Know your saxophones


Key: Bb

Price: $1,500 - $6,800

Comments: A great instrument, a little tricky to play in tune, probably not a good one to start on.


Key: Eb

Price: $700 - $7,000

Comments: ​ The alto is probably the most popular sax for a child to start on given the smaller size and lighter weight.

There are about 100 different brand names. 
A few pros and cons of the most important brand names are addressed below. 
For new saxophones, Japanese brand names are most frequently sold.

At the moment a lot of saxophones come from the countries in the Far East such as The Republic of China and Korea. Seven years ago their quality was very poor, but not any more. Dixon and Jupiter produce reasonable saxophones for students. However, care is necessary, these factories deliver a lot of different models with various quality levels. It is common custom among wholesalers to order a whole range of instruments in these countries under their own brand name such as Boston, New York Symphony, Windsor and many more. The cheaper Evette model of Buffet Crampon e.g. is produced in R.O.C,. The price-quality relationship is difficult to understand for an 'innocent' consumer.

For instruments of the same quality there is sometimes a difference in price from 20 to 80%.The fact is that too often a new saxophone needs too much correction to play properly. Within Europe there are only two countries which can be taken seriously, France and Germany. The Italian brand names have a poor price-quality relationship. Probably, they won't be able to compete much longer with the Fareast. Schenkelaars, a producer from the South of Holland has gone bankrupt already.

America has over the years produced four well established brand names: Conn, Buescher, Martin and King. From the twenties to the fifties good to excellent saxophones were produced. In the sixties and the seventies the quality level came down and now they produce good quality saxophones for students but not excellent quality any more.

Examples of these types are: King Cleveland, Buescher 200 and Bundy. Nowadays America doesn't play an important part in the world of the saxophone industry. They are completely withdrawn from the scene because of bankruptcy or poor quality. However, many saxophone players rediscover the old instruments from the glory period of the American industry. If they are overhauled well then you can easily see the craftsmanship. These saxophones have a full sound and the sound is full of expression. They are well-suited to play jazz or pop. Some examples of the better American saxophones: