Category Archives for Saxophone

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 finish might 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
  • 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.

Ranking

Product

Rating

Buy In

Allora Paris

5/5

2

Yamaha YBS-62

5/5

3

Levante LV-BS4105

5/5

4

Cecilio BS-380L+92D

4/5

5

Mendini by Cecilio

4/5

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

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

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 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

  • Option to choose between brass and copper body
  • 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

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

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 EASY, 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

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

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

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

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!

Finding the Best Tenor Saxophone in 2018 – What You Need to Know

Once you start out playing saxophone, you’ll probably start by learning how to play alto sax. However, there are other types of saxophones out there that offer a different sax-playing experience and are worth trying out.

One of the most prominent out there is the tenor saxophone, and if you don’t know a lot about it, you’re right where you need to be. In this article, you’ll find out some info on what the tenor sax isas well as how to get the best tenor saxophone available.

What is the Tenor Saxophone?

The tenor saxophone is one of the ORIGINAL 14 models invented by Adolf Sax in 1840 and patented in 1846. It is one of the most popular models out of the series, along with the alto, soprano and the baritone saxophones. It is also the second largest, right after the baritone sax.

Tenor saxophones are tuned in the B♭ key, and the sound is brighter when compared to the other types due to a lower pitch. It can easily blend with the sound of alto, soprano and baritone saxophones and it almost never sounds out of place. This is the reason it’s often used in ensembles and many different music genres.

Visually, it is distinguished from other types not only by its size but also by the shape of its neck. There’s a small bend near the mouthpiece, something that the alto and baritone saxophones don’t have.

It is the best second choice for beginners once they get a handle on how to play the alto sax. For taller people, it’s usually the first choice when they begin starting to learn how to play the sax since it’s easier to hold and blow into due to its size. If you find the alto sax to be too small for you, pick up a tenor.

Overall, the tenor saxophone is one of the most popular sax types out there, and every saxophonist should eventually learn how to play it. 

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Buying a Tenor Saxophone

If this is your first time buying a tenor saxophone, you might not know what to look for. You might find that it is not unlike buying an alto sax, but there are some KEY DIFFERENCES between the two that you need to consider when purchasing. Here, you’ll get all the info you need to get the best tenor sax for you.

What is Your Skill Level?

Not all saxophones are made for players of the same skill level. Even if you’re an intermediate player, you might have no idea what to do if you get a professional-level saxophone in your hands. You need to know what your skill level is and choose accordingly.

Beginner

Beginner or student saxophones are made to be as forgiving as possible. They’re cheap and easy to use, the keys are accessible and easy to hit, and they’re made with an emphasis on accuracy. They’ll sound decent even if you’re not that good. However, they are easy to break and unsuitable for more refined and advanced techniques.

Intermediate 

Intermediate saxophones are there for you once you outgrow everything that the beginner sax can offer you. They are smoother, more responsive and produce sound more similar to a professional sax. They are good for beginners looking to take the next step or professionals that are picking up a type of sax they never played before. 

Professional

Professional saxophones are the real deal. They are made to look good, sound great and provide a wide range of advanced options. You need to shell out a lot of money for them, but you get the best of the best. If you’re a pro or looking to become one, this is what you need to get to make the most out of your sax-playing skills.

What Brand Should You Get?

There are many saxophone brands out there right now, too many to count. Some do stand out over others as better but, for the most part, the choice of brand comes down to your taste and needs.

Yamaha is among the most popular brands out there today. They used to have quite shoddy workmanship, but they have improved since. Today, they offer consistently good and sturdy saxophones that won’t fail you, but won’t stand out either.

Selmer is another well-respected brand, but they have fallen from grace in recent years. They’re still a good brand, but their products seem overpriced in today’s market.

Windsor is a long-standing brand that makes some of the best saxophones around. However, their products are also incredibly expensive – justifiably so. If you’re a pro looking for the best of the best and have money to spare, Windsor is the ideal choice.

Kaizer is a highly affordable brand that makes great saxophones. They’re probably one of the best brands for beginners or pros who are on a tight budget and players looking to go pro.

Martin is an older brand that still makes good saxophones, but they have fallen by the wayside a bit. They’re still worth checking out.

Cecilo saxophones are on the cheaper side, so they are a good choice for beginners and for a disposable sax, but most of their products are not great.

Cannonball is an overlooked company making saxophones that are exceptionally easy to tune and come at a great price.

Those are just a few, but you get the gist of it. Choose what you think fits you the best.

Does it Have the Right Construction for You?

Choosing a saxophone that’s solidly built and fits your playing style is a MUST. Here are a few things you need to look out for in different parts of the sax. 

The Body

Most modern saxes are ribbed, but non-ribbed ones still exist and if your hands are aching with a typical sax, look for one that’s not ribbed. Beginner models are usually not ribbed, and non-ribbed models are less durable, so watch out.

The Keys

Do you need additional keys, or can you play some notes even without them? If you’re skilled enough, extra keys will just be extra clutter instead of being helpful. However, if you do need the help, a high F# key or a high G key might be invaluable. Watch out for saxes with alternate key positions as well. 

The Neck

The shape of the neck can be instrumental in playing. If you can’t seem to be able to comfortably play your sax a longer or a shorter neck could fix the issue. Luckily, necks can be replaced in case you buy a sax with a neck that doesn’t fit you. 

Is it Made Out of the Right Materials?

Saxophones are primarily made out of brass, a proven, staple material. However, some parts aren’t made out of brass, and there are saxes that use ZERO brass.

Bronze, copper or sterling and nickel silver in the construction, especially around the bell, darken the tone of the sax. They also make it more expensive and more difficult to maintain though. They can also make the instrument much heavier, so make sure you’re comfortable with that.

The 5 Best Tenor Saxophones on the Market

Ranking

Product

Rating

Buy In

Jean-Paul USA TS-400 

4.5/5

2

Selmer STS280 La Voix II

4.5/5

3

Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L+92D

4/5

4

Glory Black/Gold B Flat

4/5

5

Legacy TS750

4/5

Jean-Paul USA TS-400 – Durable and Powerful at the Same Time

Here we have an instrument that’s great for beginners and intermediate players alike. It is easy to use but highly functional at the same time. The sound is great and clear even if you’re just starting out.

The construction is more than solid, with power forged keys and a sturdy bell brace. It’s a highly durable product – the only weak point is the neck, which might bend or dent if you’re not careful.

It comes with a pack of reeds, a wonderful black case, cork grease, a pair of gloves, a neck strap and a cleaning cloth. It’s everything you need to get started.

If you want some non-standard keys, this saxophone doesn’t have it, but you won’t exactly need them if you’re a beginner.

Pros

  • It is durable and reliable
  • Includes a lot of good accessories
  • Lightweight, easy to use and responsive

Cons

  • The neck can dent easily
  • It lacks any extra keys

Selmer STS280 La Voix II – High Quality Vintage Powerhouse

This is a vintage-style saxophone made out of high-quality brass and constructed to be as sturdy as possible. All the parts are well-made and put together with obvious care. It shows in the sound as well – deep, clear and strong with no air leaks. It’s good on the eyes as well.

It also comes with plenty of great extras, the best of which is the soft but sturdy case that’s easy to carry around.

It does have a few problems, though. The included mouthpiece doesn’t work for band play, and the keypads can fall off. It’s nothing major, but it’s still worth mentioning. Overall, it’s just a great sax!

Pros

  • It looks beautiful
  • Vintage-style saxophone with a clear and deep sound
  • Durable and made out of high-quality materials
  • Comes with a host of great extras

Cons

  • You might have to use a different mouthpiece and ligature for band play
  • The keypads can get loose and come off
  • The price is steep

Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L+92D – A Great Saxophone at an Amazing Price

This is a great-looking sax for a great price, and it also performs well – however, it does have a few shortcomings.

While it looks and feels good, it is less sturdy than the average sax. It does come with a 1-year warranty, but you might want to consider something else if you want a foolproof product.

As far as playing goes, it performs exceptionally well, and it does have a few nice additions, like the high F# key for example. It makes things easier for beginners and pros alike. Getting started will be a bit difficult though since it’s hard to tune and doesn’t come with instructions on how to do it. Experienced players will know how to do it.

This saxophone also comes with a bundle of great extras. It includes a great case for your sax, mouthpiece, neck strap, a box of ten 2.5-size wooden reeds, a cleaning cloth and rod as well as a pair of playing gloves. In addition to all that, you also get a string tuner with a metronome.

Pros

  • Affordable price for the package
  • Has a high F# key
  • Lots of great extras
  • 1-year warranty

Cons

  • Less durable than average
  • Difficult to tune, no instructions

Glory Black/Gold B Flat Tenor Saxophone – The Best Starter Saxophone for Anyone

If you’re looking for a good beginner to intermediate saxophone for a good price with a lot of extras, this is the product for you. It sounds great and has a high F# key. It also has adjustable key height, allowing it to be played by kids and adults alike.

In the package, you get a lot of stuff, including gloves, black case, grease, screwdriver, cleaning rod, ten starter reeds and more.

Despite being made of cheaper materials, this saxophone looks impressive and akin to a professional one. Sadly, its sturdiness doesn’t equal its beauty. It’s easy to break, and it often gets damaged during shipping.

Overall, it’s a good beginner sax and comes with everything you need, but don’t expect it to last for too long.

Pros

  • Comes at a great price
  • Lots of extras in the package
  • It looks impressive
  • Key height can be adjusted

Cons

  • Flimsy and often damaged during shipping
  • The mouthpiece it comes with is poor

Legacy TS750 – Easy to Play and Hard to Break

This is one of the best intermediate saxophones that you can get for less than 500 dollars. It’s not perfect, but it is more than worth considering.

For starters, it plays incredibly well, and it’s easy to play, featuring pro pads, a high F# key, and a front F key. This is what makes it good for beginners as well, and you can easily start learning with this saxophone.

It is good for more experienced players as well, and it will last for a long time due to sturdy construction. Even if it gets damaged, it has a good warranty.

It comes with tons of extras, including a case, a neck strap, ligature and a cleaning kit. Sadly, the extras are of poor quality, especially the case.

The only other major downside is the octave key. It does malfunction at times and might break, which is a serious issue. Luckily, it doesn’t happen too often but test it while the warranty lasts. 

Pros

  • It’s made out of durable materials
  • Comes with a great warranty
  • Easy to pick up and play

Cons

  • The case that comes with it is poor
  • The octave key can malfunction

How You Can Find the Best Soprano Saxophone – The Top 5 in 2018

Soprano saxophones are a strange and strangely popular instrument. Most people wouldn’t think of them as saxophones at first glance, but they’re still one of the most popular saxophones around. Most famous musicians own one and for a good reason – it’s an incredibly versatile instrument.

This article will serve as your guide through the world of soprano saxophones – what they are, how to find the right one for you and reviews of the best soprano saxophones on the market.

What is a Soprano Saxophone?

The soprano saxophone is one of the four most popular saxophone types – the others being the alto, tenor and baritone saxophones. They are pitched in Bb, higher than all of those saxes, usually at least one half of an octave above the alto. Soprano saxes pitched in C also exist, but they are extremely rare. Soprano saxes pitched in Eb are less rare but still uncommon.

They’re also visually distinct from all of those saxophone types. They are usually completely straight or only slightly curved at the end, more resembling a clarinet or an oboe than a saxophone.

But, that’s just the technical stuff! The soprano saxophone is more than that. It’s the vibrant and unique voice in a jazz ensemble or a defiant standout in a military band. It’s a unique instrument that doesn’t conform to all the usual ideas of what a saxophone should be. It is a great addition to jazz, R&B, pop, blues or even classical music due to its incredible versatility.

It’s quite a unique instrument and a joy to play.

Is a Soprano Saxophone Difficult to Play?

Most people will tell you that you need to be more skilled if you want to play the soprano sax – that it’s more difficult than playing other saxophones. This isn’t necessarily true, and it’s a common misconception.

The reason people will tell you that it’s more difficult to play is that most people try to approach playing the soprano sax like playing any other sax. That’s where the trouble begins, you see.

Most sax players also treat the soprano as their secondary instrument, so they put less effort into trying to play it. Because of this, they just try to APPLY their alto and tenor techniques to it and fail to play it well. With a proper approach, dedication and regular practice, the soprano sax should not be more difficult to play than most other saxophones.

If you do want to just use it as a secondary instrument, though, get a soprano similar to the bore you usually play.

How Experienced are You?

This is the FIRST question you need to ask yourself before even considering the purchase of a soprano sax.

Even though the soprano sax is not as hard to play as you might have heard, it’s still not the ideal choice for a beginner due to the amount of air pressure you need to exert. Luckily, there are some beginner-type soprano saxophones available.

On the other hand, if you’re experienced in playing only one type of saxophone, you might also have trouble playing the soprano sax. It requires a different approach, and if you’re too used to playing your alto or tenor, you will struggle. In this case, buying a soprano sax that is similar to the instrument you use most often will help you get over the hurdle.

However, if you have experience playing multiple instruments, especially other woodwinds, you will have a much better time with the soprano sax. In that case, you can probably get ANY type of soprano saxophone available, and you’ll find your way.

Which Brand Should You Get?

There are a ton of brands out there making soprano saxophones, and there are a lot of differences between them. Some are clearly better than others, but for the most part, the choice will come down to what you like the best and value the most.

Ranking

Product

Rating

Buy In

Yamaha YSS-475II

4/5

2

Selmer SS600 Soprano

4/5

3

Rampone Cazzani

4/5

4

Yanigasawa

4/5

5

Nuvo N510JBBK

4/5

Yamaha

is a well-known brand in the music world, and that’s not undeserved – they make some great instruments at decent prices. Their soprano saxophones are good-looking and sound good, though you should steer clear of their “student” sopranos. Their professional offerings are top-notch though.

Selmer

is a respected and highly regarded saxophone manufacturer with a long history of making great horns. Recently they haven’t been as great as they used to be – they are quite inconsistent these days. Their sopranos are inconsistent as well, but their Mark VI line seems to be regarded for its dynamic range, big sound, and ease of play.

Rampone Cazzani

is an Italian manufacturer that is gaining in popularity due to their high-quality hand-crafted products. Their sopranos have a slightly curved bell and a nickel silver finish, giving them a unique look. They play as well as the more famous saxes if not better, especially in the lower registers.

Yanigasawa

saxophones are not exceptional, but they’re reliable. Well-constructed, affordable and easy to play is the name of the game with this manufacturer, and they deliver.

Nuvo

is a brand making some exceptional beginner soprano saxes with a curved bell, so if you like that sort of thing this is the brand to check out. They’re similar enough to altos to help you practice.

There’s more, but you get the gist of things by now. Do as much research as you can on the brand before choosing to buy one of their saxes.

Is it Well-Constructed?

Soprano saxophones are much more difficult to make than other types of saxophones. Making a small saxophone with good intonation is a difficult task. Building a soprano saxophone to be cheap is much harder than with alto or tenor, and it makes the saxophone much worse.

So, if you get a soprano sax that is not well-made and durable, you’ll be in for a hard time. It will play badly regardless of your skill, and it will quickly get even worse. This is another reason why the “soprano saxes are incredibly hard to play” myth exists.

Once you buy a soprano sax, make sure you take it to a local shop to get checked out and tweaked. If it’s simply too poorly constructed, they will tell you, and you can probably still return it.

How Much Money Can You Spend?

Finally, there’s the question of your budget. Everything else you consider will ultimately depend on how much money you can spare. However, even if you’re tight on money, you shouldn’t get a cheap plastic or tin instrument. While they may cost you less, they will be almost useless.

Check out as many opinions as you can and try to get something that’s affordable, yet well-made. You might have trouble finding such an instrument, but the extra effort will pay off in the end.

The 5 Best Soprano Saxophones Money can Buy

Yamaha YSS-475II – Professional Look and Sound for an Intermediate Price

If you’re an intermediate player looking to take the next step and go pro, this is a great instrument to get. It doesn’t cost as much as the higher-end instruments but it works great and it will fit your skill level.

Among its features is an adjustable thumb rest, a great boon for anyone with smaller and larger hands. The high F# key is a nice touch as is the custom Bb spatula.

It’s also light and comfortable to use with keys that are easy on both the eyes and the fingers. The sound is also exceptional, especially in the lower registers. It’s well-made and tuned almost to perfection.

The only downsides are in the price – it’s high, and the sax doesn’t come with any significant extras. Still, it’s worth the price since it’s such a high-quality product.

Pros

  • Comfortable and easy to play
  • Features an adjustable thumb rest
  • Great intonation and tuning
  • Professional, quality construction ensures durability

Cons

  • Comes with no extras
  • The price is high

Selmer SS600 – Well-tuned and Made to Last

This is near-professional-level soprano sax with a nice look and a booming sound. It has a high F# key and is quite easy to play; the fingering is exceptionally smooth. The tuning is top-notch as well, something that’s difficult to find with a soprano sax.

The good tuning probably owes a lot to the superb construction of this instrument. It is made with care, and it will last for a long time.

While it does come with a mouthpiece, you will probably want to replace it and the ligature before you start playing. You will also need some new reeds since the ones you get are not great.

Overall, it’s a decent instrument, much better than most of the same price range and it will be a joy to play.

Pros

  • Beautiful and easy to play
  • It is well-tuned for a soprano
  • Durable and tight construction.

Cons

  • The mouthpiece and ligature need replacing
  • Doesn’t come with a set of reeds

Merano GWD500GD – A Reliable Tool for Beginners

This is a B flat soprano with exceptional gold lacquer and superb construction. It is made to be as durable as possible, and it will last for years and years. It also comes with a great velvet case that can be used for other instruments as well. You also get a nipper, a pair of gloves, a screwdriver and cleaning cloth with it. Not a bad deal for the price.

The main issue with it is that it DOESN’T play as well as you’d expect. It’s a decent instrument, but the intonation on some notes is off. Bb and G# sound especially off and there’s not much you can do about it. It’s difficult to tune as well, and most shops won’t do it for you.

It’s a good learning soprano sax, but you will need something better if you’re a pro.

Pros

  • Durable and well-made
  • Affordable price with a lot of extras
  • Great for beginners

Cons

  • Difficult to tune properly
  • The intonation of some notes is off

Antigua Winds X/P SS1202LQ – Exceptionally Adaptable Instrument

Here’s a soprano made for beginners that’s a bit more expensive than is usual. However, for that price, you get a good-looking instrument that’s exceptionally well-made. It’s quite a sturdy piece of equipment, and everything is in the right place.

You get a few good extras with it – a good, hard case to carry it in as well as two necks. The option between a bent and a straight neck is not something most soprano saxes offer, and it’s a nice touch.

The rest of the extras are not as great. The reeds, the mouthpiece, and the ligature, are out of wack, and they won’t fit well. You will need to replace them.

Besides that, this instrument also has a problem with the octave key not working right and some higher and lower notes being out of tune.

Pros

  • You get both a straight and a bent neck included
  • Good for beginners and easy to play
  • Durable and made to last

Cons

  • The mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds you get with it are poor and don’t fit
  • The octave key tends to malfunction
  • Some notes are out of tune

Nuvo N510JBBK – A Great Learning Tool that Costs Next to Nothing

If you’re looking for the best of the cheapest, this is the soprano sax you should be checking out. Its price is ridiculously low – less than 100 dollars to be exact. Still, it offers a good starting point for people looking to get into playing sopranos, especially if they’re used to playing altos or tenors.

It is not made out of the best materials – the body is mostly polymer, and the bell is made out of silicone. It is waterproof, but it probably won’t last for long regardless.

It’s also a bit different than regular soprano saxes, being pitched in C like all Nuvo instruments – so be prepared for that. The chromatic range goes all the way from C to G. The fingerings are also different than indicated – they’re not traditional fingering patterns.

Still, it’s a great beginner sax and comes with everything you need to start, including two synthetic reeds, a case, and a neck strap.

Pros

  • Incredibly low price affordable to anyone
  • Great for beginners and children
  • Completely waterproof
  • Comes with a decent amount of extras

Cons

  • Some fingerings are different than indicated
  • It won’t last for a long time

The Best Soprano Saxophone

All of these sopranos are in this article for a good reason – they’re all great in their own way and which one you pick will mostly come down to personal preference and skill level. However, if you need to have one highlighted as the best, it would be the Yamaha YSS-475II.

This soprano sax has practically everything you need if you’re an intermediate player or a new pro. It performs great, it’s consistent, there are no faults in the construction, and it has some great extra features. It doesn’t come with any extra equipment, but that’s okay, and it’s well worth the high price.

That’s everything for today – if you have questions, just sound off in the comments. Until next time, keep playing good music!

The Guide To Choosing The Best Alto Saxophone 2018

Whether you’re already a sax player, or you’re looking to become one, buying a new instrument – especially one as complex as a saxophone – is never a task that you should take lightly.   

Fortunately for you, we have the experience needed to recognize the best alto saxophone on the market, and we’re willing to share it, so stick around for some excellent tips on how to pick the right one!

New Or Used?

There’s nothing more exciting for an aspiring sax player than buying a new horn. However, with all the excitement that goes into choosing the best alto saxophone, it’s easy to forget that buying a used one is an entirely legitimate option, too.

If you do decide to go down that route, at least MAKE SURE you do extensive research beforehand. Otherwise, you might end up spending way too much on getting it to play in top condition.

Another common question that might arise here is whether you should rent or buy a saxophone. Our answer remains unchanged:

It depends on your level of commitment.

In the long run, though, it’s always cheaper to buy than to rent. Seemingly low rental fees can quickly add up to a number much higher than what you would’ve initially spent if you bought an alto saxophone, instead.

And with the help of the following guide, you can be sure you won’t regret your purchase any time soon!

Things You Should Consider When Buying The Best Alto Saxophone

Buying the best alto saxophone online can be a tricky business, and the fact that a horn is a pretty complex instrument doesn’t help, either. That’s why it’s vital to do some research on the subject and have at least a basic grasp on what it is you’re looking for, even if you’re entirely new to playing a sax.

Here are some things you need to pay attention to if you want to be sure you’re getting the best alto saxophone for the money.

You Have More Than One Option When It Comes To Materials And Finishes

Yes, saxophones are recognizable for their yellow brass bodies, but if yellow isn’t exactly your style, don’t worry. Now, more than ever, manufacturers are trying their best to meet the aesthetic needs of players.

For instance, it’s not unusual for a saxophone to have the standard brass body, but with a twist – the bell or the neck can be made from a different material, such as copper, bronze, or sterling silver.

Furthermore, clear lacquer was once considered a standard for saxophones, but these days, you can choose among a variety of finishing touches, that NOT ONLY affect the looks but the performance of your instrument, too:

Silver Plating

When it’s time to kick things up a notch, silver plating is the way to go. Adding more weight and hardness results in clearer projection, and much higher volume. Make yourself heard!

Nickel Plating

If you want your instrument’s sound to stand out, we recommend you choose nickel plating. After all, it’s not the go-to choice of jazz players for no reason!

Copper And Bronze

Not only will these metals add some weight and fullness to your saxophone, but their softness will produce richer and darker tones, as well.

Black Lacquer Or Matte Finish

There’s more than just the visual effect at play here – these finishes are more substantial, which reflects on the sound, as well.

Pay Attention To Key Layout

You’re probably thinking:

Isn’t there a standardized key layout for all saxophones?


You’re right, there is, and it’s called the basic key stack. However, some models will have additional keys, as well, with the purpose of helping you play specific notes more efficiently, especially at the edges of the saxophone’s range.


Here are some optional keys you might find on newer models:

  • High F# key
  • Fonrt F key
  • Low A key
  • C# resonance key
  • Tilted spatulas

Does It Come With All The Essential Accessories?

Beginners can easily be tricked into buying a bunch of unnecessary stuff, but the complete opposite could happen, as well – you might buy a saxophone that doesn’t come with some essential accessories that are needed to get you started.

Luckily for you, though, you have us in your corner.

Mouthpiece

The good news is that most beginners to intermediate range saxophones do come with a mouthpiece. The bad news is that most of them are of poor quality, and you should replace them. But it’s one less thing to worry about for now.

Reeds

Make sure the set includes some reeds, too, because you won’t be able to do much with your saxophone without it – except looking at it, that is.

Case

Most saxophones will come with a case, too. It may not be of the best quality, but something is always better than nothing, right?

Cleaning Kit

Regular maintenance and cleaning is key to having a long-lasting best alto saxophone, which is why you need to make sure it comes with at least a basic cleaning kit.

How Much Should You Spend?

When it comes to setting a budget limit, we have great news for you, especially if you’re starting out! Even though you might expect the difference between cheaper and more expensive instruments to be huge, the truth is, the gap has been slowly narrowing down over the recent years.

That means you won’t have to spend a small fortune on the best alto saxophone – you’ll be able to find some pretty decent instruments for less than $500.

Our Reviews Of The Top 5 Best Alto Saxophones In 2018

When it comes to setting a budget limit, we have great news for you, especially if you’re starting out! Even though you might expect the difference between cheaper and more expensive instruments to be huge, the truth is, the gap has been slowly narrowing down over the recent years.

 

That means you won’t have to spend a small fortune on the best alto saxophone – you’ll be able to find some pretty decent instruments for less than $500.

Ranking

Product

Rating

Buy In

 Jean Paul USA AS-400

4.5/5

2

Yamaha YAS-23

4.5/5

3

Mendini by Cecilio

4/5

4

Glory Professional

4/5

5

Lazarro 360-BN

4/5

Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone – Solid Construction For Aggressive Play Styles

If you’re a fan of the standard yellow brass body with a transparent lacquer finish, you’ll fall in love with this Jean Paul model, for sure!

Two things you can expect from the instrument itself are durability and smooth key action. Most student-aimed music instruments are built to withstand heavy and not-so-careful use. The power-forged keys and the sturdy bell brace only further reinforced our opinion on the matter.

It comes with several much-needed accessories, such as a mouthpiece, one reed, cork grease, cleaning gear, as well as gloves.

And while we loved the versatility of the case it comes with – it can be carried by its handle or in the form of a backpack – the seams and the overall feel didn’t seem very durable to us.

Also, it would be better if you would go ahead and buy a mouthpiece, ligature, and reeds separately. We appreciate the fact that you get them, but if we’re honest, they’re not very impressive quality-wise. Plus, you only get one reed – and you know you’re going to need more than that, anyway.

Pros

  • Solid construction
  • Power-forged keys
  • Comes with a carrying case
  • Includes several accessories
  • Ideal for beginners and intermediate-level students
  • Reasonably priced
  • Outstanding customer service

Cons

  • You’ll have to upgrade the mouthpiece and ligature
  • The carrying case seems weak
  • You only get one reed

No round-up of the best alto saxophones could be complete without a Yamaha model, right?

Now, the reason why we picked this exact model for our list is the price. Everyone knows how expensive Yamaha saxophones can get, but this one sits well below the $1000 mark.

The yellow brass body paired with nickel plated keys looks amazing and has a solid feel to it – something you don’t see very often in cheaper models. The keys (including the additional front F key) are all power-forged, too, so you know durability won’t be an issue, even with more aggressive play styles.

Most importantly, though, the saxophone comes with optimum intonation (no adjustments needed), which helps a lot if you’re a beginner or a student trying to establish a baseline.

We didn’t experience any of the common issues we’ve had with other alto saxophones on this list, which wasn’t that much of a surprise – there’s a reason why Yamaha is a popular choice among saxophone players.

If you’re willing to spend a bit more to get the best alto saxophone and look like a pro, this is the one to keep an eye on, for sure.

Pros

  • Yellow brass body and nickel plated keys
  • Optimum intonation is ideal for setting a baseline
  • Has a front F key
  • The keys feel durable and allow smooth action
  • Includes essential accessories
  • Comes with a sturdy plywood case

Cons

  • None so far

The first candidate for the title of the best alto saxophone is a model by Mendini – a budget-friendly, ribbed, brass-body horn made with beginners in mind.

Here’s what made it one of our favorites:

Not only do you get a saxophone, but all the essential accessories, too – and then some more! The package includes a mouthpiece, ten reeds, a neck strap, hard-shell case, cleaning accessories, and, of course, white gloves.

That’s not all, though – you’ll also get a chromatic tuner with a metronome, as well as a pocket-size saxophone booklet with all the information you might need as a beginner.

We did notice it had poor initial adjustments, but with a little fine-tuning, we were able to get a pretty decent sounding alto saxophone. If you’re not sure where to start, we’d recommend going to a music shop and asking them for help.

There’s one issue that’s not so easily fixable, though. Some of the keys tend to stick – the A key gave us the most trouble in that regard – and we couldn’t help but wonder if this would only get worse with time.

Pros

  • Ribbed brass construction
  • The keys have faux pearl inlays
  • It has a high F# key
  • Comes with a wide range of accessories
  • The saxophone comes in a hard case
  • Budget-friendly

Cons

  • It has poor initial adjustments
  • Some keys tend to stick

We’re pretty sure this Glory model is as budget-friendly as they go. Specific features, like the leather pads with metal resonators, a comfortable metal thumb rest, and the adjustable key height screws, show that, although cheap, this saxophone means business.

You’ll get all the essentials, too – from eight mouthpieces, 11 reeds, and a neck strap, to gloves and a cleaning kit.

At this price point, it’s an offer that’s hard to beat.

Most importantly, it’s shipped ready to play, meaning you can start working on releasing your inner jazz player as soon as you receive your alto saxophone.

It’s far from perfect, though. For instance, the mouthpiece it comes with is not of high quality, and you’ll probably have to replace it soon. And since we’re on the subject of additional expenses, the neck strap lacks any padding, so we’d recommend getting one from a different manufacturer, as well.

Overall, we’re under the impression that the saxophone was put together without paying much attention to craftsmanship. That said, it’s incredibly cheap, and as such probably best suited for beginners and kids that are figuring out if playing the sax is something they want to pursue.

Pros

  • Shipped ready to play
  • Adjustable key height screws
  • Has a high F# key
  • Comes with a variety of accessories
  • Includes a hard-shell case
  • Extremely budget-friendly

Cons

  • You should replace the mouthpiece
  • The neck strap lacks padding
Lazarro Professional Black – Gold Keys Eb E Flat Alto Saxophone Sax – If You Want Something Colorful

We have to admit that it was the various colorful finishes that first caught our eye, but we soon discovered that there was more to this Lazarro alto saxophone than just a pretty “body.”

So, if you’re not a huge fan of yellow brass, Lazarro has you covered. You can choose whichever color you like, without sacrificing something in return – regardless of the finish, there’s a consistency in durability and sound quality.

The key layout is pretty standard, although it does include two of the additional keys we’ve talked about – the high F# and the front F key. Furthermore, it has adjustable key height screws and high-quality leather pads with metal resonators.

You’ll find everything you need in the package, too – a mouthpiece, reeds, ligature, neck strap, a reliable cleaning kit, and much more.

Now, the accessories included in the package might not be of the highest quality, but you can expect that from saxophones in this price range. We’re yet to find an affordable horn that doesn’t require any additional expenses.

The saxophone sounds excellent, though – and that’s what counts!

Pros

  • It has a high F# and front F key
  • Adjustable key height screws
  • It comes with all the essential accessories
  • The package includes a case
  • Fairly affordable

Cons

  • The accessories it comes with are not of the highest quality

Which One’s The Best Alto Saxophone?

It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but after careful deliberation, we’ve decided that the Yamaha YAS-23 Standard Eb Alto Saxophone is the best alto saxophone on the market in 2018. It has some outstanding features that every sax player will appreciate, without being overpriced – you can’t ask for more than that!

If you need some additional peace of mind, you can listen to these instruments play on YouTube, too. And, of course, if you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment below!