With the number of Saxophone brands available, buying a saxophone can be a bit challenging if you have no experience getting one. It is therefore important to get all the information you can on the instrument before setting out to buy one. This becomes even more necessary where you do not have an experienced person helping out.
If you are a beginner, you may have some challenges deciding whether you want to rent or buy your own saxaphone? Or if it is okay to get vintage instead of a new piece. The aim of this guide is to help you figure out the instrument, brand, and type that is best for you.
What is the Best Saxophone?
3) Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone
- Quality Material
- Warm Tone
Deciding on Whether to Rent or Buy
Saxophones can be quite expensive. If you are not so sure how long you are going to play this instrument, renting may be a good option. Before you decide to rent, however, here are some reasons why getting your own sax is best.
1. You may end up playing this instrument longer than you anticipated. If this happens, then rental fees will eventually add up and become more than the cost of getting a new one.
2. You are held responsible and have to pay for damages caused while using rented instruments.
3. A lot of rental instruments are usually not properly taken care of, as such they come with dents and what’s not. They will usually produce poorer sound.
4. You can sell your instrument if you are sure you would not be needing it and get a pretty good price for it.
Deciding what Saxophone is suitable for You
You may have to choose a sax depending on your proficiency level, that is, beginner, student, intermediate or professional. This is because the sax has a wide variety of sounds and intonation. Your ability to manage its tones will depend on your proficiency level. The high instruments like the Soprano prove more difficult getting a pleasing tone and intonation. The lower instruments, that is, bass are pretty expensive and are usually harder to blow and finger. These instruments are best left to the professionals. Altos are perfect for beginners as they make learning easy. This is because they are ribbed and as such give good intonation with little difficulty. It is also easier to finger this kind.
Deciding if it should be New or Vintage
Depending on your income, you may have to decide if you should go for a new piece or get a second hand one. Each of these options has their pros and cons. It is therefore up to you after weighing these options to decide which better.
Buying a new instrument always comes with a warranty guarantee. You also make use of a new piece a long time before it needs repair. It comes with all its original parts as made by the manufacturer and also accessories including those necessary for maintenance. It is however expensive to get one. The cheap ones are usually not of good quality, and you may end up needing repairs after just a few use.
A vintage or second-hand piece could be a great option. This is especially when you get one that has been properly treated by its previous owner. You get good prices for them and are sometimes able to get professional pieces at a good vintage price. The problem with vintage pieces is that they may soon need repairs. You may also be buying a second-hand piece that has lost all his original parts and may have been relacquered. Be sure to ask questions or go to a teacher or professional while buying vintage. Also, avoid foul-smelling, and moss filled instruments except there is a good reason for this.
Deciding what Brands are most Suitable
There are some brands that are more popular when it comes to sales of saxophones. The professional brands which are usually the most expensive include Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, and Keilwerth. There are however a lot of cheaper brands out there that sound just as good. You should find the review given in this article helpful in choosing a brand:
20 Best Saxophone Reviews & Best Saxophone Brands
1) Jean Paul TS-400 Tenor Saxophone
A great model from the trusted and well-known brand is the Jean Paul TS-400 Tenor Saxophone. This model is perfect for both beginning and intermediate players. It is in key Bb and offers a superior tone when played. Apart from its great intonation, it also has an excellent range. It has even key action, and placement developing musicians require to achieve success and get a comfortable learning experience.
The Jean Paul tenor sax is designed to have a beautiful brass body; power forged keys, a strong bell brace to ensure durability, as well as tapered pivot keys to enable easy use. The device comes with a firm dual-use carrying case that can be carried by the hand or carried as a back-pack. Multiple pockets for additional storage are also built in the carrying case.
- A beautiful lacquer finished yellow brass body.
- The Jean Paul Tenor Saxophone is in Key Bb
- It has robust dual use carrying case, with multiple pockets for additional storage
- Also comes with accessories including Rico reeds, carrying case, cork grease, a pair of gloves, cleaning kit and mouthpiece.
- It weighs 15 pounds, with a dimension of 35.5 × 16 × 10 inches
- Model number TS-400
2) Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L+92D+PB Gold Lacquer E Flat Alto Saxophone
Mendini MAS-L+92D+PB saxophone model by Cecilio is a great instrument for students and a great addition to intermediate and professional players. Mendini Instruments are assembled from over 300 hand crafted parts that are exclusively made by Cecilio. As such, there are no off the shelf parts.
The instrument is play tested at its distribution center before the sale, making it instructors’ favorite. Another reason they have met with music teachers’ approval is that they are easy to use and perfect for beginners. Their large bore is suited to young players as it easily allows them to make a full bodied sound. This is complemented with keys that respond pretty fast allowing for easy play. The tone can be described as deep and rich with even intonation over the full range. Since it comes with a 1-year warranty against manufacturer’s defect, you get to buy with confidence.
- Gold lacquered keys as well as body
- Keys Eb with the high F# alto sax
- A large bore, ribbed construction, good leather pads and metal tone boosters, as well as contoured keys and faux mother of pearl inlays
- Comes with pro-deluxe hard shell case, neck strap, mouthpiece, a box of ten reeds each 2.5inches, cleaning cloth and rod, and gloves.
- Additional Packages: Cecilio 92-D chromatic/string tuner, metronome, and pocketbook
- It weighs about 9.7 pounds, with a dimension of 26 × 7 × 13 inches.
3) Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone
As you already know, the Yamaha brand is one of the leading names when it comes to saxophones. This is because of the quality material used for construction, their high-end features and their willingness to improve their products based on recommendations. It is, however, an expensive brand.
The Yamaha YAS-480 is an intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone model with silver plating. Its design having been influenced by Yamaha high-end features has a highly accurate intonation, with a warm tone and quick response. It is constructed to be light weight, yet it is still durable. It comes with a professional-quality 62-style neck for mature quality sound. There is a hand engraved pattern on the bell that makes it look classy and gives confidence to the owner.
The octave key system has been redesigned to give players the flexibility to choose between the included new 62-style neck and those made to the custom Z as well as custom EX Yamaha sax. The added 62-style neck has an improved tone and response. The keys are also easily adjustable. The YAS-480 has an improved mechanism from B-C# ensuring the consistent closing of the low C# key and promoting a clear response from notes within the low range of the sax.
- It is made of metal and hand engraved
- Compatible with custom Z and EX Yamaha necks
- Instrument key Ee
- It has an enhanced neck
- Key guard
- Left-hand seesaw key
- It weighs 17.7 pounds, with a dimension of 29.2 × 9.6 × 15.2 inches
4) Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX Saxophone
Glory Professional Alto Eb Sax Saxophone is another quality brand that is cost effective. It is a good choice if you do not have enough money to buy a professional piece. Apart from being inexpensive, it is a good choice for beginner’s sax.
The model can be easily played by adults and children alike as it has accurate sound hole positions that allow players fingers to rest comfortably on them. It comes with its own case, mouthpieces, and neck-strap, cleaning gear, gloves and 11 reeds. Before delivery, Glory saxophones are tested by professionals to ensure they pass the quality check.
- It is gold in color and has engraved on it by hand a bell decoration.
- This model of glory sax that is Eb Alto Saxophone is E-flat and has High F#
- It is designed to have high-quality leather pads with metal resonators, key height screws that are adjustable and metal thumb rest.
- It comes with 11 pc reeds, 8 pc mouthpiece, neck strap, a pair of gloves, and a maintenance kit. The maintenance kit contains grease, a screwdriver, cleaning cloth and rod.
- The piece weighs about 10.2 pounds, with a dimension of 19.2 × 12.2 × 6.1 inches.
5) Jean Paul AS-400 Alto Saxophone
Jean Paul AS-400 Alto Saxophone is a sax from one of the leading and trusted brands for quality band instruments. Jean Paul is not just a trusted brand, it is known for meeting customer satisfaction. Their instruments are designed for use by beginners and intermediate players plus they are relatively affordable. This particular model inclusive.
The Jean Paul AS-400 sax produces a superior tone, warm sound, and well-rounded intonation when played making it a band favorite. It has even key action, placement and fluid key work that feels just right to users. The features of this sax are also strong points that make you appreciate its value. Jean Paul provides a 1-year warranty for parts and labor for their musical instruments.
- It is constructed with a lacquered beautiful yellow brass for its body.
- The alto saxophone is in Eb key
- It has even key action
- Has a robust contoured carrying case to ease transportation
- It comes with 1 Rico reed, a carrying case, and grease, a pair of gloves, cleaning cloth, swabs, and mouthpiece.
- This piece weighs 2 pounds, with a dimension of 7 × 26 ×12 inches.
- Model number AS-400
- It is designed for beginners and intermediate players.
6) Windsor MI-1005 Student Alto Saxophone
The Windsor MI-1005 student alto saxophone is a beautiful piece designed to produce beautiful sounds while giving a comfortable learning experience. It is an instrument carefully constructed for students, hobbyists, and enthusiasts.
The saxophone with its crafted brass body with lacquer finish, engraved bell complete with Pearloid keycaps and premium pads is really an elegant instrument. The keys operate with stainless steel springs, rods and pins to ensure durability. With its accurate tuning and intonation, it is so reliable that it tends to lend confidence to anyone who plays or practices with it.
This saxophone is indeed equipped with everything a beginner needs to practice and learn comfortably. More so as it is very affordable. It comes with a fully lined plush hard case for protecting your instrument while traveling, neck strap and a cleaning kit.
- A brass body complete with lacquer finish
- Pearloid keycaps, premium pads, and engraved bell.
- It has responsive Stainless steel springs
- Comes with plush hard, lightweight case, neck strap, grease and cleaning kit.
- It is suitable up to grade five
- It weighs 4.8 pounds, with a dimension of 26.8 × 3.9 × 7.9 inches
- Model number MI-1005
- Level beginners and intermediates
7) YAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto Saxophones
The Yamaha brand is known for constructions that suit beginners. With intonation that is perfect. The YAS-280 saxophones are an improvement to YAS-275. This model is particularly designed with the new sax player in mind. They are light weight as well as ergonomically shaped to enable easy hold and play.
The intonation meets the Yamaha known tone perfection, and as such it has a really great sound. Some of the enhancements based on the recommendations to the YAS-275 include a new more stable neck receiver and new low B-C# connection for better adjustment. There is also a neck receiver with a durable screw. The redesigned neck receiver promotes a quick response and allows for easy play while also increasing durability.
Further to the improvements made is a low B-C# connection. This ensures the consistent closing of the low C# key and also promotes a clear response from notes in the instruments low range. It has an adjustable thumb-rest which is a typical feature in Yamaha Saxophones. It is expensive but will give you the value of your money and so much confidence.
- Gold lacquered body and keys
- Key is low B-C#
- It comes with dual-use carrying case and cork grease.
- It weighs 0.2 ounces, with a dimension of 29.9 × 9.8 × 15 inches.
- Model is YAS-280
- Level student or beginner
8) ammoon Antique Finish Bend Eb E-flat Alto Saxophone
The Eb E-flat bend alto saxophone with high F# is a good choice if you are looking for a quality instrument but cannot afford the expensive brands. It is constructed with high-quality bronze and has an antique finish. It also has a special design on its surface with beautiful carved pattern. It’s leather pads, and bluing steel needle is water resistant. It is constructed to have comfortable key inlays which are made from abalone shells. Its tone is reached and plays Eb, F, and F#.
This sax is an ideal instrument for playing jazz and classical music. It comes with a lot of accessories giving you a complete set for so much less.
- Its body and keys made from quality bronze with antique finish
- Tone Eb, F, and F#
- It weighs 2.62kg/ 5.8lb, package weight is 4.02kg/ 8.9lb, with package dimension at 62 × 27 × 15cm/ 24.4 × 10.6 × 5.9 inches.
- The package includes 1 saxophone neck, mouth piece, mouth piece cap, carrying case, a brush of random color, sardine, 2 sax strap, 10 reeds, and 3 cleaning cloth, a pair of gloves, grease and user manual.
9) Roy Benson RBAS202K
The Roy Benson brand is known for its quality pieces. They use good metal and skilled construction for instruments that are affordable compared to some other known brands. The RBAS202K EB model is a student Alto Saxophone. It is a quality alto piece that plays great, is relatively cheap, properly built and easy to use. It is well suited for beginners with an average build.
It is constructed to enable good key action and blowing ease. For those who would want more silent action, there is a metal thumb rest and felt bumpers you could use.
- It has a brass body, Anthracite black lacquered with brass lacquered keys.
- It has high F# key
- C#- Bb connected table key
- Hardened Blue steel springs
- It comes with: a light weight rectangular case with a back pack assembly; a mouthpiece with its ligature and cap; a cloth for cleaning; and carrying strap.
- It weighs about 12.3 pounds, with a dimension of 26 × 11 × 16 inches
- It is made for a student’s proficiency level.
10) Etude EAS-100 Student Alto Saxophone
This is another student sax. It is made from fine metals to give it a superior production. The EAS-100Student Alto sax is ideal for those starting out in alto. The device is mechanically reliable if you are prone to lose your patience at the first sign of mishap. It comes ready to play out of the case. It also comes cheap and inspires pride in the young player.
The key work, pads, and adjustment all work together to make strong tones that are easily and consistently produced. The manufacturer’s advice that you can only get the best of this product when it is bought new and properly set up. They also believe that every young beginner should have the opportunity to take pride in their instrument. This is because pride inspires confidence to play. As such their musical instruments, this sax inclusive go at a low price.
- It is made of fine metal
- It is made for beginners, and as such is easy to play
- It has high-quality bell brace
- Allows for accurate adjustment
- This instrument key is Bb
- Mechanically reliable
- It comes with carrying case, mouthpiece, ligature and care products
- It weighs 9.8 pounds, with a dimension of 25 × 12 × 6.1 inches
- Model number EAS-100
11) Lazarro Professional Black-Gold Keys Eb E Flat Alto Saxophone
Lazarro saxophones are perfect for any occasion. They are acceptable for learning, bands, concerts, and orchestras. They are manufactured in Russia, but are made to follow US standards. They are a more colorful brand, having a wide variety of color selection. Despite the color and key variations, each saxophone has similar features, same sound, quality, mechanisms, and durability. If you are looking for a saxophone within students budget and also stylish, then you should go for Lazarro.
The EB E-Flat Alto Saxophone model has High F# and front F key. It is made from real Brass and has hand engraved bell decoration. It is of high-quality leather pads with metal resonators, including adjustable key height screws and metal thumb rest.
- It is made from brass with hand engraved bell decoration
- High F# and front F key
- High-quality leather pads with metal resonators
- It comes with 11 reefs, carrying case and many more extras.
- Also available in a variety of color
12) Selmer AS42 Professional Alto Saxophone
The Selmer AS42 is a professional Alto saxophone. It is born from the association between Selma USA and Henri Selmer Paris for an entry level professional sax. It features a genuine Henri Selmer Paris neck along with the exclusive AM42 Selmer Paris Mouthpiece. Making the only sax in its price range that can boast of a Henri Selmer Paris mouthpiece and neck.
It is a very responsive piece that plays wonderfully in jazz and classical performances. The AS42 is a remarkable piece to behold. It is silver with the beautifully engraved pattern, featuring a pretty cool case that makes it beautiful to behold and as well as play. It’s blue steel springs ensure a quick response. With fully ribbed construction and metal resonators, you are guaranteed to get a wide dynamic range and exceptional projection.
- Silver body with beautifully engraved pattern
- Henri Selmer Paris neck
- Henri Selmer Paris mouth piece
- Ribbed construction
- Blue steel springs
- High F# key
- Multiple adjusting screws
- Includes a beautiful carrying case
- Weighs 15 pounds, with a dimension of 10 × 14 × 29 inches
- Instrument key E-flat
13) Prelude Student Model AS711 Alto Saxophone
The Conn-Selmer AS711 is a Prelude student alto saxophone. The key design is made to allow correct and comfortable hand positioning. It has a yellow brass body which includes ribbed construction and a detachable reinforced body to bow connection, giving it added strength and durability. The Prelude series of entry-level instruments are built to stringent specifications and are at relatively affordable prices. They combine value and performance making them great choices for student bands.
The features of this sax include the left-hand table rocker mechanism with an articulated C# adjusting screw. It also has a High F# key carved mouthpiece with the cap. Along with a ligature, neck strap, engraved bell, dark lacquered body, and keys. Cork grease, as well as an adjustable metal right-hand rest for the thumb #2-1/2, Reed, child leather pads and metal resonators and a hard shell carrying case. It also includes necessary accessories and maintenance kit.
- Yellow brass body with clear lacquer finish
- Yellow brass key material
- Comes with hard carrying case, reed, mouthpiece, cork grease, ligature and neck strap, and maintenance kit.
- Weighs 3 pounds, with a dimension of 28 × 5 × 9 inches
- Instrument key is F
- Model number AS711
14) Hallelu HAS-200 Eb Alto Saxophone
The Hallelu HAS-200 Alto sax model is excellent for young beginners and students. The instrument key is Eb. The body is made of gold with a lacquer finish on the body and keys. It also has leather pad made with metal resonators. It produces a High F# key. It comes along with a pro carrying case, a double padded neck strap, a ligature, mouthpiece, and the mouthpiece cap.
It is a really good piece sold at an affordable price. There is 30 days unconditional cash back guarantee for each piece. It also has a 1-year warranty for the instrument.
- It has gold lacquered body and keys
- Leather pads
- Allows for adjustment to suit player
- It comes with a pro carrying case, ligature, mouth piece, mouth piece cap
- Double padded neck strap
- It weighs 15 pounds, with a dimension of 29 × 10 × 15 inches
- Instrument key Ee
- Model number HAS-200
15) Legacy AS750 Student/Intermediate Alto Saxophone
Legacy instruments are of good quality and give you value for your money. Legacy saxophones are crafted to specifications and are tested to ensure they meet quality standards. The legacy AS750 is a quality student Alto sax. It is a good instrument for beginners because it is easy to learn on and makes the practice less intimidating.
With great intonations and superior quality tone, you are sure to have a fun experience with this one. Even after several years of daily play, it does not deteriorate in sound or ease of play. It is also reasonably priced, being one of the best in its price range. It makes an excellent choice for aspiring musicians on a budget. The sax also comes with an unconditional cash back guarantee and a comprehensive warranty.
- Body is in clear lacquer
- It has good key spacing
- Reasonably priced
- Comes with hard shell dual use canvass carrying case, mouth piece, neck strap, mouth piece cap, and ligature.
- It weighs 7 pounds, with a dimension of 30 × 10 × 12 inches.
- Musical style for this model is Jazz
- Its instrument key of Bb, F
- Proficiency level beginners and intermediates
16) Merano WDF419 E Flat Blue Alto Saxophone
The merano brand makes all kind of musical instrument. There are instruments hand crafted such that each piece has its own minuscule difference. The brand caters to beginners, students, intermediate and even professionals. Merino is very much concerned about satisfying their clients and as such encourage them to share their personal experiences while using the product. They offer competitive pricing which is most times below wholesale price for some other brands.
The Merano WDF419 sax is a popular option for very cheap saxophones. It, however, has very thin brass, and you may not get good sound from it. It is okay for beginners.
- Key of E Flat
- The body is Lacquer plated
- It weighs 11 pounds, with a dimension of 27 × 13 × 6 inches
- It includes Hard shell velvet lined case, screw driver, nipper, a pair of gloves, soft cleaning cloth, free music stand and metro tuner.
17) Yamaha YAS-82ZII Custom Z Alto Saxophone
This is another great model from Yamaha. The YAS-82ZII Custom Z Alto Saxophone. Since the Custom Z was developed in 2003, it has continued to meet the expectations of the highest level musicians. With its technology, specification, and craftsmanship which has continued to improve, the Yamaha brand continues to be one associated with quality.
The Yamaha YAS-82ZII is preferred by the working professionals. It has amazing features including:
- A one piece bell with new engravings like the one on vintage sax. This feature drastically improves low-end response and offers the player a variety of tones.
- More elaborate with finer details, vintage engravings
- Domed metal resonators which offer an outstanding response and deliver a wider dynamic range
- The entire range of this piece has clearer pronunciation, making playing effortlessly
- A wide bore V1 neck which offers a free blowing feel and unimaginable flexibility.
- Improved Low B-C# connection which enables a proper seal for these notes thereby promoting clearer responses throughout the low range of the instrument.
- Lighter thumb hook and thumb rest base designs which produce better response as well as a more cohesive tone
- One adjustable Front F key
- Z style case which is slim and lightweight and provides excellent protection.
- A shoulder strap is also included.
- It weighs 14.9 pounds, with a dimension of 28 × 13.7 × 8.7 inches.
18) Professional Alto Eb Sax Saxophone
This model is a professional Alto Eb Sax. It has sturdy brass construction with a gold finish. It is light weight and easy to assemble. It comes in a case of great value. The case has two exterior pockets for storage. It also has a compartment for the neck and mouth piece. The sax comes with accessories including gloves, aglet, cork grease strap, and reeds. It has straps and zippers to be used as extra security measure while traveling
- It is made of solid brass with a gold finish
- Instrument key of F
- It includes a valuable carrying case which has different compartments and padded straps and zippers for security.
- It comes with gloves, aglet, cork grease strap, and reeds
- It weighs 10 pounds, with a dimension of 6 × 10 × 25 inches.
- Its proficiency level professional.
19) Kaizer Student Alto Saxophone
This Kaizer model is a student alto saxophone is one of the Kaizer 1000 series saxophone. This series introduces functionality, versatility and excellent playability to beginner students at reasonably affordable rates. The series through its design has eliminated the need for beginners to get new equipment at an intermediate level. This eliminates the need to change your instrument till you are a professional.
The Kaizer student 1000 sax series are designed to last, constructed of high quality solid yellow brass. Which enhances its time and durability Kaizer makes use of only original manufacturers to ensure they produce quality products. They are sensitive to touch and respond with fluidity. Also premium steel springs for fast action, professional leather pads for maximum intonation control and comfort. Standard Alto saxophone in the key of E flat (Eb). It is designed for beginners, school bands, and orchestra players. They also give a good warranty allowing you peace of mind.
- Made with high quality solid yellow brass
- Available in classic gold lacquered finish or silver and black platted.
- Lifetime warranty from manufacturer default
- Key E flat
- 45-day free trial and full money back if returned
- Fully loaded package including case, maintenance kit, gloves, complete mouthpiece and ligature set.
- It weighs 7 pounds, with a dimension of 23 × 5 × 8 inches.
20) Yanagisawa WO20 Series Alto Saxophone
The Yanagisawa WO20 Series Alto Saxophone is from the Elite Models which are instruments that represent the height of craftsmanship for true players. With a moderate level of resistance, an accomplished player is able to discover a truly effortless tone with depth. It allows for freedom of expression. Its proficiency level is professional. And it is made of bronze.
- It is bronze
- From the ‘Elite’ Model
- It weighs 17 pounds, with a dimension of 29 ×11 ×15 inches
- Model number AWO20
Choosing the Best Saxophone from the Best Saxophone Brands
You really should put a lot of thought into buying a musical instrument. Whether you intend using it for a few months or for a longer period of time. It is indeed a difficult task, but with the right guidance from a music teacher, professional, an instrument repairer and reviews online, you should be able to get a piece that suits your need.
3) Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone
- Quality Material
- Warm Tone
Finally, you do not need to spend so much, in recent times a few hundreds saxophone sounds as good as a $1000 piece. The factors to take into account in choosing apart from the include above intonation, tone consistency across the range, quality of materials used for construction and design. You also do not need so many accessories. The mouth piece, reeds, a comfortable neck strap and a maintenance kit, is all the accessory you need.