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  1. #1

    Default Yanagisawa Soprano History and Identification

    There is quite a bit of confusion about Yanagisawa soprano models. Even some well-known web sites and the venerable SOTW archives have considerable misinformation. I was curious about which model a friend plays and was misdirected several times before sorting things out.

    So, I am starting this thread as a resource. I am posting pictures as well as descriptions and what I consider to be accurate web site sources. Pictures seem to be somewhat ephemeral, so they may disappear.

    This is a summary of documents from information on saxpics.com that appears to be well researched. The source is untitled and uncited, but there is an abbreviated version too. A simpler serial number - year summary can be found here.

    Model
    Year
    Changes
    ID features

    S-6
    03/1969 - 1978?
    Selmer Mk VI competitor with similar keywork design
    “Made by Yanagisawa” label, metal thumb rest?, D-shaped strap hook

    S800
    1978? - 1985
    Improved keywork?
    “Yanagisawa” label

    Elimona (S880?)
    06/1985 - 1989?
    LH Bell keys, Front F, High F#
    B-C# bridge, 2 necks

    Elimona (2200SS?)
    YYYY
    ?
    ?

    S900
    1990?-1995?
    Fixed neck
    S900 engraved below Yanagisawa label

    S880
    1990? - 1995?
    C# rod arm
    S880 Engraved under Yanagisawa, No Elimona

    Elimona S990
    1990? - 1995?
    High G
    990 over S/N, Eiimona Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S901
    1995? -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    Fixed neck, S901 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S981
    1995? -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    High F#, 2 necks, S981 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S991
    1995? -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    High G, lacquer, S991 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S992
    1998 -
    Bronze
    2 necks, High G

    S902
    2000 -
    Bronze
    Fixed neck

    I also have had to speculate and fill in some gaps, so we will have to make corrections as we go along.
    Last edited by twocircles; 04-28-2011 at 05:04 AM.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  2. #2

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Here is the first soprano sold under the Yanagisawa label. the S-6. It generally copies the Selmer Mark VI, the leading sax of the day. Yanagisawa had already been making stencils for Martin and Vito (known 1975-81) before introducing this model under their own label.

    As many tone holes as possible were put in-line on the front of the horn. This was believed to make the altissimo register more accessible and to elicit a certain timbre. The Mark VI is famous for this design, but other manufacturers used it, B&S for one. This necessitated the palm key design.

    These images are found on saxpcs (more pics) if you want to see more. It is S/N 04786248, so likely it was made in 1978.



    And back, note the metal thumb hook and D-shaped strap ring.



    The early models had "Made By Yanagisawa" engraved on the front.

    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  3. #3
    Distinguished SOTW Member
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    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Thanks. DAVE
    Dave

  4. #4

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    This is one place available information gets a little fuzzy. "In 1978 the Yanagisawa proudly began engraved their own name on the bell. The models No.800 sopranos were completed and added to the range in July 1978." from saxpic document linked above, but source un-cited.

    What does this mean? Were the S-6 and S800 produced concurrently? Does anyone remember?

    Owners claim to have S/N's back to at least 1975 with "Made By Yanagisawa" engraved on the bell.
    S/N 2752179 made 1975 with Made By Yanagisawa.

    S/N 07764xxx indicates a 1976 manufacture with "Made By Yanagisawa" engraved no pics.
    The seller claims this is 1977 S-6 but no details in photos

    From saxpics (more pics), the S/N identifies this as a 1981 model. It is identified as an 880 but it is probably an S800, or perhaps an S-6. Note that the style of engraving is quite similar to the S-6 but evolving.



    In this year, the keywork is virtually indistinguishable from the 1978 S-6. Compare it to the photos of the S-6 above. Manufacturers often make running changes during a style number run, so other S800's may have small differences.



    And back, still a metal thumb rest and D-shaped strap hook, but from the 1981 S/N, this sax was manufactured after the S800 was introduced.



    S/N 001184xx, 1983 now has a plastic thumb rest (if original) but retains D-shaped strap ring and engraving style.



    S/N 00123xxx 1984 has plastic thumb rest and O-shaped strap ring, engraving not visible, but the real question whether there are modifications to the keywork.

    These Japanese ads for S-6's are surely S800's, because the style of Yanagisawa engraved on the bell is a later engraving style than the one above. They all have plastic thumb rests. Thanks to the power zoom and HD photography the S/N's have been approximated.

    S/N 0013420x? 1986
    S/N 0014xx87 circa 1988
    S/N 0014xxx0 circa 1988
    S/N 00xxxxxx Year nnnn

    These are all after the introduction of the S880 in June 1985, so the S800 and S880 (with 2 necks) were being manufactured at the same time. They share several production features with the S880 like plastic thumb rests, O-shaped strap rings and identical style name engraving. That Yanagisawa would offer 2 models only makes sense, since it was not clear if the interchangeable neck system would be a success. It also gave customers options based on their taste.

    The S800 seems like a forgotten younger sister sometimes as everyone focuses on the older S-6. However, the S800 was an improvement over the S-6 in many ways. There are several posts to this effect in the SOTW archives.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  5. #5
    Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 2008
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    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    SOTW posts have indicated that the plastic thumbrest and the strap ring were features of the S800 and not the S6. However, Yani blurred their "distinctive" model features very often in this era. another S800 feature was said to be the adjustment screw on the lower stack arm. My S6 (or whatever you want to call it) has a metal thumbrest (S6), a strap ring (S800), and no adjustment screw on the arm (S6).

    Fair warning: I'm pretty sure I remember this correctly, but didn't bother to check.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    The next question in when was the "Elimona" designation introduced? I've not yet found a S800 with the name Elimona engraved on it.

    The S880 was introduced in June of 1985 and was the first soprano sax with interchangeable necks. Sopranos from this time period do not have model numbers engraved on them. This vintage of sopranos with 2 necks all have Elimona engraved on them. It's a little leap, but I conclude that the S880 was the designated "Elimona" at this time.

    Here is a great example from our own CaillouSax. It has a plastic thumb rest too.

    In addition to 2 necks this model of Elimona moved the bell keys to the left hand side of the horn. Notice also the B-C# bridge that is similar to the mechanism on the S-6 not now on the side.

    Bell keys

    There was also an 2200SS produced during this time period, but definitive information is not yet available. This sax was referenced as an 2200SS on SOTW, but the the ad only says "Elimona."

    The S/N 00137xxx makes it a 1986 model, which is the same vintage as the S800's above. Note that the style of the name engraving is the same.



    If you tilt your head just right, you can see the bell key mechanism.



    And here is a great full-length view with curved neck attached.



    Another beautiful Elimona was offered on eBay and purchased by a SoTW member. The seller indicated the S/N was 00153xxx made in 1988. The buyer said that documentation said that this was an 2200SS model.

    I noticed that the 2200SS has the Circle R, registered trademark symbol on the line with Elimona. The one above has the Circle R below Elimona. CaillouSax's appears to be on the same line. This may or may not be significant. It is hard to tell if there is a different engraving pattern or if there are keywork changes.

    Does anyone else have further information on the 2200SS or S880 Elimona models?
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  7. #7

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    I am not quite sure of the dates, but around 1990 Yanagisawa introduced its S900 and S990 saxophones.

    The 900 with its fixed neck was a alternative for critics who claimed that the neck joint created intonation issues. This model replaced the S800.

    The 990 received the Elimona designation.


    The 990 was the first soprano sax with a high G key.


    It also used a new closure system for the C# bell key, am arm extending from the rod.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  8. #8

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    However, the S880 was not discontinued. It was refitted with the same arm on the C# key and was only keyed to F#. It gave a less expensive alternative to those who did not want or need the high-G key.

    S880 is engraved under Yanagisawa. This link is to an eBay sale so it won't stay active long, but there is a great shot of the label. I have this copied, but I can't upload it to SOTW.

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...kDpegFU7I%253D

    I found another, but this is an ad too, so it will eventually disappear.



    This is the same model of sax my friend has that started this whole thing.

    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  9. #9

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    With the introduction of the 901,981 and 991, "Today's models went through the most major of any upgrade on any manufactured saxophone today. A complete re-tooling was carried out to facilitate the re-positioning of the tone holes and taper for the ultimate in pitch and action." Saxpics document - Source not cited.

    The S900 was upgraded to the S901, fixed neck.



    The S880 was upgraded to the S981, 2 necks, keyed to high F#.



    The S990 was upgraded to the S991, 2 necks, keyed to high G.



    USA Horn.com has photos of nearly the entire line.

    A major re-tooling would explain why some players have a preference for the intonation and timbre of the older models while others are prefer the precise intonation and timbre of the newer models, apples and oranges, so to speak.

    Additional models, 992 and 902 etc. primarily are only changed by the composition of the metal of which they are made.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  10. #10

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Quote Originally Posted by Fred View Post
    SOTW posts have indicated that the plastic thumbrest and the strap ring were features of the S800 and not the S6. However, Yani blurred their "distinctive" model features very often in this era. another S800 feature was said to be the adjustment screw on the lower stack arm. My S6 (or whatever you want to call it) has a metal thumbrest (S6), a strap ring (S800), and no adjustment screw on the arm (S6).

    Fair warning: I'm pretty sure I remember this correctly, but didn't bother to check.
    What was the year of manufacture based on the SN? What does the engraved Yanagisawa label say?
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  11. #11

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    I'm sorry I have completely ignored curved Yanagisawa sopranos. Please contribute what you know.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  12. #12
    Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 2008
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    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Quote Originally Posted by twocircles View Post
    What was the year of manufacture based on the SN? What does the engraved Yanagisawa label say?
    It's a Vito Yani, so it says . . . "Vito". The s/n indicates the year of manufacture as 1978.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Awesome! I think yours is all S-6. These are great horns, but you know that already.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  14. #14

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Oops! I just noticed posting dates and differences in S/N that I posted earlier. So just for accuracy...

    SOTW member Potensky in 2008 bought Yanagisawa S/N 00159293 (1989) with documentation saying it was a 2200SS. There are no photos of this sax.

    In that same thread, Finnerski in 2011 asked a horn currently listed on eBay was the one he was talking about. It was not. It was Yanagisawa S/N 00153495 (1988). Photos posted were of this horn. The owner bought this horn new and stated it was a 2200SS.

    Another thread also discusses the 2200SS and the S880.

    There is still no definitive method for distinguishing the two models, if there is any difference. Both models say "Elimona." Key work appears to be the same. Materials? In any case, the differences are not readily apparent. It may have been a marketing effort to bring new life into an "old" design until the S990 could come out. Marketing aside, by all accounts, these are great horns.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    This thread is a good idea. People will be using it a lot as reference.

    As far as the curved sopranos go, Yanagisawa was something of a pioneer. i believe they were the first to put the bell keys on the right side of a curved soprano.

    Quote Originally Posted by twocircles View Post
    S880 is engraved under Yanagisawa… There is a great shot of the label. I have this copied, but I can't upload it to SOTW.
    If you send me a PM with your email address, I'll send you a copy of that photo you will be able to upload to SOTW.
    Life is too short for long tones

  16. #16

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Soybean, thanks for the offer. I set up an account, so I could link pictures in the marketplace forum. I had not yet realized that I could give some of these photos a more permanent home.

    Here are some S880 photos.
    In its case.

    The tell tale label for a post S880 made after the S990 had been introduced. Still looking for S/N and year for these horns.



    The S880 sacrifices the High-G key, but many feel they gain better intonation and richer timbre.



    Palm Keys

    Upper stack

    The second arm for the C# bell key pad is visible here.



    Another great Yanagisawa.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  17. #17

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    If you like the S880 / 2200SS style of Elimona S/N 00142759 (1987), Kim Slava has a great set of detailed photos on his web site. Unfortunately for the rest of us he has already sold the sax.

    Here the closure mechanism that keeps the C# bell key closed when the B bell key closes. Compare it to the later S880 above.



    Elimona label with the Circle R on the same line, if that means any thing.




    Also, #00140404 (1986) Elimona
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  18. #18

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    This beautiful sax is in the saxpics gallery. Unfortunately, it is identified as an S900. It is surely an S800.



    And this one from the Saxpics gallery most certainly is an S900, not the different style of palm keys and pinkie table.



    Unfortunately, there are no S/N available.
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  19. #19

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    This is an updated version of the first chart above.


    Model
    Year
    Changes
    ID features

    S-6
    03/1969 - 1978?
    Selmer Mk VI competitor with similar keywork design
    “Made by Yanagisawa” label, metal thumb rest?, D-shaped strap hook

    S800
    1978? - 1989
    Improved keywork?
    “Yanagisawa” label

    Elimona (S880?)
    06/1985 - 1989?
    LH Bell keys, Front F, High F#
    B-C# bridge, 2 necks

    Elimona (2200SS?)
    1988-89????
    ?
    ?

    S900
    1990 - 1998
    Fixed neck
    S900 engraved below Yanagisawa label

    S880
    1990 - 1998
    C# rod arm
    S880 Engraved under Yanagisawa, No Elimona

    Elimona S990
    1990 or 92 - 1998
    High G
    990 over S/N, Elimona Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S901
    1998 -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    Fixed neck, S901 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S981
    1998 -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    High F#, 2 necks, S981 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S991
    1998 -
    Complete re-tooling of tone holes and taper
    High G, lacquer, S991 Engraved under Yanagisawa

    S992
    1998 -
    Bronze
    2 necks, High G

    S902
    2000 -
    Bronze
    Fixed neck
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

  20. #20

    Default Re: Yanagisawa Sorprano History and Identification

    Fred, I noticed in the archives that you are a Yanagisawa expert from way back. Can you verify or zero-in dates?

    Thanks!
    Soprano: JSS 875 Jazzman by TBS Wind Instruments, Oves S818 BnSn, Prestini Classic; Alto: Noblet (Beaugnier);
    Vintage C-Mel Tenor: Evette-Schaeffer, Buffet-Crampon Clarinet: Yamaha

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