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Choosing A Saxophone

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Choosing your first saxophone

There has never been a better time to take up the saxophone. Even good quality instruments are cheaper today than 10 years ago. But, there is still a lot of rubbish on the market, so choose carefully.

Firstly, decide which saxophone you want to play. The picture below shows the four common sizes of saxophone, roughly to scale.

The 4 common saxophone sizes, roughly to scale

The soprano is generally not recommended for beginners, because although it is small and light, it requires a very experienced and controlled embouchure to produce a good quality sound. It is also quite difficult to play in tune.

Most players start with the alto, as it is a manageable size, and cheaper than a tenor! We would say listen to altos and tenors being played, and if you are more drawn towards the tenor, then go for it. If you are not sure, start with the alto.

N.B. Children should not start to learn to play a saxophone until they have their second set of front teeth fully formed, as there is a chance of dental problems caused by pressure on the growing teeth.

If you already play a little, then it's not too hard. Come into the shop and try as many makes and models as you like. But if you have no previous experience, choosing an instrument can seem like a minefield. There are so many makes and models on offer, and such a range of prices that you need some guidance. If you already have a teacher, it is well worth asking their advice. It isn't much fun to arrive for your first lesson to find that the teacher doesn't like the one you have bought!

How we choose

We get shown new models and brands all the time.Our stock has been chosen using three main sources of information.

Firstly, our repairers. Regardless of what anybody else thinks of an instrument, if it doesn't meet the approval of our repairers then we don't stock it, full stop. We need to be able to look you in the eye for years to come, so if our repairers are going to criticise it when it needs attention, we can't sell it!

Secondly, our customers. We have listened to thousands of saxophone teachers and players since 1984. We know what they like and why. Their input mainly concerns practical issues relating to playing, such as tone quality, tuning, feel and positioning of keywork.

Finally, we use our own commercial expertise. We address issues such as; is it good value for money? How long it will last? What it will be worth after x years? Is it upgradeable? Our job is to ensure that we have given you all the information necessary to help you choose the instrument that will best suit your needs

Rent or buy?

Many parents of children learning for the first time, and some adults who have never played before are understandably unsure of buying until they are more confident that they will cope with learning the instrument, and indeed enjoy the experience. Our Rental Scheme can provide the ideal introducton to the instrument for a comparatively small outlay. The main advantages of our scheme are:

  • It's economical.  You pay monthly, and you can cancel at any point after the first 4 months - simply return the instrument to us.
  • Our rental instruments are all brand new, and top quality.  Many players are put off by the experience of playing on a poor quality secondhand instrument.
  • It's convenient.  You don't have to worry about buying secondhand and reselling it if it doesn't work out.  You simply return the instrument to the shop.
  • After 24 monthly payments, the instrument automatically becomes yours.

All rental instruments come with free servicing and maintenance (Full details on request).

See elsewhere for more information about our woodwind & brass rental scheme.

To view a copy of our current rental price list, please click here.

It's worth pointing out that at least 80% of our rental customers carry on for the full 24 months, and end up owning their instruments, so you can afford to be more confident than you may think - if you're sure of the commitment, it's cheaper to buy outright, especially if you are eligible for the LEA Assisted Purchase Scheme, where you can buy the instrument without paying VAT.

Back to the Top

How much should I spend?

As you look through our range of saxophones, we would generally say that by paying more for your first instrument, you would expect:

Better build quality. It will last longer.

Better tone quality. You will be able to keep the instrument for longer before needing to think about upgrading.

Better resale value. The best quality instruments are easier to sell, and retain a greater proportion of their value.

There are still many expensive instruments available which don't perform as well as you might expect. We have confidence in the brands we sell, and consider them safe choices that offer the best value for money.

 
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Brands we stock include...

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