Yanagisawa WO20 Saxophone Review

The Yanagisawa WO20 alto saxophone follows in the footsteps -- and is intended as a replacement -- of the outstanding A992 series of saxophones.

The WO line of saxes is built for the serious musician. It features all of the aspects that made the A992 such a highly regarded instrument, such as the use of bronze for a unique, dark, mellow, tone, and specially designed keys to help you play seamlessly, no matter the difficulty of the passage.

If you are serious about your playing and ready to buy a top-of-the-line horn, the WO20 meets all your needs, and then some.

The Yanagisawa WO20 makes BIG's list of the best alto saxophones and gets a BIG 5 stars.

BIG Rating

Highlighted Features

  • Double Arm: Helps to seal the tone holes completely, which ensures a more reliable performance and sound overall.
  • Balanced Tri-Point Brace: A three-point, balanced brace links the body and the bell, which helps to keep the instrument stable and resilient in all dynamic ranges.
  • Adjustable Metal Bell Key Buffers: Metal keys last much longer than plastic, and adjustable key buffers lets you control the aperture of the bell toneholes.
  • C# - Bb - B Rocking Key: The C#, Bb and B keys are all connected. This feature, exclusive to Yanagisawa saxophones, gives you the easiest and quickest transitions between these notes.
  • Hand Engraved: The instrument has a unique, hand-engraved pattern for visual style.
  • F-Auxiliary Key: A specially-designed mechanism helps the pads seal tight when paying lower notes.
  • White Shell Keys: Indented white shell keys allow for comfort while playing, and prevent slippage.
  • Fluororesin Non-Stick Mechanism: Yanagisawa's flouroresin coating prevents your octave key from sticking over time.
  • Air Tight Waterproof Pads: Waterproof pads allows you to be confident in your saxophone’s tonal integrity, plus they last longer.
  • WO Series Palm Key Plate: The palm key plate delivers resonance in the higher range, unmatched acoustic depths, added stability, and enhanced projection.
  • Pointed Pivot Screws: Specially designed pointed pivot screws help you very high prece action.
  • Blue Steel Springs: Blue Steel Springs last longer, and hold tension more effectively, than regular stainless steel.
  • Specifications
  • Key: Eb
  • Range: Low Bb to High F#
  • Body, Bell, and Neck: Bronze
  • Keys: Brass with indented white shells
  • Finish: Lacquered
  • Neck Type: Detachable
  • Case: Fabric Covered, Woodshell case

Yanagisawa WO20 Alto Saxophone Review

As the replacement for the A-992, the WO20 basically takes everything that was great about that saxophone, but then adds even more. The result? A simply amazing instrument. This sax is crafted to deliver an unmatched playing experience. The lacquered bronze finish provides a dark, rich color, which is matched only by the similar rich and mellow tones of the horn. Like the A-992, the WO20 is built with an inner rib structure. This rib provides a solid foundation and a strong framework, upon which everything else is built. Many of the keys in the WO series have been redesigned, improving on an already superior key system. These key give you quick and easy playing without fatigue or discomfort.

Easy and Comfortable to Play

Speaking of comfort, this saxophone is built to make it easy and comfortable to play. The indented white shell keys allow your fingers to stay firm without slipping, no matter how difficult or fast the passage. The tri-point brace which connects the bell to the body gives you extra stability as you go for broke.

Designed to Last

In addition to superior sound and comfort, the Yanagisawa WO20 is also designed to last. Waterproof pads deliver a strong seal while resisting damage from water, spit, and condensation. Blue steel springs not only hold tension more effectively, they also last longer than their stainless steel counterparts. The already-mentioned internal rib structure also gives the instrument longer durability and strength for years to come.

Well Worth the Investment

In the end, the WO20 is a saxophone for the serious student or the professional musician. It looks great, delivers superior performance, and lasts a long time, helping you to make sure that the purchase was well worth your time and effort.


  • Rib Mounted: Keys are all attached to a mounted rib which runs the length of the body. This design improves the stability, durability, and strength of the instrument and its sound
  • Ebonite Mouthpieces: Ebonite mouthpieces are known for their overall warm tones.
  • Newly Designed Bore and Tone Holes: Another redesigned feature, the bore and tone holes have been re-engineered to help deliver more exact intonation and a smoother blowing experience.
  • Redesigned keys: Several redesigned keys -- Including the front F key, the right pinky key, and the right side key levers -- help ease of play and seamless transition between notes.


  • Higher price point

Yanagisawa WO20 Alto Saxophone Video Review

Bob Lichty (Conn-Selmer Inc) on the Yanagisawa W020 Alto Saxophone


In conclusion, the WO20 takes an already great design -- the Yanagisawa A992 series -- and improves upon perfection, representing the pinnacle of the evolution of the saxophone. Everything about this instrument has been crafted to make you look and sound your best. If you’re ready to buy a saxophone that matches the level of your aspirations, the WO20 is the one to get.

The Yanagisawa WO20 alto sax 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.