A Complete Guide To Finding The Best Baritone Saxophone: 2018 Edition

We’re not sure why, but a bari sax often gets overlooked as an option by someone new to wind instruments.

You’re here, though, which means you see the value the best baritone saxophone has to offer to any musician that dares to tackle its deep, almost growling tones. So, let’s join our forces to make sure you get the best possible experience out of your new favorite sax!

Be Honest About Your Skill Level

As you’ll see later on in the article, there’s a relatively substantial amount of money at play here. Buying a bari sax – let alone a high-quality one – is, by no means, a cheap business.

Why are we telling you this?

Because you need to be sure that playing a bari sax is something you genuinely want to pursue before you spend the big bucks on a new instrument. So, besides choosing a saxophone, there’s one more big decision ahead of you: picking a bari sax in accordance to the level you’re playing on– beginner or student, intermediate, or professional.

Should You Buy The Best Baritone Saxophone Online – And Why?

We get that you might be on the fence here. That’s an entirely reasonable doubt to have. However, there are some significant advantages to doing your shopping online, instead of a local music store – you just haven’t realized what they are yet.

First off, who doesn’t want to get the best possible deal? That’s why the first thing we want you to know is that prices online are comparatively lower than in any of the local music stores.

When you enter a music store, it may seem like they have a wide range of options, but keep in mind that’s nothing compared to shopping online – every brand, every model, and every saxophone accessories you can imagine, only a few clicks away.

Lastly, you’ll have a lot more time to make an informed decision in the comfort of your home – without a pushy salesperson doing everything they can to seal the deal right then and there.

Best Baritone Saxophone 101: Things To Look For

Let’s cut to the chase – how can you be sure you’ve picked the best baritone saxophone?

There are a few important details you should pay attention to if you want to weed out the not-so-great models from the great ones. Trust us; these tips will make narrowing your choice a lot easier!

Materials, Finishes, And All That Technical Stuff

Yellow brass with a lacquer finish is the golden standard for saxophones of all types. That doesn’t there aren’t any alternatives, though.

Copper, sterling silver, and bronze can be seen on bells and necks of the more expensive models, usually, those aimed at pro players.

On top of that, the finishes have become a matter of personal preference, too. The clear finishmight still be the most popular choice, but it’s far from being the only one – you can go with black lacquer or matte finish, or even nickel and silver plating, instead.

Before you decide to buy the best baritone saxophone based on looks alone, keep in mind that any changes to the standard materials and finishes do result in a shift in tone.

Lastly, pay attention to construction:

Ribbed 

By soldering the posts to flat pieces of brass before attaching them to the saxophone’s body, the horn is more likely to hold its adjustments for longer. Most intermediate to professional level saxophones will have this so-called ribbed construction.

Non-Ribbed

When the posts are attached to your horn’s body without the use of „ribs,“ as is the case with most beginner-level saxophones, it’s called a non-ribbed construction. The main advantage here is that they’re generally more lightweight and affordable, although it does sacrifice a bit of strength.

Optional Keys Are Always A Nice Bonus

The key layout is standardized, and there’s not much you can do about it. You can, on the other hand, look for models with a few additional keys. They’ll make it easier to play specific notes, as well as to reach the edges of your baritone saxophone range.

So, when you start browsing the market, remember to check for these, too:

  • High F# key
  • Front F key
  • Low A key
  • check
    Tilted spatulas

Weight Is An Important Factor, Too

Baritone saxophones are enormous – everyone who’s ever played one will tell you that. It is among the largest in the saxophone family, after all. But at what point does heavy become too heavy?

The weight of your bari sax can fall anywhere in the 12 to 25-pound range. There’s no right or wrong here – it’s all a matter of comfort. However, since you’ll be carrying all that weight on a neck strap (or, better yet, a harness), going with a lighter model does seem like a sensible thing to do.

Beware Of Additional Costs

We’d love nothing more than to tell you there won’t be any additional – and often hidden – costs waiting for you around the corner, but we can’t promise you that. What we can do is give you some advice on how to avoid them:

  • Choose a model that comes with a few of the essentials, like a mouthpiece, ligature, reeds, a cleaning kit, gloves, or at least a solid case.
  • Look for models that are sent to you ready-to-play, or at least play-tested before it left the manufacturer.

Best Baritone Saxophones On The Market: Our Reviews

1. Levante LV-BS4105 Eb Baritone Saxophone – Rooting For The Outsider

Levante LV-BS4105 Eb Baritone Saxophone with Soft Case

Being only a few bucks shy of the $2000 mark, this model falls into the less expensive category. We did warn you about baritone saxophones being expensive, didn’t we?

Anyway, first thing worth mentioning is that it comes ready to play. Not having to take it to a music repair shop right out of the box to get it fine-tuned is always a pleasant surprise. Also, it comes with all the essentials needed to play – and care for – your new baritone sax.

And can we take a moment to appreciate the case it comes in? It has a hard shell, is exceptionally sturdy, has a set of wheels to make transporting your bari sax a lot easier, and, to tell you the truth, it looks great, too!

However, you’ll have to spend a few extra bucks on a new mouthpiece – the one it comes with just doesn’t cut it. In all fairness, it might work for you, but only if you’re an absolute beginner.

If you enjoy rooting for the outsider, we encourage you to give this bari sax a chance. Sure, it’s not a popular choice, but as with anything else in life, the underdog might surprise you!

PROS

Brass body with a lacquer finish

Has a low A and high F# keys

Essential accessories included in the offer

Comes with a sturdy case with wheels

It’s reasonably priced

Cons

Replace the mouthpiece right away

Allora Paris Series Professional Baritone Saxophone AABS-801 - Lacquer

Being only a few bucks shy of the $2000 mark, this model falls into the less expensive category. We did warn you about baritone saxophones being expensive, didn’t we?

Anyway, first thing worth mentioning is that it comes ready to play. Not having to take it to a music repair shop right out of the box to get it fine-tuned is always a pleasant surprise. Also, it comes with all the essentials needed to play – and care for – your new baritone sax.

And can we take a moment to appreciate the case it comes in? It has a hard shell, is exceptionally sturdy, has a set of wheels to make transporting your bari sax a lot easier, and, to tell you the truth, it looks great, too!

However, you’ll have to spend a few extra bucks on a new mouthpiece – the one it comes with just doesn’t cut it. In all fairness, it might work for you, but only if you’re an absolute beginner.

If you enjoy rooting for the outsider, we encourage you to give this bari sax a chance. Sure, it’s not a popular choice, but as with anything else in life, the underdog might surprise you!

PROS

Option to choose between brass and
copper body

Hand-engraved details

It allows key adjustments

It has a low A key

Leather pads with metal resonators

You get pads made by Pisoni

Comes with an ABS molded case

Includes essential accessories

Cons

It’s fairly expensive

Cecilio BS-380L+92D 3 Series Lacquer Yellow Brass Intermediate Eb Baritone Saxophone with Tuner, Pro-Deluxe Case, and Mouthpiece

Somewhere in the middle of a vast price range lays this Cecilio baritone saxophone, hence the third place on our list.

The combination of a ribbed construction and a brass body seems well-made and adds a bit of weight (without making it too heavy) to the sax, resulting in a warmer sound, while the high F#, low A, and spatula keys make it more comfortable to play.

We also like the fact that it comes with all the essentials, from standard things like a mouthpiece, ligature, neck strap, gloves and a cleaning cloth, to a chromatic tuner with a metronome and a hard-shell case, which can be worn as a backpack, too.

What about the things we didn’t like?

Well, first off, you’re going to have to buy a new ligature, because this one doesn’t do its job.

Another thing we noticed – and this one could potentially cause damage to your sax – is that the low A key keeps hitting against the saxophone’s body. It may not be a huge issue at first, but looking at it long-term, it’s less than ideal.

PROS

Yellow brass body with ribbed construction

Metal tone boosters

Has a high F# and low A key

Tilted spatula keys

Comes with a variety of accessories

One-year warranty included in the offer

Cons

The ligature doesn’t grip

The low A key hits against the saxophone

4. Mendini by Cecilio MBS-30L+92D Intermediate E Flat Baritone Saxophone – Experiment With A Bari Without Committing To It

Mendini by Cecilio MBS-30L+92D Lacquer Yellow Brass Intermediate E Flat Baritone Saxophone with Tuner, Pro-Deluxe Case, Mouthpiece and Neck Strap

If the last one was too much for your wallet, we suggest a more affordable model by Cecilio – Mendini, to be exact.

Not only does it sound good and feels well-constructed thanks to a brass body and ribbed design, but it has improved ease of fingering, as well – the high F#, low A, and tilted spatula keys.

And you get everything you’ll need with it, too, including a hard-shell case and a string tuner with a metronome.

Remember those additional expenses we’ve talked about earlier? Well, here they are!

You’ll have to buy a new mouthpiece because the one you get doesn’t qualify as great – unless you’re an absolute beginner, that is. Moreover, you’ll have to take it to a music repair shop for a full tune-up, but since it’s so affordable, to begin with, even with these hidden costs, you’re still getting a good deal.

All in all, if you want to experience the deep sound, one only a bari can make but aren’t sure if they’re willing to stick with it for the long run, this is the best baritone saxophone for you.

PROS

Brass body with ribbed construction

It has low A, high F#, and tilted spatula keys

Includes vital accessories

The case is sturdy and lightweight

Comes with a one-year warranty

It’s affordable

Cons

It requires a full professional tune-up

You’ll need a new mouthpiece

5. Yamaha YBS-62 Professional Baritone Saxophone – Everything A Modern Baritone Should Be

Yamaha YBS-62 Professional Baritone Saxophone

If you’re looking for the best baritone saxophone, and Yamaha YBS-62 didn’t end up on your favorites list, we say it’s time for a new one.

The overall vibe you’ll get is that of grandeur. From the gold lacquer finish and engravings on the bell to the mother of pearl key inlays, everything on this saxophone works to create a feeling of quality and elegance. We’d go as far as to say that this baritone is the perfect example of what a modern saxophone should be. It’s a bold thing to say, but it’s far from being an overstatement.

Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice it has a few of the additional keys we’ve mentioned – high F#, front F, low A, and tilted spatula keys are all there, plus a very comfortable, albeit plastic, thumb rest.

However, this Yamaha model does come with a particular price tag. We thought we should warn you about it, especially if you’re on a budget.

But if you’re at a level where you’re ready to spend over $7000 to get the best baritone saxophone, who are we to stop you?

PROS

One-piece annealed bell with engravings

Adjustable thumb rest

Mother of pearl key inlays

Has a low A, front F, and high F# keys

Comes with a hard case

It’s affordable

Has an overall luxurious feel to it

Limited five-year warranty included

Cons

It’s quite expensive

Best Baritone Saxophone: Final Verdict

So, which one of these is the best baritone saxophone?

Well, it seems like the Allora Paris Series Professional Baritone Saxophone AABS-801 takes the cake this time.

In all fairness, though, all of our top five favorites are great. The problem is that the bari sax is usually the last one in the family to receive upgrades and improvements, so there’s a bit of a „make do and mend“ mentality revolving around them.

However, that also means that all of these models have a tried-and-tested construction, so whichever you buy, we’re sure you’ll be happy with your purchase!