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Soprano SaxI have played every model of Yamaha Saxophone over the past 18 months. My favorite Soprano Sax made by Yamaha is no longer available. I love the old YSS-62R for many reasons but since it is old I will stick to the new ones available today.
I don't like the feel or tone on the straight neck Soprano's. The tone seems to be smooth and less nazzle on the curved necks. I think the 2 piece design can complicate the octave key mechanisms and serves as a marketing ploy more than musical help. The YSS-475 is straight but one piece and is a great sounding Soprano as is the 2 piece YSS-675 with the curved neck. It is a toss up between these 2 models with trade offs, but either Sax performs in a way that I could use it in my world and be happy.
The new 875 Custom Soprano feels all wrong to me with heavy, bulky key structure and more resistance, less resonance than the other 2 models. No Custom Z Soprano or 875EX versions have been released yet and there is no word there will be. I hope Yamaha will regain the lead in Soprano Saxes that feels like is now lost. Used 62R's sell for a premium.
My Sax History for Soprano - I started on Soprano when I was 6 years-old. My Grandpa played Sax and I had an old Buescher Soprano Sax as my only Sax till I started school band in 7th Grade. I traded my Grandma for an Alto Sax and did not have another Soprano till 1984 when I started doing Musicals and needed a Soprano to cover Oboe parts in the show.
The first Soprano I bought was the Yamaha YSS-62R I still own today. The curved neck was brand new and I was the first to play them in the State of Califonia, buying one of 2 the music store had to try out. I was already sold on Yamaha and did not even try other models when I went to the store to buy my Soprano. The straight Sopranos had a very nazzle sound and the curved neck almost played itself, making me sound like a real soprano player right out of the box. The curved neck Soprano I did not buy was slightly damaged, with a messed up octave key, but the one I bought just killed me with great tone, amazing pitch and full range response that I thought I would have to practice for months to achieve.
I bought 2 mouthpieces that day and still play them today also. In college, we all played Rouseau 4R rubber so I got that and when I played the Beechler 7* metal, I sounded "better than Kenny G" and had to get it too. I don't use the Classical Rouseau much anymore because I don't play Classical very often, but the Beechler is still my favorite all around Soprano Mouthpiece today. I did recently buy a new French Mouthpiece made by Brancher, but have only tried it out live a couple of times, falling back on the old steady Beechler. Reeds have always been Rico Royal 2 1/2.
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