Best Alto Saxophones for Beginners and Intermediate Students

Best Alto Saxophone for Beginner and Intermediate Students

The alto saxophone is a versatile musical instrument that has dominated modern musical scenes across the world.

Its smooth sound has been the center of jazz entertainment for decades.

This has gained saxophone popularity, thus leading to a large number of people who would love to play it today.

While this incredible instrument is fun to learn, it might be difficult to choose one that suits your needs.

And that’s why we are here today; to help you choose the best alto saxophone for beginners and intermediate students.

Read through to the end!

Best Alto Saxophone for Beginner and Intermediate Students

1. Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone

If you’re a serious student in search of an equally serious mid-level saxophone for your classes and practice, then you got one in Jean Paul USA AS-400.

This smooth musical piece comes with sturdy well-formed keys, coupled with top-notch reeds, which ensures you achieve a constant quality tone.

It’s also pretty easy to play and with practice and dedication, you will be playing jazz and blues like a pro.

The reason why it’s highly recommended for both beginners and intermediate students.

You will also love its elegant yellow brass finishing, which gives it a premium look, so you can proudly display it around your peers.

That too, at an affordable price.

The package comes with a potent carrying case for easy portability. You will also find essential accessories, such as a cleaning cloth, ligature, reeds, flexible neck strap, and mouthpiece.

All of which will make your work easier.

Pros
  • Impressive intonation with guaranteed consistency
  • Carrying case for easy portability
  • Beautiful smooth finishing
  • Ease of play
  • Packed with essential accessories
Cons
  • Not so strong carrying case.
  • Price tag not favorable for those on a tight budget

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2. YAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophones

The Yamaha brand has been around for a while and their range of saxophones is incredibly budget-friendly.

Their YAS-280 offers beginners the best learning ground given that it’s easy to learn and is budget-friendly with amazing features.

First, the saxophone is not only light for easy portability but also gives a comfortable hold.

Thus, you get to achieve the best positions without a struggle.

Its tone is mellow with a smooth flow, which guarantees you impressive tones whenever you set out to play.

And if you’re a young learner, then you will appreciate the steady neck of this masterpiece. As it will definitely offer you the much-needed support to ensure you enjoy each learning session.

Also, with this type of long neck, novice players can expect to produce crispy clear sounds which will leave audiences in awe.

However, unlike the Jean Paul USA AS-400, it doesn’t come with essential accessories, which could have been a plus.

Pros
  • Comes with a plastic carrying case
  • Light and portable
  • Comfortable to handle for ease of play
  • Great sounds
  • Steady neck
Cons
  • No essential accessories included
  • The plastic case could be better with some improvements

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3. Mendini by Cecilio E-Flat Alto Saxophone MAS-L+92D+PB

If you’re a beginner saxophone student and would like to purchase a budget-friendly saxophone, then Mendini by Cecilio E-Flat Alto Saxophone is the ideal instrument for you.

This piece comes in a sleek gold body complete with matching golden keys, which would make you want to practice all the time.

But you can also opt for other color options such as black nickel, red, purple, etc. if gold doesn’t appeal to your taste.

This musical instrument presents a large bore and solid construction to ensure you achieve a great balance as you play.

And to ensure you enjoy optimum comfort, Mendini by Cecilio has ensured to include high-quality leather pads, which also present metal-resonators for your sounds.

The mouthpiece of this saxophone is pro-deluxe to curb wear and tear that could otherwise occur with frequent use.  The same case applies to both the shell case and neck strap.

Pros
  • 1-year manufacturers’ defects warranty
  • Metal –tone boosters
  • Sturdy construction
  • Extra accessories
  • Ease of play
Cons
  • Easy to misplace the numerous extra small accessories.

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4. Prelude Student Model AS711 Alto Saxophone by Conn-Selmer

This amazing instrument from Conn-Selmer is ideal for entry-level students.

It’s easy to play and the price is beginner-friendly.

The first thing you will notice is its elegant yellow-brass finishing, which presents a clear lacquer that you will be proud to display to the world.

It’s also very light, hence it will give you ample time to handle, try out various positions and use multiple fingering techniques.

It comes with extra accessories such as the cap, mouthpiece and even a carrying case for ease of movement.

So, with Prelude Student Model AS711 you can rest easy knowing you will receive value for money and guaranteed performance as an icing on the cake!

Pros
  • Reliable and durable
  • Fresh-learner friendly
  • Very affordable
  • Potent construction
Cons
  • Inconsistent tone
  • Basic mouthpiece

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5. Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone

Yamaha never disappoints. And so does their Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate.

This musical instrument is a perfect pick for intermediate students, who could be either in college or high-school and are used to random performances.

The design oozes elegance and the features ensure you achieve quick response with an easy-way intonation.

And because of its 62-styled neck, expect a more mature sound from this instrument.

The kind of sound that will most likely appeal to expectant jazz and concert audiences.

Also, you get an option to choose between the custom Z and Custom EX Yamaha necks whenever you’re performing using this intermediate saxophone.

And that’s not enough, this instrument is silver plated to guarantee durability and reliability among its users.

Plus it displays an incredible low B-C# mechanism, which is a notable improvement from the previous models.

Pros
  • Precise intonation
  • Fast response
  • Beautiful hand-engraftment on the bell
  • Mature sounds
  • Adjustable screw cap-stoppers on the separate key-guards.
  • Light-weight carrying case.
Cons
  • A bit expensive for students
  • Some prefer hard carrying case over the soft-padded one.

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6. Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone

This best beginner saxophone is a true definition of comfort.

It offers comfort to your fingers, which means you get to play for long without experiencing finger-fatigue.

All this, thanks to its fluid keyword.

Also, with a touch of professional key styling, you get to enjoy accurate fingering, while allowing your fingers to receive the much-needed support.

And if you want to enjoy trying out various sounds, this magical instrument from Selmer allows you to experiment with solo repertoires and even concert bands with your peers.

Not to forget, this saxophone comes with excellent intonation, which makes it easy for you to deliver the serenading sounds, whenever you try it out.

Plus, you get to easily switch between performances thanks to its classic-sized bell.

And as if that’s not enough, it comes in an awesomely elegant look, which will earn you a prestigious place in the band.

Pros
  • Impressive intonation
  • Favorable key fluidity
  • Ease of play
  • Durable custom carrying case
  • Extra accessories included
  • Tone consistency
  • Great for various performances
Cons
  • The tone can get wild if not well controlled when switching registers.
  • Expensive

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7. Jupiter Intermediate JAS1100SG Eb Alto Saxophone

The Jupiter Intermediate JAS1100SG is an ideal saxophone to go for when you’re ready to hop onto the intermediate alto saxophone player.

It’s silver-plated, to give it an exquisite appearance that will announce your presence and budding prowess among your peers.

This music instrument presents its users with incredible playability options complete with a set of left-hand table keys.

You also get to enjoy comfort as you play for long hours, thanks to the tilting Bb rocker arm of this alto saxophone.

And if you love a touch of vintage jazz tones, then this musical piece works to ensure you perform according to expectation.

It comes with an artists’ series wood framed case, which will ensure easy portability and maintenance. It, however, doesn’t come cheap, so be ready to dig deeper into your pockets.

Pros
  • Elegant appearance with sophisticated body and neck
  • Guaranteed playability
  • Very comfortable to finger
  • Adjustable lower and upper stack
  • Durable Wooden frame
  • Excellent for classical jazz
Cons
  • Doesn’t come cheap

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8. Lazarro 360-LQ E-Flat Eb Alto Saxophone

Lazarro 360-LQ E-Flat saxophone is an excellent pick for both adult and kids players with a focus on performing in orchestras, bands, and concerts.

It proudly displays its stylish gold lacquer body, which will be a perfect match to your growing skills.

But if gold isn’t your cup of tea, then you can settle for other color options, which include black nickel, black, blue, silver nickel, among others.

Its neck and body are sturdy, thus guaranteeing you durability and reliability, well, until you decide to upgrade.

And you can’t also ignore the quality well-balanced sound it produces, which ensures you leave an unforgettable mark in your audience.

The package of this promising instrument comes with extra accessories including a mouthpiece, neck strap, tweezers, cork crease, etc.

Pros
  • Amazing sound quality
  • Ease of play
  • Impressive quality
  • Affordable
  • Extra accessories
Cons
  • The several small pieces pose choking hazards
  • The extra accessories don’t match the quality of the sax

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9. Fever Beginner Student Alto Saxophone

Fever has been around for a while and their range of musical instruments is always impressive.

Their beginner Student Alto Saxophone promises to deliver excellent sound quality.

It comes with a saxophone pad saver and an adjustable neck strap to give you a perfect fit and thus boosting your performance.

You will also love the various accessories that come with the package, which include; cleaning cloth, reed, a cap and mouthpiece ligature.

And since you will be moving from place to place, the carrying case that comes with this package will come in handy.

All these features make it a perfect pick for beginner students.

Pros
  • Light-weight durable case
  • Quality mouthpiece
  • Sturdy construction
  • Beautiful finishing
  • Portable
Cons
  • No Warranty information

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10. Kaizer Alto Saxophone ASAX-1000LQ

This Kaizer Alto Saxophone ASAX-1000LQ is characterized by remarkable versatility and promises to offer its users excellent functionality, complete with a touch of playability.

When you receive the package, you will be surprised by this instrument’s notable features, which include some incredible leatherette pads for optimum intonation.

As such it’s one of the best saxophones for high school students, given that it’s also pretty affordable.

This instrument is fully packed with top-notch steel springs which ensures you enjoy a seamless action with guaranteed comfort.

And on top of that, users get to enjoy a 45-free trial period. Return it if it doesn’t trigger your vibes and get a full refund! How amazing can it get?

Plus, the item has a lifetime warranty on manufacturers’ defects.

Pros
  • Enhanced intonation
  • Lifetime warranty
  • 45-days free trial
  • Great for high school beginner students
  • Comfort and reliability
  • Durable
Cons
  • Reports of minor tone issues
  • Not very great for concerts

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Is the Alto Saxophone Easy to Learn for Beginners?

Playing saxophone isn’t as complicated as your mind might want you to believe. In fact, the alto saxophone is even easier to learn.

This is the main reason as to why it’s recommended by most composers and teachers, especially for beginners.

It has a medium size, which can comfortably allow anyone beyond age ten to handle. And of course, the alto saxophone provides sufficient learning material for learners.

So, if you’re planning on attending that 1st saxophone lesson, be ready to get a sound out of it by the end of the lesson.

Yes, it’s that simple. Of course, if you diligently follow provided instruction.

Nothing comes easy in this world. And sometimes, even the simplest of musical instruments, such as a drum, can give you a headache if you decide to follow your own impulses.

You see, the most important aspect of learning saxophone lies in the way you “embouchure.” This’s a professional term to the way you twist your lips when on the mouthpiece.

It greatly impacts the quality of the tone you produce and so, even if  we say you can make a sound by the end of your first lesson, don’t be fooled into believing that the sound will be very professional as the ones you have been listening to.

For that, you will have to work on your embouchure skill for several years.

Well, let’s say for your entire professional life because learning never stops. And you will need the services of a great coach along the way.

We know what you’re thinking; “get right into it and tell me if saxophone is hard to learn!”

Honestly, there’s no definite answer to this question, just as there has never been any when it comes to all musical instruments.

Why?

The answer is simple; human beings are different. And we all have different learning capabilities.

While some individuals might find it easy to learn the saxophone, others might find it a bit difficult, while others will term it as extremely difficult.

Take, for instance, middle school learners, they won’t even be able to give the alto saxophone a hold due to the nature of their little hands and mouths.

So, if you try to teach them, then they will find it extremely uncomfortable and difficult.

As for high school students who haven’t tried playing any kind of wind instrument before, then they might find it pretty difficult in the beginning.

But with constant practice, patience and dedication, they can grasp basic concepts in a matter of days or weeks.

Now, for saxophone beginner players who have had an experience with other types of wind instruments, it might come out as easy.

Reason?

They’re already conversant with the basics, which apply to all wind instruments.

They might even end-up developing a liking for saxophone over other wind instruments such as the clarinet, given that the fingering process of a saxophone is far less complicated.

One of the greatest downsides of the saxophone lies in the fact that it doesn’t offer immediate gratification.

Instead, learners have to invest a lot of time and effort in learning the ropes to eventually achieve impressive tones.

So, if you’ve been looking forward to sounding like your favorite saxophone artist within a few weeks, then you will end up getting disappointed.

The secret is not to over expect and allow yourself to get surprised at what you can achieve within a few months.

Therefore, instead of being unrealistic, concentrate on enjoying the process. And before you know it, you will be sounding cooler than your peers.

Also, remember, even those experts you’re looking up to, are still learning something new each day.  So, why would you want to experience a 20-year-old career in a week! It’s fun to keep learning!

Things to Consider When Buying an Alto Saxophone

To get the best and achieve limitless impossibilities with your alto saxophone, you have to consider the following things;

Finishes and Materials

The most classic saxophone material is the yellow brass. It’s also the most famous, common and easily available in various music stores.

But, you can still find saxophones made of different materials such as copper, bronze, etc. So, you will have to pick one which suits your preference.

Also, nowadays, you can easily come across a brass saxophone but with different finishing on either the neck and bells or both.

The various materials and finishes mainly affect the pricing as some require special handling.

Settle for one which won’t be too expensive to maintain. Manufacturers usually provide this information.

Post Construction

This is where the terms ribbed and non-ribbed come from.

And they are used in reference to the procedure of posts/small knobs) attachment to the body. And they are responsible for dictating the keying system.

If the saxophone has ribs, it means its posts are strongly attached for better holding.

In non-ribbing construction, the posts get a direct attachment to the body, which sacrifices a little bit of its strength. But, it also translates to less weight and affordability.

So, for students, the non-ribbing saxophone options make a perfect pick.

Necks

The neck of the saxophone greatly impacts the sound quality released.

So, if the neck is faulty, then you might start “hating” the sound produced. But, the great news is that you can change it and enjoy your saxophone better than before.

A responsive neck makes a great difference.

Key Layout

First, it’s good to understand that mot Saxophones have their key layout standardized.

But even then, various manufacturers have come-up with saxophones with additional features and keys, which help players achieve amazing notes, with ease of playing.

But of course, this might slightly impact the price tag.

Used or Brand New?

Sometimes, you might not have enough cash to purchase a new instrument and that’s understandable.

But, that also doesn’t mean you have to compromise on quality. If you decide to settle for a 2nd hand sax, then ensure you research as much as possible about the seller and the reason of their selling.

And even after finding out that they’re genuine, indulge the services of a technician to ensure it’s in perfect condition.

For new ones, brand name matters, but not always. There are various less known brands with amazing instruments, so check out reviews before committing.

Renting or Buying?

Like buying used sax, renting is also an option of laying your hands on that much-anticipated instrument.

But don’t be fooled into believing that all lenders are straight-forward. Some lending costs are enough for you to get a new sax.

So, take time to examine the contract to ensure you understand all the details. Does the hiring cost cover accidents? What about repairs? Is there a viable exchange option?

These are some of the important questions to ponder before committing.

FAQs About Best Alto Saxophone for Beginner and Intermediate Students

How Much to Spend on Your First Alto Saxophone?

The amount you should spend depends on your budget. That said, you can purchase a high-quality alto saxophone at around $1000 or a little bit less.

It should serve you well enough before you upgrade to a professional sax.

Is It Easier to Learn Alto or Tenor Sax?

We aren’t surprised by this question as the alto and tenor saxophones remain the most interesting ones to many sax players.

So, choosing between the two is mostly a matter of preference.

That said, alto instruments are easier to learn by younger learners. They are not only lighter, but also smaller as compared to tenor sax.

Also, alto is likely going to be easier for you to play, especially if you have been playing a lot of. In this case, you will find tenor heavier and difficult.

But, we believe that if you take a lot of time playing tenor the same way you do alto, then you might end up feeling that the level of difficulty in learning the two is pretty the same.

So, to be honest, you can easily learn to play the two with ease if you put in the right amount of effort.  Although, for an absolute beginner, tenor might seem more complex, at least for the first few days or hours.

What Are the Best Alto Saxophones Brands?

When it comes to saxophones, brand matters, although not always. Here are some of the best Saxophones brands for beginners;

  1. Yamaha; is one of the most popular brands among beginners. It produces top-notch beginner-friendly instruments and at an affordable price.
  2. Mendini by Cecilio; this brand is the most favorable for beginners in search of a cheap alto saxophone.
  3. Conn-Selmer; the jazz music sector is currently enjoying the use of some of the best instruments, thanks to the mega merge between Con and Selmer. Their products ooze longevity, complete with a touch of quality.
  4. Jupiter; established in the 1930s, Jupiter prides itself on the manufacturing of high-quality instruments suitable for beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
  5. Jean Paul; this brand never disappoints with its wide range of quality musical instruments. They’re a true definition of value for the quality!

Is Saxophone Harder Than the Guitar?

All instruments present a level of difficulty to master, especially for beginners. But, getting notes on a guitar might be very difficult as getting moderate ones on a saxophone.

And a guitar can also do some other things like polyphony, which a sax can’t.

Also, you can pretty easily pick-up where you left with a guitar even after months of absence, something which can be challenging with a sax.

You have to master punching and dial turning when playing guitar and mouth positioning and breathe control when it comes to a saxophone.

So, our point is that you will need to practice for both. So neither is too difficult or too easy.

How to Clean A Saxophone?

Some things are better explained in practical. That’s why we got the video below to help you understand the essentials of saxophone cleaning;

Conclusion

As a beginner or intermediate saxophone student. Selecting the correct instrument goes a long way into ensuring your success.

And this includes looking beyond the design and choosing a sax that’s easy to use, comfortable on your hands and produces incredible sounds.

Now that you understand this, it’s time to look at our 10 best alto saxophone selection and choose one that suits your needs.

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