When you're in the studio or playing live, no one cares about what brand of instrument you play. It needs to be in tune, have a unique, robust sound, and it's worth repeating, it needs to play in tune. I've been playing Yamaha instruments for most of my professional career. It's a great company to work with. Their ateliers are great at tweaking my horns, and they've had great clinic support for me through the years. As a musician, it's your obligation to try as many different instruments as possible. The instrument doesn't make your sound, but it should make your sound easier. For me, that's been with Yamaha.
The Instruments I Play, and other info
Soprano Sax - Yamaha YSS-62
I bought this horn new in 1983. One of their classic models, it has a sweet center to the tone, with enough edge when I need it.
Yanagasawa mouthpiece, Vandoren Red Box 2 1/2
Alto Sax - Yamaha YAS875GP
2003 - Although the majority of players seen to gravitate towards the 62 models, I've preferred the darker 875. Along with the gold plating, it
gives the horn a large sound with a nice point to it.
Jody Jazz mouthpieces. I jump between a Super Jet 9*, and a DV 9*, sometimes an 8*. I also play tenor sax reeds on my alto.
Vandoren Red Box 5. I know it's weird, but it works for me. I found it to be a fuller sound.
Tenor Sax - Yamaha Atelier 82ZII
Here's what Jeff Peterson from the Los Angeles Yamaha Atelier had to say about the horn:
"It is limited production based on 82ZII. Some ergonomic changes place it in a better balance point. We did a lot with weight distribution with lighter posts, ribs, etc., in strategic places. A lot of labor-intensive hand work is done to smooth internal edges and seams. Lightweight C1 neck, magic neck screw, and the special lacquer are all contributing factors.
Designed to provide the desirable tone qualities of vintage horns with the evenness, intonation, and consistency of a Yamaha."
I love, love, love this horn. It's everything I've wanted in a horn, warm subtones, screaming altissimo, and everything in between. So much fun.
Phil Barone metal mouthpiece - Not sure of the model. Bob Sheppard gave it to me when I was having a lesson with him. John Reilly did work on the baffle, and it's been my tenor piece for a long, long time.
Vandoren Red Box 3
Baritone Sax - Yamaha 62S
For the big horn that's a pain to carry around, this bari plays very easily, and the silver plating gives it some extra grease and sparkle at the same time.
I play an old Otto Link that Gary sold me from Stein on Vine. That piece makes it easy to pick up the horn without any warm up, and get my groove on.
Regular Vandoren 2 1/2. Occasionally I'll play a Fiber reed if I need to go to it in the middle of a lot of doubles.