Saxophone Buying Guide & Comparison Chart |

The Music Room > Woodwinds Buying Guides > Saxophone


Author - Erik McKee

Saxophone Breakdown

Saxophone Diagram

Saxophone Categories

Student Saxophones

Crafted for beginners, student saxophones are easy to play, produce a pleasant sound, and make a perfect option for the first years of playing.

Intermediate Saxophones (Step-Up)

When a student masters the basics of playing, moving on to an intermediate saxophone will help their progression immensely. Although they don't contain the frills of a professional saxophone, intermediate models still produce an exceptional tone, and feature key work that's easily comparable to higher quality models.

Professional Saxophones

Constructed specifically for professional musicians, these models have exceptional intonation, tone, and response. Professional saxophones consist of dignified handwork such as hand engraving and hand-hammered keys, and they come in clear or colored lacquer finishes, as well as gold or silver plating.

Saxophone Body Materials

Lacquered Brass

Without a doubt, most saxophones in the world are made from clear or gold lacquered brass.

Black Lacquer / Matte Finish

Heavier than clear or gold, black and matte lacquer gives extra weight to the saxophone's body. Because of the thick sound it produces, this finish is the preferred choice of many tenor saxophonists.

Silver Plating

To darken the tones center, silver plating (like black lacquer) also gives extra weight to the saxophone. However, silver plating is harder than lacquer, which means greater volume and projection will be produced.

Nickel Plating

Over any other option, nickel plating provides the greatest projection and sound due to the material's extraordinary hardness. This also makes it popular with jazz performers.

Copper / Bronze

Copper and bronze saxophones provide the most covered and darkest timbres, due to the material being heavier and softer than brass.

Special Keys

High F#

Allows the performer to play an altissimo (above high C) F# with the addition of a single key.

High G

Allows the performer to play an altissimo (above high C) G with the addition of a single key.

Front F

Allows for performing the altissimo F with the addition of an index finger key on the front of the saxophone.

Tilted Spatulas

A titled spatula or pinky key allows for a more secure hold.

The Saxophone Family (from high to low)

  • Sopranino (Eb)
  • Soprano (Bb)
  • Alto (Eb)
  • Tenor (Bb)
  • Baritone (Eb)
  • Bass (Bb)

Trust Woodwind & Brasswind

When buying a saxophone, the skill level of the musician and the musician’s age should be taken into consideration, as well as what the instrument will be used for (school band, orchestra, etc). If it’s for school, you may wish to ask the band teacher for guidance. Whatever saxophone you select, Woodwind & Brasswind's 100% Satisfaction Guarantee means you have 45 days to be sure it's right for you. If it's not, just return it for a full refund.* And you don't need to worry about paying too much. Our 45-Day Lowest Price Guarantee means that if you find the same saxophone advertised for less elsewhere, we'll make up the difference. When you buy your saxophone from Woodwind & Brasswind, you can buy with complete confidence.

* 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.