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Saxophones A little yarn and a Yamaha YAS-275


Well-Known Member
Breakfast room since '06 UK
A detailed review of a YAS 275 can be found on 'shwoodwind' by Steve Howard.

This is a small bit of praise for it really.
Way back in 1987 at the grand old age of 22, I bought my 1st sax and started mixing with a couple of other players. I had a corton amati and they had far more desirable YAS-62's.
I was impressionable and hooked on the looks, the feel and in fairness the sound and response in comparison to what I had.
So it wasn't long before I got myself in debt to purchase one. I still have this sax today and it's been through a fairly tough time. I have given it minimal attention and particularly in those early years, recklessly smacking the bell into the microphone and only changing pads out of desperation. I even loaned it out once when I concentrated on Tenor and never saw it for 4 months!
But none the less, despite not being a closet queen it has stood up to all that unnecessary treatment and still doesn't look in bad shape for a 29 year old horn with most of the cosmetic issues being lacquer bleed.
I have matured a lot over the years :rofl: and I'd like to add that I have done everything I can in the last 15 years to rectify my stupidity and all my saxes since have been treated with the up most respect from the word go.
So I rescued it before it was too late. It's a great horn.....
My 9 year old daughter has just embarked on her journey in to playing. Not something that I have pushed at all, in fact it's my other half that is slightly responsible for that.
No matter, I am of course pleased she has taken an interest and her first 'hands on' came about 2 weeks ago when I almost reluctantly set it up for her expecting lack of attention, initial failure and some frustration from me thrown in to the mix.
All I could do to get close to a typical starter set up was a well used 2.5 vandoren java on a yamaha 6C.
Not that close I wouldn't have thought and probably way too much of a struggle.
But No!!
Instant success and proper attention, middle B,A & G was pretty well executed within 5 minutes.
So her hands barely reach without knocking other keys and it does look a tad heavy for her so I went to explore the Trevor James Alpha sax (used at £270). Not bad!! it definitely has a place but I think she is between the 2 stages really and growing very quickly so as good as it was, I opted not to go that route. Whilst in the shop she tried a Thomann alto (not bad either) and a YAS 275 and it was a clear winner (used at £550).
We bought her some 1.5 reeds and came away with some grade 1 music theory.
later that day I started a loose search to see what else was out there and very soon I had spotted another YAS 275 for sale privately.
The the sax was £200 cheaper than the other one and some 100 miles away. But the sun was shining and it some how felt like it would be right from the advert and speaking to the seller, so before I knew what had happened I was on my way to look at it. Yes it came home with me, a professional's back up horn never really used and not seen daylight in years.
It's has one or two spots of typical yamaha early lacquer bleed and a couple of light scratches but thats 'nit picking' its very clean and better than the one at £550 :thumb:. I see no signs of the bell shift pointed out in Steves review and this is a made in Japan model.
Side by side, it doesn't have the same level of detail as the 62 but it is a pretty horn in its own right with gold lacquer through out. It has a fork and pin mechanisms on some keys like early MKVI's before the ball and socket. Thats a real plus for me!! I love the quiet simplicity of that arrangement.
It has made me realise I need to get the 62 overhauled but sound for sound, feel for feel, this 275 has taught me (I'm a snob and I love my vintage horns) that I have really under estimated it and shouldn't have judged it (or any other so called student saxs) on the badging.
It's well built, pretty, everything is nicely balanced top to bottom, plays so similarly to my 62 at a fraction of the cost. :clapping:
I'm really pleased for my daughter and definitely done the right thing except now there is not a moments peace in the house!!!
She has the 4C mouthpiece with it and her own reeds now and it works!! much fuller than I expected.
We tried a Vandoren Java A45 that I rate and my Meyer but she is definitely better off with the 4C for now at least.
She competently plays middle C to bottom D flowing nicely but bottom C is a bit of a stretch and is managed only occasionally. No sharps or flats just yet (other than C sharp).
I just hope I don't transfer any bad habits on her.
Thanks for taking the time to write that, be lovely to hear of your daughter's progress from time to time. :)

Are 62s vintage now? I must be getting old.

Well......:p I think you are.
And it is 29 years old after all.
But seriously, I wasn't clear in my post. I was thinking of to my MKVI's, SBA, TH&C and King Supoer 20 that I have either owned in the past or still own.
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Great little story there Trev...although I think you may some problems in the future...when your daughter gets older she won't be saying "Dad, can I borrow the car?" it will be "Dad, can I borrow the Mark VI?":rofl:

Greg S.
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