Welcome to the fascinating World of the Saxophone
Though one of the more recent instruments the sax has been absorbed into every corner of the musical world and, in some ways, has been THE voice of the modern era. From the speakeasies of Harlem, the townships of Africa to classical conservatoires across the globe the saxophone has made a huge contribution to world culture. It is also an instrument which is almost impossible to emulate using electronics, a fact sax players should be quite smug about!
What Size Saxophone Should I Buy?
Saxes, as you may well know, come in several sizes; the most usual of which are alto (slightly smaller) and tenor (bigger and deeper). While in schools the alto tends to be the default instrument to learn on most adult learners can equally well start their journey on either size. Tenors are bigger, bulkier & need marginally more air to play but for many they are the quintessential sax- husky, bluesy and powerful- and as such are the one to aspire to. There are, by the way, various other sizes of horn- from the soprano (often mistaken for a metal clarinet), the deep, rumbling baritone as well as certain specialist horns both larger and smaller. It’s extremely rare that anyone should start their playing career on any of these; they’re best regarded as horns to add to your arsenal once the basics have been grasped.
Click here for our guide on different saxophone sizes
The Quality of Your First Saxophone
When someone starts off on sax they will obviously be inexperienced in how the instrument is supposed to feel and play; for this reason it’s important to be playing on a horn that works well. It is natural for a student to think that, if things aren’t working out, then it’s their playing which is at fault, but this isn’t always the case. There are a lot of cheaply made and badly designed instruments out there which do nothing but demoralize the enthusiastic beginner, beware of them. With a substandard instrument its quite legitimate for a ‘workman to blame his tools’, there’s a huge feeling of relief to realise that its not you that sounds terrible, it really is the sax.
Also note that even a good quality saxophone can be rendered a liability by leaks and poor maintenance. Its always important to have a sax checked over and adjusted on a regular basis- even many experienced players have been astonished just how much better their instrument plays after a session with a technician.
What you get for your money.
Firstly it’s important to point out we only hold saxes we are prepared to send out into the world. From basic student instruments to top end collectors horns everything we get in is fully cheeked over, set up and will be handed over to you in optimum playing condition. As far as the price goes- it does have to be said that you do get what you pay for. A basic entry level sax, such as our own Sakkusu brand, play well and will serve a student as they learn on (it would also acquit itself as a back up horn for a more advanced saxophonist).
Having said that a professional horn will offer ‘more of everything’. A sax such of this will be built of better quality parts, constructed to higher tolerances and will, in most cases, have significantly greater ‘human input’ in their construction and setting up.
The more you spend on your first saxophone, the later the stage will come when you will need to upgrade it.