Upgrading Your Beginner Saxophone
The saxophone is a great expressive instrument. After playing for a couple of years and developing a sound embouchure, the fun can really start as you learn to scoop and bend notes, extending your range of tonal colours. As you start to learn these techniques, you should consider upgrading your instrument to a model that offers you more scope.
Yamaha YAS480 Alto & YTS480 Tenor
If you have been renting or playing a student model, the Yamaha 480 is a suitable upgrade for more advanced students. It has many of the improved keywork features found on Yamaha professional saxophones that provide greater playability and optimum tone. The heavier materials used provide a bigger sound with more power. A slightly wider taper in the neck and the design of the octave key system makes it compatible with Yamaha Custom necks. These are proudly made in Yamaha's Indonesian factory and feature hand-engraving from the Indonesian craftspeople.
Yamaha YAS62 Alto & YTS62 Tenor
The Yamaha 62 model is one of the most flexible and versatile saxes on the market, perfect for both jazz and classical styles. It utilises Japanese brass and is manufactured in Japan by the same technicians who work on Yamaha’s custom saxophone line. A slightly narrower bore in the 62 neck provides a fast response and great control. This promotes a comfortable flow of air so that every player can attain a solid tonal core. The neck receiver is the heavy-type receiver for better transfer of resonance between the neck and top of the tube. The 62 also has integrated key-posts (posts soldered directly onto the body, not onto a rib), which improves the transfer of energy.
Yamaha YAS82Z Alto & YTS82Z Tenor
Like the 62 model, the Yamaha custom 82Z suits many different playing settings and genres. Made in Japan, the instrument features a one-piece bell for improved response in the lower register and more diverse tonal possibility. The V1 neck allows for minimal resistance and accessing a wide range of dynamics. The 82Z also has metal resonators, which many players will find improves ease of playing and helps to produce a bright sound.
If you’re not sure which of these options to go for, it’s a good idea to play test them with your usual set up (mouthpiece, reed, and ligature) and see which saxophone will help you best produce the sound you are aiming for.
When starting your journey to upgrade your student saxophone, consider what kind of settings you'll be using it in, and which features will be important for that. Some things simply come down to personal preference, so it's highly recommended that you book a Play-Test Appointment and feel the difference for yourself!