Arguably Japan’s premier saxophone maker, Yanagisawa has built a reputation for quality, design innovation & workmanship. They are especially well regarded for their soprano saxophones, both straight & curved. This Prima model built in the 1970′s was the forerunner of the current top line SC900, widely regarded as having intonation unsurpassed by that of any current (or past) curved soprano sax. We have included two photos of the Prima & SC900 together for comparison. The two body tubes are of identical proportions. We confirmed this with measurements by the dial caliper. Keywork is very similar & tone hole placement is, as well, except for the palm keys. The Prima’s palm keys are of an earlier design, mounted on a single shaft like the upper & lower stacks of a saxophone as opposed to the rocker design of the SC900. Placement of the top five tones holes is different, with the Prima having a stacked location as dictated by the keywork mechanics. The Prima also has no alternate front F but does have a high F# key. Another significant difference between the two is the curved neck of the SC900 vs the bent (normal saxophone) neck of the Prima. The curved neck is supposed to offer better intonation while the bent neck produces a more sax like sound. The intonation of the Prima is quite good, though not equal to the SC900. On the other hand, the Prima has a warmer, darker tone. Which sound you like best depends on taste, but the SC900 is rather bright. Metallurgy likely plays a role in this difference.
The 20+ year old Prima is in like new condition, and except for two small pitting spots is without blemish — no dings, scratches or damage. Lacquer rates at least 98%.