Sax on the Web Forum banner

Yanagisawa Tenors

50207 Views 66 Replies 38 Participants Last post by  CharlesRobinson
Can someone with knowledge and experience characterize the Yanagisawa tenors? It seems all their other (soprano, alto, bari) horns come highly regarded, but not so much the tenors? Are they really worthy competition to contemporary offerings from Yamaha, Selmer, Keilwerth?

I am particularly interested in your assessment of the T880s and newer (900, 990, 991) tenors.
1 - 20 of 67 Posts
I tried a Yanagisawa T-992 at PM woodwind. I thought it had a brilliant and warm sound.
I am sorry that I cant give a in depth analysis like other people on here can.
I just remember how it played and recorded myself.
p.s. I wish there were more reviews of the Yanagisawa tenors as well. I also wish I could find more videos or sound clips of pros playing on yanagisawas 99X models.
I've played a handful of Yani tenors, with mixed feelings. A 991 and a 992 that I tried were just OK, a 901 that I tried had a great sparkly sound, but I didn't like the ergos.... However in the last couple of months I tried two 990 tenors that were very very similar to each other (one was regular lacquer one was black) and both were just fantastic - felt just like my MkVI in my hands, maybe a bit better action even, and the sound was excellent (didn't have the "selmer core" or the vintage sound, but a nice thing of their own). Most of the newer horns I've played (many taiwanese) play very well, but are so heavy they just get uncomfortable playing for long periods.

I ended up buying one of the 990s, and I got to tell you, they are a bargain.... in great shape for $1600! I sold the Cannonball Vintage tenor that I liked very much (but was heavy) in order to fund the purchase, and I haven't had a single pang of regret. The 990 is just a joy to play, and I can get a good enough sound on it (albeit I haven't dialed it in as well as either my MkVI or my Buescher TH&C sound-wise). For someone looking for a solid, day-in-day-out workhorse, these are a steal, IMO.

I suppose that they don't get as much attention as they just arent as common, and they don't have a ton of their own "personality"... you kind of get out of them what you put into them, which is OK by me.

See less See more
I've owned some fine horns over the years, VI's, BA's, Silver Z's, 62's and recently an incredible 901 tenor, yes, the 901, not the 991. This horn was so close in sound to a fine MK VI and was so much fun to play. Perhaps not quite the tonal depth of my VI or Ref. tenor, but an incredible sound and effortless to play. Yani's are incredible period. For the money, nothing comes close.
9937 is awesome, and really beautiful
I also wish I could find more videos or sound clips of pros playing on yanagisawas 99X models.
Here's one, looks like a T99x, sample at 2:36

... another at 1:40

fwiw, I play an '80 T880.
Excellent, don't care much for the deep dished pearls though.
Play a Keilwerth SX neck on it sometimes, or the underslung.
See less See more
the requested youtube video is not available!
the requested youtube video is not available!
Works now.
I compared a T901, 902, 991 and 992, and also play tested against a Mauriat 76, Yam YTS62, Trevor James Sig Custom, Selmer Series 2 and a Keilwerth SX something. I bought the T992, because it was simply the best of all of them. My views on the Yanagisawas. Firstly, they were all excellent, with outstanding ergonomics and a superb finish, better than all the others.

T901 - Bright, fizzy horn, sort of lively character. Felt quite light in my hands.
T902 - Very similar, a bit more richnes to the tone. Felt exactly the same in the hands as the 901
T991 - Great sax. Bright put powerful. Solid, slightly heavier feel
T992 - Fantastic. Not so bright, more complex tone, powerful and capable of going very loud. Very rich and characterful tone. Easy to play smooth or raunchy. Flattered my playing. Felt the same in my hands as the T991. Anyone who thinks Japanese horns have no character should try one of these.

None of the other saxes I played were anything like as good as the T992. I was particularly disappointed in the Selmer and Yamaha. I had high expecations of the Selmer which weren't met, and fond memories on an older YTS62 I played years ago. The new Yam just wasn't as interesting. The Mauriat was nice to play but the standard of the finish was unacceptable on a sax costing half what the Mauriat did. The Keilwerth just didn't play well. So, I splashed out a load of my own money on the T992. Three years on I'm still delighted with it. It hasn't needed any adjustment at all in that time.

See less See more
I compared a T901, 902, 991 and 992, …
Thanks for that review Jon. Was the T902 really that much louder than the 901?
there is way too much happening to really tell how the sax sounded. The guy played really loud and raunchy the whole time. It sounded good for that style, but that is not the best situation to tell how the sax sounds. The guy was growling the whole time and the band is loud.

I wish there was a "sax alone" sound clip example or a jazz quartet without the sax in the sound system too much example.
I think they are great tenors! Great ergos and sound, intonation and power. I've had my T991 for 5 years now. Haven't touched my Mark VI tenor since I got it! I use a 992 bronze neck with mine.
I wish there was a "sax alone" sound clip example or a jazz quartet without the sax in the sound system too much example.
How about this fellow?

I also wish I could find more videos or sound clips of pros playing on yanagisawas 99X models.
I wouldn't classify myself as a pro but I've been playing for quite a while. Here's a poll I sent out a few months ago of some mouthpiece setups I was experimenting with, all played on my T991....
that is a nice clip. That sounds really nice.
This is good. Now, hopefully without being too annoying, the best scenario would be a non youtube recording because they compress the audio. That is something I would think yanagisawa would look into. But then again, they probably sell instruments fine without it!
There are clips of Gary Jones playing his Yani tenor on this thread.

Gary Campbell plays a Yanagisawa with a Soloist mouthpiece on this video.

Mel Martin plays one on this video with Benny Carter.
Not only does Youtube compress the audio, but most cameras do that too, so your original video or recording starts out compressed from the git-go.
OK I'm going to chime in here. At one time I owned and played the set of Yanagasawa's S<A<T<B. I now only have the sop. The tenor I had for nigh on 8 years and usually used a Link STM or T.E. The horn was a 992 which I silver plated. Yanni's are to be compared with Lexus cars, fast, smooth, reliable, and luxurious-- in a nutshell --quality. When my son was at university, studying industrial design a group of students spent some time at Jaguar cars when the XK8 coupe was being developed, a fabulous sports car intended to match the legendry E Type of the early 1960's. As a model, Jaguar bought in a Lexus from Japan and instructed the apprentices to strip it down to the last speck of paint to discover why it was so good! the brief then was to build the XK8 to a similar standard--but to be MORE EXCITING !
Are you getting the picture now? Yanagasawa's are a little too conservative When I sold my 992 I bought a Selmer serie3 which I still use along with my beloved Conns. Compared with the Yanni's these horns can be capricious and have 'bad hair' days but they are more 'exciting' or should I say excitable?
Incidently the alto I had was an 880 Elimona which was seriously good -I parted reluctantly with that after buying a Serie3 alto for 'a song' from a friend who had given up alto after many years in the business. A pupil of mine still has that horn. The Baritone was 901 but I have given up playing Bari these days.
These horns were in daily use plus gigs.
I would never be afraid to recomend them--they do everything it 'says on the box' but if a guy wants a tenor for Rock&Roll or Jazz I usually steer them onto another brand either vintage or modern.
See less See more
an excellent analogy for comparing Japanese vs. Western European concepts for saxes, cars, and even fountain pens!

A few years ago a group of us compared a B901 against a B992p and heard vitrually no difference between the horns.
1 - 20 of 67 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.