The YAS-26 Saxophone by Yamaha is new for two thousand twelve and replaced their best-selling YAS-23 model which is now discontinued.
Exactly how do you improve on perfection? Afterall, the YAS-26 has been the defacto standard for student saxophones for well over a decade. The new YAS-26 at first looks appears to be indentical to the old YAS-23, and for the most part the basic design remains unchanged. The changes on the new model, although are subtle are very important.
The first change we see is a redesign of the neck-receiver. The new design allows the standard model instruments to be compatible with all Yamaha necks, even their professional models. While we don’t see this being very useful for most students, it is a notable improvement for intermediate and professional saxophone players. Many musicians playing on a pro horn keep their student model as a backup or will use it for outdoor performances, marching band, or other undesirable situations that you wouldn’t want to subject your expensive instrument to. Now, these players will see a substantial improvement in the sound and playability of their student model using their professional necks.
More importantly, part of the redesign involves using a new screw on the neck receiver. If you ask any band director, it is highly likely they’ve had more than one student break their neck screw. By design the screw breaks prior to stripping the brass receiver, however it is still a nuesence, and Yamaha has specifically stated this has been improved.
The next biggest change we see is a double braced B-C# connector. This is typically a weak spot of any instrument at any level, and the new design promises to provide a more consistent and reliable seal.
Lastly, Yamaha now includes an adjustable thumb rest on the new model to allow for a more precise hand and fingering position. The new model continues to come in the existing case that has been included for quite some time. It is a premium case that holds up well, and we are glad to see Yamaha didn’t change it.
The extras in the package have remained unchanged. The new model still includes the Japan made 4C Yamaha mouthpiece, including the ligature and cap. A neck strap, reed, and instruction manual are also included.
This new model continues the legacy of the YAS-23 by offering the same stainless steel springs, nickel plated keys, drawn tone holes, and gold-lacquered finish.
Overall the YAS-26 will surely continue to be the standard in student saxophones. Yamaha has made no compromises with their new model, and despite the competition improving their offerings, most still fall short of the performance, durability, and quality of Yamaha!