What is the best alto saxophone? Which are the best alto saxophone brands? Alto saxophone reviews are one of the only ways to gain knowledge of the complexities of the instrument, and to know what to expect, without ever having picked one up to play it.
There is a lot to take in: the saxophone has been around for over a hundred years. It has witnessed the times of the Great Depression, when musicians were forced to play on the streets in hopes of getting a few dollars to buy food.
The smooth sound coming from the bowl has resonated in underground jazz clubs for decades.
The famous, amazingly talented artists that defined rhythm and blues, jazz, classical, and even modern pop weaved the sound of the saxophone in their music.
Johnny Hodges brought the alto sax into the light during the big band era. Charlie Parker rolled in the bebop era with his incredible altoist solos. John Coltrane and his band changed jazz forever when they mixed rhythm and blues into their music. Fusion jazz exploded in the 1960’s, and brought hundreds of artists out of the clubs and into the limelight.
The world-famous Kenny Gorelick, or Kenny G, is still very famous today for his instrumental records and his talents on alto sax and other instruments. Chris Potter and Joshua Redman are taking the industry back to the old days where smooth jazz can be heard with raw emotion with an infusion of blues.
Them and many other artists are giving the world a way to listen to classic jazz in a new way. Adolphe Sax’s instrument has given countless artists a bridge to cover the gap between woodwinds and brass.
Thus, we now have music from John Coltrane, Kenny G, and plenty of other bands that featured the sax like Billy Joel and many others.
This instrument has made its mark in history, it continues to do so today, and with the emerging talent from today, tomorrow, we will have another era of beautiful, soulful music that comes from the bowl.
If you are one of the artists that wish to be one of the greatest in tomorrow’s world, then you had better get started, because you have a lot to accomplish.
Coming even close to the level of some of the artists mentioned above will take a great deal of effort and talent.
So, having a great instrument will certainly help you take that path to greatness.
- Choosing the Best Alto Saxophone: The 2017 Guide
- Student Alto Saxophone Reviews
- Recommendations and Reviews
- Still Want an Alto Saxophone?
Choosing the Best Alto Saxophone: The 2017 Guide
If you are in the market for one, which you should be, because hardly any other instrument can give you as much joy and satisfaction than the sax can; the market is where you will need to go, and it is a big and scary place.
There are hundreds of saxophones out there screaming for you to buy it. Luckily, the homework has already been done, so you can see which alto sax is the best for you.
There are a few brands that really take the already perfect alto sax and make it even better. These instruments will cost you thousands of dollars.
Some will be listed, and others will be more affordable, but if you have money to spend, getting the best sax possible will elevate your style and sound to something you could only dream of doing otherwise.
What is the Best Alto Saxophone Brand?
What does a beginner or new student possibly look for when they walk into the music shop?
You know you want a good beginner alto saxophone among the best alto saxophones, but who makes the best alto saxophone? Which is the best alto saxophone brand for beginners? Which has the smoothest action? Which brand has the tightest fittings?
These are the questions that you need to ask yourself and the experts about what is the best alto saxophone at the music shop.
Do yourself a favor and do a quick internet search to find an alto saxophone brands list.
However, you should know what you are getting into before you stroll through that door. You should be able to pick up a saxophone and feel the things you wish to test.
First, you should know roughly what brand you want. This is going to be very dependent on what your budget is though. This is crucial to finding the best alto saxophone for beginners.
If you want to jump right in to getting a professional level sax that the A-listers prefer to use, then you can select alto saxophone manufacturers such as Selmer or Yanagisawa. Be prepared to pay more for the sax than you would a good used car though.
If that is your route, then you only need to play the models they have, to see which one best suites you, because all Selmer saxes are incredible instruments.
Any brand at a music shop will have good alto sax brands. If you do have some money to throw down on a sax, Yamaha is a great brand to consider.
Which is the best Yamaha alto saxophone? Depends on your budget and personal preference. They are arguably the best intermediate alto saxophone brand out there.
They have been making instruments and musical equipment for years, and they use that experience to provide great quality, and also at a fair price.
Their products have great action, smooth sound, and also gives people the options to buy beginner, intermediate, and professional level saxes from their wide selection of models for all types of sax players.
Yanagisawa makes excellent products as well. This brand is very comparable to Yamaha. But it gives saxophonists even more options in the way of sound.
Some of these saxes have a smoky tone, rich tone, or a smooth tone for the jazz players.
These are also great for Billy Joel cover bands, or bands that have the same style, and wish to include an expert altoist to their lineup. That is definitely a smart move.
Do You Know What Type of Alto Saxophone You Want?
The alto saxophone is the most popular, because it is in the middle of the family of woodwinds known as the saxophone.
It is smaller than a tenor sax, but larger than a soprano sax, and pitched in E flat.
Knowing why you play that instrument is detrimental to sticking with learning the complexities of the saxophone.
Great saxophone players obviously use professional grade saxophones. They were in a spot when they were beginning, trying to find the best professional alto saxophone.
Their hard work and conviction has taught players after them to persevere, and become great, as they used and still use the best alto sax that meet their preferences, as you should as well.
The legends of jazz, classical, and blues never gave up, and neither should you.
There are many resources online, at libraries, and at music shops that will give you everything you need to be successful in learning how to play the saxophone and learn about the best alto sax brands.
If you are more old-school, you can search for the best vintage alto saxophone, which is based on preference.
The first company after Adolphe Sax who made saxes was Conn. They produced some of the greatest saxes of all time.
Selmer, Martin, and many others followed soon after. They all made great models that people still play today.
There are too many to list, so the best way to find one is to search the internet or local shops, and see what you can get your hands on.
Get the Best Alto Saxophone for Students
How do you find the best student alto saxophone brand?
A good tip to keep in mind when you are about to purchase your saxophone is to not go and buy one on the fly the same day you see it.
When you go to the shop, or if you shop online, you should test the different models and brands.
You should know at least a bit about what to look for when you finally choose one to take home.
When you go to the shop, write down some names, brands, and models after you play them for a bit. (It is ok if you are not wowing everyone with your smooth tunes)
Get a feel for how they play, test the action, see how easy it is to press down on the keys. Feel the weight of it as well, getting tired after playing for an hour just will not do.
Try and get one that is quality, but still lightweight enough to carry around on stage while you dazzle the crowd.
Look at the finish. Most saxophones will be brass with a lacquer finish.
However, if you find a brand that is not very well-known, look at the construction and finish of the instrument.
If you see blemishes, imperfections, or other errors, you may want to move on to the next one. (Unless you can get that one for a very low price)
Personal preference and your budget are going to be the main factors in your decision.
Is it possible to search for the best alto saxophone for high school?
Your music teacher will have an approved list of what they want in their band. Talk to them first, and see what your options are after that conversation.
It is hard when you are a beginner, because you do not know how to play at all, or maybe a little, yet you must make decisions about which sax to buy.
The best way to combat these hard decisions is to become informed, and buy from a place or website that has a full return policy.
If you find that you do not like the way one feels, plays, or sounds, send it back for a refund, and look elsewhere for your perfect beginner sax.
Student Alto Saxophone Reviews
Recommendations and Reviews
If you were to ask which saxophone you should buy, anyone could tell you what sax they would buy, but it will not be what you want. It all comes down to what you want.
Do you want to save up for a Selmer? There are some low-end models that will still rock your world once you pick it up and play it.
The Selmer name does not mean expensive, it means it is the best, so they ensure everyone can enjoy a French made saxophone.
Selmer Prelude Student Alto Saxophone
This product stands among the best saxes you can buy for under 1k. You can bet the farm that it will outperform all the other student saxophones, hands down.
It includes a kit, which will help the beginner and student get started in the practice of being an altoist.
It includes a cleaning kit, some cork grease, a reed holder, and a custom fit case with an ID tag on the outside for easy identification.
It is also fitted with a high F sharp key, which is incredible, and gives even the novice a wider range of scales and music to play along with.
Experts rely on a wider range of notes to perform what they need to, and of course, the Selmer delivers on all fronts.
It features a gold lacquered body and keys and looks astonishing.
The mouthpiece is molded so the user can feel much more comfortable playing through the music without fatigue.
It also features a rocking table key mechanism that has an articulated C sharp adjusting screw.
It is super easy to tune, and it stays in tune, if it is not dropped or otherwise mishandled.
Plenty! Playing this gem is an absolutely wonderful experience. It moves from note to note with the smoothest of transitions.
The keys and pads are as smooth as butter. The sound is a perfect pitch with a crispness to it that elevates it above other saxophones. It is what saxophones were made to sound like.
There is no reason to think that this sax is just for classical music though. Jazz bands love this saxophone in their roster because of the crisp sound.
It stands out when you hear it, yet it is smooth enough to blend right in, and that is the difference between good music, and legendary music.
Jupiter JAS-1100 Alto Saxophone
This instrument is pricey, but it is perfect for beginners, as well as intermediately skilled players in any genre, so you can take it with you all the way to the top.
Expert level saxes require the ways to hit the other notes required to play the best songs with the widest range. This sax, in an expert’s hands, will do every bit of that.
The saxophone is not the expert, it is the wielder, however, it does need a few extras that beginner saxes just do not have. Looking at this saxophone reminds you of the finer things in life.
This saxophone brilliantly constructed, beautifully plated, and lacquered for an excellent finish.
The playability is some of the best you can get. It hits every note with minimal effort.
The Jupiter features metal tone boosters that provide a better key seal so that the notes are smoother coming from the bowl.
The neck is custom made for this model of saxophone, and is modeled to heighten the vintage sound, for a more smooth and smoky tone.
Want to Upgrade Your Jupiter Saxophone?
You can also purchase the common brass plating or you can upgrade to the silver-plated body with enhanced features.
The left-hand table keys are contoured for maximum playability and comfort.
The silver plating gives the instrument that spark it needs to put it over the edge, plunging it into the deep pit of legendary saxophones throughout the ages.
The fingering is much more comfortable because of the tilting B flat rocker arm.
Hand fatigue is unlikely after playing this instrument for a while.
The comfort and feel of this model will enhance the agility of your hands and will increase your skills automatically.
Still Want an Alto Saxophone?
Of course, you want an alto saxophone, how else are you going to rock the jazz clubs and become a legend in the music industry?
Hopefully this guide is helpful enough to get you on the right track to purchasing the best instrument for your needs, wants, and desires.
Your jazz band will appreciate you going the extra mile and spending some money on a phenomenal saxophone that will make the band sound even better.
There are hundreds of budget saxes out there, be careful of what you buy, because you could very well be buying something you cannot return.
Buyer’s remorse is a bad feeling to have when all you want to be is an incredible musician.