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Discussion Starter #1
I have two saxes of the 52 series: YAS-52 and YTS-52.
YAS-52 is from a newer crop, with 'Yamaha' engraved on the bell. Maybe it's from the end of 1990-s or so.
YTS-52 is an older 'purple label' crop(with the decal removed by someone in the past).
Both are original and in nice shape.

I played YAS-52 for some time around 10 years ago, then it's been in storage since I haven't played sax since then. I actually only played it for a month or so back then so I can't remember now what were my impressions of its past playabillity.
I never played YTS-52 since I got it around 8 years ago when I decided to renew my sax playing but that didn't happen at that time. So it's been only in storage since I got it.

Today I took them out for comparison of ergonomics whatever that might be when you comparing two saxes of a different size.
The result is: YTS-52 pleasantly surprised me while YAS-52 was more like a disappointment.
Here is the reason..

I've got my pinky on the short side and I find for myself that the older "inline G#-cluster" of vintage horns suites me better than a newer low spatula Bb design. However I can live with the low Bb "rocking" spatula but I need to reach for it and press it with my pinky on the upper left corner so I don't touch low B and C# accidentally.

When examining the two 52 saxes today I found that they have slightly different geometry (and design!) of the G#-cluster that makes for me a BIG difference in playability.
- I was surprised to find out that on YTS-52 the reach from the G-pearl key down to the Bb spatula corner is 5 mm shorter than on YAS-52!
- In addition YAS-52 has that... sorry for calling it that way but I find that design stupid. There is an interconnection between the sides of the C# and Bb spatulas. That C#-Bb link works just the opposite way for me than it's supposed to work.
I see they designed it in such a way that when the Bb spatula is pressed on the lower side it pushes the C# spatula forward and thus prevents the C# key cup from opening. However since I can't reach the low side of the Bb spatula while holding all the upper stack keys closed I happen to press flat on the side of the Bb spatula (it doesn't rock in that case) and that opens the C# pad some 1 to 2 mm which obviously creates an unacceptable leak.

So I don't know how and why they managed to screw up an acceptable design of YTS-52 G# table and turn it into that "smart" engineering decision on YAS-52.

Now, can I disconnect the Bb spatula on YAS-52 from the low C#? I can see that there is what I'd call a 'ball-head screw' that goes into the side of C# spatula and that ball slides along the side slot of the low Bb extention.
The link works in the following way: when the low C# is pressed the upper side of the low Bb spatula tilts inward and that doesn't affect the B and Bb action. When on the other hand the low side of the Bb spatual is pressed it pushed the C# spatula forward thus insuring it locks the corresponding key cup in place. I also described what happens when I press the low Bb spatula on the side and I find it driving me mad.

To be honest I expected just the opposite: I thought since a tenor sax is bigger in size it would require a longer reach for the hands. That was the case when I compared a bass clarinet against an alto one.
 

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Re: YAS-52 vs YTS-52 left pinky claster: a big disappointment and surprise

Did you try bending the G touch closer to the pinky table? It can be done, and 5 mm is not a huge distance. I too have a problem with my left pinky, and also prefer the in-line arrangement, but I was able to make a more modern table work by moving the G touch down toward the table. But finally, I traded that horn for one with in-line table keys.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Re: YAS-52 vs YTS-52 left pinky claster: a big disappointment and surprise

No, haven't tried to modify my YAS-52 yet. I also don't think it was done to the YTS-52 and it feels more or less fine compared to its alto brother.
The interconnected low C# and Bb on YAS-52 is what drives me mad most of all...
 

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Re: YAS-52 vs YTS-52 left pinky claster: a big disappointment and surprise

I haven't actually thought about it that way but the bigger is generally the better I guess ;)
There's a whole other discussion there for sure. Which I won't get into.

I always felt whenever I picked up an alto it feels like a toy compared to a tenor (which is what I'm used to). Even the spacing of the other keys relative to the pinky table could be a big factor. Some altos I've had the chance to play with much more "robust" or bigger key work like the new Keilwerth Altos feel very comfortable to me because tenor fits my hands better.

My YTS-61 does not have a brace on the pinky keys and as far as key work goes it's the one thing that I would like different but usually that means the entire layout is shifted in some way.

Another option you could potentially explore is the position if the strap ring. A small change in that can greatly effect the way you hold the horn. You could possibly use that as an advantage to make up for the distance in the key work. Just a thought. Have you compared the two? Are they the same position? If not could you move the ring in such a way that your hand would be placed better?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
It all matters of course but at the moment I'm more concerned with the linked low C# and Bb spatulas in the G# cluster on YAS-52.
Why did the older YTS-52 not have that design feature? Sorry for calling it stupid ealier: I noticed that many modern horns including Yani have that link between the two named keys present. I can't play when it's activated and I'm thinking of removing it altogether. As I can see if I remove the 'ball-head' screw from the side of the C# spatula the link will be deactivated and the low Bb will work independently from C#.
I could probably even remove the low Bb side extension permanently (cut it off) but that would devalue the sax if I decide to sell it later.
 

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It all matters of course but at the moment I'm more concerned with the linked low C# and Bb spatulas in the G# cluster on YAS-52.
Why did the older YTS-52 not have that design feature? Sorry for calling it stupid ealier: I noticed that many modern horns including Yani have that link between the two named keys present. I can't play when it's activated and I'm thinking of removing it altogether. As I can see if I remove the 'ball-head' screw from the side of the C# spatula the link will be deactivated and the low Bb will work independently from C#.
I could probably remove the low Bb side extension permanently but that would devalue the sax if I decide to sell it later.
I think if you could somehow get your hand closer (see my comment above) that having the Bb-C# link wouldn't matter as much.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
The only way I can reach that low Bb in the center of the touch is by releasing the stack keys. No way for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
The problem is that when I press the low Bb spatula at the side (where I can only reach with my left pinky) it activates the C# touch as well because in my situation it's the same as pressing C# via the side extension of low Bb. In other words when I press the Bb spatula that way it does not noticeably tilt (or rock) but stays pretty much flat when I activate it and therefore it naturally catches the C# spatula on the ball-head screw that links the low C# and Bb.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
there is a screw adjustment at the lowC# area that can be adjusted to prevent this from opening.
Thank you for this solution!
Yes, I checked it today and it really works regardless of how weird it is. I wouldn't believe it before looking at all the releveant mechanism in action. While pressing the low Bb spatula really high on its side extension right across the C# touch it closes the low B and Bb key cups as expected and at the same time it opens the C# key cup because it is also activated because of the Bb-C# linkage.
However when the B key cup approaches its closed position it shuts the C# key cup via a side screw that you mentioned that presses on the small lever that is attached to the C# activating lever.

So in the end there are two relevant mechanisms that work in direct opposition via the same Bb key action: one opens the C# key cup while another closes it. However when the low Bb spatula is fully depressed on the side all three key cups in a row, that is C#, B and Bb get closed.
My early YTS-52 G#-cluster mechanism is much simpler in that respect.
 
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