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What to Know Before Selecting a Yamaha Alto Saxophone

The right Yamaha alto saxophone to satisfy your musical needs can be a rewarding investment. A good instrument is durable and, with proper storage and care, can last a long time. eBay offers a variety of both used and new Yamaha alto saxophones in a wide range of prices.

Yamaha alto saxophone models

Browsing for the right alto saxophone model to match your needs can be quite a task because of the seemingly arbitrary arrangement of letters and numerals. Here's a breakdown of the different categories.

  • Student – Student models include YAS-22, YAS-23, and the YAS-200 series. Yamaha student models are generally nickel-plated instruments that are easy to play. They also have simplified, easy-to-use features that guide students to form good habits.
  • Intermediate – Intermediate models include YAS-32, YAS-52, YAS-300, and the YAS-500 series. The YAS-300 instruments are targeted toward advanced students and feature slightly warmer sound and better intonations. The YAS-500 series, for professional students, includes an interchangeable neckpiece that is compatible with professional models.
  • Professional – Professional models include YAS-61, YAS-62, YAS-62II, YAS-62III, and the YAS-800 custom series. These come with gold lacquer or silver plate and features such as integrated key posts, an improved neck receiver, and hard steel needle springs.
Essential Yamaha alto saxophone designations

Yamaha uses certain designations with their alto saxophones. Here are several you'll see when browsing through eBay listings.

  • AD – AD designates Yamaha's Advantage instruments. This series is geared toward students and instructors. For example, the YAS-300AD saxophone is an intermediate level saxophone meant for students.
  • AL – AL designates Yamaha's intermediate, professional student Allegro instruments. These instruments offer more features such as customizable necks, faster response, and greater control.
  • EX – Yamaha’s EX series of alto saxophones is a line of custom-designed models preferred by classical saxophone musicians. Custom engraved, these saxophones come in finishes such as gold and black lacquered.
  • Z – Yamaha’s Z series of alto saxophones is a line of custom-designed models preferred by jazz saxophone musicians. Custom engraved, these saxophones come in finishes such as gold and black lacquered or gold and silver plated.
What does it mean if the saxophone is repadded?

Made out of leather, saxophone pads are attached to the keys of a saxophone to completely cover the opening of each note so that air cannot pass through. Moisture, temperature, and frequency of use can eventually wear down these pads, causing sticky keys, unclear notes, and air leakage. A repadded saxophone has had all its old pads changed for new, clean ones to prevent air leakage between the note openings and the keys.

Content provided for informational purposes only. eBay is not affiliated with or endorsed by Yamaha.
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