Takes one to C1
12 Mar 20

Takes one to C1

Posted by: Tom Gorst // Tags:


A while back Ben was trying to spice up his sax life by ordering a Yamaha C1 neck to replace the stock neck on his YTS82Z tenor, the C1 being the narrowest bore neck in the Yamaha range. In fact the now sold out Yamaha Atelier 82z (best thing Yamaha ever made) had a C1L neck, which is basically a C1 with the same geometry but thinner brass and may be partly responsible for the Atelier being one of the most insane instruments ever made.

Between the time he ordered the C1 neck and when it arrived Ben fell 'head-over-heels' in love with a King Super 20 Silversonic thus restoring his otherwise voracious personal life. A few weeks later this neck arrives, freshly smitten Ben doesn’t even open the box and it get’s shoved into a cupboard of miscellany alongside many misguided mouthpieces, some Yamaha 'casual wind instruments' and that thing we really shouldn't have bought in Frankfurt two years ago.

Fast forward a few weeks and I’m play testing a YTS25 that Johno fixed up and I’m amazed at how good it is, but like REALLY good…and I’m usually not that into Yamaha tenors (apart from the Atelier of course). I mean it’s probably 80% Johno’s dreamboat setup, but those early student Yamahas really are surprisingly good horns.

So with that dreamy YTS25 fresh in my mind, a mild case of Conn related RSI, and a C1 crook burning a hole in the cupboard, I hatched a plan to make the ultimate ‘sleeper horn’… cue the music.

For those of you who don’t need to watch trashy american TV on netflix to nod off, a ‘sleeper car’ is an innocuous looking car, something like a family car or a small engined city car which has been gutted and fitted with some ridiculous V12 turbo charged engine and all the other fancy things I pretend to know about when people talk to me about cars. Basically, looks like sh*t but goes like stink.

So, the next day I came in to the shop early to try out the C1 neck on that aforementioned YTS25

….let the rabbit see the hole.

To say that I was impressed with the results would be an understatement, I was completely blown away. Most Yamaha student horns are a tad on the bright side, but with the C1 neck it became more responsive and way less bright but with an earthy core that I’ve NEVER experienced with a ‘student’ horn before.

So after a couple of strong coffees and frantically ranting my half baked idea to a fairly bemused customer who only came in to get reeds for her daughter’s clarinet…..I decided what should happen next:


  • Find a donor YTS25 or YTS23

  • Strip the key-work (maybe the lacquer as well...make it look really beaten up?)

  • Replace springs/felts/corks with the finest bells and whistles so it’s galaxy smooth

  • Re-pad it with some fancy-ass pads (purple unicorn hide or similar)

  • Lower and lighten the action to make it shred grade (AKA Shr-ready)

  • Fit a C1 crook

  • Bask in the subtle delight of my ‘sleeper horn’

  • Come up with a better name for it than ‘sleeper horn’


Tune in next week/month/year to find out how it pans out, and please let me know if you’ve done anything similar and how YOU got on, I literally have no other hobbies.

If you can't wait for me (by me I mean Johno) to finish this sleeper horn and you want to have a go sticking a C1 on something you own, you can buy one here


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