Saxophone/Yamaha YTS 61


I have a Yamaha YTS 61 model # 015xxx that I purchased new in the early 80's. It's in excellent condition. The only issue is that some of the cork is missing on the neck piece. I also still have the original case. I am considering selling the horn, and am not sure of it's value. I would love some help.

Thanks in advance.


The Yamaha YTS-61 was Yamaha's top pro level horn when they first introduced saxophones in 1967. They manufactured this model until about 1978 to 79 when it was replaced by the YTS-62 which is still being made to this day. So if you bought it new in 1980 than you got one of the last 61's produced. It could have been what is considered "new" old stock. Meaning it's a brand new horn but it had been in the store for a while. I would imagine you got a good deal on it.

The 61 as they are commonly referred to were loosely based on the design of the Selmer Mark VI(as just about everything is today) However they lacked much of the ergonomic key work of which the Mark VI's were known for therefore they were not as well received by the pro market at the time as some of the other brands that were already established (i.e. Conn, Selmer, H.Couf, Martin, Leblanc, etc.) So it took a while for Yamaha's reputation to build. Eventually the Yamaha saxophones started to get a following among students and intermediate players as their horns played very well and were extremely economical compared to other student brands (i.e. Bundy and Conn). Also in the 1970's witnessed the demise of Conn and many of the other older companies so it left a of a hole in the market and Yamaha was ready to step in and fill it.

As the 61 was Yamaha's first pro model is suffered from some of the same problems that all manufactures suffer from when they first enter the market. They really didn't know what their share of the market was going to be, they had no history and no one knew what to expect. Also as I mentioned the key work for the 61 had issues. Many players considered it to be overly simplified causing the horn to feel small. The octave key had a tendency to bend and the side Bb and C used plastic linkages and pro players were used to seeing brass, not plastic. Over time the plastic linkages would wear down causing a good deal of play and lost motion. The low Bb did not have the tilting mechanism the way the Selmer's did thus it was not as easy to move around and it felt like a student model. Plus that cheese grater key guard for the bell keys down to the low C was a pain as stuff would get caught in it. Plus repair techs hated it as they had to remove the entire guard if they needed to get to just one key like the low C.

The next model the YTS-62 would solve most of these problems. The key work more resembled the Selmer mark VI. The plastic linkages and weird key guards were gone. The low Bb tilted and the left hand pink keys themselves were more robust and less prone to getting bent. The overall body tube between the 61 and the 62 are nearly identical so they have similar tone. I would say the 62 may be a bit darker and centered. That may be due to the fact the 62 has more brass in it and it's a heavier horn.

So what is your horn worth? That's always a tricky question as anythings worth is between what the buyer and seller agree on. So there are always going to be variations. But I would estimate for a YTS-61 Tenor sax it can vary depending on how much lacquer is still on the horn, the condition of the pads, case etc. Today a brand new YTS-62 will sell for a bit over $3000 so a 30 year old 61 will be around $600 to $1200. If the horn needs work, than you will have to subtract the cost of the repairs from the value. BTW. That neck cork can be replaced quickly and easily by a repair tech for around $30.

I hope this helps and if there is anything more I can do please feel free to ask.

Charles Harris  


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Charles Harris


questions regarding equipment, performance, repairs, lessons, etc. Almost all saxophone related questions.


I am a professional member of N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instruments Repair Technicians). I have been repairing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments since 1993. I perform in several professional groups covering genres form classical, jazz, and rock.

N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians

St. Petersburg Junior College (AA) University of South Florida.

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