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Instrument review: Yamaha YCR-4330GSII Cornet

Yamaha continues the high quality evolutionary process with its upgraded Intermediate cornet model.

Yamaha tends to leave the hyperbole and fevered sales pitches to others when it comes to their instruments.

Instead, over the years they have relied on emphasising the qualities that result from production processes that have given them a hard earned reputation for consistency and excellence.

Conformity

For instance, pick up any of their cornets and the lineal conformity is obvious – from student model to professional level; clearly thought out design linked to high quality engineering. 

They are built for the job intended – and to last. 

There are cheaper instruments in the market place, but the premium price tag that comes with a Yamaha has rarely been tarnished by poor build quality or delivery delays.  

The adherence to evolution means that Yamaha continues to revise but not revolutionise; an ethos that is certainly shown to the newly designed YCR-4330GSII Cornet – the company’s middle of the range ‘Intermediate’ model. 

It is pitched as a step up from the entry level ‘Student’ YCR-2330III and as one below the ‘Professional’ grade YCR-6330SII which leads to the top of the range ‘Neo’ series.

Carefully calibrated

As a result, the YCR-4330GSII (medium large bore with two piece gold brass bell) is a carefully calibrated upgrade that enhances the tried and tested and continues to offer a reassuring endorsement of the company’s reputation for quality.

The lineal development is also seen in comparison to the instrument’s siblings (there are shared production methods)

The ‘student’ model is the same bore and bell size (11.65mm/ 0.459" and 119.0mm/4-2/3”) but with a yellow brass bell. The ‘professional’ is a large bore (11.73mm/0.462") but also the same sized yellow brass bell. 

The Neo is bigger still at 11.90mm/0.469" with a 125.5mm/5" bell (with yellow or gold brass bell).

As a result, the YCR-4330GSII (medium large bore with two piece gold brass bell) is a carefully calibrated upgrade that enhances the tried and tested and continues to offer a reassuring endorsement of the company’s reputation for quality.

So, if you are in the market to back your commitment to either taking progressive steps towards your long term playing goals, or a player happy to enjoy your playing but are realistic about what you need to do it, the YCR-4330GSII is hard to beat.  

It does both jobs really well.


Well thought out design and high quality engineering...

Design

The first thing to catch the attention is the design - a neatly thought out medium-large bore upgrade – the rounded leadpipe the most significant piece of new tailoring.    

There is solidity about the instrument (the braces adding to the sturdiness). Give the bell a ‘ping’ and it doesn’t ring like a cheap sound effect on an old Atari games console.  Lead free solder is used and the silver plate finish (it also comes in gold lacquer) on the instrument is excellent.  

The Yamaha is well balanced in the hand and neatly proportioned allowing ease and comfort of use. 

Build quality is excellent (the instrument is made in China). The slides fit snugly but are easily moved, and the monel valves are quiet, well sprung and facile.  They also click into place with a sound as reassuring as a miniature mortice lock, although they are easily taken out to be oiled.

The slides fit snugly but are easily moved, and the monel valves are quiet, well sprung and facile.  They also click into place with a sound as reassuring as a miniature mortice lock, although they are easily taken out to be oiled.  

The ‘furniture’ of valve tops and bottoms, waterkeys (main and third slide), third slide stopper, is robust.  Even the felts on the valves are neatly trimmed to fit.  As is the current trend there is no lyre mounting. 

We still have reservations about the everyday practicality of the first slide saddle crook even for a fairly experienced player (a trigger would be a better option), but the third finger ring crook does a good, slick job and has a very generous amount of extension – although as with all Yamaha cornets the core tuning is very good.

Shaded tonality

Yamaha’s are not as easily free blowing and expansive as some other rivals, but offer a focussed, darkly shaded tonality throughout the range. It is still a flexible and responsive instrument though that rewards considered playing to retain its refined characteristics at both ends of the dynamic and range spectrum.

It does all it needs to do, and doesn’t fall short in any way.  You can pump plenty of air through it if you wish, but given bit of thought and it readily display its qualities. 

It is still a flexible and responsive instrument though that rewards considered playing to retain its refined characteristics at both ends of the dynamic and range spectrum.

Tuning is very good – retaining a Yamaha hallmark.

Judicious use of the third slide finger crook will ensure you stay in the ballpark with colleagues even in the troublesome areas around the bottom of the stave, whilst it is very well-centered and true above it too. 

The case is also built to last...

Added extras

All this and the instrument comes with its own CR-11E4 mouthpiece (just in case you need a spare) and a little bag of goodies that include synthetic valve oil, polishing cloth and slide grease. There is also a helpful multi-lingual owner’s manual. 

A special mention for the case: It’s solidly constructed and padded with enough room for some music and a couple of mutes. It should last as long as the cornet itself. 

All in all, the Yamaha YCR-4330GSII is an excellent instrument – and does a fine job filling a niche for either a developing player with a long term eye on progression or more experienced player who wants a very solid and consistent bit of kit to enjoy their playing on for years to come.

The price may put off a few potential customers – but make no bones about it: Quality comes at a price - and this instrument is well worth it.

Shop around a bit and you can also save a few quid.


The instrument was provided for review by Band Supplies Ltd: 
https://www.bandsupplies.co.uk/collections/brass-cornets-bb-cornets/products/yamaha-ycr4330gii-cornet-product

Yamaha: 
https://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/musical_instruments/winds/index.html

Technical specifications:

Prices: Around £711.00 (gold lacquer) to £870.00 (silver plate) depending on retailer

Gold Lacquer: YCR-4330GII
Silver-Plate: YCR-4330GSII

Weight: Medium

Bell Diameter: 119.0mm (4-2/3")
Bell: Two piece Gold brass
Bore: Medium-Large 11.65mm (0.459")

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