Digital saxophones are a great modern-day, both easy to learn and fun to play.
And whilst their acoustic counterparts aren’t going anywhere, top digital models such as the Yamahacan be an interesting option for both the forward-thinking professional or the noise-conscious beginner.
This model was only released in late 2020 but has already become a popular option.
Yamaha is iconic for their saxophones and synthesisers, and the is a perfect combination of both. The YDS pairs a regular with a wind synth to make a high-quality with great and plenty of customisation available.
To make things easier for you, we’ve broken down some of the ‘s features and specifications, as well as what we like about it and what could be improved. So let’s get started!
The Yamaha the . is a straight and rigid , with its keys along the body going down to the bell at the bottom. Visually, it most closely resembles
The keys and tone holes, though, are in the same position on all though, so there’s no big problem moving from this sleek to a more common one like or , as the stays the same regardless.
The understated colour scheme makes for a great-looking sax, with most of the body and keys in a solid black, while the bell (and some highlights along the body) are a shining brass.
Size And Weight
A a regular . doesn’t have the same physical restrictions as
While an a . needs a specific size and shape to produce the correct , a can do away with this bulk, leaving you with a much less cumbersome which can easily be carried in
The is much lighter than the average , weighing around 2.2 lbs.
It’s also only about 4 inches in diameter, making it a lot more manageable. And at just under 2.5 feet long, the Yamaha YDS is easy to carry, hold, and play.
This lack of bulk doesn’t hinder the , however.
Not only that, but you can also play the same massive array of sounds available to other wind synths, all of which come through in a clear, smooth tone.
The speakers in the bell and the neck have great alternative to a . mute quality, or you can also plug your into an amp for more volume and depth. You can even plug in a pair of to practice anywhere, providing an efficient
Along with the wide array of sounds available to the wind synth, you are also able to create your own sounds by using the YDS Control mobile app.
The app also allows you to edit different sounds and effects (such as ) and map an ‘s worth of notes with a custom set.
This editability makes the Yamaha an incredibly versatile with plenty of options available to amateur and professional players alike.
How It Works & Plays
The plays in almost the exact same way as a regular .
The keys, tone holes, and octave pin are all in the same places, and the mouthpiece is functional. However, there isn’t the typical curved bell.
While the on the end of the doesn’t provide much functional use, it does contain one of two speakers for when you’re playing without an amp.
It also adds a little bit of charm and sets it apart from other wind synthesisers.
The mouthpiece has breath pressure resistance, which means that blowing lightly produces a quiet , and blowing harder makes a louder .
However, the mouthpiece doesn’t really allow for manipulation of the a ligature, and doesn’t have any bearing on the note it produces. itself. The reed is made of rigid plastic, held in place by
This doesn’t mean that you can’t manipulate the note at all, though.
There’s a switch on the body called the ‘Analogue Controller’ which allows you to add some expression to the notes like pitch bend or .
By using the YDS Control app, you can easily change your ‘s sounds and even create your own custom notes. You can then start playing straight away, through the built-in speakers, an amp, or earphones.
The is also compatible with some music software, letting you compose as you play.
What We Like
There’s plenty of things to love about the Yamaha , from its design and features to its .
By combining the key layout of a regular with the functionality of a wind synth, Yamaha made an incredibly versatile and easy-to-play .
You also have a wide array of sounds available to you. Not only do you have a , but the capabilities of a wind synth.
Additionally, the allow you to create your own custom sounds and upload them directly to your .
There are other great features that allow you to manipulate and experiment with your .
The breath pressure resistance lets you emote through different pitches and volumes, while the Analogue Controller gives you the power to alter and distort your notes.
The great quality and ease of use are the icing on the cake, making the Yamaha one of the best and most innovative digital saxophones available.
What Could Be Better?
That said, there are a few things that could be improved upon. One of these is the mouthpiece – while you can manipulate a note with the Analogue Controller, you aren’t able to alter the with the reed.
As mentioned previously, the stiff plastic reed doesn’t have any practical use.
This may be an issue for professional players who are used to adding vibrato through the mouthpiece, or amateur players who want to learn these techniques.
If you’re used to playing an , you might also need to adjust the key sensitivity.
The has the option to increase or decrease the sensitivity of the keys, but the default is much less responsive than a normal .
Despite these flaws, the Yamaha is a great , and a great choice for both amateur and professional saxophonists.