Yanagisawa Wind Instruments
A family company, they started production in 1896 but became more widely known after the release in 1954 of their T3 silver-plated tenor saxophone. This was followed in 1956 by the A3, their first alto saxophone. The T3 model Tenor and the A3 model Alto were based on a Martin Committee design and later models were based more on a Selmer Mark VI design. There has been continuous development of their saxophone technology ever since. Their first solid silver saxophone was produced in 1972 and instruments made from phosphor bronze began to be produced in 1992. The company currently manufactures sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.
The company is notable for making saxophones from materials other than the standard brass, i.e., phosphor bronze and solid silver, and combinations thereof. For example, as of 2009, Yanagisawa's range of alto saxophones featured the following instruments:
- A901 - made entirely from solid brass
- A902 - made entirely from solid phosphor bronze (except keywork, which is brass)
- A991 - made entirely from solid brass (underslung neck)
- A991U - made entirely from solid brass (underslung neck - unlacquered)
- A991S - same as A991, but plated with silver
- A991B - same as A991, but coated with black lacquer
- A992 - made entirely from solid phosphor bronze (except keywork, which is brass)
- A992PG - same as A992, but plated with "pink gold" (80% gold and 20% silver)
- A9930 - solid silver crook and body with solid brass bell and bow
- A9932J - solid silver crook and bell, solid phosphor bronze body and bow (designed exclusively for jazz, so no 'lyre' socket)
- A9933 - solid silver neck and bell; solid brass body, bow and crook
- A9937 - solid silver crook, body, bow and bell
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 A991 or A992, or a phosphor bronze neck to the A991, A9932J or A9937 etc.