Saxophone Buying Guide

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The saxophone has a unique sound that you cannot compare to any other instrument. It is a very versatile instrument when it comes to playing different types of music. The saxophone fits in with any type of music like Jazz, Rock, Orchestra, and any other type of music you can imagine.
But a saxophone player can only be as good as his or her instrument. How do you know which saxophone to purchase that would be the right fit for you?.IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A INSTRUMENT, besides Amazon, which I hilighted in blue throughout this article,   ZZOUNDS OFFERS THE WIDEST SELECTION OF NAME-BRAND INSTRUMENTS AT GUARANTEED LOWEST PRICES. YOU CAN PURCHASE OVER 125,000 DIFFERENT PRODUCTS FROM THEIR WEBSITE 24 HOURS A DAY.
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In this article I hope to make that question a little bit easier for you to be able to choose which saxophone is best suited for you by educating you on this instrument so you can find the right saxophone to your liking.
                           What To Know About Saxophone
The saxophone was invented in the mid 1800s by Adolphe Sax, Adolphe studied the clarinet and the flute but was looking to create a different instrument. One that could still be played with the agility of a woodwind but had the power of the brass family. He ended up creating the saxophone.
With this instrument you can usually be able to produce a satisfying tone with proper instruction in just a matter of a few attempts, so it is an encouraging instrument to learn.
Although a saxophone is made of brass, it’s considered part of the woodwind family because the sound is produced by blowing into the instrument to vibrate a reed. Brass instruments produce sound by vibrating lips.<A HREF=”HTTPS://WWW.ZZOUNDS.COM/A–3968605
                               Operating The Saxophone
The saxophone has a shape like a megaphone. Attached to the smaller end of the cone you have the mouthpiece encircled by the ligature that holds the reed in place. When you blow into the mouthpiece, the reed vibrates, making the air inside the saxophone vibrate. To make lower or higher pitches keys are depressed in specific configuration that either shortens or lengthens the cone. Most of the sound disperses into the air through the larger end of the cone.
                               The Parts Of The Saxophone
You have three components that produces a vibrating column of air to create notes on the saxophone.
1 – Mouthpiece – This is where you would blow into the saxophone. You have a flat part on the mouthpiece where you would place the reed which is located on the bottom of the mouthpiece.
The mouthpiece can be made by a various amount of materials, (plastic, wood, metal, crystal ). The type material doesn’t affect the tone.
It is the size of the mouthpiece that affects the tone. A larger mouthpiece made of rubber for example, forces the musician to open his mouth more around the mouthpiece which opens his or hers oral cavity, this creates a less bright tone. If, the mouthpiece is smaller you get a sharper tone.
2 – Reed – This are what produces the sound through vibration. It is a thin, fragile strip of material which rests on the mouthpiece and is held in place by the ligature. Most woodwind instrument reeds are made from Arundo Donax (giant Cane) or synthetic material. The cane has a hollow stem and grows to full height in one year. To make a reed, cane is cut to the proper length, cut along the length into four parts, and then shaved. Because reeds are made from a natural material, no reeds are the same.
reeds have different textures. The softer the reed, the easier it is for the beginner to produce a note. Even though it is easier to play a note it is harder to play in tune.
A hard reed facilitates playing in the altissimo range which means it covers two and a half octaves, which is pretty unimpressive when compared to clarinets four and half octaves, flutes four octaves, or violins five octaves. Altissimo extends that range up to another octave higher for the saxophone.
A hard reed makes it easier to play in tune but, it does require more effort and skill to play with a hard reed.
3 – Ligature – The purpose of this part is to hold the reed in place around the mouthpiece.
                                     Other Parts Of The Saxophone
– Neck and neck receiver – The neck is the shorter adjustable section that connects the mouthpiece to the body of the saxophone. The neck receiver is the ring that holds the neck in place. The player can make adjustments for easier playing.
– Body – This is where the music is made. This is where all the moving parts are. The body is where the air column resonates and is adjusted to create the different notes.
– Bell – This is where the sound comes out into the air which is at the opposite end of the saxophone from the mouthpiece. The larger the bell the lower the tone. A smaller bell gives the instrument a duller sound.
– Keys and Pads – The keys are what the player presses to create different notes but, it is the pads that makes sure those notes can be produced. The pads are what covers the different holes to create specific notes. If, the pads are damaged, or some part of the saxophone’s complex mechanism is bent or improperly aligned, air will leak out from around the pads and you will not be able to get a good tone.
– Rods – These are long shafts and very important for top performance of the instrument. If a rod is bent it can be just as detrimental as a damaged pad.
Neck Strap – The saxophonist wears this around their neck and connects to the strap ring of the saxophone to support the instrument while playing. You can adjust this strap to your liking                                                                                                                                                                     Special Keys
There are two sets of stack keys that every saxophone has. (The home keys of the instrument ). The right-hand plays the lower stack while the left-hand plays the upper stack. Different models may contain additional keys and features as follows’
1 – Front F – located just above the first finger key ( B ) in the upper stack keys, the player uses his or hers left index finger to depress this key. This allows the player to play the E and F in the altissimo range without overtones.
2 – High F – Sharp and High C – These two keys are located next to each other and is played with the palm of the right-hand, just below the wedge between the thumb and forefinger. This makes it easier to play the F-sharp and G above high C ( in the altissimo or upmost range ) without depending on overtones.
3 – Low A – This allows the player to go below the normal range of the saxophone to play a low A. This is a rare key and is played with the left hands little finger.
4 – – Tilted Spatula Keys – These are four flat keys that are played by the left hands little finger. These can be tilted on some of your models to allow for quicker, more fluid changes between the lowest notes on the instrument.
A saxophone can range anywhere from $185.00 to $4,000. There are some price overlap with higher-end beginner models and more affordable professional models..IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN PURCHASING A INSTRUMENT,besides Amazon, which I highlighted in blue throughout this article,   ZZOUNDS OFFERS THE WIDEST SELECTION OF NAME-BRAND INSTRUMENTS AT GUARANTEED LOWEST PRICES. YOU CAN PURCHASE OVER 125,000 DIFFERENT PRODUCTS FROM THEIR WEBSITE 24 HOURS A DAY.
1 – Beginner or Student models – $185.00 to $900.00. Expect the beginner models body material to be thinner and therefore lighter and easier for the beginner to play. They usually design the student saxophone for smaller hands, so the key placement might not produce the optimum intonation, so it may not be completely in tune with itself.
2 – Intermediate models – $900.00 to $1,400.00 – This saxophone can have a mixture of features found in both student and professional models and are a step up from the student models.
3 – Professional models – $1,400.00 to $4,000.00 – Intonation discrepancies doesn’t exist when you get into this price range. It is thicker and heavier, and will have a larger choice of finishes to choose from. The better the instrument the better case will be supplied to protect your investment on your chosen saxophone.
You should always clean out the neck and mouthpiece with a swab made for this purpose because your breath contains moisture that is filled with particles that can damage your saxophone. You should also use a body swab to clean out the body of the instrument for the same reason.
After playing the instrument and ready to put it away, you should always remove the reed and place it in the reed guard so it doesn’t get damaged or chipped. Finally, before putting your saxophone away you should wipe the outside of the instrument with a soft micro filter cloth. Do not wipe the side or the bottom of your keys because that could cause damage to it.
                                   A list of Some Models to Consider
1 – Mendini By Cecilio Mas – L+92D + PBE Flat Alto Saxophone with Tuner, case, Mouthpiece, 10 Reeds – You can purchase this model for $259.99. This is also another model for beginners yet also suited for accomplished players. It is pitched at E Flat with a high F sharp and has a great construction. It has a ribbed build and high quality stainless steel tone boosters. The low B flat spatula keys have been designed in a tilted style making it easy to play which is great for beginner students and it has a great sound.
This model also comes with a lot of accessories which is great for beginners. It weighs around 12lbs which shouldn’t be too heavy for young players. It is also a durable model.
2 – Merano GWD 510 BL E flat Alto Saxophone – You can purchase this model for $269.99. This company was established in the year 2,000 and is a wonderful company. Price wise they are extremely competitive within the marketplace. Many of their products go for below wholesale price and they pride themselves on customer service.
This model is outstanding. It is really a professional looking model with a blue lacquered finish which is unique and beautiful. It stands at 29″ tall yet only weighs 9.6lbs.
It comes with nice accessories, a nice professional velvet lined hard zippered case which will keep the instrument well protected, a pair of gloves, screwdriver, nipper, cleaning cloth, and ten reeds.
This is a very reasonably priced saxophone with an elegant design and great for a beginner saxophone.
3 – Eastar AS11 Student Alto Saxophone – You can purchase this model for $299.99 – This model has a fantastic tone. When purchased it is already adjusted and ready to play. It is constructed from top – quality materials,.with brass connecting rods and blue copper needle spring.
The appearance of this model is beautiful with its mother-of-pearl inlay which gives it a classic look. Well worth its price.
4 – Ammoon Professional Bend EBE – flat Alto Saxophone – You can purchase this model for $289.99. This is one of the most elegant looking saxophones on the market. It is made of a fantastic looking red bronze with an antique finish and a carved pattern surface.
It is designed for novice and professional players and can be used for Solo, Jazz, and Classical music. It has water resistant pads and a bluing steel needle for maximum durability. The alto saxophone range is E flat to F sharp and it hits the full compliment without a problem.
This model comes with an abundance of accessories, a professional carrying case measuring “24 x 6 x 11” which has a lot of padding for protection, a high quality mouthpiece, strap, gloves, cleaning cloth, cork grease, and much more. This model has an excellent value for its money.
5 – Kaizer Student Alto Saxophone – You can purchase this model for $399.00 – This company specializes in the student instrument market. Reliability is without a doubt their strong point and they produce highly durable saxophones for young beginners.
This model has been designed with the beginner in mind with its ease of playing and increased response and intonation. It has high-quality steel springs for quick action, a sensitive response, and top-notch leatherette pads. It has a solid brass body and durable construction, available in either gold or silver lacquer finish.
This has an amazing list of accessories, including a special offer of a 1080p hd high action camera complete with waterproof casing so you can record your playing and seeing your progress and maybe sharing it with family and friends on u tube. This is a great choice for young beginners and anyone of age looking to learn the horn.
6 – Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone – You can purchase this model for $479.95. This company has been building a very good reputation in recent years. They mix affordability with reliability.
This model is an ideal instrument for those of you who are looking for great value for their money and also still students of the saxophone. This comes in gold lacquer finish or in silver for an increase of price. It has mother-of-pearl keys, nice body etchings, and a carefully constructed neck. It has highly durable power-forged keys which shows the company’s reliability and quality. The bell brace is solid and the pivot keys tapered to make playing this instrument simple and fun. This model is one of the most popular out there for beginners.
The range and intonation is excellent for its price. It is capable of warmer, more subtle tones, which makes it great for use within bands. You can also get that raw, gritty alto sax sound that is used by a solo player. This is well worth its money and can also be suitable for alto saxophone veterans due to its high-quality build, range, and power.
7 – Yamaha YAS-280 – You can purchase this model for $1,134.00. Yamaha is a very popular name in the music industry and easily one of the biggest company’s in the world and a household name.
This model is a student instrument. It has fantastic intonation and is lightweight and simple to play making it perfect for a beginner player. This saxophone is one of the top-entry level models that money can buy. It has free flowing keys and a great sound and is easy to play. Its Yamaha 4c mouthpiece is a high quality kit.
8 – SELMER SAS280 LA VOX11 ALTO SAXOPHONE – You can purchase this for $1,880.00. This mid to upper-range model offers the tone and action comparable to higher-end saxophones. This model has a warm sound and nice key styling with superb mechanical action. You can choose a variety of finishes and it has great intonation. You may want to change the mouthpiece and strap to your liking.
9 – Yamaha YAS-82z11 Custom Z saxophone – you can purchase this top of the line for $3,999.00 – The custom z series have recently hit their 10th anniversary and as a result, they have been re-visited with some new features added while the classic features professionals know and love have remained or improved upon.
These z series have always been known for their easy, expressive playing, flow, and great intonation. This is the series a working musician went to for years thanks to their professional build, design, sound, and the durable construction.
Some new features added to the z series is the improvement of the piece bell design. This increases the warmth of tone and the resonating ability of the instrument, especially on the low-end. Yamaha also added a beautiful classical engraving around the bell adding to its already everlasting design. The mouthpiece is a great solid rubber mouthpiece which adds to its easy playing feel and big sound. It also has the v1 wide bore neck for that free blowing feel that all saxophonist love. This model has very responsive keys.
This has a 5-year warranty which is Yamaha’s main stay which shows how they really back their products.
I know it is a very difficult chore to pick the right instrument for you when there are so many choices to choose from, especially when it comes to the saxophone. This can be a mind boggling experience. Hopefully this article made it a little less difficult by knowing a little bit more on what makes up the different aspects of the saxophone. If you have any questions or comments feel free to list them below and I will try my best to answer them.

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