Saxophones for beginners: An easy to understand guide

The saxophone is a fascinating instrument to learn. It’s even a staple in the jazz community. This instrument has a wonderful sound that can be infused in many music genres. Delightfully, the saxophone is one of the easiest instruments to learn. The keys were perfectly designed for beginners to easily catch up and become experts at playing it.

The mouthpiece is less complex compared to its orchestral counterparts. After a few practice sessions, you can comfortably play in tune with the band. This instrument is a good bet if you’re looking to learn a new instrument relatively fast. 

Which is the best sax for beginners?

Deciding on which saxophone to play can be confusing for a beginner since each sax produces a different type of sounds. You can opt for soprano, tenor, alto or baritone. However, you also need to understand how much a quality instrument is worth. 

In this article, we’re going to discuss the most popular types of saxophones for beginners today and provide some vital tips on which are the best for you.

What are the most popular saxophones?

There are four common types of saxophones to choose from. These include soprano, tenor, alto and baritone. All of them have their unique styles and can be played in wide-ranging scenarios. Among these four, tenor and alto saxophones are the best for beginners. 

When it comes to purchasing a saxophone, you have two major options: new or vintage. If you’re a beginner, getting a new saxophone would be the easiest and safest choice. Things can get a bit too complicated when using second hand or vintage saxophones. That’s why it’s advisable to start with a new sax.

So which type of sax should you choose? Here is a list of the four major types of saxophones for beginners:

  • Soprano

This is the smallest of all four types and plays at a higher pitch compared to the other three. It is considered to be the most difficult of the four. Playing the higher notes requires excellent control of the mouth muscles. For this reason, it’s not recommended for beginners unless you’re an advanced clarinet player: the two instruments require the same level of control

  • Alto

The alto is the second smallest after the soprano and a great choice for beginners. Unlike the soprano, its sound is easier to regulate. It is also lighter than the baritone and tenor saxes. This makes it easier to hold and play without much strain. 

  • Tenor 

Tenor saxophones are large but still a good choice for beginners, mainly adults and older children. The added weight can make it a little uncomfortable to hold if you’re not strong enough. 

  • Baritone

Although the baritone saxophone has the lowest pitch, it’s the largest in size. It’s not the best choice for a beginner. The baritone is weighty and physically demanding. Its extra size also means that it requires lots of energy to play. The fact that it’s not as technically challenging as the soprano makes it a good option for beginners with good, strong physiques. However, baritones aren’t cheap and not many of these are manufactured for fresh learners.