Yamaha Tenor Sax
Understanding the Yamaha Tenor Saxophone models, prices etc…
The Yamaha brand is my 2nd favorite of them all, my personal favorite being Selmer. Having said that, when talking about a student model sax, Yamaha's can compete with Selmer's lower end horns quite well and I would encourage any student shopping in this price range (under $1000) not to overlook a Yamaha tenor sax.
A brand new horn, like anything else is great to get if you can afford it and are really sure you'll use it for a long time but when it comes to saxophones a used one is a really good idea. Unless it's been run over by a car, a repair man can fix anything that's not working properly.
Don't worry too much about getting a used sax that's not in perfect condition… actually, I know a repairman who really did bring a tenor back to life after it was flattened by a car. I played this horn and wouldn't have known it if he didn't tell me the history behind it!
Yamaha YTS 23 (click the link to read my full review)
This is the "student" or "standard" model as they're called. A well built saxophone with no bells and whistles. While these are above $2,250 brand new, you can pick up a used one for probably under $800.
Don't overlook Amazon.com for deals on used ones as well as new. Often the sellers there have a variety of used ones in stock.
The quality of some of the materials such as tone hole pads, rods, and finish aren't as good as the professional models but longevity isn't what the student models are made for. Yes these parts will wear out a lot sooner but can easily be replaced as needed and last for several more years and generally speaking, long enough for any beginner.
You'll also notice just by looking at this sax that the quality of the lacquer isn't as nice, and the keys and rods are silver and not gold.
Also these "cheaper" parts won't make a noticeable difference in sound or performance for the beginner to intermediate player. Remember, you can spend the extra money on a quality mouthpiece to help improve your tone.
This is the "intermediate" model and could be considered slightly better than the YTS-23 although there really isn't any need to go from the 23 to this one. One can start with either this or the 23 and have a good quality sax for several years then move up to a better one.
The YTS-475 sells for almost the same price as the YTS-23 at Amazon.com