I recently found out that my application to become a Yamaha Performing Artist was accepted, and I am very excited to be joining their roster of brass players. Many major instrument manufacturers, as well as a few smaller ones, have “Artist Endorsements” or similar programs which provide mutual benefits to both parties. I can’t speak to the details of the various companies, but they generally include:
- Being listed as an “_______ Artist” in both print and electronic media
- Preferred pricing and other discounts on instruments and accessories
- Updates about new instrument models and initiatives within the company
- Funding for bringing in other endorsing artists, and sometimes funding to give clinics
- Various other perks
In the case of Yamaha, their Artist program provides all of the above, as well as some other benefits unique to the company. Obviously, I feel very strongly about the high quality and reliability of Yamaha’s products, or I wouldn’t perform on them myself or recommend them to students. I have performed on Yamaha horns for much of my professional career, playing solo, chamber, and orchestral music. My relationship with Yamaha horns goes back twenty years, with the first instrument I owned as a student, a YHR 667V. I played on that horn all the way through my master’s degree, and continued through doctoral school and the first five years of full-time college teaching on a YHR 667VL.
Even before that I remember being captivated by the sound of my teacher on her 800 series custom model. In many ways, Yamaha instruments helped shape my concept of the ideal horn sound. As I wrote in this post, one of the main reasons I chose a YHR 671 over my Engelbert Schmid was for the sound. Over a year later, I’m still very happy with the instrument. I later came to find out that the initial sluggishness with the valves – which is very uncharacteristic of Yamahas – was probably due to buffing compound somehow getting down into the valve casings after the lacquer was removed. This problem was taken care of by Houghton Horns at no charge, and the valves have been worry-free since then. In addition to their quality and consistency, here are a few other reasons I choose to play and endorse Yamaha horns.
- The company is committed to music education through a variety of programs, including funding for clinicians, and the Yamaha Young Performing Artists Competition.
- Their line of horns covers everything from beginner through professional level, while maintaining a high level of consistency. Another way of putting this is that they make horns that my students and area music programs can actually afford.
I hope that this hasn’t read as some type of overblown advertisement, but I really do feel strongly about Yamaha Horns. There are obviously lots of great horns out there by both large and small-scale makers, but if you are in the market for a new horn I encourage you to give Yamaha a try. For the money I don’t think you can find a better instrument.
I`m Kazu from Japan.
Did you already try playing YHR871 which is the newest commodity of Yamaha?
If you already did it, I want to hear about your impress about the 871 of Yamaha.
Hi Kazu, thanks for visiting my website! I have tried both the 871 and the 671, and they are both very fine instruments. I actually preferred the 671 slightly more than the 871, but both instruments were of very high quality.
I agree. Yamahahorns are right up there with any others. I am curious as to the identity of your teacher you refer to! Was it JW?
Thanks for visiting! My horn teacher in high school and undergraduate studies was Dr. Karen Robertson at Appalachian State University. She is a great player and a wonderful teacher.
Congrats, James – that’s awesome!
A fellow horn player down here recently got an almost-new 667V at a great price, since the 671/871 series came out. I played on it a bit and it’s great! I have fond memories of my 667 that I played for about a decade. I hope to get to try out the new double horns sometime soon.
Hi Colin, thanks for visiting! Yes, I think both the 667V and the newer models are very fine instruments.
Hello James, I was wondering, considering the 871 is about $4000 more than the 671, what added features make it so? Also, which do YOU prefer?
Hi Terence, thanks for visiting, and for your questions. Let me begin by saying that I have not tested the 871 extensively, only in passing a few times at horn workshops. I would assume that the extra $$ for the 871 is because it is hand assembled, whereas the 671 is factory built, but that is only a guess. In my personal testing of both horns, the 671 offered the best combination of playing characteristics and affordability. I would recommend trying both if you have the option, although I don’t think you could go wrong with either. A colleague of mine in the Shreveport Symphony recently got an 871, and sounds fantastic on it. That’s my 2 cents, hope it helps!