Yamaha YAS 23 Alto Saxophone Review

The Yamaha YAS alto saxophone is a great choice if you want to give your student an excellent start on the sax.

Yamaha carefully weighed quality of sound and intonation and removed common roadblocks that often discourage a beginner student.

This savvy alto sax will help your student achieve his potential at a faster pace, with less frustrations and tears, and will keep up with the needs of advancing skills until the end of high school.

This outstanding alto sax is one of the highest recommended student-level saxophones.

The Yamaha YAS 23 makes BIG's list of the best student saxophones and gets a BIG 5 stars.

BIG Rating


  • Adjustable thumb rest allows precise, comfortable hand and finger positioning
  • Keys are shaped and positioned according to mechanical necessity with an emphasis on comfort, speed, and overall playability
  • Adjustable key guard felts provides optimum intonation and venting
  • Power-forged keys for excellent durability
  • Tapered pivot-screws allow precise adjustment and smooth key action
  • Specifications
  • ​Key: Eb
  • ​Body and Key Material: Yellow Brass
  • ​Lacquered body
  • ​Drawn Tone Holes
  • Nickel-plating Keys
  • ​Auxiliary Keys: Front F
  • ​Spring Type: Stainless steel
  • Pad Type: Waterproof leather, wool felt with plastic tone boosters

Yamaha YAS 23 Alto Saxophone Overview

Yamaha has created an excellent student-level alto saxophone that enhances a first timer’s experience. Ease of play, durability, accurate intonation help the motivated beginner hear the music faster and easier than most beginners’ models. Technology, attention to detail, and work-hours mean this alto saxophone comes in at lofty price, but with many favorable reviews and Yamaha’s reputation in the industry for high quality instruments, this student-level saxophone could be an overall best value. The Yamaha YAS-23 will be with your child to his college years.


  • Excellent reputation
  • Top recommendations by teachers, the saxophone industry, and students alike
  • Precise Intonation
  • Easy to play
  • Durable keywork


  • Higher Price Point

Yamaha YAS 23 Alto Saxophone Video Review

Customer Reviews

Best student sax out there in my opinion.

Yamaha YAS-23 if made in Japan or US is the best student sax out there. I have heard some are also made in china and are not as good. i do not know if that is true or not--but good to know so you can find out before you buy. The instrument has a serial number and stamp from where it is made.Prior to this brand/model, my daughter played a Jupiter alto saxophone. in comparison to that one, this one is easier to move air through, squeeks less, and makes a much better sound."

...Great Instrument, but a little pricey!

I've had and used this model of Alto Saxophone for 4 years! I used it in high school marching band and it's great! The keys are very well constructed, so pressing any combination of them requires little pressure and offers nice bounce back. It's very good-looking with the gold base, silver keys, white key pads (on the outside), and black accents of the thumb holders (both top and bottom). I the tone is rich and full! It can be played in marching or concert settings, and gives you a great sound for either. The pads (which are a nice, light brown color) seal the instrument well and as long as you keep it clean, it will play well for you for a long time!The reason I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars is because it does scratch relatively easily, as it does not have a lacquered finish like some of the brands. It also doesn't play with the same smoothness as some of the "higher end" brands (...)."

Durable Quality, Top Notch Sound

The YAS 23 is an amazing creation. My parents got me a new one when I joined band at age 10, and I used and abused the saxophone mercilessly. Band was almost my whole life going from 5th grade until I graduated high school, and my trusty YAS23 took me there. It has a clean timbre, even sound, and consistent tuning. Honestly, I love my saxophone and I don't think I'll ever be able to part with it.There are a few cons, though. The welding used to hold the keyguards onto the body did give out after a few years and had to be reattached. Some of the octave key mechanisms began to bend and not activate when necessary. A few of the screws had trouble staying screwed in and had to be reset every session. That being said, all of these can be attributed to heavy use and not getting it fixed, so I can't even take a star off.If you want to get a saxophone that will guarantee a decent level of quality play and durability, the YAS 23 is what you need."

Is There A Downside To The ABC Product?

Yamaha had put a lot of time, technology and detailed manufacturing to address the needs of a beginner student and as a result, created an alto sax that will play beautifully from the start. Of course, this all means that the Yamaha YAS-23 comes at a higher price. But, if you have a serious student on your hands, buying a Yamaha instrument will fast-track the process of finding the joy of music.The bad news is the manufacturer has discontinued making the Yamaha YAS-23. The good news is you will still be able to find a Yamaha YAS-23 alto saxophone. This sax was so popular and widely manufactured that you won’t have a problem finding this alto sax or its replacement pieces when you need them. (And at a reasonable price!)


The Yamaha YAS 23 alto saxophone is another great instrument from Yamaha. This student-level saxophone has a reputation for excellent intonation, good projection, and good dynamic control. Its reputation for durability will guarantee the serious student his sax will be with him until the end of high school. Although pricey, you can be rest assured, knowing the Yamaha YAS-23 has helped your child play his alto saxophone to the best of his abilities from the very start.

The Yamaha YAS 23 alto saxophone gets a BIG 5 stars and is highly recommended.

BIG Rating

Still not sure which sax to buy? Visit BIG's Saxophone Buying Guide for more information and buying tips.