A family company, they started production in 1896 but became more widely known after the release in 1954 of the T3 silver-plated tenor saxophone. This was followed in 1956 by the A3, their first alto saxophone. There has been continuous development of their saxophone technology ever since. Their first solid silver saxophone was produced in 1972 and instruments made from phosphor bronze began to be produced in 1992. The company currently manufactures sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones.
The company is notable for making saxophones from materials other than the standard brass i.e. phosphor bronze and solid silver, and combinations thereof. For example, Yanagisawa's professional range of alto saxophones features the following instruments:
The permutations are increased by the fact that it is possible to buy a solid brass, silver, or bronze crook from Yanagisawa and fit it to any of the nine instruments listed above e.g. adding a solid silver crook to the A991 or A992, or a phosphor bronze crook to the A9932J or A9937 etc.