Buyer’s Guide of the Top 5 Best Alto Saxophones for Beginners
There are a lot of instruments in the world; each with its own unique sound. The saxophone is considered one of the most popular instruments to learn. However, we also think it is the sexiest sounding instrument in the world. If you are thinking about learning the saxophone, but unsure of where to start, fear not, for we have compiled a list of the Top 5 Best Alto Saxophones for Beginners.
Before getting into the list, let’s briefly explain the main types of saxophones.
Main types of Saxophones:
- Soprano Saxophone – Highest pitched saxophone, and considered to be the hardest to learn.
- Alto Saxophone – Lower pitch than the Soprano, but higher pitch than the Tenor; the alto sax is the perfect beginner saxophone.
- Tenor Saxophone – The most commonly played saxophone in modern day music especially Jazz, due to its deeper pitch and full tone pitch.
- Baritone Saxophone – Lowest pitched saxophone, is usually used in R&B solos, or big bands.
We recommend learning the Alto saxophone first. Due to the size, weight, and shape, alto sax is generally easier to play for beginners and is important for developing fundamental techniques.
When creating this list, we took into consideration of price, build/sound quality, and included accessories.
The Mendini is the cheapest saxophone on our list, but you shouldn’t disregard it. This saxophone is also great for children who tend to be more “aggressive” with their possessions, making this the best choice hands down.
The Medini Cecilio MAS has a balanced sound. Not overly warm or very bright. Unless you are already aware of the type of sound you’re looking for this is a great choice for beginners to experiment with the type of style you want to play.
This saxophone comes with everything needed to get started, such as reeds, mouthpiece, cleaning kit, and even a metronome. If you don’t mind spending a little extra, we recommend replacing the included mouthpiece with something of higher quality. We recommend the Yamaha 4C. It’s a beginner mouthpiece, making it easy for learners to produce clear sounds while learning.
- Loads of color options
- Many useful accessories included in-box
- Included carrying case is low quality
- Included accessories aren’t high quality
- Mediocre sound
The second cheapest saxophone on our list, but is actually one of the most surprising. Even with its low price, there is a lot of quality in this sax. Like the Mendini, this comes in various colors, albeit significantly toned down. In addition, it comes with all the essentials needed to get started playing right out of the box.
The sound has a mellow tone. There is nothing that particularly stands out with the Ammoon, but if you are a beginner and unsure about fully committing to the saxophone, this is a great choice.
The Ammoon comes with everything you need to get started. Cleaning clothes, cork grease, neck strap, and surprisingly gloves. We aren’t entirely sure what purpose the gloves serve, but it’s a nice gesture.
Although the Ammoon comes with a mouthpiece, as mention with our previous saxophone, we recommend switching it out for a Yamaha 4C. Additionally, the quality of the reeds included is less than desirable and suggest buying a pack of Rico 2 size reeds.
- Good sound quality for price point
- Fun color options
- A lot of extra accessories
- High F# key
- Might require some part adjustments
- Low-quality mouthpiece and reeds
For those who are on a budget but want a saxophone that is close to the equivalent of a Yamaha, the Jean Paul AS-400 is the best bang for your buck.
What makes the build quality of these saxophones amazing is how it’s checked for quality control. These saxes are made in China, but are imported to America and checked directly from the Jean Paul technicians for quality inspections.
Speaking of technicians, the AS-400 includes a 1-year parts and labor warranty. Additionally, there are key adjusting screws making it easier for repairs. The inclusion of adjusting screws is extremely rare in this price range.
The sound quality leans toward warmer/darker tones. For jazz, warmer tones are usually preferred by most, however, if you are looking for a brighter tone, changing mouthpieces can make a big difference.
The AS-400 comes with standard accessories. Another nice merit to this saxophone is the quality of the case. The case is clothed, with an outer compartment for and can be worn as a backpack.
- Excellent sound quality
- 1-Year parts and labor warranty
- Individually checked by technicians for quality control
- Included accessories are of high quality
If you ask anyone the number one recommended Saxophone for beginners, it’s almost certain 90 percent of people will suggest the Yamaha YAS-280. Why is it so popular? We could write an entire article on this Saxophone alone, but for now, we will cover the overall features.
Originally these horns were made in Japan, but are now made in China. Despite being moved to China, the quality is still among the best.
If you look closely at the construction, players will notice certain components are soldered individually. This means you will have a stronger saxophone, and aides in giving the saxophone a better sound.
Since this is a student instrument, Yamaha always makes sure producing a sound from is easy and painless as possible. Even to the point that playing “Low C” is a breeze. The YAS-280 has a bright vibrant sound, making it a versatile instrument for any type of musical style.
Although the Yamaha YAS-280 provides great build and sound quality, there aren’t a lot of accessories included.
Yamaha provides a high-quality light-weight case with carrying case straps, neck strap, cork grease, and a Yamaha 4C mouthpiece. Unfortunately, cleaning clothes and reeds are not included.
- Superb sound quality
- Sturdy carrying case and high-quality mouthpiece included
- Fewer accessories compared to other options
If the Yamaha YAS-280 is the golden standard for beginner saxophonist, then the Jupiter JAS710 is the golden premium standard.
This sax is probably the only instrument on this list that we would argue is better than the Yamaha YAS-280.
Which makes sense considering Jupiter is renown for its professional quality. The design is a stunning dark-colored lacquered brass body with nickel-plated keys.
The Nickel plated keys, gives the sax brighter tone compared brass plated keys. This makes the Jupiter another strong contender for various types of playing styles. Another benefit is the high-quality accessories included in the box.
Similar to the Yamaha YAS-280, this saxophone includes a high-quality mouthpiece, in addition to a ligature and a wood-frame case.
The JAS710 also has an adjustable palm rest, helping the player find an optimal level of comfort during long play sessions.
Although the Jupiter doesn’t include as many accessories as its competitors, it makes up for it by having impeccable build quality.
- Premium build quality
- Adjustable palm rest
- Future proof for higher-level play