Yamaha YAS 82ZII Saxophone Review

The Yamaha YAS-82ZII saxophone is one that has been improved over past Custom Z saxophones, especially in the areas of control, expressiveness and response.

Don't worry, however, it retains the free-spirited roots we've all come to love about the instrument. Since 2003, when the first Custom Z was introduced, improvements have continued in terms of specs, engineering and craftsmanship.

Amateur, pro, advanced high school and college student players alike will revel in how awe-inspiring the Yamaha YAS-82ZII sax plays and sounds.

The Yamaha YAS 82ZII Saxophone makes BIG's list of the best alto saxophones and gets a BIG 5 stars. Let's take a look into why this instrument's features impress.

BIG Rating

Highlighted Features

  • One Piece Bell means low end response is improved & wide range of tonal color is achieved. The new engraved design offers beauty and finer detail
  • Metal Resonators give the instrument a range that results in a more clear pronunciation, improving overall playability
  • V1 Neck means tonal expression has been improved due to the wide tapor of the V1 neck, offering better flexibility
  • Improved Low B – C# Mechanism gives a better seal and improved low end response
  • Lighter Thumb Hook/Thumb Rest Bases improve tone
  • Adjustable Front F Mechanism means the altissimo range resistance is optimized
  • Z Style Case offers outstanding protection
  • Shoulder Strap offers convenience
  • Specifications
  • Key: Eb
  • Auxillary Keys: High F#, Front F
  • Key Buttons Material: Mother of pearl
  • Bell: Hand-engraved
  • Thumb Hook: Adjustable
  • Finish: Unlaquered, Silver Plate, Black Laquer and Gold Laquer
  • Included Accessories: Mouthpiece AS4CM, Case ASC-820

Yamaha YAS 82ZII Saxophone Review

The YAS-82ZII is an instrument that rises above a regular student model and is a perfect match for above average students, amateur and professional players. The black lacquer option, for example, is a piece of art with beautiful accents and lower register resonance that allows players to more effortlessly achieve warmer tones and uplifting high tones without sounding too bright or shrill. It's a light horn that fits players with small or large hands.

Excellent Low-End Response

A player choosing the YAS-82ZII will benefit from a wide selection of tonal color and will notice excellent low-end response due to the one-piece bell. Unlike earlier models, the new bell provides an engraved design that offers more detail. The new design reveals a higher degree of elegance.

Effortless to Play

Playing this saxophone has a more effortless feel due to the domed metal resonators that help bring a broad dynamic range to a player's sound and excellent overall response.

Flexible and Free-Blowing Feel

In comparison to other Yamaha Custom Z saxophones, each player using the newer model will enjoy the best flexibility and a free-blowing feel due to the wide bore taper of the V1 neck.

Clear Low Range Response

A clear low range response is achieved through a solid seal that comes as a result of the improvement made in the low B to C# mechanism.

Improved Level of Resistance

All players will enjoy an improved level of resistance when playing in the altissimo range due to the YAS-82ZII's adjustable front F mechanism.

Smooth Action

The action on this horn is smooth while the keys make less noise than prior versions. Some players reported problems with the low C# on older models, where the key would bounce open. The new C# is more dead-on accurate and quiet in comparison.

Throaty Sound

The overall tone has a more throaty sound, less nasally than past models. The low tones are sharpened due to the newer one-piece bell. If a player struggled with intonation issues in the past, they may find intonation improvements while playing the Yamaha YAS-82ZII saxophone.

Great Warranty

Five years for parts and five years for service are covered by the manufacturer's warranty. There are exclusions, however, such as damage due to abuse or misuse.


  • Improved low end response
  • Improved tonal expression
  • Improved low B-C# connection
  • Improved overall playability
  • Optimal altissimo range resistance


  • Higher price point

So How Does the Yamaha YAS 82ZII Saxophone Sound?

Ben Reece play tests a brand new Yamaha YAS 82ZII alto sax "Custom Z"


The Yamaha YAS-82ZII alto saxophone is known for its excellent response, intonation and huge sound. The bell, body and neck are all hand hammered and the set-up is done properly upon completion.

The V1 neck offers a nice free-blowing feel and gives a lot of flexibility to the player. The keys sit nicely for most players and the key action is excellent. The one-piece bell helps bring more consistency, better resonance and improved low end response. The new metal tone resonators improve the response, the overall sound, and back-side volume.

Overall, this instrument feels good, sounds huge and is built to last. Advanced high school and college students will enjoy playing the YAS-82ZII, as will the working professional musician.

The Yamaha YAS 82ZII 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.