31 May Which saxophone should I choose when I start playing?
by Simone Saviane
The importance of choosing the right instrument for first-time players
Welcome and thank you for reading this article. I wrote it to help people like you who would like to start playing this wonderful instrument, the saxophone, but do not know what to buy first.
It is never easy to choose your first sax, because there are a lot of brands, a lot of models and the price can vary a lot – just look on the Internet and you’ll find instruments from a few hundreds to thousands of dollars, new or second-hand – so it is difficult to buy one that completely satisfies your needs.
No doubt, the alto sax is the most popular among teachers, because it is versatile (you can play different genres and styles) and because its mastery will allow you to easily switch to other saxophones, such as soprano and tenor. In my opinion, spending $450 for a new alto sax is not worthy, because you might buy a low-quality instrument, which will probably wear out when studying on a daily basis. Therefore, I suggest that your first instrument be a good SECOND-HAND one. Appearance is important, but new and shiny does not always mean quality: so do not fall for aesthetics!
A good second-hand instrument guarantees:
– better materials (better performance and intonation);
– repairability: it is often difficult to repair a new low-cost instrument, sometimes the cost of fixing it is not worthy and sometimes it is difficult to find the pieces;
– the opportunity to re-sell it without depreciation, if well kept.
I suggest that you try your instrument before buying it: rely on a saxophone player or a repairman when you buy your first sax!
Sax for children
I’m often asked for advice by parents who want to buy an instrument to their children. Oftentimes the first thing they ask is that it should possibly be the lowest price. What I ask first is their children’s age and build: the saxophone (tenor and baritone, in particular) can be a heavy instrument, hard to hold, so you have to carefully consider who is going to play it.
There is a large family of saxophones, the most frequently used are in the following picture:
The most recommended for an average-build, 8-year-old child is the alto sax. There is also an instrument fit for slighter children: the curved soprano, which has the same shape as the alto sax, but is smaller and lighter.
To distribute the weight properly and not cause harm to shoulders, hands and neck, there is a very useful accessory: the harness.
There are various types (man or woman) and sizes (adult or child).
Sax for students at music schools and conservatories
For teenagers who want to continue studying music, you should think about a more expensive instrument, which will last in time. In this case as well I would suggest a second-hand saxophone, keeping in mind that the price for a (second-hand) professional or semi-professional instrument starts from $1000. My favourite are:
– Grassi (made in Italy) – models: Prestige and Professional 2000;
– Yamaha 475, 675 and more recent models;
– Yanagisawa series 800 and 900.
Brand-new instruments are obviously more expensive, but it is worth buying them compared to lower-quality ones, if you can afford the price.
My favourite, which I recommend, are:
– Selmer 80 Series, 2 Series;
– Yamaha 62 and 675 Series, Custom 875 and Z;
– Gold lacquered Yanagisawa from 900 Series on.
These instruments cost more than $4000, but they are easy to be re-sold because greatly sought-after and they are depreciated depending on how they have been kept.
I hope you found useful advice from the information I provided and if you would like to start studying with me or need more advice, leave a comment or go to CONTACT and leave me a message. I will reply asap!
Thank you for reading me!
Goodbye and on with Great Music!