Last updated: August 16, 2021

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In the world of music, the variety of existing instruments can be overwhelming, as there are even different types of the same one. For this reason, when choosing which one is right for you, you can get confused. The saxophone is no exception. If you want to know more, keep reading this article!

The saxophone is a very popular instrument, especially in the Jazz and Blues genres, but it has a variety of models, such as the Alto Saxophone, for example, which will allow you to get started in terms of the art of playing the Saxophone. If you want to take your first steps as a saxophonist, then you should learn more about this product. It may be that, if it is a new product for you, you may find it difficult to choose it, as you don't really know what are those aspects that you should keep in mind while buying. If this is your case, you don't have much to worry about, as in this buying guide you will learn everything you need to know.




Summary

  • An alto saxophone is basically a wind instrument, which sounds thanks to the wooden "box" inside it. Its body is tube-shaped, allowing air to pass freely, letting out sounds according to the user's intention.
  • In today's market there are a variety of models and types of saxophones, and some are very similar to each other, but getting the wrong one can complicate everything, so you should pay special attention to the difference between the alto saxophone, which is for beginners, and the tenor saxophone, which is much more complex to handle.
  • Before making your final decision, it is important that you keep in mind certain aspects that allow you to compare several options, so that you can choose the most suitable one. Factors such as comfort of use, finish, frequency of use and level of experience are important.

The Best Alto Saxophone: Our Picks

Buying guide: What you need to know about alto saxophones

After getting to know the four best alto saxophone models, you may have a clearer picture, and you may already have an idea about which one to buy. However, it's good to know some of the main things about the product before you buy it.

The Alto Saxophone can be the key element for anyone, regardless of age, it allows those who want to learn to play it, to do so without difficulty. (Photo: Roberto Galan / 123rf.com)

What are alto saxophones and what are their advantages?

An alto saxophone is basically an instrument that belongs to the saxophone guild, which makes it a wind instrument. Its body is mainly a tube, which has a mouthpiece, where the air travels to the wood inside, which makes it sound. Among the benefits of the alto saxophone, the most remarkable ones are that, unlike its similar ones, this one is quite light and compact, so it can be used by children from 8 years old and up.

The keys for fingering the notes are very minimally spaced, which makes it easy to handle and master. It may seem like the perfect product, but like any other on the market, it has its own advantages and disadvantages. This is not to say that it is a poor product, but it is good to be aware of every aspect before you buy.

Advantages
  • It is easy to master
  • It is light
  • It has a wide range of notes
Disadvantages
  • It is quite large
  • It is expensive
  • After a while it can get rough

Alto Saxophone or Tenor Saxophone?

In the world of the saxophone, there are models that can look very similar to each other, but that does not make them the same, in fact, each type of saxophone is very different from the other, so you should be careful when choosing. There are two in particular that are very similar physically: The alto saxophone and the tenor saxophone.

  • Alto saxophone: It has the E flat register. Physically it is very light and easy to handle which makes it excellent for beginners, even on a breathing level, as the effort is not too strong.
  • Tenor saxophone: Its register is much lower than the alto. It requires greater breathing control to be able to handle it correctly. It is not recommended for young people or children, due to its size and weight, as it can be uncomfortable for them.
Alto saxophone Tenor saxophone
Breathing effort Medium Alto.
Register Medium treble Bass
Recommended use Anyone from the age of 8 and up Adults only.

Purchasing Criteria

Before you make your final purchase, it is important that you take into account certain aspects that will help you to establish comparisons, so that you can choose the best model of Alto Saxophone.

Finish

One of the main differentiators in saxophones is the finish they have, especially on the outside, as they usually look just as good on the inside. Depending on how well it is done, the sound will be cleaner, the instrument more durable.

  • Lacquered and nickel finish: This is normally seen on the best models of alto saxophones, and is characterised by being shiny, making every part of the instrument sparkle. The sound is very clean, and the saxophone is attractive to look at, as well as durable.
  • Simple aluminium finish: The saxophones are mostly made of aluminium, so there are models that have the appearance of the mother material of manufacture, making them not as shiny as the previous ones, and their resistance may be a little lower.

Frequency of use

The resistance of the instrument is fairly standard, so even if it is reinforced with other materials, you should be careful. Saxophones can easily deteriorate with very recurrent use, so you should keep them in optimal conditions.

  • Sporadic use: If you acquire the saxophone to play it from time to time, either at home or with friends, maybe the ones with a simple finish, which do not usually have too much reinforcement in "weak" areas, is the right one for you, because the investment is not so high, and it will resist for a long time with the right care.
  • Frequent use: In case the saxophone is for recurrent use, i.e. for professional measures, for example, where you have to play for long periods of time and many days in a row, it is best to use the best brands, with clean finishes and nickel plating.

Level of experience

When working with music, constant practice is what will get you to a certain level of experience, and depending on that you can use one instrument or another, or variants of the same instrument to achieve better work. With the Alto Saxophone it is no different.

  • Beginner: When you are in the initial stage, the process of beginning to understand the instrument is sufficiently complex, so you should make the work as easy as possible. In this case, the Alto Saxophone is the most appropriate for you.
  • Medium-Advanced: If you are already at an experienced level, you may want to set yourself new challenges or find more personalised sounds. If this is your case, the Tenor Alto Saxophone or Tenor Saxophone, which have a wider range of notes and require more control, are recommended.

Comfort of use

As a final point, it is good that you look at the facilities or comforts that the model you buy can offer you, as depending on how often you use it, they will be much better to make the experience more fun.

  • Thumb shift: When using this instrument, the most support is provided by the thumb, as this is where the instrument rests and stabilises the instrument in your hands. There are models that have this adjustable feature, i.e. you can place the thumb rest where it is most comfortable for you, adjusting it to any size.
  • Strap: When you play gigs or concerts for a long time and don't have a chair to sit on, it becomes tiring, and that can be detrimental to your notes, as your arms get tired. For this reason, the strap to carry the saxophone with your back is indispensable in those cases, they may be more expensive, but they are worth it.

(Featured image photo: rawpixel/ 123rf.com)

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