One of the best choices for any beginning saxophone student and intermediate player as well.
And don’t overlook a used Yamaha YAS model because there’s a bit of a selection there for these as well
I’ve played Yamaha saxophones long before I wrote this Yamaha YAS-23 Review and if you’ve ever played a Yamaha saxophone you know why they’re so popular and sell lots of them. Although I still prefer the sound of a Selmer, Yamaha saxophones have a certain playability factor that makes them feel right.
The Yamaha YAS-23 alto saxophone is a highly recommended horn for any beginner or even intermediate looking for a good quality, well playing saxophone.
Now the Yamaha YAS-23 isn’t the best model they make, far from it. It’s still a Yamaha though and there’s a certain amount of integrity and quality this company is known for. Because of this, there are still some comparisons that can be made between the YAS-23 that retails brand new for about $1500 to the models they sell in the $4000 range.
Some of the differences won’t have a huge impact on a player that’s just starting out for several reasons:
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.
High F# Key? – Convenient but not necessary.
Some models have a high F# key but not the Yamaha YAS. Having a high F# can make it easier to play the note, that’s why it was invented. My first sax didn’t have one either and it took some time to develop the technique to produce a high F# that was in tune.
When I got a saxophone that did have that key I found it a bit easier to get the note in tune but I’ll argue that I made good improvement while working on my tone and embouchure up there without the high F#, so going without in this case isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Best thing to Take away from this Yamaha YAS-23 Review… It Just Feels Right!
The Yamaha YAS-23 is much like all other models by this manufacturer and that is they just “feel right”… and that’s very important! You know what that means when you try playing many different makes and models.
Some feel like they were made by someone who wasn’t a player because of the spacing between some of the notes for example, or the height of a particular side key. These are things that affect our speed and playing comfort… just doesn’t feel right.
Yamaha’s designs seem to have the comfort and playability that seems to come more from a player’s perspective… it just feels right!