* Prices may differ from that shown
There are saxophones and there are SAXOPHONES. The Yanagisawa S911 (or Yani) is a SAXOPHONE!
Saxophonists tend to be loyal folk, championing one make of instrument over any other. I'm not such a person, having many different makes of instrument, but my Yani is one of my favourite horns.
This horn is a straight soprano (imagine a metal clarinet and you'll not be far off) and is capable of producing the highest notes on the horn having both a top F sharp and a top G key.
The horn is an easy-blowing instrument which copes well with a number of styles. It's focussed well and soft in comparison to some other sop saxes (particularly Yamaha). The intonation is great and the response fast.
One of the major differences between sax manufacturers is where and how they place some of the key work. On the Yani the palm keys are a bit quirky and not necessarily to everyone's taste. As a clarinettist I found that they were in a more natural position for me, but pure saxophonists have often commented that they feel a bit awkward. Other differences come in the thumb rest (wonderfully positioned to have minimum effect on resonance) and the octave key with its rounded shape for ease of movement.
The Yani S911 is available in the traditional brass (with curved and straight necks), bronze, silver and black laquered. I've not tried the latter and so cannot comment. The bronze is, in my opinion, poor, the sound softened more than in necessary. The silver version on the other hand is silky smooth and well-rounded. Whether it's worth the extra money is something only you as a saxophonist can say. You certainly need to try all these variations yourself to decide.
There are always problem areas on saxes - for me, rather than there being a G# key issue (as with many horns) the problem lies with the register key mechanism which has a tendency to stick. A cigarette paper sorts the problem but it can be annoying when a less than clear sound is produced as the result of a lazy pad.
The own-brand mouthpiece is not bad, but players again will have their own preferences. Unlike Yamaha and Buffet the mouthpiece need not go straight in the bin!
The straight neck joint will produce a true sop sound which can be mellowed by substituting the curved neck to produce a wonderful sound.
As a nice touch Yani now do custom engraving - you'll wait 4 months for your personal design but then that sax is truly yours!
Your Yani will play straight from the box. A superb instrument in all respects!
Probably best suited to advanced/pro musicians rather than beginners but, if you are learning and can afford one you'll sound superb!