Saxophones Buying Guide
Alto saxophones make great starter instruments for first time musicians or can be awesome additions to a growing instrument arsenal. They don't require as much lung power as many other instruments, and their small key layout is great for young students who may not have as much dexterity as the typical adult. Plus, these snazzy pieces are relatively inexpensive, making them a safe investment for parents of students who may not commit to becoming the next Coltrane . With a wealth of music written for their distinct sound and a package that's super-user friendly, the saxophone may be one of the best buys you can make before you embark on a burgeoning music career.
Your first big choice when buying a new saxophone is among the different quality levels. Saxophones come in beginner or student, intermediate and professional varieties. Each model has certain characteristics that set it apart from the rest and make it a suitable choice for a specific type of player.
These instruments come with a ribbed or non-ribbed construction. This refers to how the knobs that hold the keys attach to the body of the instrument.
- Knobs or posts can be attached to plates of brass with a varying temperature solders.
- Ribs are added to strengthen the bond between the posts, which help the keys last longer.
- Student and older model saxophones are often without ribbing.
- Less ribbing makes the instrument lighter and easier to blow in.
As for the materials that make up the entire body of the saxophone, the most common are bronze ,copper and sterling silver . The material can affect the tone, cost and most evidently, the overall look of the piece. The finish also often has a big impact on the look, as certain finished are pigmented lacquers which can create an antique or vintage feel. Some musicians may opt for playing over lacquer, which can be more expensive. Silver, nickel and black nickel are popular finish options.
Some saxes have additional keys, although some models are capable of playing extra note without the keys.
- Modern models often have a high F# key, but it is possible to play this particular note without the key.
- Soprano saxophones should typically include a high G key, but this note is also playable without the key itself.
- Some designer alto models have a C# key which improves the resonance and clarity of the middle C# note.
- Baritone saxophones typically include low A keys.