Best Saxophone Reviews 2018

Saxophone lovers are looking for the very best equipment when they play. After all, you’re only as good as your instrument. Not ones to skimp on the details, we’ve looked at everything when selecting the finest options in saxophones, from the reputation of the brand to the acoustic sound of the instrument and the shape of the neck, among other details. Here are top picks from some of the best saxophone brands.
Overview
PROS
CONS
SPECS
Type
Good For
Materials
Size/Weight
Accessories
Our Top Choice
Mendini Saxophone with Tuner and Case
Cecilio musical instruments is a small company headquartered in Cucamonga California, making high quality instruments at affordable prices since 2004.
This Alto sax hits an F sharp, and comes with everything you need to play and care for your sax, including a tuner and metronome for beginner players.
Sound is not very bright, it is more full-bodied.
Alto
Students
Gold lacquered + 10 others
4.5 pounds
10 reeds/care kit/hardshell case
Best Value
Lazarro Curved Soprano Saxophone
Founded in the USA in 2007, Lazarro makes a wide range of instruments including saxophones, clarinets, piccolos, violins, and flutes.
Made from real brass and offered in 24 color variations, this Soprano sax comes with Italian leather pads and metal resonators with great spring-loaded key action.
The lower registers are not perfect, but the sax offers nice Soprano tones.
Soprano
Beginner-advanced
Brass/Nickel + 23 others
4.5 pounds
11 reeds/care kit/hardshell case
Yamaha Professional Tenor Saxophone
Since 1887, Yamaha has been committed to excellence and integrity, taking great pride in the quality of its musical instruments.
An updated take on the popular TS-62 Series, this tenor sax has rich warm tones and a well-designed neck with an excellent B to C sharp connection.
An expensive but worthy investment.
Tenor
Professionals
Gold lacquered or silver
7 pounds
Semi-hard case
Selmer Step-Up Tenor Saxophone
Selmer brings great acoustic quality to its saxophones, which have a modern French sound. They offer a wide variety, including soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone.
You’ll appreciate the agility of your playing with these compact keys featuring spring-loaded action. Multiple adjusting screws. Slight resistance. Traditional bell flare.
Some problems with loosely secured key pads.
Tenor
Intermediate-professional
Black lacquered + 3 others
6.5 pounds
Ligature & cap/Trek case
Glory Professional Alto Saxophone
Glory produces a full line of musical instruments and accessories at extremely affordable prices, including B Flat Tenor and Alto saxophones.
A great saxophone package for young players. The well-placed keys are height-adjustable and easy to play. This E-flat alto saxophone can hit a high F sharp as well.
Not the highest quality construction.
Alto
Students
Gold lacquered + 6 others
4.5 pounds
11 reeds/care kit/case/8 pads

(Updated )
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Watch Our Saxophone Review

How Do I Choose the Best Saxophone?

The ability to play music is such a magical skill that can take you, and anyone else listening, into a whole new world. The saxophone is a particularly loved and admired instrument and has stood out from its fellow wind instruments such as the flute and the horn.

The saxophone is a vital part of the exciting jazz tunes that get your toes tapping, and can be loud and center-stage or sensual and slow. If you’re new to saxophone playing, it can seem daunting and complex; with a wide range of notes, new breathing techniques and playing music all at once, it certainly isn’t the most basic of instruments. There is also a really cool (but challenging) technique called slap tongue that uses the reed to make short, clipped notes instead of drawing them out. So whether you are novice or expert, give it a try!

Step by step, many people have conquered the saxophone to create gorgeous music, and so can you! Music is something that can be loved and shared by all, so why not play alongside a guitarist or drummer to create a new dynamic?
Price
Buying a saxophone shouldn’t be taken lightly, and choosing the right one is really important, especially because even the best-priced, quality saxophones come in at around $200. Reputable brands can offer quality models which come with everything you need and will produce a sound that you’ll fall in love with. These are perfect for beginners and enthusiasts alike who need a quality product.

At the top end of the range are saxophones for around $3000 that will produce a consistent, warm sound that will project well and have professionally accurate keys with attention to detail. At this price, you should expect the saxophone to be screaming high quality out of every curve and key. If you’re ready to take your music playing to the next level, the investment is needed.

Avoid cheap saxophones, as they will most likely be from untrustworthy brands and can’t promise the quality—or sound—you are looking for.
Features
If you’re struggling with which saxophone to choose, we have some tips below to make it easier!

Some of the things to look for when buying a saxophone are:
  • Voicing/Pitch and Range - Soprano, alto, tenor, baritone, or bass
  • Player Level - Beginner, student, intermediate, professional
  • Body Construction - Ribbed or non-ribbed
  • Material - Brass, copper, bronze, or sterling silver
  • Finish - Clear lacquer, colored finish, antique or nickel-plated
  • Extras - Make sure you have everything you need.
Don’t worry if you don’t understand all this terminology, we’ll explain it all!
Construction and Design
Let’s explore the construction and design of saxophones in greater detail.

Voicing/Pitch and Range

The soprano has the highest pitch of the saxophones mentioned—it is tuned to Bb—and is straighter and shorter than the others. It isn’t as big and doesn’t use as much material to make, so it’s generally one of the cheaper types to buy, but you shouldn’t buy a soprano based on this alone. It is slightly more difficult for a beginner than, for example, the alto.

That leads us on to the alto saxophone, which is the most commonly known and played saxophone. It is tuned to Eb and is the most appropriate for learners, as the keys are closer together than other saxophone types, and it doesn’t need as much air to produce a good sound. The alto is one of the most reasonably priced saxophones on the market as well. While it’s a great option for learners to build their breathing technique, the alto shouldn’t be knocked by intermediates or professionals either. It has been used far and wide by famous saxophone players and jazz musicians and is a great tool to learn new techniques and improve your playing skills.

Next up, we have the tenor, which is pitched at Bb and is another very commonly used saxophone in the jazz genre. It has more of a curve than its alto cousin, which means it needs to be handled with extra care and should be made of a durable material. It is lighter and smaller than the bass or baritone, so it’s another good option for newbies.

If we take it a tone lower, we have the baritone saxophone, which is tuned to Eb and produces a deep tone compared to the other saxophones mentioned. It can still be played standing up, although due to its size and weight, it is advised to use a neck strap to support the weight. Because this instrument is bigger, the keys are also noticeably further apart, which can be another small challenge to overcome when learning.

Last but not least, we have the bass, which is the lowest-pitched saxophone, an octave below the tenor, and is tuned to Bb. Due to its size, players sit down whilst using the bass, and to prevent damage as much as possible, it’s a good idea to get a floor peg, which will prevent the saxophone from being damaged by whichever floor surface it is placed on. Both the bass and baritone are susceptible to damage due to their size, so if you go for these types, make sure your model is made of a durable, strong material such as lacquered brass.

Body Construction

Here, we are going to talk about ribbed and non-ribbed saxophones. Ribbed and non-ribbed indicate how the keys are attached to the body. A ribbed saxophone has the posts (which are the pieces going between the body and the key) soldered onto the body in a very particular way that makes them stronger, and this means fewer repairs or adjustments will be needed down the line. Most saxophones are ribbed, but don’t be too wary of non-ribbed saxophones. They can still be of good quality and a little lighter and may help a student produce a good sound.
Performance and Ease of Use
Finally, let’s have a look at the features of a saxophone that affect its performance.

Player Level

When playing an instrument, we all want to sound top notch and know that we’re creating a memorable, enchanting sound. But unless you’re earning the big bucks or it’s your profession, a lot of us would find it hard to part with thousands of dollars in one go for a hobby. This is when the beginner and student saxophones are great. The industry’s most-trusted brands have worked hard for decades to produce affordable but good-sounding instruments, so you don’t have to empty your bank account to feel the achievement of nailing that jazz tune. People usually advise that if you have been playing a beginner saxophone for two to four years and are still committed and want to go to the next level, that’s a great time to sell your student sax and buy an intermediate level sax. An intermediate feels more like a professional model, and only a person with a finely tuned ear will notice the difference in sound.

The professional saxophone is at the top of its game; this is where no detail is missed; they are usually handmade with the highest-quality material. The response to the player and the tone will be on a whole new level from other saxophones and is a joy to play.

Material

The vast majority of saxophones are made with yellow brass, which is durable and can produce a high-quality sound. However, if you want to upgrade, there are saxophones with different materials such as copper, bronze or sterling silver. These will generally cost more, but can also improve the sound quality and feel of the instrument and give it a distinct look from the standard saxophone appearance.

Finish

The classic finish is clear lacquer, but nowadays, you can find a saxophone in nearly any color, so if you want to brighten up your band, keep an eye out for a cool finish. These can be pigmented lacquers that give it a different color, or an “antique” finish, silver-plated or nickel-plated finish.

Extras

Most saxophones come in a case, and many have the equipment you need to get started straight away and look after it to keep it in tiptop condition. A few things to look out for that may be included are: reeds, a mouthpiece, a neck strap, a cleaning cloth and a rod. It may also have grease, a screwdriver and a mouthpiece case (which should be cushioned to prevent damage).

What is the Best Saxophone?

Let’s keep in mind that not all saxophonists are created equal. If you’re in the market for a great saxophone for students, you’ll find several terrific options in our top picks that come with complete kits to cover all your playing needs. These kits offer tools for care, tuning and maintenance, as well as carrying cases. Of course, your preference may be for alto, tenor, soprano, or baritone, so we have brands that cover the full spectrum of sound. Some of our selections are very economical for those just starting to get the hang of playing. If you’re looking for the creme-de-la-creme, we have something for you too.
Our Top Choice
This Mendini E-flat Alto Saxophone by Cecilio has everything you need to play a beautiful sax and maintain your instrument in tip-top condition. With the student in mind, this saxophone has been designed with a large bore and fast action keys. It includes a tuner and metronome. For professionals, check out the Mendini Baritone Saxophone with tuner, pro-deluxe case, mouthpiece and neck strap.
Mendini by Cecilio E-Flat Saxophone with Tuner Case & Mouthpiece – Available in 11 Colors

Mendini by Cecilio Saxophone MTS - Gold


Features
A privately held business, Cecilio musical instruments is a small company headquartered in Cucamonga, California. The founders started the business in 2004 in order to make high quality musical instruments at affordable prices. Their instruments are manufactured overseas, then tested at their headquarters in the USA for quality-assurance.

A beautiful piece of equipment, this Mendini E-flat Alto Saxophone by Cecilio has everything you need to play a mean sax. Plus, it comes with a kit to maintain your instrument in tip-top condition. It’s a shiny gold lacquered sax, but keep in mind that Cecilio also offers this Alto saxophone in eleven other color and style options, so you can jazz up the look to suit your preference.

With the student in mind, this saxophone has been designed with a large bore and fast action keys. This design feature improves the ability of more inexperienced players to play like professionals. You can hit a high F-sharp, and the sound is full-bodied and rich.

The keys are enhanced with faux mother-of-pearl inlays to add extra style and panache to the instrument. One of the nicer features is that it includes an easy-to-read tuner with a large LCD display that can be used to tune any instrument, plus a metronome to keep on tempo.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of some of the additional components that sweeten the deal with this purchase:
  • Includes pocket guide detailing everything you need to know about playing and caring for your saxophone
  • Chromatic tuner with metronome tempo of 30bpm-230bpm
  • A box of 10 reeds, size 2.5
  • Plush-lined hard carrying case that is lightweight
  • Mouthpiece with ligature and cap
  • Pair of gloves
  • Cleaning cloth and cleaning rod
  • Cork grease
  • Neck strap
An economical and sound investment, this saxophone by Cecilio comes with a one year warranty against defects.
Best Value
This finely made curved Soprano sax by Lazarro is crafted from real brass and features height-adjustable keys. Steel springs offer smooth action, and the package includes a strap, hard case, cleaning kit, and 11 reeds. Another option you might like by Lazarro is the E Flat Alto Saxophone with black and gold keys.
Lazarro Curved Soprano Nickel Saxophone with Case & Care Kit

Lazarro Saxophone 320-NK


Features
Founded in the USA in 2007, Lazarro makes musical instruments for both beginners and more experienced players, including professional musicians. There’s a wide range to choose from in musical instruments from saxophones to clarinets, piccolos, violins, and flutes, all affordable and well made. The company also offers customer support to assist with any questions or problems.

Our featured saxophone by Lazarro is made from real brass and nickel. It comes with Italian leather pads and metal resonators. This curved soprano sax hits a high F sharp, and comes with a beautifully hand engraved bell decoration to add to the charm.

The key height is adjustable, and there is a metal thumb rest. Steel springs make the action smooth and enjoyable to play, and the package you get with purchase is quite generous. This sax comes with:
  • Hard plush-lined case with pocket and side straps for easy carrying
  • Mouthpiece with cap
  • 11 Reeds
  • White gloves
  • Ligature
  • Cork Grease
  • Neck strap
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning swab
Featured in silver and nickel, this Lazarro saxophone comes in many other color variations as well. There are 24 colors to choose from, and you can select from silver or gold keys, based on your preference.
This TS-62 Series Tenor Saxophone by Yamaha is a worthy investment for professionals. Lovely warm tones issue from a well-designed neck, featuring an excellent B to C sharp connection. Not quite at the professional level yet? Check out another top-quality Yamaha saxophone that’s more appropriate for students: the YAS280 Alto Saxophone.
Yamaha Professional Lacquered Tenor Saxophone – Available in 2 Colors

Yamaha Saxophone YTS-62III – Base Model


Features
Empowered by a company philosophy rooted in commitment to excellence, integrity, and taking pride in both individual and team performance, Yamaha takes musical instrument quality seriously.

You have to go way back to 1887 to find the origins of the Yamaha brand, when founder Torakusu Yamaha built his first reed organ. Moving into piano production in 1900, the company became an international corporation in 1960, and expanded into production of wind instruments by 1965.

Any professional saxophonist looking for a top-quality Tenor sax is going to be pleased with this saxophone by expert musical instrument manufacturers Yamaha. A newer version of the popular TS-62 Series, this gold-lacquered saxophone features a well-tuned, smooth sound, plus it offers an improved low B to C sharp connection.

Other key features that come with this Tenor sax are:
  • Adjustable thumb hook
  • Elaborate hand engraved bell
  • Warm, rich tonality
  • Improved 62-style neck for maximum control
  • Yamaha 4C mouthpiece
  • Hard carrying case
This saxophone comes in two style options. Choose from the gold-lacquered or silver-plated version.
Featuring a distinctive tone with great penetration, you’ll take pride in the quality of your playing with this La Voix II Tenor Sax by Selmer. The black lacquer delivers a darker tone and the spring-loaded leather keys bring agility and flow to your playing. If you’re not looking for a Tenor, check out other options by Selmer, such as the La Voix II Alto Saxophone outfitted in Black Nickel.
Selmer La Voix II Tenor Saxophone Outfit – Available in 4 Colors

Selmer Saxophone STS280RB - Black


Features
What makes a Selmer saxophone such a stand-out? The spring action on the keys for one thing, which improves the flow and quality of your playing. Another is the acoustics, which feature a unique and modern French sound. Selmer offers a wide variety of saxophones, including soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone.

You’ll enjoy the distinctive tonality of this Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone. Outfitted in black lacquer, the tone is dark and focused. Fine tune your instrument to get exactly the sound and quality you’re looking for with multiple adjusting screws on this saxophone.

There is a slight resistance thanks to the uniquely designed neck. This La Voix II Tenox Saxophone includes a Trek-style carrying case and a Selmer mouthpiece with ligature and cap, as well as:
  • Fine hand engraving
  • High F sharp note
  • Traditional bell flare
  • Compact key design
  • Superior response and air stream development
  • Treated leather pads
  • Mini rib construction
Selmer offers a few different options in this La Voix II saxophone, including black lacquer, gold lacquer, silver, and copper versions.
A great economical option with all the bells and whistles, this Glory E-Flat saxophone package comes with a ready-to-play Alto sax. No need to tune it, just hit those riffs right from the start. If you are looking to purchase some extra accessories, you might also be interested in the Glory Alto Saxophone Mouthpiece, with a ligature and plastic cap in gold that comes with one reed.
Glory Professional Alto Saxophone with Reeds Case & Care Kit – Available in 7 Colors

Glory Saxophone Alto Eb SAX - Gold


Features
Glory produces a full line of musical instruments and accessories at extremely affordable prices. Whether you want a B Flat Tenor, an Alto saxophone with all the accessories you’ll need to get started, or you just need a few extra reeds, Glory has lots of affordable options for novice through professional players.

A great economical option with all the bells and whistles, this Glory saxophone package comes with a ready-to-play Alto sax. No need to tune it, just hit those riffs right from the start with this total package - perfect for beginner or intermediate saxophone players.

This E-Flat Alto sax can hit a high F-Sharp and features leather pads with metal resonators. The key height is adjustable, too. There’s a metal thumb rest for comfortable finger positioning and the layout of the keys will accommodate young players very well.

Check out all the additional items that come with this well-priced saxophone package by Glory:
  • 11 reeds
  • Hard shell carrying case
  • Neck strap
  • Grease
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning cloth & rod
  • Mouthpiece
  • Pair of gloves
Choose from several styles with silver or gold keys, including: black, gold, silver, green, blue, or pink.

Get the Best Saxophone of 2018!

The sweet melody of a well-tuned saxophone is bliss to the listener’s ears. Soothing spirits with uplifting riffs and standout performances, these saxophones have something for everyone in the mix. Pick the perfect saxophone for your next solo performance. Which one is speaking your language?

Our Top Choice
Mendini Saxophone with Tuner and Case
Best Value
Lazarro Curved Soprano Saxophone
Yamaha Professional Tenor Saxophone
Selmer Step-Up Tenor Saxophone
Glory Professional Alto Saxophone