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You are here: Home > Saxophones > Saxophone Buying Guide & Tips

What you need to know before buying a saxophone

  • Alto, Tenor, Soprano, or Baritone: the alto saxophone is the most common member of the family, and if you have a student learning to play the saxophone, the alto is what you are looking for. Tenor Saxophones are larger and lower instruments. Students are usually introduced to these in high school along with the soprano saxophone, and sometimes the baritone saxophone. From high to low, the standard saxophone family looks like this: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Baritone.

  • High F# Key: This key gives an alto saxophone one more note on the high side of its range. Usually a feature on intermediate and professional saxophones.

  • Case: all saxophones come with a case included as a protection for the instrument.

  • Reeds: One reed will come with a new saxophone, usually a 2 ½ size. The saxophone player will need more reeds within a few days. A reed can last up to a month (regularly played) if taken care of. The best way to extend the life of your reeds is to use several at one time and rotate among all of them. Don’t use one until it is dead, and then move to the next one. The most common size to start with is 2 ½. This number refers to the hardness of the reed with higher numbers being the firmest. As a player advances, usually harder reeds are used

Level Models of Saxophone

All the types of saxophones we've tackled on here come in varying level models. These levels are Student, Intermediate, and Professional. It is important to know what these levels are in order for you to buy a type of saxophone that accommodates your level as a player. Let's discuss each level and what makes them different from each other.

The Student Saxophone 

Made for those who are just beginning with the saxophone or for those whose commitment to playing the saxophone is uncertain.

Recommendations for Student Alto Saxophones: 


Recommendations for Student Tenor Saxophones: 


The Intermediate Saxophone

Made for those who want something a little more advanced than a student model or for those who have been playing the saxophone for a few years.

Recommendations for Intermediate Alto Saxophones:


Recommendations for Intermediate Tenor Saxophones: 


The Professional Saxophone

Made for those who are fully committed to playing the saxophone (or for those who have been playing the saxophone for many years) as it is an investment.

Recommendations for Professional Alto Saxophones: 


Recommendations for Professional Tenor Saxophones: