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A Guide To Saxophone Types

Updated on November 5, 2013

Why the Saxophone?

You are driving along listening to Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street". What a classic tune, with the unforgettable saxophone. Maybe you are wishing you could emulate this song and entertain others. "It would be impossible to play" and "I can't imagine being able to play this" are the words at the back of your head no doubt. Every musician will tell you dedication and endless hours of practice are necessary to perfect playing an instrument. Just imagine how many hours you rack up watching the tv and surfing the net per week. Now if you were to transfer these hours into learning how to play the saxophone you would be surprised at the level of progress made in a reasonably short space of time.

Gold Soprano Saxophone
Gold Soprano Saxophone

The Soprano Saxophone

Despite been categorized as a woodwind instrument most saxophones are made from brass and produce their sound by an oscillating reed. The simplest design of saxophone is a straight conical tube referred to as the ”soprano”. It is the highest pitched saxophone and so does not require the iconic U shape. Some soprano may incorporate the U shape purely for aesthetic reasons as some people may prefer its look. Several brands are on the market varying greatly in price. A Yanagisama will set you back a few thousand while at the lower end of the market, a good cheap soprano saxophone made by Paolo Mark will come to a couple of hundred.

beginner saxophone
beginner saxophone

Alto and Tenor Saxophones

Next in the family of saxophones are the Alto and Tenor. The Alto is slightly different to the others in that it is in the key of E flat unlike the Soprano and Tenor whom are both in B flat. To buy a saxophone it helps to have some knowledge of them beforehand. Obviously with well known brands such as Bauhaus Walstein, Selmer and Elkhart one knows what to expect. In the past few years good quality Chinese saxophones have come into force. Products such as the Paolo Mark Alto saxophone has all the modern accoutrements: Pillar straps, detachable bell joint, removable bell key pillar, three point bell brace and adjustable brass thumb hook etc.

Saxophone shop
Saxophone shop

Get Playing!

Enroll in lessons or teach yourself online for free. Give your grey matter some exercise, it's time to emerge from the confines of the sofa and get practicing. Whether you now have your hands on a Trevor James Sax or a very reasonable student saxophone you might find yourself playing like Lisa Simpson in no time.

Great Stuff on Amazon

Saxophones on Amazon

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