The saxophone market is awash with instruments marketed as the best saxophones for beginners. But when shopping for a beginner-friendly saxophone, you should always look beyond the marketing clichés. For a sax to qualify as beginner-friendly, it must, above all, be user-friendly.
Alto saxophones are largely considered ideal for beginner learners. In this article, we shall review some of the market leaders under that category. These beginner saxophone reviews shall also include some tenor and soprano saxes recommended for rookie learners. Read on for a more insightful review.
- Here’s the top 8 best beginner saxophones 2020:
- Best Saxophone Brands for Beginners
- Types of Saxophones
- How Much Does a Saxophone Cost?
Here’s the top 8 best beginner saxophones 2020:
As a rookie learner, one of your biggest concerns is handling a saxophone. Therefore, you require an instrument with controls that are easy to handle. Well, that’s precisely what you get with the Yamaha YAS-280.
This alto saxophone features a neck strap that makes it remarkably easy to use during playtime. Along with that, its keys are ergonomic, thereby reducing finger fatigue. With its gold lacquer finish, the manufacturer appears to have considered aesthetics too.
As a beginner student, you can perfect your playing skills by experimenting with various musical renditions. Thankfully, Yamaha made that possible by incorporating the F# and the Front F auxiliary keys into this alto saxophone.
When you buy the instrument you get a carrying case that contains the following accessories: a cleaning swab, a 4C mouthpiece and ligature, a neck strap, a Rico reed 2.5 strength and a cork grease.
- Ease of control for beginner learners.
- A gold lacquer finish adds to its visual appeal.
- Some users have complained about the strength of the basic neck strap that you get in the package.
Yamaha YAS-280 isn’t just beginner-friendly in terms of ease of handling. It also enables learners to use it in different musical performances. That goes a long way in honing their playing skills.
Selmer SAS280 La Voix II
One outstanding feature of the best beginner saxophones is the level of comfort they offer to the player. Comfort to your finger translates to reduced finger fatigue and extended playtime.
With its fluid keyword, playing the Selmer SAS280 La Voix II is always a comfortable and relaxing experience. Besides offering support to your fingers, the inclusion of professional key styling makes for accurate fingering.
Not only that, but this alto saxophone also delivers serenading sounds and excellent intonation. Therefore, you can consider playing it in various musical performances. Be it in solo repertoires or concert bands; you can trust the Selmer SAS280 La Voix II to deliver.
The saxophone’s traditional-sized bell makes it easy for the learner to transition effortlessly from one musical performance to another. The pitch is also within the desirable range, oscillating from the low to the altissimo.
- Comes with comfortable and accurate fingering features.
- Impressive sounds and amazing intonation.
- Price is somewhat exorbitant.
It’s undeniably true that the Selmer SAS280 La Voix II might set you back a few dollars. Fortunately, you truly get what you pay for. From perfect sound and pitch control to accurate fingering functionalities, this saxophone has it all.
The one conspicuous feature about Jean-Paul TS-400 is the pivot keys that make for smooth and effortless playability. For your finger flexibility, the keys of this tenor saxophone are power-forged and tapered.
Weighing in at 2.2 pounds, this is one of the lightest saxophones you’ll ever get. Its contoured carrying case and well-padded straps make it easy to carry around. The padded straps also offer balance when playing the saxophone.
The Jean-Paul TS-400 has even key action that accounts for its excellent intonation. For aesthetic appeal, Jean-Paul designed this tenor sax in a brass body and lacquer finish. Plus, the bell patterns are engraved, giving you an extra layer of elegance and longevity.
The package includes: a cleaning cloth and swabs, a mouthpiece, a Rico reed and carrying case.
- Easy to carry and use, thanks to the contoured carrying case and padded straps.
- Outstanding intonation and consistent response.
- It comes with a hefty price tag.
- The carrying case isn’t strong enough for everyday use.
Jean-Paul TS-400 is one of the lightest saxophones out there. Therefore, you can easily carry it from home to school. With a fluid tone and incredible intonation, you can see why this tenor saxophone is among the most recommended saxes for beginners.
The Jupiter JTS710GNA features free-blowing functionalities that are specifically intended for beginner learners. And as you advance, you will love its flexible tone production. The product is one of the best student saxophones that offers playability and a balance of scale in one package.
Its lacquered brass body and nickel-plated keys not only make it a visual spectacle, but also add to its longevity. The brass alloy is reasonably resistant to scratching and other mild mechanical shocks. Therefore, you won’t be heading to the saxophone shop anytime soon.
For maximum comfort and flexibility during playtime, the manufacturer contoured the sax’s left-hand table keys using Bb rocker arm. Weighing a paltry 8 pounds, carrying this instrument from home to school is a hassle-free experience. When you buy the Jupiter JTS710GNA, you also get a wooden frame case, a ligature, and a mouthpiece.
- Vibrant sounds.
- Lightweight for ease of carriage.
- Comes with insufficient reeds.
The Jupiter JTS710GNA is a saxophone built for strength and durability. And while it lasts, you will always enjoy its rich sounds and fantastic tone quality. The price may be on the higher side, but you clearly get value for your money.
Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L
Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L has a large signature bore, ribbon shape. That construction makes it easy to grip and control during usage. Still on comfort, the product keys feature contour designs with mother-of-pearl inlays. Its pads are designed with high-quality leather for maximum comfort and durability.
Mendini incorporated a Pro-deluxe material on the saxophone’s shell case and neck straps. This adds to its overall longevity.
Like many other saxes we’ve reviewed here, Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L also comes with visual allure. A gold lacquer finish gives it a regal appearance. Besides gold, you can also get this saxophone in various other finishes such as purple, green, red, nickel, black nickel, and blue.
The package comes with numerous accessories including: a pair of white gloves, cleaning clothes and Cecilio 92-D chromatic/string tuner.
- Comes in multiple color finishes.
- Highly durable.
- One-year warranty for all manufacturer’s defects.
- The saxophone and package come with many small parts. Those can be easily lost or could be a choking hazard to your kids.
The durability of the instrument and comfort to the player seem to be the most significant inspirations behind this saxophone. Not to mention, the saxophone delivers a well-balanced intonation for beginner learners. To top it all, Mendini included a 1-year warranty in case the product develops manufacturer defects.
Merano B Flat
Merano B Flat is another beginner-friendly saxophone that takes durability and aesthetic appeal to a whole new level. The inclusion of a hard-shell velvet-lined case protects the instrument from mechanical shocks and adds to its overall strength. A gold lacquer finish gives this sax its visual allure.
Merano B Flat weighs in at only 7.9 pounds, making it easy to carry, use and store. Intonation is flexible, and the tone is balanced, making it an excellent fit for rookie players. With its tonal flexibility, you can easily experiment with music across various ranges.
The parts included in the package include a pair of gloves, a piece of cleaning cloth, a nipper, and an extra screwdriver. Although this product comes with quite a few accessories, the set-up process is fast and easy.
- An ultra-strong case for extended life.
- Bang for the money.
- There’s an additional cost in buying extra reeds.
As we already mentioned, Merano B Flat is the go-to saxophone if you’re looking for a combination of visual appeal and longevity. It’s also reasonably easy to set up, despite coming with numerous accessories.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Kaizer ASAX-1000 is the inclusion of professional leatherette pads. Not only does this offer extended durability, but it also controls intonation and pitch.
Another feature that makes it a good saxophone for beginners is the solid-yellow brass, which adds to its overall tonality. The sax boasts high-end premium steel springs that make for comfortable and relaxing playtime.
You also get a 45-days free trial. On the off chance that it doesn’t meet your expectations, you can always return it for a full refund. Besides, there’s a lifetime warranty that covers all manufacturer defects.
The package includes lots of accessories such as molded case, a pair of gloves, a cleaning rod, a piece of polishing cloth, a lubricant for the mouthpiece and a ligature set.
With all these inclusions, this saxophone is among the most affordable out there.
- Comes with a free trial and lifetime warranty.
- Relatively affordable considering its high-end specs.
- The case isn’t waterproof, so not ideal for use outdoor use.
The Kaizer ASAX-1000 is quite easy to use, hence a favorite among beginner learners. It also features an extended trial period and a lifetime warranty, in case it develops manufacturer faults. The sax is fairly-priced, which makes it a great bargain for budget buyers.
Ammoon B Flat
Ammoon B Flat sports a brass alloy body. Besides ensuring durability, the brass alloy also gives this saxophone its elegant appeal. In addition to the brass alloy body, this sax also boasts an ultra-modern surface design that’s complete with delicate carve patterns. This creative design not only adds to its appearance but also enhances grip when the instrument is in use.
For enhanced comfort when fingering, Ammoon incorporated natural shell key-inlays. Moisture-resistant leather pads make the saxophone ideal for use both indoors and outdoors.
The manufacturer has also taken care of the tone and intonation. However, you will need to adjust the sax before it can play in tune.
The package includes the following: a carrying case, a mouthpiece, a mouthpiece cap, a piece of cleaning cloth, a pair of gloves, straps, two belts, a cleaning rod and two sax necks.
Ammoon B Flat weighs a paltry 7.01 pounds, making it yet another lightweight beginner saxophone.
- Relatively affordable.
- There’s an extra cost in buying extra reeds.
Ammoon B Flat is a special fit for budget buyers. Thankfully, the manufacturer didn’t sacrifice quality for affordability. The saxophone is water-resistant, which makes it easy to play under any weather condition. Comfort to your hands, visual allure, and durability are also some notable specs of this saxophone.
Best Saxophone Brands for Beginners
Yamaha is a brand that offers value and affordability in one package. Having been in operation for more than a century now, Yamaha enjoys one of the longest histories in the manufacture of musical instruments.
Over the years, the company has keenly listened to its clients. The feedback collected is then collated and harnessed into designing highly-functional saxophones. Yamaha saxophones are trademarked by their clear response and user-friendly specs. Plus, you get a host of accessories in each package.
Mendini by Cecilio
Another notable brand in the manufacture of beginner-friendly saxophones is Mendini by Cecilio. Mendini saxophones are characterized by their user-friendly yet intuitive designs. Most saxophones by this brand feature hard cases, which is instrumental for the durability of the product.
The company is also famous for its budget-friendly offers. Their packages come with all the essentials, from tuning accessories to cleaning equipment.
Selmer, also known as Henri Selmer Paris, is a company that also boasts a reasonably long duration in the industry. Though most of their saxophones are designed for professional players, they have something for beginner and intermediate learners as well.
Selmer saxophones have perfectionism written all over them. The company believes that every sax they release into the market should have the best sound and design quality you can find. They also believe in continuous upgrades, just so their clients can enjoy their much-desired musical experience.
Selmer saxophones are relatively expensive. However, their high-end specs ensure you get value for your money each time.
This company mostly targets intermediates or beginners that are in their late stages of skill level. One thing that gives Jupiter saxophones an edge over products from other brands is the ease with which the learner can transition between different skill levels.
As a beginner, you can upgrade to the intermediate level by leveraging the features in your saxophone. Such a seamless transition saves the money you’d otherwise spend on a new intermediate saxophone. Needless to mention, products by Jupiter also sport user-friendly controls, making them ideal for inexperienced learners.
Ammoon saxophones boast beginner-friendly designs, with exquisite finishes for an extra layer of elegance. These saxophones are also fairly durable, as most feature leather pads and abalone shell key inlays. Additionally, Ammon is the go-to saxophone brand if you’re looking for budget-friendly beginner saxes.
The company offers consistent upgrades on their instruments while keeping the design simple and the sound quality exceptional. With lots of accessories, cleaning, maintenance, and tuning an Ammoon saxophone is a hassle-free experience.
Types of Saxophones
The alto saxophone resembles a J shape and plays in the E flat key. It’s the most recommended saxophone for beginner learners. Its medium size makes it easy to handle. Alto saxes are also built with smaller mouthpieces, making them all the more ideal for rookie players.
Tenor saxophones play in the B flat key and are widely used in modern jazz and rock bands. They’re also the most popular. Tenor saxophones are larger than their alto counterparts. They feature large mouthpieces as well as long rods. These saxes are recommended for seasoned players.
Soprano saxophones are either straight or curved. They’re also recommended explicitly for professional players. Like tenor saxophones, soprano saxophones also play in the B flat key and are the highest pitched of all the saxophones out there.
The baritone saxophone plays in the E flat key. However, there’s an extension that allows you to play it in a low A. These saxophones are the largest. Therefore, you may require a harness to help support their bulky weight. They’re popular in jazz solos.
How Much Does a Saxophone Cost?
There’s no fixed price for a saxophone, as that depends on a variety of factors. When shopping for a saxophone, you should begin by understanding the factors that ultimately determine the cost of the instrument.
Ideally, these are elements that directly relate to the product. Examples include design, sound quality, aesthetic appeal, possibility of upgrades and availability of accessories.
In terms of design, saxophones that are ingeniously designed tend to cost higher than those that feature simple constructions. However, when choosing a sax based on design, do not fall for the sheer stylishness of the instrument. Instead, assess how the structure impacts your comfortability during playtime.
Saxophones also differ in the quality of the sounds they produce. For instance, a saxophone intended for a jazz performance should come with higher audio quality than those used in solo repertoires. Therefore, you can also expect their prices to be higher.
Visual appeal is a subjective quality. Nonetheless, it impacts the price of a saxophone. While some people may find a curved design more appealing, others would prefer upright constructions.
However, the material used makes all the difference in terms of saxophone price. For instance, gold finishes are costlier than silver or brass finishes. That’s regardless of whether the buyer finds brass or silver more appealing than gold.
Certain saxophones allow you to upgrade them to a higher skill level automatically. For instance, there are beginner saxophones that enable the player to seamlessly transition to the intermediate level without necessarily having to buy a new product. That way, you enjoy maximum utility out of one product. Because of these upgrades, such saxophones are relatively pricy.
Along with the possibility of upgrades comes the availability of accessories. The more the accessories offered, the higher the cost is likely to be. And the logic here is quite simple. If a manufacturer provides extra reeds, they automatically eliminate the need to buy these reeds separately. Therefore, they may choose to factor in the cost of these extra reeds in the overall price of their saxophones.
Other factors that determine the cost of a saxophone may not even be related to the actual product. For instance, high-end brands like Yamaha and Selmer will likely cost you more than brands like Ammoon. Also, there can be a huge price variation depending on whether you’re buying a brand new or a used saxophone.
All in all, a top-quality alto saxophone from a reputed brand will likely cost you around $1000, while a similar tenor saxophone costs approximately $1200. But as we mentioned, the price of a saxophone isn’t a cut and dried issue. The conventional wisdom is to shop directly from the manufacturer’s website or recommended retail outlets. That way, you get great deals in terms of reduced markups.
Choosing a good saxophone for students goes beyond looking at the designs. As a learner, you also require an instrument that comes with controls that are easy to use. Additionally, comfort to your hands is of paramount importance, as that reduces finger fatigue and improves accuracy. Above all, you deserve a saxophone with impressive sound quality. The tone should be well-balanced, and the intonation flexible enough.
To get it right, ensure you have a checklist before hitting the stores. Thankfully, we have reviewed some of the best-selling saxophones for beginners, so that you can have a head start on your next shopping experience.