Saturday, April 20, 2013
I've got some interesting information for all you saxophone fans out there about a little known brand called Opus USA: the brand is actually an off-brand of the Yanagisawa saxophones!
Opus sells saxophones very inexpensively, though a pretty good quality. In fact, the saxophones have a great response in the key work, and are generally of sound intonation. They provide options for several finishes and colors, which is also rather nice. The brand is really something, especially for anyone looking for a cheap saxophone to buy (I got a curved soprano from Opus for $240 and a black/gold alto for about the same).
This is all well and good, but none of it is particularly surprising It was when I was jamming with a friend, however, that I saw something interesting: my Opus USA alto and soprano saxophones looked identical to my friend's pro Yanagisawa alto. The key work, the pearls and the guard designs were all the same on either saxophone. This information was interesting to me, as it would seem that an American company has started off branding an Asian company, quite the opposite to popular debate. This scenario would seem to put a wrench in many bloggers' ideas on off-brand saxophones, that Asian off-brands are the rout of all evil.
No, instead this information led me to believe that off-brand saxophones are without borders and, in fact, are necessary for creating a diverse saxophone market. Here's a big bit of my point: big brands like Selmer and Yamaha should stick to advanced and pro level horns, leaving student pieces to brands such as Opus. Why? Simple. For the same price as a YAS-23 (Yamaha student alto sax), you can get a "pro", good looking, fully functional alto sax from Opus that, quite frankly, plays better than the Yamaha.
This might be shocking to a lot of people, but it's my opinion on the matter, and I strongly maintain that it's a good idea. There's no disputing the big-name brands' skills at designing and building the greatest pro horns, but when it comes to student saxophones, you have to think inexpensive- the most band for your buck. Can a low-budget music program at a high school afford ten saxophones from Store X?