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|Nobushige Yanagisawa, CEO|
|Products||Sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones|
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,a subsidiary of Steinway Musical Instruments.
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.
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:
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 ]
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