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YANAGISAWA Saxophones History

  • October 14, 2011 9:25 PM EDT
    YANAGISAWA is a name which today is becoming recognised as a leader in the manufacture of the top quality of saxophones.
    The manufacture of these fine Saxophones has a history dating back to the start of the establishment of the company in 1893, when the factory manufactured many fine wind instruments. Saxophone manufacture started in 1954 when the first tenor saxophone was made.
    The President of the Yanagisawa Wind Instrument Company, Mr. Takanobu Yanagisawa succeeded his Father, Mr. Tokutaro Yanagisawa, who established the Egawa Rappa factory around 1921. This factory manufactured brass instruments such as 'Signal Trumpets', Cornets and Trumpets. It was only later when Tokutaro Yanagisawa left the factory that the factory became known as Nikkan factory.
    It was the Nikkan factory which was sold to Yamaha about 1955 which provided the some of the early basis of manufacture of Yamaha. Nikkan is a name not seen often these days on flutes, however some of you may recognise the name Yamaha!
    Mr. Tokutaro Yanagisawa was the first technician that repaired and made brass instruments in Japan. He taught many people how to repair and make brass instruments. One of his pupils who learned how to make some kinds of flute parts was Kouichi Muramatsu. Again some of you may recognise the name Muramatsu. Although Muramatsu had the loan of a room in the early Nikkan factory, he was not associated with Nikkan. He was an independent all the time.
    Mr. Takanobu Yanagisawa completed his first tenor saxophone in 1954, the alto followed in 1956 and the soprano and sopranino in 1968.
    He was appointed chairman of the Tokyo Musical Instrument Manufacturers Association in 1985 and in 1992 he became chairman of the Nippon Musical Instrument Manufacturers Association. In 1994 he assumed the position of chairman of Yanagisawa Wind Instruments, appointing his son Nobushige Yanagisawa, company president. The elder Yanagisawa passed away April 23rd 1999 leaving the company under his son's capable direction.
    The Yanagisawa Saxophone manufacture continued growing and in 1965 the Alto A5 was added to the manufacturing line. The Baritone and Soprano quickly followed in the years 1966 and 1968, and from this relatively modest start, the Yanagisawa people have given their personal efforts to making the instruments what they are today.
    'Nobu' Nobushige Yanagisawa, has a younger brother named 'Yoshi' Yoshio Yanagisawa and Yoshio is the Assistant Manager of the Foreign Trade Department. 'Yoshi' spent a great deal of time in America, working closely with Leblanc (Vito). He made very close friendships with Vito Pascucci the Chairman of the board of G. Leblanc, the late Stan Surber (Vice President of Export Sales) and many others during his extended American visit.
    As you can see Yanagisawa Wind Instruments is a business with very strong family ties, and a very personal approach to the manufacturing and design of their products.
    The Yanagisawa company is situated in the industrial part of Tokyo in a bustling street, and one is impressed by the personal effort which is evidenced in all parts of the factory. It is very difficult to converse with the operators, but the warm smiles received during a 'walk through' were enough to communicate the feeling of devotion to the company and the love and care of it's products. It is not surprising that the instruments produced by these caring people are received with such acclaim today, as their efforts to improve and advance with the times seem to never stop.
    Today Yanagisawa is not only famous as a specialist Saxophone manufacturer, but today provides a range of the top metal and ebonite mouthpieces, to compliment their specially crafted bocals (necks) which can be fitted to many other brands of saxophones to improve the quality of the sound.
    It is indeed a privilege and a pleasure to write about such a wonderful 'family' of people who are today producing the best saxophones and mouthpieces in the world. If some small errors have occurred in the translation, please forgive the writer.
    Significant Milestones.
    1954 – Completed the first tenor saxophone T3, with silver finish and engraved castle. It is understood that an American soldier bought it at a Komaki Music store.
    1956 – Released the first alto model A3.
    1965 – Improved the alto creating the A5.
    1966 – Improved the tenor sax creating the T5, and released two new models in the same year the T4 and the A4.
    1967 – Released the first Baritone Sax the B6 which has stood the test of time to only last year when it was replaced by the new 900 series baritone.
    1969 – Released the first Soprano S6 followed in 1970 by the A6 Alto.
    1972 – Developed the Alto in sterling silver mouth pipe and body. This was closely followed by the Sopranino SN6 the same year.
    1973 – Saw the introduction of the Ebonite (hard rubber) and Metal Mouthpieces, which provide the instruments with a truly unique sound.
    1978 – The Professional range was introduced (880 series) and was followed by the curved soprano (true saxophone shape). A real performance instrument.
    1985 – Released the first interchangeable necks (mentioned above).
    1990 – The factory produced the new 900 series soprano, curved soprano and baritone together with the new 990 baritone, and soprano, not yet seen in this country.
    1995 – Whilst constant improvement was evidenced throughout the range of instruments the silver saxophone, coloured sax and later the bronze sax took their place in the range. The low Bb fluter key was an innovation found only on these fine saxophones. This was the era of the 991, 992 and 9930 models.
    1999 – The bronze models become firmly established and now cover the 902 range.
    2000 – The Bronze plated thumb hook & rest, released in the market.
    2001 – 991 models of Soprano, Alto and Tenor have become more affordable. 



    This post was edited by Melvin Llord (Admin) at October 14, 2011 9:26 PM EDT