Best Saxophone for Beginners Review – Top Rated Models in 2019 with Buying Guide
If you’ve decided to try a new musical instrument and you’re on the lookout for the best saxophone for beginners, you might find this paragraph to be of help. Based on the examination of some of the most appreciated items for sale and reviews of saxophones for beginners, our team has concluded that the Jean Paul USA AS-400 is the first option to consider. Offering a superior tone, a warm sound, and a well-rounded intonation, the instrument is ideal for beginners and intermediate students. The yellow brass body construction, forged keys, and the strong bell brace ensure both durability and ease of use. In case this item is unavailable, a reliable alternative is the Yamaha YSS-475II.
Our Top Choice
The Jean Paul saxophone is in the key of Eb, and it is an exquisite work of art. Its mouthpiece cap is nickel-plated, and it comes with nylon resonators. The body itself has a beautiful yellow brass construction with a Lacquer finish. Moreover, to preserve it, the seller offers a robust contoured carrying case for storage purposes.
Keep in mind that the model might be too big for children that are under ten years.
Most people appreciate it for its impressive lifespan and for the clarity of the sound it provides. It is also easy to maintain, and it preserves its shine for long periods of time since it is corrosion-free.
One of the best parts of the model is its adjustable thumb rest that makes playing it a pleasant experience. Furthermore, it comes equipped with lighter, more comfortable keys, an advanced body taper, and a lower vent tube. The item facilitates a correct technique and increases the playing comfort.
People wished the product came with more accessories in the box.
The body taper on this item improves intonation and provides optimal airflow, while the lower vent tube reduces the noise levels on lower key action. It has a sharp look, and it is a highly durable device.
This golden beauty will steal your heart at first glance. It has a sleek and attractive body made from high-quality materials. The unit's key design allows for a correct and comfortable posture, and the yellow brass is praised for its strength and durability. Additionally, the prelude bore design enhances projection.
As with other models, this one was criticized by some experts for its price.
Designed as a premium option for beginners, the unit doesn't compromise on performance. You also get a few accessories with your purchase, and also the guarantee that you invested in a timeless piece.
5 Best Saxophones for Beginners (Reviews) in 2019
Finding the best beginner saxophone might be quite a challenge since there are many good saxophones for beginners available on the market. To help you find the right saxophone for beginners, we have compiled a list of product reviews based on their most important features and customer feedback.
1. Jean Paul Student Saxophone with Case
If you’ve decided to embark on a new sonic journey and you’re interested in what your creativity and saxophone can lead to, the first model to consider is the AS-400 from Jean Paul USA. Designed for beginners and intermediate students alike, this instrument features a body and materials that will help you enjoy a warm sound, a superior tone, and a well-rounded intonation.
The item was built to last and keep up with extended sessions. Therefore, it sports a yellow brass construction, forged keys, as well as a strong bell brace. Moreover, the tapered pivot keys will add ease of use to all that.
What’s more, the saxophone comes with all the accessories you need to start playing right away. It is paired with a durable carrying case for convenient storage and transportation, a mouthpiece, a cap, a ligature, several professional Rico reeds, a polishing cloth, cork grease, and a cleaner. The neck strap will further boost your comfort when playing.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($499.99)
2. Yamaha YSS-475II Intermediate Soprano Saxophone
Sporting design features that will enhance the player’s comfort when performing and ensure durability, this Yamaha saxophone is also worth considering when on the lookout for a quality musical instrument of this type. The YSS-475II comes with lighter, more comfortable keys as well as with a custom style Bb spatula to facilitate the correct technique and keep the musician comfortable.
The unit boasts high F# key to ensure more alternate fingerings and a thumb rest that can be adjusted in order to allow a comfortable hand and fingering position. The key post rib plate offers improved protection, which further translates into increased durability.
Thanks to the body taper, both intonation and air flow are optimized. Moreover, the lower vent tube promises to reduce noise when the lower vent key is in action. The instrument won’t just provide great sound and last but will also add to your performance thanks to its stylish design and laser engraving.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($2399)
3. Selmer TS711 Prelude Tenor Saxophone Outfit
Combining a stylish and thoughtful design to provide the player with comfort and quality materials for extended life, the TS711 is another option you might want to check before you hit the button order. Designed with beginners in mind, the unit has a body that will help novices explore this new realm with ease and comfort as their partners.
The unit sports a key design that ensures a correct and comfortable technique as well as a bore design that enhances projection. The yellow brass body comes with a ribbed construction and a body-to-bow connection that is detachable, both of them enhancing durability and adding strength.
Standing for value and performance, the entry-level instrument is paired with the accessories you need to start playing right away. You will thus get a molded mouthpiece with cap and ligature, and maintenance and care instructions. You also get a carrying case for ease of transportation.
Buy from Amazon.com
4. Yamaha YAS-280 Alto Saxophone
Another item that shouldn’t go unchecked when looking for a beginner saxophone is this model from Yamaha. The unit was developed with beginners in mind and, thus, features a relatively lightweight design and an ergonomic shape that make it easy to hold and play.
Committed to delivering a perfect intonation and a great sound, the saxophone was built to offer novices optimum support and help them learn and be creative at the same time. Based on the popular YAS-275, the YAS-280 comes with a more stable neck receiver that doesn’t just promise to provide ease of play and a quick response but also enhanced durability.
The unit also sports a new low B-C# connection to allow better adjustment. The instrument was designed in a way that ensures a clear response from the notes in the low range of the saxophone. The thumb rest is adjustable in order to provide the player with maximum comfort.
Buy from Amazon.com for ($1147)
5. Yamaha YBS-52 Intermediate Baritone Saxophone
Featuring only high-quality materials, a stylish design, and promising to deliver a great sonic experience, the YBS-52 from Yamaha is another saxophone model you might want to check before making your decision. Sporting a clear lacquered brass body, stainless steel springs, and drawn tone holes with leather pad, this item was built to impress, perform, and last.
The keys were designed in such a way to provide the player with ease of use. The instrument is not only durable but also a stylish explorer of sonic experiences. It promises to deliver a full sound and a solid intonation, which makes it a favorite among band directors and ideal for optimal school band performance.
The instrument comes with a durable case for easy storage and transportation, the Yamaha 5C baritone saxophone mouthpiece as well as care products. The item measures 48 x 19 x 13 inches and weighs 43.6 pounds.
Buy from Amazon.com
Yearly Guide & Report
No matter how exciting playing a new instrument might be, the entire process of getting the right one for your level might prove to be a time-consuming and challenging task, especially if you have little knowledge regarding that specific item. It’s no exception when it comes to saxophones for beginners.
The many options available on today’s market might render the whole shopping experience daunting, but just like when you’re looking for some other instrument, bet it a new banjo, a snare drum for your set, or a professionally-built cello, there are some features that will guide you and ease your experience. We have highlighted them below to simplify your decision-making process.
What type of saxophone to choose?
The saxophone family includes several types of saxophones that will provide players with different pitches and sounds, and will help them conjure different musical moods ranging from restful to raucous. Choosing a saxophone type depends on the player’s experience level and the genre it will be used for.
The alto saxophone is the most popular choice for young players and beginners of all ages. Tuned to Eb, higher than a tenor saxophone, this type comes with a compact key layout that makes it easier for beginners to hone their skills. Moreover, the skills you get to develop on an alto saxophone can easily be transferable to other types of saxophones.
You will also find bass and baritone saxophones yet such types are the lowest-pitched instruments in this family and usually used by professional players. Then, there are the soprano saxophones that, although affordable, are smaller, higher-pitched than an alto saxophone, and, thus, a bit more difficult for a beginner.
Another good option for the beginning band student is the tenor saxophone, which is a bit bigger than its alto cousin. However, most saxophones include the level of skills required in their description and are often clearly divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced models.
Just like when you’re on the lookout for an upright piano or a new quality clarinet for beginners, you need to pay attention to the body construction. Saxophones come with a ribbed or non-ribbed body, most of them being ribbed, though. This regards the way the knobs that hold the keys attach to the body.
The used ribs will strengthen the bond between them and the body. This means the instrument can then be kept in adjustment for longer. Now, many student saxophones are not ribbed and, thus, lighter. This makes it easier to hold and handle them.
Even if your budget only allows you to go for cheap saxophones for beginners, it doesn’t mean you should compromise on quality. The market offers models that are reasonably priced yet feature quality materials so you can enjoy both durability and great sounds.
Most saxophones feature yellow brass bodies. Some models have their bells, bodies, or/and necks made of sterling silver, copper, or bronze. Such alternate materials usually darken the tone, add to the final price of the instrument, and require great attention when handling them. They are recommended for professional players.
As far as the finish is concerned, the standard one for such instruments is a clear lacquer. However, there are various alternate finishes available nowadays. You will find models with colored lacquers, vintage finishes, or nickel-plated finishes. Many music stores now offer painted instruments. Such models require special care, though.
Another item you need to consider when getting a saxophone is the reed you are going to use. A reed is vital if you want to get any sound out of your saxophone. Still, the many reed brands and strengths available these days might make it difficult for a beginner to choose the right ones.
There is no exact recipe when it comes to choosing the right reed. One reed may be perfect for a player and inappropriate for another. Therefore, when starting out, it is best to try out reeds from various brands and of different thicknesses to see which one feels most comfortable for general playing. The reed is extremely important since it triggers the vibration of sound within the saxophone.
Necks and additional keys
There are various tricks, if we may call them so, to get the best out of your saxophone. If you find a nice beginner saxophone yet you’re just one step away from getting that sound you actually want, you might want to consider getting a new neck. The right neck can alter both responsiveness and sound. Such an upgrade can make a great difference.
Then, you will find many modern saxophones that come with additional keys. For instance, some of them come with a high F# key even if it is possible to play the note without it. Other models offer extra keys for improved clarity. You might want to check this aspect as well before placing your order.
Accessories and other things to consider
Today’s market offers various products that include all the accessories you need to start playing right away and take good care of your instrument. If you do opt for a saxophone that does not come with such accessories, you need to buy them, too.
You will have to consider the mouthpiece you intend to use. Beginners usually start on a hard rubber mouthpiece that has a low baffle and a small tip opening. Then, try out some ligatures and go for the one that will hold the reed in place without compressing it at the sides.
Among the things you should also buy before placing your order, there are the ones regarding your saxophone care. Therefore, you might want to buy a proper cleaning cloth, a cleaning wand, and cork grease. Such accessories will help you keep your instrument clean. Doing so after every jam session or on a regular basis will help you extend its lifetime.
Also, a neck strap will make playing even more comfortable as saxes are rather cumbersome to work the keys and to hold up.
Frequently asked questions about beginner saxophones
What is the difference between beginner and intermediate saxophones?
Besides the different prices saxophones sell for, there are various things that are also different when it comes to the instrument itself. Student saxes are usually lighter because of the way they were constructed. They are generally built with single post construction.
Then, the beginner saxophones have a slightly smaller bore that allows students to get a greater resistance to play against. The student horn is a bit thinner than the one on intermediate and professional saxes. The keys are also designed to fit the hands of young players and they are through a casting process.
What type of saxophone is best for a beginner?
Almost all beginners start on an Alto saxophone given its features. This type is relatively small and light, which counts a lot when you’re a young player. It is easier to hold up and to play the keys. Moreover, the alto saxophone requires a smaller amount of “puff” and makes it easier for novices to play in tune.
Then, you can also choose the saxophone based on how successfully it will take you to your goal and not on how easy the path is. No matter the type you go for, you will still have some challenging moments. Ask what your first goal is and you will have the answer.
How much should a beginner saxophone cost?
Even if you need a beginner saxophone, getting a cheap one is not an inspired option since it will probably need to be changed soon or require upgrades or repairs. However, a quality new alto saxophone for beginners is approximately $1,000. A tenor saxophone for students should cost about $1,200.
Brand student saxes might even reach $5,000 yet the quality of the sound and the durability they provide players with are surely greater. If you consider buying a used saxophone, you might also take into account the cost of the various upgrades or repairs needed and add them to the final cost.
How to learn saxophone for beginners?
A few basic steps to take in order to learn to play the alto saxophone include getting into the right position. Adopt a sitting position that allows you to sit up straight and relax your shoulders and neck. Make a “C” shape with your hands and then place the right thumb under the lower thumb rest of your instrument and the left thumb on the upper thumb rest.
Hold the sax on the right side against your right leg, make sure you can place the mouthpiece comfortably, and blow air into it without pressing any key at first. When you produce a consistent sound, you can also press some keys.