A Guide to Buying a Pro Sax
When and why should you invest in a professional saxophone?
Once a sax player has fully committed to their instrument, is playing very advanced pieces, and is perhaps even ready to make saxophone playing part (or all!) of their career, it’s time to invest in a professional saxophone. Professional saxophones provide a higher level of performance, sound, and responsiveness as compared to intermediate models. Professional models improve on the quality and facility of the instrument and begin to add in features that will the professional player reach the heights of their abilities.
What Family of Instrument are Saxophones In?
Saxophones are in the woodwind family of instruments. They have a conical metal tube with openings controlled by padded keys. The mouthpiece is similar to that of a clarinet with a wooden reed held to the mouthpiece with a ligature. Octave key vents allow the instrument to overblow to a higher register at the octave. Most saxophones have an upturned lower end and a detachable neck at the upper end. The soprano saxophone, however, does not feature the upturned bell and is a straight instrument. The saxophone is one of the most recognizable instruments in terms of appearance and sound.
The most popular professional horns are alto sax and tenor sax, however, there are many types of saxophones in use today, including:
- Soprano (Bb)
- Alto (Eb)
- Tenor (Bb)
- Baritone (Eb)
- Bass (Bb)
There are four more types that are used much less frequently:
- Sopranissimo (Bb)
- Sopranino (Eb)
- Contrabass (Eb)
- Subcontrabass (Bb)
Who Plays the Professional Saxophone?
A musician who plays the saxophone can simply be called a saxophone player or a saxophonist. Almost anyone can learn to play the saxophone – kids as young as 8 years old can start on the instrument, though young students would almost exclusively play on student saxophones. Professional saxophone players who have mastered their skills on the instrument can play a variety of music genres, including jazz, orchestra, rock, Latin, chamber groups, and pep band.
What Does a Saxophone Look Like?
Most professional saxophones contain the same basic and essential parts. This picture of a saxophone shows you the breakdown of the various parts.
What are Professional Saxophones Made of?
These days, saxophones are almost exclusively made from brass, an alloy composed of copper and zinc. Brass has good rust resistance properties and is easy to work with. Some saxophones are gold plated or silver plated, but even those will be brass underneath.
Finishes of a Professional Saxophone
Professional saxophones come in a variety of finishes. While lacquer is the most common, many professional players like to invest in an instrument that has a unique look, especially those who will be on stage frequently. You’ll find unlacquered horns and saxophones finished with black lacquer or silver, gold, vintage finishes, nickel or copper/bronze plating.
What Does a Professional Saxophone Sound Like?
The saxophonist produces sound from the saxophone by blowing into the mouthpiece, which vibrates the reed and the sound is projected through the tubes and out the bell. The sax player changes the pitch of notes by using the keys. You could describe the saxophone’s sound as metallic, bright and powerful.
Good Saxophone Brands for Professional Players
If you’re looking for a good professional saxophone, there are many instrument makers that craft high-quality instruments. Look for models from P. Mauriat, Keilwerth, Selmer and Yamaha if you’re looking for incredible pro saxophones.
Best Professional Soprano Saxophones
- Allora Paris Series Professional Soprano Sax
- P. Mauriat System 76
- Eastman 52nd Street Bb Soprano Sax
- Yamaha YSS-875EX
Best Professional Alto Saxophones
- Yamaha YAS-62III Alto Sax
- P. Mauriat PMXA-67R Alto Sax
- Selmer Paris Reference 54 Alto Sax
- Eastman 52nd Street Eb Alto Sax
Best Professional Tenor Saxophones
- Yamaha YTS-82ZII Tenor Sax
- P. Mauriat System 76 Tenor Sax
- Andreas Eastman ETS640 Tenor Sax
- Yamaha YTS-875EX Tenor Sax
Best Professional Bari Saxophones
Professional Saxophone Accessories
Maintenance is an important part of owning a saxophone and there are many care & cleaning accessories that will be needed throughout the life of your horn to keep it responsive and performing at the highest level. Regular use of saxophone swabs, cork grease, key oil and mouthpiece brushes will keep your investment in top condition.
In addition to these maintenance related items, other common accessories for saxophone players often include items more suited to musical needs, such as different types of mouthpieces. Lastly, while many instrument cases provide some room for these additional items, cases made exclusively for saxophones can provide ample storage for all the player’s accessories and provide much-needed protection for your instrument.
Print Music for Professional Saxophone Players
Professional saxophone players should be constantly adding new pieces to your repertoire. Browse our vast selection of print music, music books & scores.
Buying a Pro Sax at Woodwind & Brasswind
Purchasing a saxophone involves knowing what instrument best fits your needs, age, and skill level. When buying a beginner’s first instrument, it is beneficial to speak to the student’s band director or private instructor before making a final buying decision.
No matter what type or category of saxophone you are shopping for, Woodwind & Brasswind has been meeting the needs of students and professionals for decades. Each purchase is backed by Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, giving you 45 days to decide if the instrument is right for you. If it’s not everything you need it to be, you can return it for a full refund. *
While making sure you found the right instrument is important, making sure the price is right matters, too, and Woodwind & Brasswind’s 45-Day Price guarantee means that even if you find the same model saxophone for less elsewhere, we’ll make up the difference. As musicians of all levels have done for decades, you can buy from Woodwind & Brasswind with complete confidence that you received the best instrument for the very best price.
*All returned woodwind and brass instruments are assessed a $10.00 sterilization fee. Instruments priced over $3,000.00 are assessed a $20.00 fee. All mouthpieces are assessed a $4.00 fee.