Yanagisawa Wind Instruments

Last updated
Yanagisawa Wind Instruments
Company, Ltd.
Type Private
Industry Musical instruments
Founded1894;127 years ago (1894) [1]
FounderTokutaro Yanagisawa
Area served
Key people
Nobushige Yanagisawa, CEO [1]
Products Sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones
Website yanagisawasax.co.jp

Yanagisawa Wind Instruments Co., Ltd. is a Japanese woodwind instrument manufacturing company known for its range of professional grade saxophones. Along with Yamaha they are one of the leading manufacturers of saxophones in their country of origin. The company currently manufactures sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.


In the United States, Yanagisawa products are commercialized and distributed by Conn-Selmer, [2] a subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments.


Yanagisawa A9932J alto saxophone: has a solid silver bell and neck with solid phosphor bronze body. The bell, neck and key-cups are extensively engraved. Manufactured in 2008 YanagisawaA9932J.JPG
Yanagisawa A9932J alto saxophone: has a solid silver bell and neck with solid phosphor bronze body. The bell, neck and key-cups are extensively engraved. Manufactured in 2008

The history of woodwind manufacturing in Japan had its origins in 1894 when Tokutaro Yanagisawa began repairing imported woodwinds for military band members. Within that wartime setting, Tokutaro's repair shop soon evolved into an instrument factory—the first to build woodwind instruments on Japanese soil. Tokutaro's son Takanobu followed in his father's footsteps, choosing to pursue a career in the craft of instrument-making, and built his first prototype saxophone in 1951. [3]

Starting in the late 1960s, Yanagisawa exported saxophones sold under various distributor's names, providing a large portion of the instruments sold under the Vito (Japan) brand and representing Leblanc's Martin brand for saxophones starting in 1971.[ citation needed ] In 1978 the 800 series models were introduced, which became the first Yanagisawa saxophones exported under Yanagisawa's own name.[ citation needed ] In 1980, the 500 series was introduced for sale under other brands in the student/intermediate market. The Yanagisawa name soon became known for the impeccable workmanship, accurate intonation, and playability of its products.[ citation needed ] With the growth of Yanagisawa's reputation, interest in finding Yanagisawa instruments sold under other brands has become heightened in the used instrument market.[ citation needed ] The Yanagisawa soprano saxophone designs became influential throughout rest of the industry, comparable to the influence of Selmer (Paris) and Yamaha saxophones in other ranges.[ citation needed ] Yanagisawa introduced innovations including detachable straight and curved necks and a high G key for its 990 series soprano saxophones.[ citation needed ]

Product development timeline: [4]

1954 First tenor saxophone (the T-3 model) enters production

1956-1966 First alto saxophone (A-3) is unveiled and A-5 alto and T-5 tenor models are introduced. Development work is completed on a low-A baritone model (B-6)

1968 Japan's first soprano saxophone (S-6) is placed on the market. The SN-600 sopranino model with high-E key is finished and released.

1978-1985 The Elimona (Elite Monarch) series (800 series) is launched. Japan's first curved soprano model is unveiled. The world's first straight soprano model with detachable neck (S-880) is announced

1990-1995 Yanagisawa's 900- and 990-series soprano and baritone models are introduced. The first Silver Sonic model (9930 series) is unveiled in soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone ranges, in Japan. Alto and tenor models are added to the 900 and 990 series, which later evolve into the 900μ and 990μ series.

1999 The A-9937 alto model with sterling silver neck, body, bow, and bell is announced.

2000 The sterling T-9937 tenor model hits the market and Yanagisawa introduces its top baritone model, the B-9930BSB. Yanagisawa launches the bronze-bodied 992GP series with gold-plated finish.

2001 The bronze 992PGP series debuts with new pink-gold plated models

2002 The 9937PGP series is born, rounding out the all-sterling lineup with pink-gold plated models. Yanagisawa unveils its bronze A-902 alto.

2003 Yanagisawa unveils the T-902, the tenor version of its bronze alto model

2004 The SC-991 and SC-992 curved soprano models are announced

2006 Yanagisawa builds the A-9914, the world's first alto saxophone with neck, body, bow, and bell crafted entirely in 14K gold. Reference prototypes are exhibited at the Frankfurt Musikmesse trade show.

2008 The SC-9937 curved soprano sax with all-sterling neck, body, bow, and bell is introduced

2014 The WO series Alto is launched

2015 The WO series Tenor is launched


The company is notable for making saxophones from materials other than the standard brass, i.e., phosphor bronze and solid silver, and combinations thereof.[ citation needed ] Their first solid silver saxophone was produced in 1972 and instruments made from phosphor bronze began to be produced in 1992.[ citation needed ] The 8830 model alto and tenor saxophones, introduced in 1988, combined silver necks and bells with a brass body tube, reminiscent of the King "Silversonic" instruments. Similar combinations are offered in current production, as illustrated by Yanagisawa's 2015 range of alto saxophone offerings:[ citation needed ]

The permutations are increased by the fact that it is possible to buy a solid brass, silver, or bronze neck from Yanagisawa and fit it to any of the nine instruments listed above e.g. adding a solid silver neck to the Awo10 or Awo20, or a phosphor bronze neck to the Awo10, Awo33J or Awo37 etc.[ citation needed ]


Professional saxophonists performing on Yanagisawa instruments include Gary Bartz, Jay Beckenstein, Plas Johnson, Ed Wynne, Steve Slagle, Peter King, Vincent Herring, Snake Davis, Greg Osby, Antonio Hart, Jean Denis Michat and Paul Corn (Composer of the Paul Corn Jazz Collective).[ citation needed ]

Related Research Articles

Saxophone type of musical instrument of the woodwind family

The saxophone is a family of woodwind instruments usually made of brass and played with a single-reed mouthpiece. Although most saxophones are made from brass, they are categorized as woodwind instruments because sound is produced by an oscillating reed rather than lips vibrating in a mouthpiece cup as with the brass instrument family. As with the other woodwind instruments, the pitch of the note being played is controlled by covering holes in the body tube to control the resonant frequency of the air column by changing the effective length of the tube. The player covers or uncovers the holes by pressing keys.

Baritone horn

The baritone horn, or sometimes just called baritone, is a low-pitched brass instrument in the saxhorn family. It is a piston-valve brass instrument with a bore that is mostly conical but it has a narrower bore than the similarly pitched euphonium. It uses a wide-rimmed cup mouthpiece like that of its peers, the trombone and euphonium. Like the trombone and the euphonium, the baritone horn can be considered either a transposing or non-transposing instrument.

Tenor horn

The tenor horn is a brass instrument in the saxhorn family, and is usually pitched in E. It has a bore that is mostly conical, like the flugelhorn and baritone horn, and normally uses a deep, cornet-like mouthpiece.

Phosphor bronze

Phosphor bronze is a member of the family of copper alloys. It is composed of copper that is alloyed with 0.5–11% of tin and 0.01–0.35% phosphorus, and may contain other elements to confer specific properties. Alloyed tin increases the corrosion resistance and strength of copper, while phosphorus increases its wear resistance and stiffness.

Tenor saxophone Type of saxophone

The tenor saxophone is a medium-sized member of the saxophone family, a group of instruments invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s. The tenor and the alto are the two most commonly used saxophones. The tenor is pitched in the key of B (while the alto is pitched in the key of E), and written as a transposing instrument in the treble clef, sounding an octave and a major second lower than the written pitch. Modern tenor saxophones which have a high F key have a range from A2 to E5 (concert) and are therefore pitched one octave below the soprano saxophone. People who play the tenor saxophone are known as "tenor saxophonists", "tenor sax players", or "saxophonists".

Baritone saxophone

The baritone saxophone is a member of the saxophone family of instruments, larger than the tenor saxophone, but smaller than the bass. It is the lowest-pitched saxophone in common use - the bass, contrabass and subcontrabass saxophones are relatively uncommon. Like all saxophones, it is a single-reed instrument. It is commonly used in concert bands, chamber music, military bands, big bands, and jazz combos. It can also be found in other ensembles such as rock bands and marching bands. Modern baritone saxophones are pitched in E.

Soprano saxophone

The soprano saxophone is a higher-register variety of the saxophone, a woodwind instrument invented in the 1840s. The soprano is the third smallest member of the saxophone family, which consists of the soprillo, sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, bass, contrabass saxophone and tubax. Soprano saxophones are the smallest and thus highest-pitched saxophone in common use.

C.G. Conn Ltd., sometimes called Conn Instruments or commonly just Conn, is a former American manufacturer of musical instruments incorporated in 1915. It bought the production facilities owned by Charles Gerard Conn, a major figure in early manufacture of brasswinds and saxophones in the USA. Its early business was based primarily on brass instruments, which were manufactured in Elkhart, Indiana. During the 1950s the bulk of its sales revenue shifted to electric organs. In 1969 the company was sold in bankruptcy to the Crowell-Collier-MacMillan publishing company. Conn was divested of its Elkhart production facilities in 1970, leaving remaining production in satellite facilities and contractor sources.

Buffet Crampon French wind musical instrument manufacturer

Buffet Crampon SAS is a French manufacturer of wind instruments based in Mantes-la-Ville, Yvelines department. The company is the world market leader in the production of clarinets of the Boehm system. Its subsidiary, Buffet Crampon Deutschland GmbH, founded in 2010 and based in Markneukirchen, Vogtland, Sachsen, is the world market leader in the manufacture of brass instruments. To manufacture and sell its products, the BC Group employed around 1000 people worldwide at the beginning of 2021, 470 of them as employees of BC Germany alone. The management of the group has been in the hands of Jérôme Perrod since 2014.

C melody saxophone

The C melody saxophone is a saxophone pitched in the key of C, one whole tone above the B-flat tenor saxophone. In the UK it is sometimes referred to as a "C tenor", and in France as a "tenor en ut". The C melody was part of the series of saxophones pitched in C and F intended by the instrument's inventor, Adolphe Sax, for orchestral use. The instrument enjoyed popularity in the early 1900s, perhaps most prominently used by Rudy Wiedoeft and Frankie Trumbauer, but is now uncommon.

The Buescher Band Instrument Company was a manufacturer of musical instruments in Elkhart, Indiana, from 1894 to 1963. The company was acquired by the H&A Selmer Company in 1963. Selmer retired the Buescher brand in 1983.

Marching brass

Marching brass instruments are brass instruments specially designed to be played while moving. Most instruments do not have a marching version - only the following have marching versions:

Jupiter Band Instruments, Inc. is a manufacturer and distributor of woodwind, brass and percussion instruments. Jupiter was established by its Taiwanese parent company KHS in 1980.

Leblanc, Inc. was a musical instruments manufacturing company based in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The company was a woodwind instrument manufacturer known mainly for its clarinets. In 2004 the firm was sold to Conn-Selmer, a division of Steinway Musical Instruments. As a result, Leblanc ceased to exist as an independent operation, becoming a brand.

Selmer Mark VI

The Selmer Mark VI is a saxophone produced from 1954 to 1981. Production shifted to the Mark VII for the tenor and alto in the mid-1970s, and to the Super Action 80 for the soprano and baritone saxophones in 1981. The sopranino saw limited production until about 1985.

Vito is a brand name of Leblanc which was started in 1951.

Cannonball Musical Instruments is a manufacturer of saxophones, clarinets, trumpets, flutes, trombones, and musical instrument accessories. The company was founded in 1996 by musicians Tevis and Sheryl Laukat, and is based in Sandy, Utah. Cannonball specializes in professional, handmade, and uniquely "acoustically hand customized" instruments.

Herbert "Herb" Couf was an American clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, music store owner, music instrument manufacturer executive, and an importer of music instruments. Couf had been the principal clarinetist with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Paul Paray until he retired to open Royal Music Center and commit his full attention to the business of music.

Vibratosax is the product name of the saxophones made from plastic, designed & built by the Thai company Vibrato.


  1. 1 2 Company guide on Yanagisawa website
  2. Yanagisawa on Conn-Selmer brands
  3. "Company Guide | YANAGISAWA Saxophones Official website". www.yanagisawasax.co.jp. Retrieved 2020-01-05.
  4. "Technology of YANAGISAWA | YANAGISAWA Saxophones Official website". www.yanagisawasax.co.jp. Retrieved 2020-01-05.