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Discussion Starter #1
I've been playing my trusty YTS-61 for 16 or 17 years, and although I like the horn a lot, I've been itching to try something different. I don't purchase many saxophones, but when I do my practice to is buy a used horn from a top manufacturer in as close to mint condition as I can find. (I've bought at least one sax from each of the "Big 4" companies.). I test-play if that is feasible, but if not I'm willing to proceed anyway. I have no illusions about finding the horn; rather, I simply want to get a quality sax and make it work for me. So far, this relaxed approach has been successful.

I narrowed down the pool to Yanagisawa (anything from a T880 to the WO series) and Selmer (Series II or Series III). Then it became a matter of seeing what was in the market. I finally decided on a WO1 that popped up on eBay -- the only used WO tenor I have seen anywhere so far, since the series just came out this year -- because I wanted something relatively light. Both of my altos are ribbed (990µB and SA80II), but in a bigger horn I think I prefer the lighter-weight single-post construction.

The horn arrived today from Quinn the Eskimo. His shipping was quick and efficient. The horn was adequately packed, in that it arrrived undamaged. I wouldn't say that it was well packed, in the sense of being ready for any possible shipping contingency, because there was no padding on the sax or the neck inside the case. The case itself was expected to do the work of shielding the horn. Because the instrument is in perfect condition, however, this is not a complaint, just a comment.

The WO case is superb. It's attractive, streamlined, strong, and light -- it may weigh less than my Selmer alto case (the kind with the Selmer USA case cover). There are backpack straps neatly hidden behind a zippered panel, and a nice pouch for music on the other side. The three clasps are sturdy, and there's a wide "Yanagisawa" Velcro strap as well.

The TWO1 itself is exactly as Quinn described and photographed it. This horn is so new that the package includes not only the mouthpiece (which I am looking forward to trying, because I like my Yani HR soprano mouthpiece), but also the Yani cork grease and an excellent Yanagisawa neckstrap.

The gold lacquer is lovely. I don't miss the underslung neck on the "Elite" Yani horns because the new WO1 neck has an attractive Yani emblem on it. The weight of the horn is just about what I was expecting, which is good. The horn feels a lot like my A990, with near-perfect ergos. Compared to my Yamaha, I like the taller palm keys and the shaped front F. I gave the sax a quick blow and found it nicely responsive. It sounds like a good tenor. A more careful evaluation will have to wait, since I have a gig tonight at which I'm playing only soprano and alto. Will post more later.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I played the horn for about an hour yesterday -- was impressed by the tightness of the keywork, the very secure intonation, and the tone quality from G2 and up. However, I want to adapt to it for a week or two before coming to any firm conclusions. I am playing tenor at a concert this weekend, but I will bring the YTS-61 because I'm used to it on all the numbers we'll be playing.

Footnote that I know is of importance to many SOTW members: My wife thinks the TWO1 is beautiful, and she also was very impressed by the quality of the case. Said it looks as though it would be expensive if purchased separately.
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2017
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+1 on the case. Same with the AWO10 case. Much nicer than the A9935 puffy box.

I especially appreciate the long velcro strap. Keeps folks from forgetting to secure the latches!

Dsm
 

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Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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How are you feeling about your TWO1 now, LostConn?

Here are my first impressions from another thread:

Received my TWO1 today! It came very well packed from Sax.co.uk, in the original Yanagisawa carton. Shipping was quite fast -- it was shipped out Monday and it probably would have came earlier in the week if it didn't get held up in customs for a couple of days (they needed my SSN to clear it apparently). The folks at Sax.co.uk were very responsive to my emails throughout the process, in addition to being friendly and helpful. We'll see if I get a bill from customs, but as of now I would absolutely do business with them again... they were great and I saved over $500 buying it outside the States.

I've only had the chance to play it for an hour or so, but it's made a great first impression so far. The folks at Sax.co.uk and Yani really do a great job setting horns up. It definitely feels a bit different in my hands than my VI, but not in a bad way at all. The action is actually much slicker, but that could be an adjustment thing. It feels like it weighs a tiny bit less as well, which I like. As for tone, my initial impression is that it's a bit brighter than my VI, and has a bit of "ping" that I really love and my VI lacks. I think there's some truth to the idea that VI's take a bit more effort to play and are thus potentially more rewarding, while the Yani feels like it has a lot going for it right out of the box, with much more to come I'm sure. I'm not a pro by any means and have not A-B'd many horns, but those are my impressions thus far.

I'll follow up soon!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I guess I am overdue for a follow-up report. Let me start by noting that most people are probably already familiar with the principal differences between the Yanagisawa "Elite" saxes (WO10/WO20; previously the 991/992) and the "Professional" models (WO1/WO2; previously 901/902): ribbed vs. single-post construction, and semi-underslung octave mechanism on neck vs. standard octave mechanism. Neither of these differences is crucial to me on the TWO1. As noted above, on a tenor I appreciate the weight reduction of single-post construction. And while I've always liked the look of the Yani underslung neck, I doubt that it has any impact on tone or performance. The restyled and enhanced regular neck on the WO1/WO2 is quite nice too.

Other differences between the lines:
  • The Elites have two extra pearls, on the F# and G# keys -- I like the feel of pearls, but this detail is largely cosmetic.
  • The Elites have double arms on two of the bell keys -- I don't know if this makes a difference or not. My alto has the double arms but my tenor does not; I can't compare the same horn with both designs.
  • The Elites have more elaborate engraving on the bell -- Cosmetic.
  • The Elites have the extra link between the C# and B on the LH table -- This is the one feature from my alto that I can honestly say I miss a little on the TWO1. The table on the WO1 is very good, but that extra connection really does facilitate finger movement. Yanagisawa should standardize it on all horns.
As for the horn in action, the TWO1 has a beautiful, sweet tone when playing under control with a classical or all-around mouthpiece. (By the way, the Yanagisawa HR 5 mouthpiece is growing on me; no big surprise, since I enjoy my Yani soprano mp, and everything the company sells seems to be both well-designed and expertly crafted.) The horn also has easy power in the lower register when called upon with a more open mouthpiece, at least by my standards. Intonation is also superb. I checked from top to bottom with a tuner and was impressed by how centered the needle remained, even without my making much of an effort to adjust the pitch appropriately. The overall package is highly satisfactory for the type of playing I normally do, which is classical, concert band, and saxophone quintet. I don't need enormous projection over amplified instruments, but I do need a versatile tone and excellent blending capability.

I'm still trying to dial in the best mouthpieces for this horn, and I may try some other new ones in addition to the Yani HR. I'm not sure that my Vandoren V5 T20 is as good a fit for this horn as for my YTS-61, so I may experiment with an Optimum TL5. I also may try a V16 HR or similar jazz mp in about a 6 or 6* facing.

My complaints so far are very minor. I think the neck tenon may be just a little bit loose, or at any rate I seem to need an extra half-turn of the neck screw that I don't think I should need. I probably will have fitting work done. I'm still adjusting to the palm keys a bit. I noted in my opening post that I liked the taller keys; well, it's not really that simple. The higher D#/Eb palm key makes that note easier to play than on the YTS-61, because I don't have to reach down as much for the key. But it also makes the D a little harder to play, because there's a greater chance of accidentally hitting the D#/Eb. I'm learning to alter my hand angle slightly.

All in all, the TWO1 is a beautiful horn to hold and to play.
 

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Funny, I could give the same sonic report on my AWO1, including the sweet tone. It has enough texture and bark, yet there is a sweet component underlying the textures and overtones.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A few additional brief updates:

1. I dealt with the palm key issue mentioned in post #6 with a set of $6.95 translucent risers. I put them on the D and F palm keys, but not the D#/Eb key. Perfect, and easier on the wrist.

2. Last night I played the TWO1 for the first time in a band setting. (I normally play 1st alto, but when a piece has only one distinct alto part, I often switch to tenor to provide better balance within the saxophone section. It's fun for me to get work on both horns, even if it means carrying more gear to rehearsals and concerts.) I was extremely pleased with how well the horn blended. I think it was a combination of the timbre and the locked-in intonation, but I felt more at ease with my blend than I sometimes do with the YTS-61. Being comfortable with one's sound aids in executing technical passages, I think, perhaps because it reduces the division of mental focus. That was helpful, because the saxophone parts in the piece ("Dances From the Oprichnik" by Tchaikovsky) are fairly high on the difficulty scale.

3. Even without the special Yanagisawa bridging piece in the LH table, moving back and forth from low C# to low B is a little easier on the WO1 than on my Yamaha.
 

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The quality of materials for the TWO1 case is not very good, imo.
They are similar to the cheapened Yamaha cases.
I am not impressed.

Yanagisawa should have done better at the price point for these horns.
The latches are especially cheap.
The velcro on the strap isn't big enough for it to stay closed very well.
 

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The quality of materials for the TWO1 case is not very good, imo.
They are similar to the cheapened Yamaha cases.
I am not impressed.

Yanagisawa should have done better at the price point for these horns.
The latches are especially cheap.
The velcro on the strap isn't big enough for it to stay closed very well.
Interesting. I guess they could have made a metal case with huge latches like some Keilworths, but I think that there is a lot to be said for these cases. The snug fit of the sax in the case is second to none, and that is possibly the most important thing a case can provide.

These are the exact same cases as Yanigasawa uses for all of their WO series tenors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
These are the exact same cases as Yanigasawa uses for all of their WO series tenors.
Yes, this is worth pointing out, especially since I discussed the "Elite" vs. "Professional" differences above. There has always been only one Yany case for each size of horn. It doesn't matter how much the sax costs. A plain brass AWO1 and a sterling AWO37 get the same case.
 
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