The Yamaha YTS-23 is the YTS line’s “student” or standard” entry level model. Buying a new one can cost you well over $2300 but always check, I often see a few used ones in great shape between $900 – $1300 at this link on Amazon:
Buying a brand new saxophone that’s in perfect condition is not so important. You can pick up a used one, take it to a repair man to have it adjusted if necessary and do other mostly minor repairs like straighten rods or keys and replace worn pads.
Some people may doubt this but I’ll tell you a story about a repairman I knew who had a tenor sax brought to him after someone ran over it with a car. It was almost flat as a pancake and he brought it back to life. I actually played the sax, it was a Selmer I think, and if he didn’t let me in on the wild story that happened to it, I wouldn’t even have noticed because it played beautifully. Think about that when someone worries over a couple dents or bent keys!
The quality of some of the materials such as tone hole pads, rods, and finish aren’t as good as the next models up but longevity isn’t what the student models are made for. These parts might wear out 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. Again, this is where you can make huge strides with a good quality mouthpiece and reed combination and not so much the horn.
High F# Key? – Convenient but not necessary.
Some models have a high F# key but not the Yamaha YTS-23. 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.
The Yamaha YTS-23 is much like all other Yamaha Saxophone models 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 saxophones 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 the little things that affect our speed and playing comfort… it 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!
Below is a comparison chart between the YTS-23 (standard), YTS-475 (intermediate), and YTS-6211 (professional). Take a close look at all the features and you’ll not see many differences. Mainly just the nickel plate on the 23 and no high F#.
The other thing is the prices… the 23 and 475 are almost the same price and the 6211 costs about $750 more. If you can afford it go for the 6211. If you want to stay down in the lower range go for the best deal you can find. I’ve seem the at Amazon.com for under $1000.
|Neck||Standard||G1H (hydroformed), annealed||Annealed, original 62 design|
|Neck Material||Yellow Brass||Yellow Brass (annealed)||Yellow Brass|
|Body Material||Yellow Brass||Yellow Brass (annealed)||Yellow Brass|
|Bell||Yellow Brass||Yellow Brass (annealed)||Yellow Brass|
|Key Material||Yellow Brass||Yellow Brass||Yellow Brass|
|Finish||Nickel-plated (keys);Clear baked epoxy lacquer (body)||Gold baked epoxy lacquer (YTS-62);Silver plated (YTS-62S)||Gold baked epoxy lacquer|
|Auxiliary Keys||Front F||Front F; High F# key||Front F; High F# key|
|Mouthpiece||Yamaha 4C||Yamaha 4C||Yamaha 4C|
|Mouthpiece Cap||Plastic||Yellow brass; Gold lacquer or Silver plated||Plastic|
|Ligature||Yellow brass; Clear lacquer||Yellow brass; Gold lacquer or Silver plated||Yellow Brass; Clear Lacquer|
|Spring Type||Stainless steel||Blue steel needle||Stainless Steel|
|Pad Type||Waterproof leather and wool felt with plastic tone boosters||Waterproof leather and wool felt with nylon tone boosters||Waterproof leather and wool felt with plastic tone boosters|
|Bell Decoration||Stamped||Hand engraved||Stamped|
|Thumb Hook||Adjustable plastic||Adjustable plastic||Adjustable Plastic|
|Pivot Screw||Straight-tapered, nylon lock, non-headed (adjustable)||Straight-tapered with head and nylon lock (adjustable)||Tapered with head and nylon lock (adjustable)|
|Mounting||Post on body||Ribbed and flanged||Post on body|