Best Tenor Saxophones for Beginners and Intermediate Students

Best Tenor Saxophone for Beginners and Intermediate

If there’s one thing that wind instruments lovers agree on, it’s that playing a tenor saxophone perfectly takes a lot of persistence, discipline, and of course curiosity.

But for that, you need the best tenor instrument, which is usually tricky to pick especially for beginners and intermediate players.

This guide is for you. To give you clarity on the correct sax for you, not only quality-wise but also ease of playability as well.

Best Tenor Saxophones for Beginners In 2020

1. Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone

Our top selection is Jean Paul USA’s AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone. This amazing masterpiece is a true definition of ease of playability.

And it does this pretty well through its proudly displayed pivot keys, which come fully power-forged and tapered to offer you the much-needed flexibility as you jam for hours.

You will also love the AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone’s gorgeous brass body, complete with perfectly engraved bell patterns for that classy look you so deserve.

Also, the Jean Paul USA’s instrument comes with a contoured carrying case, which allows you to carry it with you wherever you go and with ease.

And to ensure you enjoy the comfort and easily attain balance as you play this tenor sax, the piece comes with an adjustable and well-padded strap.

You will also find some extra accessories in the package (Rico reed, cleaning cloth, mouthpiece, cork grease) which will make maintenance easy and save you some bucks.

The sax is an ideal pick for beginners, but it can also be played by intermediates, which makes it a worthy investment especially for students planning to advance their skills professionally.

Pros
  • Great value for quality
  • Easy to play
  • Durable construction
  • Classy outlook
  • Extra accessories
Cons
  • A bit expensive for beginners on a tight budget
  • The carrying case could do better with some quality improvement

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2. YAMAHA YAS-280 Student Saxophone

This amazing student tenor sax, might all simple and a great representation of the Yamaha brand.

But what most individuals don’t know is that its impressive tone couldn’t come at a cheaper price.

This musical piece comes with versatile auxiliary keys for front F and high F3.

This allows students to be more creative as compared to other saxophones within the same price range.

You will also notice the top-notch craftsmanship placed into the manufacturing of this instrument, thanks to its elegant finishing that will set you above the crowd.

With the YAMAHA YAS-280 sax, comes a backpack carry case, which will ensure your instrument is safe as you move from place to place for performances.

There’re also some extra accessories, which include a ligature, 4C mouthpiece, and a 2.5 Rico reed.

But even with this, we feel they YAMAHA could do better by providing more accessories to match the hefty price of this sax.

Pros
  • Reliable and durable
  • Easy-action keys
  • Quality carrying case
  • Includes F# key
Cons
  • Pricey for beginners.

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3. LyxJam Alto Saxophone

LyxJam brand might not be as famous as the YAHAMA, but it has a range of high-quality musical instruments that has gained it a place in the market place.

Their LyxJam Alto Saxophone doesn’t disappoint either.

It guarantees its users a pristine sound quality, thanks to the resilient pads and premier design, which oozes nothing but a rich tone.

Its bright brass construction ensures you enjoy durability that can only come from high-quality materials.

The package comes with necessary extras, which include 10 bamboo reeds, straps, gloves, a cleaning kit, among others.

So, you can save up those extra bucks for later.

And on top of that, you will find an adjustable carrying case, which allows you to carry your sax the way you prefer.

There’s also a 1-year limited warranty on the carrying case.

And although the general of the accessories in the LyxJam Alto Saxophone package might not be of premium quality, it still is a good deal.

Pros
  • Complete kit
  • Durable bamboo reeds
  • Ease of play
  • Great consistent tone
Cons
  • You might have to purchase a new mouthpiece when upgrading to professional playing.

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4. Eastar AS-Ⅱ Student Alto Saxophone

The first thing you will notice about the Eastar AS-Ⅱ Student Alto Saxophone is its classy gold lacquer finishing body.

This musical instrument promises to offer its users a rich generous tone, which will come in handy for street plays as well as a personal practice.

And if you feel the price of this sax is too expensive, then you better reconsider as the complete kit that comes with the package is worth it.

The kit consists of straps, stand, cork grease, a mouthpiece, carrying case, and of course some reeds.

You will also love the premium feel of this instrument, which will give you a premium touch complete with ease of play.

So, with this sax, it doesn’t really matter if you’re inexperienced or a seasoned sax player.

Pros
  • Leather padded keys
  • Complete accessories kit
  • Quality reeds
  • Elegant design
Cons
  • Poor quality control

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5. Kaizer Tenor Saxophone TSAX-1000LQ

If you want a tenor sax that will perfectly serve you as a beginner, but premium enough to carry with you as you grow into a professional player, then Kaizer Tenor Saxophone TSAX-1000LQ is the ideal pick.

This instrument presents a rich tone that can comfortably serve a professional sax player, thanks to its solid brass construction.

And to ensure you enjoy maximum control and automatic response, this sax comes with premium steel springs.

Comfort is essential for quality playing and for that, the Kaizer brand ensures their instrument comes with a quality padded leatherette, which also helps to curb corrosion.

This beautiful sax offers you a lifetime warranty on manufacturer’s defects. And you also enjoy a 45-days free trial.

Pros
  • Extra accessories
  • Offers versatility for various performance
  • Lifetime warranty and 45-free days trial
  • Portable
  • Sleek and durable
Cons
  • Quite expensive for a beginner.

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6. Glory Black/Gold B Flat Tenor Saxophone

If black is gold, then a combination of black and gold is pure bliss. And that’s what the Glory black sax offers you.

Not only is this, tenor sax gorgeous, but is also releases an equally smooth sound that will leave your listeners in awe.

And that’s not all.

This musical instrument features top-notch features such as high-quality leather pads to ensure you’re comfortable and in control all the time.

It also comes with a metal thumb rest, impressive resonators and a well-thought off keyhole alignment that will perfectly suit your classy playing style.

The sax is also adjustable in many ways, so you get a perfect fit to ensure you concentrate on blowing tantalizing sounds.

Yes, it’s cheaper as compared to other saxophoneS within its range. Plus the quality perfectly matches the price tag.

And, it will perfectly serve a beginner like you for a while, well, until you decide to upgrade.

Pros
  • Compact design makes it ideal for both adults and kids
  • Comfortability
  • Value for money
  • Beautiful hand-engraved design
  • Light-weight for easy portability
  • Top-notch kit
Cons
  • The compact design isn’t everybody’s favorite.
  • Cheap construction that might wear out quickly

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7. Hawk WD-S411C-BL Tenor Saxophone

If you love playing around with colors, then you will very much love the Hawk WD-S411C-BL Tenor Saxophone.

This sax comes in various colors which will leave you spoilt for choice. From blue, black, nickel, gold to red, it breaks the norm of brass gold.

It also presents easy action springs to its users, which works best to ensure you achieve maximum control, thus giving you ample time while playing.

And even if this sax’s tone might not come out as loudly as other tenor saxes within its range, its sound is pretty impressive and would work well for a beginner.

After all, you aren’t planning on hosting an orchestra on day one, right?

You will also love the premium features that come with these instruments’ package.  From the leather pads, forged keys to tone boosters, you wouldn’t pay less for this quality.

And of course, there are also other decent extras such as the reeds, carrying case, neck strap, among others.

Pros
  • Pretty durable
  • Ease of use
  • Comfortable
  • High-quality accessories
  • Reliable
Cons
  • Low-quality soft case

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Best Tenor Saxophones for Intermediate Students 2020

1. Jean Paul USA Intermediate Tenor Saxophone TS-400

The Jean Paul Ts-400 sax comes in a tailor-made hard carrying case.

The case ensures the sax and all other high-quality accessories are well maintained.

The kit comprises of a cleaning cloth, a mouthpiece, some swabs, gloves, Rico reeds, and cork grease.

This is basically everything you need to start playing and reason enough to practice for long hours.

The playability presented by this amazing instrument is quite impressive, thanks to the power- forged and tapered pivot keys.

So, you can rest easy knowing you will enjoy a lot of flexibility as you learn your way through this sax.

And if a touch of class is what you’re searching for, then you will love the gorgeous brass body with a touch of lacquer finishing of this instrument.

This, together with the beautifully engraved bell patterns will proudly display your rich taste to your peers.

Pros
  • Great value for quality
  • Minimal energy to play
  • Elegant design
  • High-quality complete accessories kit
  • Padded straps for extra comfort
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Case might not withstand frequent travel

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2. Glory Professional Alto Eb SAX Saxophone

The Glory brand did place their best foot forward with this alto sax.

It comes with a thick reed, which ensures it produces a rich warm sound, which makes it a perfect pick for your tenor tunes.

Also, though this instrument isn’t the high-model you might want to pick, it still is decent enough for street gigs.

But you might want to invest in another one when you want to produce a louder sound.

So, you can use it as you start and upgrade to a fancier sax when you hit your professional climax.

And if you want to use it in the recording studio, nothing should stop you. All you need to do is to give it a little adjustment on the mouthpiece and you will be good to go!

This sax like others in its category offers it, users, extra accessories for comfort of use and maintenance.

And they include the neck strap, gloves, screwdriver, and cloth, among other essentials. It also comes with a hard-shell carrying case, which gives you value at its price tag.

The sax might not be spectacular, but it’s presentable with the high-quality coat finishing, which doesn’t let it come out as cheap.

Pros
  • Complete kit accessories
  • Great for smaller hands
  • Durable rugged carrying case
  • Great value
Cons
  • The mouth-piece could do better with extra quality.

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3. Yamaha YTS-480 Intermediate Bb Tenor Saxophone

Yamaha is undoubtedly a household name. And when it comes to musical instruments, they don’t disappoint.

Their Yamaha YTS-480 is a true definition of class and quality.

It comes in creative design, complete with incredible intonation to ensure you produce a warm enticing tone that would leave your audience craving for more.

Its ease of use is also a notable feature that comes with its reliable user-friendly functions with quick response.

This sax proudly displays a high-quality 62-style neck, which gives it a professional touch that you will love, especially when transitioning from low B to C#.

The beauty in this Yamaha piece can’t be complete without a mention of the engraved bell pattern features, which gives you a firm grip for balanced playing.

Pros
  • Left-hand seesaw key for ultimate comfort and playability
  • Upgraded octave keys system
  • Adjustable keyguards
  • Stylish appearance
Cons
  • You might have to upgrade the mouthpiece for a more professional sound.

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4. Jupiter Intermediate Bb Tenor Saxophone, JTS1100SG

Does the terms great balance of playability and scale sound good to your ears?

If yes, then the tenor sax you have been looking for is none other than the Jupiter JTS1100SG.

This elegant sax displays a well-crafted lacquer brass body, which guarantees you durability and reliability.

You will also find the nickel-plated keys appealing with a sense of durable satisfaction.

And to ensure you great comfort as you play, this instrument has its left-hand keys molded with a tilting Bb rocker arm.

You will love the flexibility offered by this instrument as an intermediate. And of course, the extra parts that come with the package will save you some bucks.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Great for professionals
  • Superb sound quality
  • Extra accessories
Cons
  • You will have to purchase extra reeds.

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5. Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone Outfit

Like Yamaha, the Selmer brand has managed to create a name for itself in the music instruments market due to its range of quality instruments.

Their Selmer STS280 is among the best of its products within this range and it comes smooth and classy to suit the needs of its users.

The instrument also offers ease of play, which gives you ample time to release a powerful smooth, yet warm sound.

And because of this, it makes a great sax for both solo endeavors and concert gigs.

Being the most popular piece in the Selmer sex range, this beautiful piece presents some amazing features such as a fluid key and incredible intonation.

Its body is engraved complete with a gorgeous durable neck that could last you for years.

You will also find this tenor sax pretty adjustable and it has a rocking table mechanism and leather pads for optimum comfort and flexibility.

Pros
  • Deep serenading tone
  • Great for solo and group gigs
  • Ease of use
  • Light-weight for portability
  • Available in 4-finishes
  • Complete kit of essentials
Cons
  • Some quality control issues
  • Price doesn’t match with the value

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6. Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L+92D

The Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L sax comes in various color finishes to allow you to choose according to your preference.

However, this one presents a gold lacquer body with complete keys.

It’s easy to play and handle thanks to its ribbed design that offers players a firm grab.

You will also love the faux mother-f-pearl inlays molded keys, which ensure your fingers enjoy flexibility as you play.

And the best part is that this sax masterpiece is well-crafted to suit players of all levels, so you can comfortably grow with it into the professional level.

Be ready to receive a deeper tone with this sax and the fast-action keys make it pretty useful.

The package of this Mendini sax comes with a hard-case, which you can also use as a backpack, thanks to the extra straps that it comes with.

There are also numerous accessories in the package including a cleaning rod, gloves, and polishing cloth.

Pros
  • 1-year manufacturer’s fault warranty
  • Can be used by players of all levels
  • Remarkable intonation
  • Great balance
  • Multiple finishes
Cons
  • Some reports of the octave key coming off.
  • Could do with more accessories.

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7. Yamaha YTS-62III Professional Tenor Saxophone

If money isn’t a problem then you can as well get the Yamaha YTS-62III sax.

It comes with literally everything that you will need to become a pro at your game.

The piece proudly presents a 62-style neck, which assures you of better airflow, thus be ready for perfectly-pitched sounds.

Also, this instrument has a smooth warm tone that can be easily achieved thanks to the contoured keys for quicker action.

And to ensure you enjoy optimum comfort as you play, the sax presents a narrow bore, which is easy to control and faster response.

Still, on comfort, you will love the adjustable thumb rest and the enhanced seesaw key.

And to top it all, the package comes with a complete essentials kit, so you don’t have to worry about breaking your bank balance.

Pros
  • Impressive craftsmanship
  • Sustainable
  • Enhanced intonation
  • Beautifully engraved bell patterns
Cons
  • Could do with better quality reeds
  • High maintenance costs
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Is Tenor Saxophone Easy to Play for Beginners?

The tenor sax might be easy or hard to play for beginners depending on several factors.

For instance, if you have had an experience with any of the wind instruments before, then it might be easier for you to play the tenor sax, as opposed to a beginner who hasn’t tried any of them before.

This is because, these instruments usually have a similar playing mechanism, which with a little practice, will bring the best out of you.

Also, if you have been listening to more tenor saxophone artists as compared to alto or soprano sax, then it will be easy for you to imitate those sounds when you first hold the tenor sax.

But, for a beginner who can only remember alto, soprano, or no form of sax music in their heads, then releasing a tenor tone might take a little more practice,    t anticipated.

So you see, there’s no absolute answer to this question. But I will try to give you as much of an objective answer as possible.

Honestly, playing tenor hugely depends on your passion for the instrument. If the sound of it gets your musical juices flowing, then you will be playing it with much ease within no time.

So, before trying it, you should first ask yourself what your major objective is. Having a clear objective will push you into learning how to play “faster”, as you have something tangible to fulfill.

And even after you settle for tenor and know that’s all you want, it won’t be all rosy. There will be days when things won’t be all easy.

The times when the sounds you will be getting will simply be wrong, when your fingers and mouth decide to go against you and when you can’t seem to lose the warbles no matter how hard you try.

It’s during such times that you will realize that it’s the passion you hold for your tenor sax and the beautiful sounds in your head, which will keep you going.

So, yes. Whichever way you look at it, the tenor is easy for beginners to play, just as much alto is, if only you put your mind and passion into it.

Remember, nothing can stop a passionate player!

Things to Consider when Getting a Tenor Saxophone

Size

Tenor saxophones come in different sizes.  From small, medium-sized to large, you choose according to preference.

The best size for you will depend on your body size.  The last thing you want is to appear like an ant carrying an axe!

Type

Here, consider your level of expertise. Are you a student? Teacher? Intermediate or professional?

There are various tenor sax that fit all types of players, choose the one that can comfortably cover your needs at the moment.

Weight

Just like the sizes, various models of tenor sax weigh differently.

So, whenever shopping, ensure to check out the weight. The ideal weight should be light enough to allow you to achieve balance and play smoothly.

This’s especially important for beginners. The less difficult the sax is, the better for you.

Neck

The neck of the saxophone is the main part behind the sound it produces.

So, if you try out an instrument, love its body type but not the sound that comes from it, then you might as well consider getting a new neck.

The market is flooded with various saxophone necks so it shouldn’t be difficult for you to find your perfect match.

Keys

The various models of tenor saxophones also come with different keys. This is the small metals cup-size in shape.

Some sax has more buttons than others and this makes it easy for you to play.

Body Construction

You can either find a ribbed or non-ribbed saxophone. This is simply the form of posts on the body of your tenor sax.

The ribbed ones give your instrument’s body parts a firm hold, thus guaranteeing longevity.

Material

Even though the majority of saxophones are made-up of brass, some of them contain other metals, such as; copper, silver, and bronze.

Brass is considered to be more durable, rust-resistant, and hard than the other metals.

New Vs. Used Saxophone: Which Is Better?

This is one of the biggest decisions you will have to make when planning on purchasing a saxophone. In fact, if you ask around, most beginner players don’t even consider used saxophones as an option.

But contrary to regular assumptions that used instruments are all bad, you can actually benefit much from this decision, especially if you’re operating on a tight budget.

And yes, a new sax has that amazing appeal. You get one straight from the shops and you’re ready to play, without having to counter the effects of wear and tear.

Also, when you get a new sax, you receive support from the manufacturers in terms of trial days or even warranty. Something that you will miss with a used sax.

And a new sax doesn’t have to be that expensive. You can find a decent one at an affordable price.

Besides, there’s that psychological satisfaction that comes with knowing your instrument is brand new, especially for beginners when you want to be seen with a cool saxophone and the tone it produces doesn’t matter much.

On the other hand, getting a used sax needs a little more effort and skills.

You need to know its worth and its condition. If you don’t (especially for beginners), then you might be taken advantage of and that isn’t cool.

Therefore, it’s always good to confirm the details of the seller and those of the instrument before confirming the purchase of a used sax.

But, if you’re already experienced, know what you want and get a good deal out of a uses sax, then you save up a little more and get the desired tone, which is the most important after all.

It’s for this reason that we can confidently say, new or used sax doesn’t really matter. What matters is the quality of both and experience of the player in utilizing all the features that the sax presents.

So, if you’re a beginner and are blue on matters sax, then it’s better to go for a new one.

But. if you’re already experienced and know what kind of sax you want and can confidently verify that the seller is genuine and the sax is in perfect condition, then go ahead and get it by all means.

When you play, people will be more focused on the sound than the glow of your saxophone. For what is it to have a new sax that you can’t even play, correctly?

How Do You Play A Tenor Saxophone for Beginners?

Step 1: Get a decent tenor saxophone. It could be by buying or renting. And ensure it’s well assembled. You can do it yourself or let someone help you out.

Step 2: Hold the instrument with your left hand on the top and the right on at the bottom of the instrument (for right-handed individuals).

Step 3: Let your right thumb rest on the curved thumb at the bottom of the instrument. And the rest of the fingers on the easily accessible mother of pearl keys, while the pinky rests on the remaining keys at the bottom of the sax.

Step 4: As for your left thumb, let it rest on the round piece at the top of your instrument. And the other fingers should rest on the five mother pearl keys at the top.

Step 5: Now form the embouchure by curling your lower lip slightly over the bottom teeth and the rest of the top teeth should be on the top part of the mouthpiece.

Step 6: Make a blow into the instrument without covering any holes.

Step 7: Now, start practicing the notes by covering the keys. Find some music to play and try them out. Keep practicing

Here is a video for a better understanding regarding how beginners can learn to play a tenor saxophone;

Tips for Beginner Sax Players

  • Practice consistently
  • Practice your breathing. Your throat should always be open and you should use your diaphragm to breathe.
  • Stick with one position until you master it
  • Choose your reeds carefully as they determine the sound you produce.
  • Have a routine instrument maintenance schedule to ensure the durability of your sax.
  • Incorporate dynamics to express yourself.

FAQs About Best Tenor Saxophone for Beginners and Intermediate Students

How Much Does A Tenor Sax Cost?

The cost of a tenor sax hugely depends on the model. For a decent student sax, you can get one from around $800-$2000.

Professional models can cost you from $2500 to $15,000 and even beyond!

How Long Does It Take to Learn to Play Tenor Saxophone?

Some people can learn the tenor sax in a matter of days, others may take weeks, months, and even years!

Well, the most honest answer we can give is that it all depends on your effort and consistency. If you practice often, and for long hours, then you should be able to play decent tones in a month or two.

Can I Use Tenor Sax to Play Jazz?

Yes, you can. In fact, the tenor saxophone is the most preferred by jazz performers.

Conclusion

As you can see, you need to select the perfect tenor sax to produce great sounds.

The list we provided are some of the best saxophones there is in today’s market. As you settle for one, consider their playability, durability, and flexibility.

Also, don’t forget to consider between the new and used sax options, especially if you’re on a tight budget.

And remember, practice makes perfect. Always!

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