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Yamaha YAS-82Z Custom Z Series Alto SaxophoneYamaha developed the YAS-82Z Custom Z Series Alto Saxophone to be a sax capable of performing both classical and jazz music. The resulting YAS-82Z Custom alto saxophone will knock jazz sax players out with its projection and sweet tone. Classical saxophonists will appreciate the control the alto Yamaha YAS-82Z sax gives them over their tone from pianissimo to fortissimo.The Yamaha YAS-82Z incorporates several features found on famous Yamaha saxophones of the past as well as offering many improvements on models such as the popular Yamaha YAS-62 saxophone. Yamaha engineers also maintained their consistently high build quality and the free-blowing nature that characterizes Yahama saxophones.Yamaha's YAS-82Z captures the sound of popular vintage saxophones of the past, but adds the comfort of modern mechanisms and playability. The Yamaha Custom Z's body is made from a special brass alloy for a lighter weight saxophone and tonal flexibility only dreamt of until now. The saxophone's Custom G1 neck helps produce a quick and agile response, while key action and placement feel just right.The Yamaha YAS-82Z saxophone boasts a 2-piece hydro-formed bell for durability and well-formed tone. The body, bell, and bow are annealed during production to increase the YAS-82Z saxophone's response and give it less air resistance. The new mechanisms on the Yamaha YAS-82Z sax mean faster action and they make adjustments easy while keeping repairs to a minimum.Yamaha equips the YAS-82Z sax with blue steel springs for faster, more sensitive key response and higher resilience and durability. The beautiful Yamaha YAS-82Z saxophone's eye-catching engraving gives you the look of a custom horn. And there's even an available non-lacquered version for those who prefer that look.Yamaha delivers the YAS-82Z sax with a newly designed lightweight case that includes a handy shoulder strap.
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Choose from the folowing Yamaha Warranties:
To start off, I purchased this horn back in December of this year in silver and it gets better everyday! It took me a little while to get used to the key setup of the yamaha ( I'm used to the conn-selmer fingerings). Once you get that down you are good to go. This horn does it all. It has an amazing dynamic and tonal range. There seems to be an extra level of excitement in playing this horn as opposed to the other big names. The 82 can handle anything from Marcel Mule and Rascher to Charlie Parker to Nelson Rangell and Eric Marienthal (who happens to have one). Anyway, I've been somewhat disappointed in the consistency of the Selmer horns so I gave up on them and joined the Yamaha wagon. There's no better saxophone, and I'm working on the tenor version soon!
My 82Z is an absolute gem. After having it set up by my favorite tech, it plays like an absolute dream. Very free-blowing with extremely comfortable action. The fit between myself and the horn feels completely natural. It also is extremely low-maintenance- I've only had to have it set up twice in the just over two years that I've owned it. I'm an all-around player, so this horn has been a dream come true. The tone is dark and rich for classical and has a certain bright, but velvety "punch" when playing jazz. My old lessons teacher played the horn and commented about how impressed she was and that it was at least on-par with her Mk. VI. My tech agreed with that, since he services both of our horns. As well as superb playability, it's also an extremely attractive instrument. The lacquer is a deep, rich gold- a happy medium between the many rusty-colored lacquers and almost-sickly yellowish gold. The mother-of-pearl key inlays are beautiful, and the engraving is extremely tasteful (and doesn't expose any bare brass, unlike the Reference).
The 82Z is an amazing horn for a downright amazing price. I had my eyes on a Selmer Reference 54 or maybe a Keilwerth or Yani when I was shopping for a professional horn. Heck, I even tried a few Cannonballs. None of them could compare at all to the Z in the blindfolded tests I did, and they had all been serviced and set up. I was absolutely amazed at the results of that blindfold test. I can remember exactly how surprised I felt when the Z completely fell into place as my choice. I'd advise anyone reading this to try a Z along with any other potential candidates you may be thinking of. It certainly was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
I've been playing a black lacquered Custom Z for about two and a half years, and its playability still impresses me and anyone else who has played it. I could not believe this saxes playability and tone the first time I played it. One of the music teachers at my high school (who has been playing a Selmer Mark VI for thirty years) asked to play it for a minute, and she was amazed by this horns playability and tone, even in the altissimo range. To this day I am still blown away by how well this sax responds to most mouthpiece setups (the factory supplied 4C Custom (4CM) is to say the least a decent piece as well)
I really like the tone of this instrument, but it's not for everyone. As stated by Yamaha themselves, it's an instrument meant from the start for jazz playing. On that note, I must say it does a very good job. As far as playing classical repertoire I would personally rank it as a four out of five. I am NOT a classical saxophonist by trade, but I did play on a YAS 82Z throughout my four years as an undergrad at UNT and two years of my masters at Indiana. It can be made to play classical rep, but in my opinion (and six years of experience) it seems to take a little more "force" to achieve the tone and nuances of the greats like Rosseau and Londeix. It does, however, facilitate the altissimo register quite well, which is a must have feature in all genres of music required of a saxophonist.
In the jazz realm, this is my weapon of choice, as it were. I have owned a Super Balanced Action, two Mark VIs, a King Super 20, and a Conn "Naked Lady" at one point or another over my career, and this is still my favorite. Some would disagree, and some of the horns listed above would outshine the YAS 82Z in one given area, but as a composite, the Yamaha is the clear choice, for me. My jazz setup is a Jody Jazz HR 7* or an Otto Link STM 6*, with Hemke 3.5 reeds. With that particular arrangement, I find a dark, yet "full" tone that I quite like, and have not been able to replicate elsehwere.
Pros: Quick response, ease of altissimo, quiet key action, flexible tone (dependent on individual players and mouthpiece), and it feels like a quality built instrument.
Cons: It's a little squirrely on the overtones. High A to Middle D will almost always result in an overtone without a quick articulation to break the stream. That being said, it does blow overtones very easily, but that can sometimes be detrimental. I've found intonation to be a little off in the palm keys, and in the bell keys, but that's also individual to each player. With a little time in the practice room with a tuner, it can be ironed out. I was also sorely disappointed with the stock neck (the "G1") so I forked over the cash and got the "G3." I recommend that you do the same.
That's about it, I guess.
I have had my sax for about eight months now, and I still enjoy playing it. It has a great sound and feels great when I am playing it. I have played other brands of altos and I have to say that I am glad that I picked this sax over others.
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