Yamaha Custom EX HG Soprano Saxophone

This is some soprano! The moment you pick it up, you feel instantly at home with the instrument. The balance is good and the keywork (particularly for those of us with larger hands!) is excellent. I readily appreciated the overall ergonomics, especially the positioning of the palm keys and the slightly deeper Bb key to the table, giving more space for that little finger to rest on. Having said that, I wasn’t that keen on the shaping of     the top F sharp key, but that’s purely personal and a slight change that I think I could quickly get used to. The crook (the Custom EX is supplied with both straight and curved crooks) fitted snugly into the top post and I was immediately impressed by the action with a particularly smooth octave key – this sax has been set up superbly. It is also immediately apparent that the Custom EX is an extremely responsive instrument, having a good dynamic range and affording effortless playing in both the altissimo and the lower register. Intonation on our sample was almost clinically precise – quite remarkable. Tonally, the Yamaha isn’t as sweet as a Selmer Series 3, but it has a particular sonic quality that is both rich and warm, is very even across the full range and delivers a well rounded bottom end and a clear, clean and spirited altissimo. I noticed that the instrument carries plastic and not metal reflectors and assume that this has been done to cut back a brightness to the tone. If so, this has certainly had the desired effect. The Custom EX comes in a solidly built rectangular, leatherette, lockable plush lined shaped case, with reinforced corners and grab handles to both the top and side. There are also a couple of small ‘D’ rings if you prefer to use the supplied shoulder strap. For more go to www.yamaha-music.co.uk

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