lot worse than a Yanagisawa A901. DAVE
 

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This is no such thing as a classical or jazz instrument, but, with the same mouthpiece/reed configuration, the Z does sound brighter than the darker sound of the EX. Is the EX to dark for jazz? No. Is the Z too bright for classical? No. You can do whatever you want with either horn. If you want a Yamaha, go with the EX. I bought one a few months ago and I absolutely love it.
 

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Given your price point, I agree that you should seriously consider the Yanagisawas (either 901 or 991) as well. They are excellent horns.

I play tested the 82Z and 875EX in a shop a year ago and could not discern any difference in sound with the same set-up. Granted, I didn't take them home with me and do an extended play-test. The Z felt just so slightly better in my hands - maybe more compact? - but there are plenty of people who feel the opposite. The 62 is supposed to have a more similar body/design to an 82Z, so they are likely to feel the same. As others have said, you'll just have to try them out and see.

If word of mouth means anything, however, I seem to have seen more slightly used 82Zs pop up on the marketplace by disappointed players than 875's. This may be a by-product of too many people buying into the "If-I-play-an-82Z-I'll-sound like-Phil-Woods" hype. Me? I sold mine to get a Martin, but I've regretted that a little (because now I've come to have 2 Martins, and I don't need 2... I find myself wishing I still had the Yamaha for more legit settings)
 

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SaxyAcoustician said:
No such thing as a JAZZ horn or CLASSICAL horn! :Rant:
Yes, I see where all this is coming from, but, let's flush out the terminology differences here.

When most refer to a "jazz" horn they are generally talking about a "bright" horn. Not always, but that's often how the stereotype goes. In that case, I think we all agree that there are "bright" horns. The problem is when we substitute the word "jazz" for "bright." But as far as generalizations are concerned, there are "jazz oriented" horns and "classical oriented" horns based upon their relative brightness, yeah? (or maybe cut vs. blend?)

I certainly agree that there are world famous jazzers playing on dark horns and world famous classical players that play on bright horns. That said, if we are talking sheer numbers here, most jazz players like the brighter horns and most classical players like the darker horns.

With this background, the Z is brighter than the EX. If you like a jazz sound with more brightness, then get the Z. If you like a jazz sound that is 'Blendier" get an EX.

At the end of the day, I agree that there is no such thing as a "jazz" horn, just as there is, technically, no such thing as a "jazz" reed or mouthpiece. You can sound however the heck you want in your respective style. Aesthetics are fundamentally personal, but they also are influenced by generalizations. However, in the world of aesthetic generalities, there is such a thing as a "jazz" horn.

(I'll take my flogging off the air, thankyou)
 

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vivace1: No flogging necessary, just a mild disagreement. I don't think we all can agree on what is bright and dark, let alone what is a jazz horn (which I don't think exists).

I have posted (probably more times than is necessary) a personal experience with a guy who switched horns with me not too long ago. He described my Ref 54 alto is being nice and bright.

Huh?!?! DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #18
This is really helping guys, alot. You've named like 90 saxes for me and I think, in the end, I'll just make a list and go and try them all out. You guys have been extremely helpful. If you've got anything else let me know, but I have another question; Silver lacquer versus black versus gold versus unlacquered? I have heard that silver is brighter sounding and harder to control and that it doesn't intonate well. I've also heard that unlaquered is similar but easier to control. Black supposedly has a lower darker sound, and gold is just...standard? I'm just a little confused, because if I was just going on looks I'd so get a silver sax. But I know there's more to it than that.
 

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Keegan802 said:
This is really helping guys, alot. You've named like 90 saxes for me and I think, in the end, I'll just make a list and go and try them all out. You guys have been extremely helpful. If you've got anything else let me know, but I have another question; Silver lacquer versus black versus gold versus unlacquered? I have heard that silver is brighter sounding and harder to control and that it doesn't intonate well. I've also heard that unlaquered is similar but easier to control. Black supposedly has a lower darker sound, and gold is just...standard? I'm just a little confused, because if I was just going on looks I'd so get a silver sax. But I know there's more to it than that.
NOOOOO!!!!! (don't ask this question, but if you want to know, go to the sax body/finish forum)
 

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Oh yeah, if you want a nice horn for less than your price point, there's nothing wrong with going vintage (but that'll probably add more options, so whatever).
 
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