Buying Your First Instrument
- Written by Saxophone Teacher
buying your first instrument
The most traditional starting place for the beginning saxophonist is with the alto saxophone. This is in part due to the fact that the vast majority of classical saxophone literature is written for the alto.
Additionally, the alto requires slightly less air than does the tenor, and the smaller key scale often fits more comfortably in a young person's hands.
Further, the angle of air flow as well as the embouchure required to play alto is very much transferable to all of the saxophones. These points do not, however, preclude a beginner from starting on tenor or baritone saxophone. With proper guidance, repertoire and technique can be adapted to all of the saxophones.
Consult your local music store, school music teacher, or private teacher for suggestions on which brands and models to try. See if your private teacher would mind trying out a few instruments on your behalf.
Where to buy a saxophone
With continual development of technology and communication we now have many purchasing options available to us.
Store front music stores, online music stores, online auctions, newspapers, magazines, pawn shops and word of mouth are all
available and accessible to new and seasoned buyers. Not all shops are created equal and it is strongly advised that a saxophone is
played by a knowledgeable player before the decision to purchase is made. That being said, although there may be
some good deals online, it is important to deal with only reputable and known selling agents through this medium
otherwise you may end up with a product that is either damaged or misrepresented. Store front music stores and
reputable online music stores are great to purchase through as often they have a return policy, a warranty and provide
you with an opportunity to try out the instrument. Newspapers, magazines and word of mouth sales are also a viable option.
These venues will provide you with a playing opportunity and often a negotiable price. It is advisable that you
do your research on the horn, its origin, history of ownership and repairs prior to making the trip out to see the saxophone.
You may also want to request the serial number which is located just below the thumb rest on the back of the saxophone to
ensure that the item is not stolen. Pawn shops offer a unique situation for the bargain hunter and those who don’t mind fixing up horns.
Vintage and used horns are offered at bargain prices in these shops and their condition usually requires some repair work. It is really
important to check the serial numbers of these instruments with the police to ensure that the purchase is indeed legitimate and not a
sale of someone’s misfortune. Your best bet is to visit some reputable saxophone dealers that have store fronts and search online for
price comparisons so that you can anticipate the price you should expect to pay.