If you’re looking to buy a saxophone the options can seem endless. What type of saxophone do you buy? Alto? Tenor? Baritone? Soprano? How much is too much to spend on your first instrument? You probably don’t want to spend thousands of dollars on your first saxophone. Don’t worry. You don’t have to.
Types of Saxophones – The four most commonly used saxophones are:
- Alto Sax
- Tenor Sax
- Baritone Sax
- Soprano Sax
Most student’s start with the alto saxophone. The alto is the second smallest of the four most commonly used saxophones. It takes less air than the other saxophones. It makes starting out easy.
Although it is a little bigger than the alto, some beginners start with the tenor. I wouldn’t suggest starting on the soprano or the baritone though. They are used less often, and they are more difficult to play initially.
If this is your first saxophone, please don’t go out and spend thousands on an intermediate or pro horn. Student saxophones are made for… Guess who. Students! Not only are student saxophones much less expensive, but some of the more difficult notes are made easier to play. If you find the right kind of instrument you can save a lot of hassle for your beginning student.
All saxophones will come with a mouthpiece and ligature. The mouthpiece is just like the name implies, the piece where you put your mouth. Believe it or not, the mouthpiece is one of the most important parts of your saxophone. Professional saxophonists spend hundreds, and sometimes thousands, on their mouthpieces. The mouthpiece that comes with your saxophone is not the best. Upgrading is usually a plus. But for a beginner, don’t worry about replacing the mouthpiece too soon.
A reed is thin piece of material that vibrates to make a sound. The reed is attached to the mouthpiece and needs replacing often. A box of reeds will often (but not always) come with the saxophone. A box of reeds only cost around $20.
The ligature is what holds the reed to the mouthpiece. The ligature should also come with the saxophone. Ligatures can also effect the sound of the instrument. But beginners shouldn’t get held up about how great their ligature is.
A student saxophone shouldn’t be too expensive. Once you get the basics down, spend some money and get a really great horn. But until then, a student horn will get you started in the right direction.