When to Upgrade Your Saxophone? A Buyer’s Guide

Saxophone is an awesome instrument. But choosing a new saxophone can be a confusing process - especially if you’re a parent with no musical background.

Whether you’re a parent shopping for your child or you’re an experienced player, there comes a time when many sax players will need to upgrade their saxophone.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Sax

There are many reasons why someone would want (or need) to upgrade their saxophone. Here are the most common ones:

  • The current sax is holding you back - Beginner saxes and older instruments can be great when starting out. But for many advancing players, their skills eventually surpass their instrument’s capabilities.

  • You need a sax that can play advanced music - Some saxes come with additional keys and features. These extras help musicians play advanced music they otherwise couldn’t with their old instrument.

  • Your old saxophone is in disrepair - Some saxophones are absolutely worth repairing. Other saxophones can be costly to repair. With some saxes, you might be better off putting that money toward an upgraded instrument.

  • You simply enjoy the saxophone - Sometimes, you get a new instrument because you love it. Getting a saxophone that looks and plays great will bring you so much more fulfillment as a musician.

Pro Tip for Parents: If you notice your child is thriving on the saxophone, investing in a new instrument can be the best thing to maintain their progress and enthusiasm.

The Differences Between Student vs. Professional Saxophones

Think of when you learned how to ride a bike. You probably started off using one with training wheels. Eventually, you outgrew that bike and upgraded to one that’s more comfortable and capable of traveling longer distances.

Musical instruments are similar in a lot of ways. Most student saxes are easy to play and affordable for beginners. But after a certain point, they’ll hinder a player’s progress.

Here are some improvements you can expect to find on step-up and professional saxes:

Improved Tone Quality

By far, the most noticeable difference between student and step-up saxophones is the sound quality. Step-up and professional saxophones will produce more vibrant and full sounds. By comparison, student saxes will have a “smaller” sound.

Improved Intonation

Generally speaking, step-up and professional saxes will play better in-tune. Many of the top manufacturers design their saxes with exact specifications for improved intonation.

Higher Quality Materials

Step-up and professional saxophones generally sound and play better because they’re made from better materials. The metals are more resonant and give the instrument different characteristics.