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Top 5 Best Saxophones for Beginners in 2021

We list the best picks for beginners starting to learn the saxophone. We’ve selected them through extensive research based on playability, sound quality, price, and more.

Reasons to look for a good saxophone for beginners

The alto saxophone is one of the most popular instruments out there. You can hear it on countless pop, rock and roll, jazz, and even reggae songs all over! So, it should come as no surprise that there are many budding musicians ready to pick up the sax and start lessons.

To learn the saxophone, students need to find the right instrument to practice on. There is a wide range of different options when it comes to beginner saxophones, making it hard to find just the right one to start with. When looking for your first saxophone, there are many things to consider, like playability, price, sound quality, and much more.

Looking for a beginner’s saxophone is both exciting and challenging. To make the search easier for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best saxophones for beginners. We searched far and wide for these models to ensure that each pick on our list would be an excellent instrument for beginners to start learning the saxophone.

Best overall

EASTROCK Alto Saxophone for Beginners

Recommended
90 %

EASTROCK Alto Saxophone for Beginners

This instrument is best for those ready to seriously learn the saxophone in style. It has an incredible and unique colorway and has all the features you’ll need to wrap your head around the basics of playing the sax.

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We kick off our list with our best overall pick, a beginner’s saxophone coming from EASTROCK. It features a vibrant purple and gold design reminiscent of the music legend Prince. It’s made from h68 copper with a purple and transparent lacquer to give it a beautiful shine.

This model has everything a beginner needs to start learning to play the instrument. From well-placed keys that follow the shape of the hand to high-quality leather that increases air-tightness, which makes it easier to play higher notes and registers.

The sound quality is excellent for beginners, and it comes as a package that includes everything a beginner needs to get started. The package consists of a neck strap, reeds, white gloves, cloth and cleaning rod, mouthpiece, and even a hard case for transporting the instrument safely.

Some players have reported that the G-sharp key and the rod connected to the octave key need some refining, which is probably a result of lower build quality. However, these are some simple humps that one must get over when playing an affordable beginner’s sax.

Best under $250

LyxJam Alto Saxophone for Beginners

Recommended
80 %

LyxJam Alto Saxophone for Beginners

This model is best for beginners on a budget. While it is very affordable, it is still a very competent instrument that is more than enough to get you started.

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If you check the different saxophone options out there, you will find that these instruments can get very expensive. And for beginners, spending four digits on your first saxophone can be impractical, and you might not be able to utilize the features to their fullest potential.

Luckily, there are budget-friendly models like this one from LyxJam that still delivers quality despite its price. This sax comes as a kit with all a beginner would need to get started. It has spare reeds, strap, gloves, cleaning kit, and carrying case that is all you need to start playing the instrument.

As it is a budget-friendly model, some things aren’t too good. The case and strap can be much better for starters, and we recommend getting replacements once you start taking the instrument seriously. Another downside is that the materials aren’t that strong, and the pads don’t seal as well as more expensive models.

However, if you need a basic instrument to play while learning the basics, this is a great option that you can get at a very affordable price!

Best premium

Mendini By Cecilio Alto Saxophone for Beginners

Recommended
90 %

Mendini By Cecilio Alto Saxophone for Beginners

This is best for beginners who are serious about learning how to play the saxophone. It has some of the best construction and tone you will find in a beginner sax and is worth every penny.

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If you’re serious about learning the saxophone, it would probably be a good idea to get a premium instrument from the get-go. While this model is a bit pricier than others on the list, it will be worth every penny considering the quality of this instrument.

The main benefit of getting this sax is the precision used in making it. All the holes seal off very well, making it easier for beginners to hit the right note when playing. This instrument is a favorite among sax teachers, as they notice that their students have a much easier time learning the ropes when using this model.

While it doesn’t sound as great as professional-level saxophones that cost thousands of dollars, this model does have a much better sound than most other beginner saxophones out there. It has a fast action, which means that the keys are easier to press, giving students an easier time. This model also comes in a variety of colors, making it great for students who want a unique-looking instrument that will catch the eye of any audience member!

Best for adults

Glory Professional Alto Saxophone for Beginners

Recommended
80 %

Glory Professional Alto Saxophone for Beginners

This model is best for adults looking to start playing the sax. It comes with everything you need and is built well enough that players can easily navigate their way through the instrument.

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While it’s always best to start young when it comes to learning music, learning a new skill as an adult can be just as fun and fulfilling! If you’re an adult planning to learn the saxophone, this might be just the right pick for you.

It comes as a complete kit to get you started. The kit includes spare reeds, mouthpiece cushions, a hard case, a cleaning cloth and rod, and even white gloves for performing! It sports a hand-engraved bell decoration and a classic design that evokes memories of classic, smooth jazz songs.

This is also a very affordable model so that it won’t put a massive dent in your bank account. It isn’t the best saxophone on the market and does lack the superior build quality you’ll find on expensive models. However, for learning the basics, this instrument is more than enough and could be just the instrument you were looking for to start learning a new skill.

Best affordable & best for students

Glarry Student Alto Saxophone

Recommended
80 %

Glarry Student Alto Saxophone

This pick is best for students playing in a band that need an affordable and competent instrument. It doesn’t offer the best sound quality, but it performs well enough that any music student out there will enjoy playing it.

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Capping off our list is one of the most affordable beginner saxophones on the market. This model is a great choice for students who need a quality instrument on a budget. Like most budget-friendly saxophones, this model isn’t without issues.

There are slight issues with the build quality, especially with the keys. However, these issues aren’t too big of a deal, and once you get used to the instrument, you will barely even notice it. The sound from this sax is decent enough for students, especially for those playing in a band.

It comes with a carrying case, cleaning materials, a strap, a carrying case, and even white gloves. So, if you choose this model, there aren’t too many other things that you’ll have to worry about.

What to look for in a good saxophone for beginners

There is a wide range of things to consider when looking for a suitable beginner’s saxophone. All of these things make a huge difference in learning how to play. The better the quality of the instrument, the easier it will be to learn the ropes. And while your first saxophone definitely won’t be perfect, there are a couple of things that your first saxophone NEEDS to have.

Ergonomics

The first thing you need to consider when checking out beginner saxophones is ergonomics. Ergonomics simply refers to how comfortable the instrument is to play. Most musicians will vouch that the saxophone and any other brass instrument is very hard to learn. There are a lot of things you need to do correctly to get the perfect sound out of the saxophone, and getting all these things right is very hard for beginners. But if you have a well-made and ergonomic saxophone, it will definitely be easier.

Modern saxophones have deliberately offset keys to fit the shape of the hands. It is critical to pay close attention to this feature. It’s always best to get try out or at least hold a saxophone before buying it. If you get the opportunity, check out the keys on the saxophone and see if they fit your hand correctly, as this will make it much easier to play.

Another thing to consider when it comes to the ergonomics of a saxophone is the weight. When you start learning how to play the instrument, you have to put in countless hours of practice to get the hang of it. If you have a heavy instrument, you might get easily fatigued and not be able to practice as frequently. So, it’s best to go for the lighter saxophones that won’t put as much of a strain on your neck.

However, some people might prefer a bit of weight on their saxophone as well. Every individual has their own preferences when it comes to the feel of the instrument. But for beginners, it’s always best to go light at first since most beginners aren’t used to having a heavy brass instrument around their neck for hours at a time.

Intonation

Another thing to pay attention to is the intonation of the instrument. Simply put, a well-intonated saxophone will be perfectly in tune. For beginner saxophonists, developing proper intonation is critical. When you play a note, you should be able to hear if it is in tune or not and make adjustments to your embouchure (mouth position while playing) and breath as needed.

While many aspects go into playing the saxophone in tune, beginners will have a much easier time if the instrument has proper intonation. One of the hardest things for beginner saxophonists to do is get the proper embouchure while playing, and if you have a poorly-intonated saxophone, playing in tune will be almost impossible.

Build quality

The build quality of the saxophone is critical, especially for beginners. Learning to play any woodwind instrument like the saxophone requires years of dedication. So, you would want your first saxophone to last you a long while. It would be a huge hassle if you had to get your saxophone services every couple of months because you can’t play specific notes anymore.

So, make sure that the saxophone you plan on buying is made out of quality materials and made well. That way, you won’t have to bring your instrument to a woodwind service person every couple of months to get something repaired.

Price

Saxophones can be very expensive. It isn’t uncommon for these instruments to fetch prices over $2000. And when you’re a beginner, it isn’t ideal to invest that much in your first instrument, especially if you’re unsure of how serious you are about playing. Luckily, there are great options out there that you can buy at a more affordable price that is ideal for beginners.

Ideally, you would want to shop in a range between $200 and $500 for a beginner’s saxophone. In this range, you’ll find tons of instruments that are just right for learning the basics and even performing! They definitely won’t be the same quality as the models that fetch four-digit price tags, but will still be excellent instruments to get you started on your musical journey.

Tone

One last thing to consider when buying a beginner saxophone is the tone. With saxophones, the instrument itself only plays a small part in the tone. Unlike other instruments like the piano and guitar where the tone is very reliant on the instrument’s quality, the tone of a saxophone depends on a lot of factors such as the embouchure, reed, and breath control.

Tone or timbre in music refers to the quality of the sound. Certain saxophones can produce a warmer tone; some can create a more focused tone. However, these are small details that some beginners might not catch when starting out. So, while the tone is very important when shopping for a beginner saxophone, it shouldn’t be the sole characteristic to look out for.

FAQ

What is the best age to start learning saxophone?

Like with most musical instruments, it’s best to start learning at a young age. We recommend that kids as young as eight years old start learning the saxophone as they will be just the right age to wrap their heads around the concepts. However, there’s also nothing wrong with trying to learn the sax when you’re older, and it could even result in a great learning experience!

What type of saxophone is best for beginners?

It’s best for beginners to start with the alto saxophone. The size of the instrument is just right for students to learn the basic concepts. Tenor saxophones might be too heavy for beginners, which is why it’s best to try an alto sax when you’re a beginner.

Is saxophone easier to play than guitar?

Every instrument has its own unique qualities that make it easier or harder to play. Saxophone requires proper technique, and to get the right sound; you need to get a lot of things right. However, since the sax is mainly a melodic instrument and you don’t have to think too much about harmony, some might find it easier to play than the guitar.

Final verdict

The sax is one of the most recognizable instruments out there. It adds a lot of character to any song and can be used in many different applications.

To play the sax right, you need to go through hours of practice and lessons to develop the proper technique. And while this might be an arduous task, it can be made easier by choosing the right beginner saxophone.

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