The saxophone, also known as the “king of jazz”, is an instrument that has certainly revolutionized the world of music, even if, at first, it did not receive as much credit as it should have.
The saxophone, a wind musical instrument, was invented in 1840 by the Belgian Adolphe Sax and was initially used more for the interpretation of military music. Its name comes from the name of the inventor – “sax” – to which was added the Greek suffix “phonos” – “sound” / “voice”.
Despite the fact that the sound of the saxophone, at first, was somewhat challenged by some musicians, great composers of classical music, such as Rossini, Berlioz, Bizet, Debussy integrated it into the orchestra.
Maurice Ravel, in 1928, in his famous “Bolero”, made to hear, successively, refined melodic lines belonging to the saxophone. However, the glory of this instrument came with the appearance of jazz, at the beginning of the 20th century.
How much does a saxophone cost?
A saxophone can cost anywhere from $350 for a simple student model to as much as $9,000 or more for a professional saxophone. The average price range is between $1,200 and $4,500 for a good instrument.
The cost of a saxophone is influenced by many factors including the type, brand, the quality of sound it makes, and where you buy it from.
A beginner saxophone kit is a great way to get started in the world of wind instruments. The price for a student model can be anywhere between $270 and $1,300 and will give you some quality sounds.
It is recommended for the first two to three years of studying. Among the best saxophones for beginners is The Conductor Model 300 Sax which costs around $300 to $600.
For those who are looking to upgrade from their student or beginner model, the intermediate level will typically cost anywhere between $1,300 and $2,700.
For those looking to purchase a professional model saxophone, prices will typically fall between $2,300 and $7,500. This price range will vary depending on the materials from which it’s made with higher-end models costing up to $12,000 or more.
Professional Tenor Sax are some of the most popular instruments due to their versatility. They come in all shapes and sizes, but you can find one for just about any budget. The price for one starts at $800 and goes up to $9,000.
The Alto Sax is an excellent choice for both beginners and more experienced players. It can cost anywhere from $280 to $5,500.
For a Baritone saxophone, you may pay anywhere between $2,700 and $7,500.
Depending on the brand, an electric saxophone can cost $500 to $900.
The price for a soprano saxophone is anywhere between $650 and $5,300.
The mini saxophones are usually bought as collectibles and cost around $60 to $120.
The price points for a higher-end saxophone like the Contrabass are around $16,000 to more than $33,000.
Types of saxophones
Saxophones are also recognized as hybrid instruments, located on the bridge between wooden and brass wind instruments. It is important to know that today’s ones differ from the original creations from 1840.
There are a total of 9 types of saxophones: Sopranissimo, Sopranino Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, Contrabass, and Subcontrabass.
However, the most common types of saxophones, representing the timbres of the human voice, are the following 6: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone, Bass, and Contrabass.
The Alto saxophone is the most used model, both by beginners and professional artists, being considered the solo instrument among the members of the saxophone family. It has an appropriate timbre for many expressions and feelings, melancholic and nostalgic, grotesque or humorous.
It is also preferred by composers, having a richer repertoire of classical concerts, but it is also used in other musical genres such as jazz, commercial, or modern music. Due to its smaller size and ease of interpretation, it is easier to play and is most recommended for children.
The Tenor saxophone, in terms of size, is slightly larger than the Alto type; the mouthpiece is also larger and has a tighter elbow. It is used in many musical styles, such as jazz, rock, and pop, but also modern music.
The Baritone saxophone is bigger than the tenor one and is especially sought after by male saxophonist instrumentalists, both amateur and professional. Because it is lower, it is harder to blow and finger press, so it is not recommended for children at first.
The Soprano sax is a model that can be straight or curved. It can be quite a rather challenging and complex choice for a beginner, so it is not recommended. It has a full sound and is used in fanfare and orchestras but is less common in jazz. When in the high register, its sound is between that of an oboe and a clarinet, and in the low register it resembles an English horn.
What are the extra costs of a saxophone?
A method book is highly recommended for new saxophone players.
A mouthpiece is an important part of saxophone playing. The one that’s included with your instrument may not be top quality, so it might make sense for you to purchase a premium model instead. Premium models can cost anywhere from $35 to more than $160.
All of the accessories you need for a complete set are about $60. These include a neck strap, reeds, cleaning cloths, and cork grease.
In order to get the most out of your saxophone lessons, All-Star Activities recommends playing the saxophone for at least 30 minutes per day. This will ensure a high retention rate. Depending on the teacher you hire, the price for a 30-minute learning session is $30 to $45 and the 60 minutes sessions cost up to $65.
A beginner should purchase a number 1 1/2 or 2 reed, and according to All-Star Activities, they tend to be replaced every three weeks.
Repairing your musical instruments should always be a top priority, especially if you are investing in them. Depending on the damage, the costs can be as little as $15 for replacing a blue needle spring to more than $1,000 to overhaul the whole instrument.
Depending on the type and size, the cost of repadding your saxophone is anywhere between $15 and $40.
Important things to consider
First of all, it is important to know that if you’re looking to start studying the saxophone the minimum recommended age is 10 years, but, in exceptional circumstances, it can start even earlier.
The saxophone must be cleaned each time it has been used, using a special cloth for both the inside and the outside. After cleaning, it is recommended to store it in a special cover or bag that gives it safety and protection, so that it is protected from dust, scratches, bumps, or other shocks.
Can I find saxophone lessons for beginners online?
It is best to learn to play an instrument with the help of a teacher, at least in the early stages. If you are somewhat familiar with wind instruments and you have decided to start learning to play the saxophone alone then you can also find online courses, especially for beginners.
Another method is to order online courses that come to you in the form of sheet music, audio examples, different learning methods, etc.
New and used saxophones
Either of these two options has advantages and disadvantages. If you have a small budget or you are simply not very sure that you will develop a passion for this instrument, you can go on choosing a used one, which is cheaper than a new one from the same class.
You must be careful that the instrument does not show traces of blows, or soldering, the cushions are in good condition, the keys are soft to touch, and close the holes tightly.
A new saxophone exerts a special attraction on a beginner, having a pleasant, glossy look, benefiting from everything that is new in the field, but at a price commensurate with the performances. As a disadvantage, in series products, the artistic aspect and care for details is very diminished.
Different types of saxophone – How do you choose the right one?
For people who are now beginning to learn this tool, the most suitable are alto and tenor saxophones. However, for the children’s little hands, the alto saxophone is a wiser choice.
Soprano, baritone, bass, and double bass are recommended for experienced people, especially the latter, requiring a large blowing and pressing force of the keys to obtain the desired sound.
Analyzing more opinions about the best saxophones for beginners, we recommend you go on an alto model. The dimensions are average, being easier to get used to the instrument, and to find the right position so that you can repeat more without getting your body and hands tired. Also, being in the key of E flat and having good, ergonomic digitization will be easier to learn.
If the size is not very important, you can also head to a tenor model, which is more suitable for men, adults.
The soprano ones are high and you need experience to be able to get a pleasant sound and a good intonation. Also, baritone or bass types are low and, in addition to the higher price, you need strength in your fingers to press the keys and a much stronger breath.
The type of music
Choosing a saxophone can also be done depending on the style of music you are attracted to.
If you want a saxophone for rock songs, the recommendation is to choose the tenor one. If you want to focus on classical music, the alto is the best choice. In terms of jazz and modern music, choose an alto or tenor sax, depending on the level of knowledge and what sound you want.
Best saxophones for beginners
- LA Sax
How can I save money?
In case you are new to the instrument and have no idea if it will be something worth your time, take into consideration the option to rent one for a few months. The fees may add up in the long term but this saves you from spending thousands on an investment that could turn out not even being enjoyable after all.
According to the Hub, the annual costs for renting a saxophone are even higher than a student version. If you choose to rent one, expect to pay a monthly fee that’s anywhere between $50 and $70.
You can find used saxophones on eBay or Craigslist like the alto, intermediate saxophones, curved soprano, contrabass saxophones, professional tenor saxophones, etc. Check out the many listings of cheaper saxophones in these two places, and you’ll save more than 40% off retail prices.