Learning to play an instrument is the dream for many students. Music connects people from across the world in ways that modern machinations, like the internet, simply cannot. But music lessons and affording an instrument can be stressful for the families of budding musical talent. This is true for all instruments, including students who wish to learn how to play the saxophone.
Because of its smaller physical size and weight (not to mention price), I believe that the alto saxophone is the best horn in the traditional saxophone family (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone) for beginners. That being the case, here are 10 of the top alto saxophones for students, and why they are such a good bargain.
Best saxophone for high school students: Yamaha YAS-280
This saxophone takes all the concerns of learning how to play it out of the equation. Learning an instrument is difficult and learning how to play one that you blow to play is harder still. The Yamaha YAS-280 boasts a lightweight, yet sturdy build, forgiveness if you tighten the screws too much (a common beginner issue), and the angles between keys and fingers are just right, so as not to cause aching hands. However, it isn’t cheap and may be out of budget range for most students.
Least expensive alto saxophone: Mendini by Cecilio MAS-L
This alto sax is produced by an American instrument company, founded in 2004. They are built overseas, and then play-tested and distributed from it’s headquarters in Los Angeles. The Mendini by Cecilio is very affordable, designed for comfort, and comes in a range of different colours other than the standard gold, which may be appealing to young students.
Best for the Serious Student: Jean Paul AS-400
If the future saxophone player in your life is committed to learning how to play this instrument, this might be a good choice. Price-wise, it’s middle of the road, but you get serious bang for your buck. It’s silver plating creates a warm resonant tone, keywork on it is fluid, meaning there is less resistance for a brand new player, and the intonation is well-rounded. These features can all help a beginner make learning the alto saxophone much quicker and easier.
Most Durable for Beginners: Conn-Selmer AS711
This is prelude student model and considered to be the perfect model for beginner students. It’s lightweight, only 3 lbs. This saxophone’s keys have been well designed for comfort, a must for beginner students. It’s easy to play and a nice sounding instrument, making this sax a great choice.
Best Intermediate Alto Sax on a budget: Yamaha YAS-480
Yamaha has created another great quality saxophone for intermediate players this time that won’t hurt the bank. It’s really good for beginners but is so nice to play and sounds amazing that intermediate students love it too.
Coolest Looking Alto Sax: Selmer SAS280 La Voix II
This saxophone is black. It is made from the usual yellow brass but has been covered with a black nickel finish, making it stand out. It also plays beautifully, producing a consistently balanced sound.
Best Sax for Advanced Students: Jupiter JAS1100SG
When you are ready to make the leap from beginner student to intermediate, you need a saxophone that can keep up. The Jupiter JAS1100SG boasts left-hand table keys and a tilting Bb rocker arm for comfort.
Best Bang for Your Buck: Yamaha YAS-26
The Yamaha YAS-26 is great investment in your musical future if you plan on playing the saxophone for a long, long time. The tone is great, and the response of the alto saxophone is accurate and fast.
Best for Young Students: Kaizer ASAX-1000LQ
This is best alto saxophone under $500 on the market. It’s a good investment for the young student just starting in band and their parents are unsure if they will stick with the instrument.
Best Value Saxophone for Beginners: Etude EAS-100
This alto saxophone was specifically designed for students. It offers excellent tone production and comes with everything a student needs to get started on their learning the alto saxophone journey.
These are the 10 best saxophones on the market for beginners and intermediate students alike. There is an alto saxophone for every budget.