Aspiring and beginner musicians that wish to master the tenor saxophone need to know a few things before they get started. It starts with an ironclad will to learn how to play with the best tenor saxophone.
Every beginner asks, ‘what is the best tenor saxophone?’ This is a completely legitimate question, but it isn’t so easy to answer, because there are so many variables involved.
This guide will help you understand which sax is right for you by helping you figure out what you want in a tenor saxophone. These tenor saxes are among the best of the best, but are affordable for the beginner student, too.
Top 10 Best Tenor Saxophone Reviews for 2020
Every serious musician wishes for greatness, and it starts with one purchase: the best tenor saxophone for you. Let’s jump in and see which of the best tenor saxes would be a perfect fit for you.
Here are the best tenor saxophones 2020:
- Yamaha YTS-62III – Best Overall Tenor Sax
- Jean Paul TS-400 – Runner-Up
- Yamaha YTS-480 – Honorable Mention
- Jupiter JTS1100SG – Most Unique Tenor Sax
- Selmer STS280RB – Smooth Sounding Tenor Sax
- Yamaha YTS-26
- Kaizer TSAX-1000LQ
- Glory B Flat Tenor Sax
- Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L
- Yanagisawa Tenor Saxophones
Yamaha YTS-62III – Best Overall Tenor Sax
This is a professional model saxophone that has everything a pro needs. Yamaha has been making high-end saxophones for many years and they’ve since perfected the style and qualities that players want. It is offered in two gorgeous finishes, adjustable features, and easy action.
The 62 series Yamaha saxophones have been famous since 1969, and this model has taken all that experience and feedback from directors and players and used it to create the best saxophone possible.
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The quality of this saxophone is second to none. Every single detail is carefully gone over during and after the manufacturing process to ensure players get the best tenor sax possible.
The improved mechanisms are a serious upgrade from traditional saxes. They aren’t needless ‘upgrades’ that some other brands make just to sell a few more. These mechanism improvements were born from players needing real solutions to common problems with saxophones.
It is beautiful and plays like a dream. The action is so easy, and the tone is perfect and warm in every note. This sax is highly recommended for any serious player, even beginners and students, because playing on the best instrument will make you a better player.
Jean Paul TS-400 – Runner-Up
The Jean Paul TS-400 comes in a custom hard case and all the goodies that are needed to maintain the instrument.
In your kit, you will receive Rico Reeds, cork grease, a cleaning cloth, swabs, gloves, and a mouthpiece. Everything you need to start playing along with your favorite albums is right there for you. This sax will last you all the way up until you master the art of playing saxophone.
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Overall, this is a great tenor sax to have for any serious saxophonist. While the price is a bit high, the value rises because it will last a lifetime, so with that in mind it doesn’t seem like that much money to spend on one of the best tenor saxophones on the market.
Yamaha YTS-480 – Honorable Mention
Yamaha has been at the forefront of instrument manufacturing for decades, and they only seem to be getting better. This model is among one of the top tenor saxophones ever made.
Its quality and superior features make it a very easy choice for any type of saxophonist. Most beginners and students may not be able to afford the high price point but saving up for this saxophone should be something every serious player should be doing.
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These mid-level Yamaha models, including this one, are designed with features taken from high-end tenor saxophones. Yamaha has done a phenomenal job in making the best saxophones that are actually affordable for most musicians.
This sax can be used by beginners, intermediate, and expert players and work very well for live performances and recording sessions.
Jupiter JTS1100SG – Most Unique Tenor Sax
The Jupiter series of saxophones build their instruments in a unique way so that the end result is a sax that has a beautiful vintage tone. This sax is possibly the smoothest sound, overall. It is an intermediate sax with pro features, a perfect finish, and easy action.
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This sax is all about style, quality, and professional features for the advanced player. Everything is fully adjustable, more so than most saxophones, so it provides maximum comfort and playing ease. It is really easy to move from note to note. Your fingers will thank you for purchasing this sax.
Although it is considered an intermediate instrument, it has all the pro features one would want to be able to play in a live band or orchestra or even for use in the recording studio. It truly has a vintage sound made with modern technology that makes this tenor sax very unique.
Selmer STS280RB – Smooth Sounding Tenor Sax
Selmer is one of the most popular brands that make all kinds of saxophones because of the incredible quality, professional features, and superior sound. Each saxophone is masterfully crafted to perfection to provide the player with a phenomenal experience right out of the box.
This model is among the best that Selmer makes. The action is smooth and easy, the sound is powerful, yet warm and smooth, and the quality is on par with any other professional tenor saxophone.
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Any saxophonist cannot go wrong with a Selmer product. There have been quality control issues, but they are quickly fixed by either the seller or the manufacturer. Overall, this saxophone is a quality instrument with professional features that will create beautiful, warm tones for a lifetime.
This Yamaha model is another mid-level tenor saxophone with high-end features. You can find all the amazing qualities of the most expensive and legendary saxophones right here on this affordable model.
It is intended to be used as a beginner/student saxophone, but the quality is more than good enough for intermediate use and even live performances.
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Most players would love the action and tone of this saxophone. It is a simpler instrument with more of a vintage sound and excellent quality. It plays incredibly easy and the modern mechanism improvements makes it well worth the price.
Kaizer designed this saxophone for the beginner player. But it has the features and quality of a professional sax that will keep its rich tone as the player grows. It has enhanced tonal quality because of the solid brass body. It plays well and sounds great for being a beginner saxophone.
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This saxophone plays easy, responds without effort, has a fast action, and is built for quality sound and comfort. It may be the best budget tenor saxophone that money can buy.
Glory B Flat Tenor Sax
The Glory B Flat tenor saxophone has style and smooth sound from the bowl to the reed, and everywhere in between. It features either a black/gold or brass/nickel finish and expert features like quality leather pads, adjustability, metal thumb rest and resonators, and perfect keyhole alignment.
It is a cheaper, beginner saxophone, so the quality is on par with the price, and will serve a student who is just starting out well for a while.
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This sax is for beginner students who want to save some money. There have been problems right out of the box reported by many people, but the company was quick to fix any issues. You may have to send it back to be fixed before you get the product as advertised.
It would be perfect for players who want to practice with something with a bit higher action and less features than an intermediate or professional model would have.
Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L
This beautiful beginner tenor sax is offered in five different finishes and comes as a kit with a ton of extras included. It even comes with a digital tuner that is extremely accurate. This sax is easy to play, easily adjustable, and provides a warm, smooth sound that only gets better with time.
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The price is perfect for what you get with this saxophone. It is very well made, durable, dependable, and will last a very long time with proper care.
Yanagisawa Tenor Saxophones
While it didn’t make the list, the manufacturer Yanagisawa is an elite brand that makes some of the best tenor saxophones on the market. There are a lot of older models that are floating around in music shops and from private sellers that are definitely worth looking into.
Most of the older models are discontinued, so they can be hard to come by, and the value of the saxophones that aren’t made anymore go up significantly.
The newest line of saxophones from Yanagisawa is the WO-series. They have all the best professional features and tonal quality that is hard to beat. They are elite saxophones, and the best model they make is priced around $12,000, and the basic model coming in at around $3,500.
Every saxophone is custom and hand-made in Japan. There are music shops that order some models to have in stock, but every saxophone is made to order.
These saxes are for more experienced players with larger budgets, or players who can save some money for one. The prices are high, but the quality cannot be beat.
There are a ton of different tenor saxophones out there from many manufacturers all over the world, and it doesn’t end with this list.
This list was made with a budget, quality, and performance in mind. While a great quality tenor sax will cost a few thousand dollars in most cases, we understand that every player wants to save as much as possible, which is why the most expensive brands and models aren’t included.
Also, most of the lower-costing professional tenor saxophones like Yamaha and Selmer models, among others, will provide a similar sound and will perform just as well as an incredibly expensive tenor sax in most cases.
If you don’t find a model that you think would suit you, let us know, and we will do our very best to include it in a set of reviews like this one.