Written on: 23/08/2010
The YAS-23 is an excellent alto sax for the money. The action is nice a slick and the intonation is very accurate. They're very easy-blowing compare to some other altos I've tried. The tone of a YAS-23 is "bright" to neutral (like most Yamahas) but that's certainly not a crime. In any case, fit the right mouthpiece (e.g. a Selmer S80 'D' facing) and you can "darken" the tone of any sax if you want. So, YAS-23s sound pretty good - so long as you've got good "chops" (in other words, practice hard in improve your embouchure & technique!) and also fit a good-quality mouthpiece such as a Selmer. It's no coincidence that quite a few professional sax-players own YAS-23s as a "doubling" instrument e.g. someone who plays tenor sax 90% of the time but wants an alto for the other 10% of the gigs they play. Alternatively, a professional alto sax player will own a YAS-23 simply because they need a spare alto for when their main instrument (e.g. a Selmer or Yanagisawa) is being overhauled. The reason professionals often have a YAS-23 as their back-up sax is that it gets the job done and offers good bangs-per-buck.
Anyone who rubbishes the YAS-23 alto sax doesn't know what they're talking about. Here's what a true saxophone expert says about them. Now, this guy really does know what he's talking about when it comes to saxophones, unlike the know-it-all teenagers out there who (in reality) don't know much at all. Here's the review of the YAS 21 (which also mentions the YAS-23) which tells it like it is:-
One final point to bear in mind. I've been playing the sax since 1978 and I collect them. Here's a list of some of the altos in my collection:- two Conn 6M altos, a 1930s Keilwerth, Selmer Mk 6 (5 digit), Yanagisawa A9932J, a Dolnet M70 and (wait for it!) the humble Yamaha YAS-23. Frankly, I wouldn't hang onto my YAS-23 unless it had something good to offer. True, it's not as nice as my Selmer Mk 6, but it's still fun to blow and offers almost unbeatable value for money. It's no accident that YAS-23s are so popular among saxophonists!