The best alto saxophone is a whole lot more than just ‘another Brass instrument’.
In fact, despite the saxophone not usually starring in the orchestra or being the typical ‘starter’ instrument that kids learn at school, it’s a fantastic way for beginners to get into Brass. Aside from which, it’s also a form of Brass instrument that’s in high demand on a professional level too. Let’s just say that in today’s world of computers & online business, very rarely do you come across a Saxophonist.
And that’s a good thing – saxophonists are a unique breed. Exactly why if you reach that professional level (in comparison to other more ‘run-of-the-mill’ instruments), you can actually make a decent living as a Saxophonist, often travelling around the world to showcase your talents. In fact, we actually know of a saxophonist who does exactly that by playing her saxophone on a major cruise liner. Shout out, Emma!
So, be you a beginner or intermediate who’s wanting to live the lifestyle of a touring saxophonist, knowing how to spot the best Alto saxophone is a ‘must’. With the majority of saxophones not being cheap (a result of their low production numbers), it’s important that you invest your money in the right instrument. No professional saxophonist makes do with a sub-par piece of kit! That’s because to a large extent, the quality of your instrument not only determines how you perform, but also how fast you can learn.
So make a schoolboy error here wouldn’t be advisable. Therefore, to help you track down the best alto saxophone for you, we’ve put together a list of the top 11 that we think you should consider.
After something specific about the best alto saxophone? Or just curious about how much you’ll play for a good saxophone? Use the menu below to track down all the answers you need in 1 click…
The best alto saxophones @ a glance…
11 of the best alto saxophones you can buy
Our goal with this article is to influence how we think about what it means to be an entry-level instrument. We want people to be able to purchase these alto saxophones for sale and not have to worry about needing to upgrade to more advanced instruments a few years down the road.
Depending upon your budget, we will provide you with all the details necessary to make a choice for your next musical endeavour, and this may be your only and only major instrument, regardless of your degree of proficiency as a musician. So read on and we’ll reveal what we believe to be the best alto saxophone for sale today…
Professional grade alto saxophones
1: Yanagisawa AWO10 professional alto saxophone
On the commercial market, Yanagisawa produces the best quality and professional saxophones available. They are a specialized maker of high-quality, handcrafted saxophones for professionals. They are a tiny factory that combines old-world handicrafts with cutting-edge design and function to create unique products. It is the most economical model in the Yanagisawa series of professional alto saxophones, and it is also the most popular. Make no mistake, and the Yanagisawa AWO1 is a truly professional, handcrafted saxophone that deserves to be heard!
In addition to the complete palm key plate attachment, which was previously only available on the A99x series, the Yanagisawa AWO1 now has a neck plate. While many may consider these modifications to be insignificant, they ultimately contribute to the bulk of the saxophone at the top of the horn, resulting in a fuller tone across the whole instrument..
2: Yamaha YAS-62III professional alto saxophone
When it comes to “perfection,” the Yamaha alto saxophone is exceedingly difficult to beat. Very much conceived as a blank canvas, this horn is equally at home in a variety of contexts, from rock to classical, and reacts admirably in all of them. Anyone feeling stifled by their student instrument, or a more experienced musician searching for a fantastic saxophone on a tight budget, should strongly consider a 62 as their next step in their musical development.
Regardless of where you buy the saxophone, it will be shipped with a neck strap as well as a cleanup kit. There are no imperfections in the finishing, and it is perfect to be displayed on stage. However, the tabs may be a little finicky when using saxes that have not been well tested.
3: Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone
The Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone ~ Lacquered streaming keywork confers a feeling of unwinding. At the same time, its brilliant pitch and rich tone make it an ideal instrument for chamber ensemble or soloist use. The Selmer La Voix II saxophone’s customary chime helps saxophonists keep a concentrated tone and works with blending. The Selmer SAS280 La Voix alto saxophone’s estimating is just about as appealing as its tone.
With the Selmer alto saxophone, they have made an alto sax that is both playable and reasonable. The pitching is consistent and liberated from pressure from the low finish to the top of the line. In addition, the La Voix II saxophone has a great deal of projection and can give a dim energetic tone when required. The Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone is a player’s instrument that is made economical for all entertainers by the Selmer Corporation.
4: JupiterJAS1100SG Alto Saxophone
Conveying a properly splendid tone that would be satisfactory in any saxophone-fitting setting. The JupiterJAS1100SG Eb Alto Saxophone is quickly comfortable, nobly resounding from its low Bb to high F#, though the lower end might be a touch harsher sounding than different models. The upper register, then again, is extremely responsive, impacting out rich-sounding suggestions and false fingerings with next to zero trouble by any means!
At this kind of premium range, we envision you’d be unable to find a sax as versatile or apparently impressive as the Jupiter JAS1100SG, fit for multiple uses.
5: P. Mauriat 67RX Influence Alto Sax (un-laquered)
It made a big impact when the Mauriat 67RX first appeared on the saxophone scene a few years ago. Saxophonists of all levels, including some of the world’s finest performers, were instantly drawn to their dramatic but adaptable nature.
Starting at $5000, the P. Mauriat 67RX is no ordinary piece of instrument. However, with its rich history, the Sax has been among the best alto saxophone of all time. Reviewers have praised it as being “the closest thing you’ll find to the iconic Selmer Mk6.”
It has an unlacquered surface, rolling tone holes, exquisite conch shell key grips, and a high F# key. This Custom Class “Vintage Series” alto has an unlacquered finish. The appearance is in line with the vintage tone for which this model is renowned. The bigger bell and the absence of lacquer contribute to the instrument’s replete, powerful sound.
Intermediate level alto saxophones
6: Trevor James Classic II Alto Saxophone
The TJ Horn Classic II Alto Saxophone is a rising instrument with excellent workmanship that is geared at the student market yet comes at a more affordable price. The Trevor James Classic Alto Saxophone would be an excellent option for both beginning and advanced saxophonists who are searching for a dependable, fantastic instrument that is also simple to learn and play.
Because of the bigger bore size of the Classic II, the saxophone will enable more air to travel through it, resulting in a free-sounding instrument that amateurs will find extremely easy to learn and enjoy playing. The Classic II Alto Sax also has a mouthpiece designed in conjunction with Bari and Trevor James, which is connected via a ligature and a Vandoren Reed.
7: Roy Benson AS-202A EB Antique Alto Sax
With an alto saxophone price tag under $1000, the Roy Benson MOD.AS-202A EB Alto Saxophone is a real competitor. The body is made of brass and is antique lacquered.
Keys made of brass and antique lacquered. The high F#-key and the C#-Bb key is linked to the table key. Metal hinges that have been toughened and come with ligature and cap on the end of the mouthpiece
Aside from the tone, the Roy Benson MOD.AS-202A EB alto saxophone is distinguished from other saxophones by its simplicity of usage. Because it is not exceptionally enormous, it does not need the use of large hands to play it. The comparatively tiny mouthpiece is simple to use and to learn the technique.
In comparison to other saxophones, the alto uses less air, and there is an extensive body of music produced just for this instrument. Thus, an alto saxophone is an excellent instrument for beginning players to acquire proper posture, breathing rhythm, fondling, and phonation because of all these factors and the general design of the instrument.
Other notable mentions…
8: Yamaha YAS 480 Intermediate alto sax
9: Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Saxophone
Here’s the Best Beginner Saxophone for sale today…
10: Yamaha YAS-280 Student Alto Saxophone
The Yamaha YAS280 Student Alto Saxophone is undoubtedly the greatest student model Alto Saxophone money can buy. For more than two decades, this model and its predecessors (YAS23, YAS25, YAS275, and so on) have served as THE industry standard in their respective classes.
This Yamaha alto saxophone has a fantastic motion that reduces strain on the student’s fingers and hands when they are playing. It is constructed of high-quality materials that will stand up to typical wear and tear for many years. The tone is comparable to that of a professional saxophone, which may cost up to six times as much. The instruments and supplies required to play this saxophone are readily available and reasonably priced at $850.
Here’s the best cheap alto saxophone (around £400)
Worried about spending a fortune on a student alto saxophone?
Don’t fear – you don’t have to! While we obviously don’t recommend scrimping when it comes to quality (especially if you’re an intermediate/ pro player), if you’re a beginner and just want to get the feel of a sax, then a cheap saxophone may be the best place to start.
In which case, here’s the best cheap alto saxophone for sale, that (we think) offers a good balance of quality and value for money…
11: Eastar AS-Ⅱ student alto saxophone
The Eastar Alto Sax is an excellent option for any budding saxophonist who wants to nail the e Flat key, and it has a long history of success in the educational sector. This gorgeous instrument has a precise, long-lasting construction, a beautiful finish, and a powerful sound with excellent projection, not to mention the saxophone is also lightweight, making it easy to carry. In addition, the package includes a mouthpiece, sax strap, cleaning supplies, and a case which makes it a better deal.
Which is the best alto saxophone? Our editor’s choice…
Putting a finger on the best alto saxophone you can buy wasn’t easy… but we’ve done it.
When it came down to it, there were two saxophones that really stood out to us: the Yamaha YAS-62III & the Yanagisawa AW01. Both of which are incredible free blowing saxes that’re highly responsive, have a smooth tone and create a really nice rich sound. To be honest, in terms of sound, we’re besotted with both. Hence why our verdict on the best alto saxophone really comes back to build.
An area where we’d say the Yanagisawa has the edge. in true Japanese fashion, everything just feels that bit more solid and well put together. Not to say that the Yamaha isn’t built well – it most certainly is! Exactly why for a lot of alto sax players it’s the way to go. However, we do think that with the W Series, Yanagisawa is in many ways a step ahead.
That being because in comparison to the previous 991/992 models, the newly shaped bore and brass formulation you get with the AW01, really do make it sing. We found the 991/992s to be not as warm as we’d like, but the AW01 is a HUGE improvement. In turn, these adjustments have also impacted the build too.
The AW01 doesn’t only feel very professional, but it’s also sounds first class too. We particularly like the extra piece of bracing around the neck, which not only makes the neck more durable, but (according you Yanagisawa) also gives this alto some extra tonal resonance. Something which you can sense during play, as you can with the intonation of this alto saxophone too. It’s warm silky sound is truly first-class!
All of which makes this alto sax is incredibly versatile. So be you a classical player, or a member of a jazz band, this Yanagisawa alto saxophone is sure to suit your style of play. And it’s small perks like this that we really think make all the difference. So much so that we’d be tempted to say (as many other already have) that Yanagisawa is one of the best saxophone brands out there. And as for the AW01 – well that’s the best alto saxophone you can buy today.
Yanagisawa AW010 = Best Alto Saxophone
Enjoy this review of the best alto saxophones & eager for more? Check out our latest Reviews Of Brass Instruments, as well as tap into our vast Musical Instrument Knowledge. Recently, we also published an article on the Best Pocket Trumpets + another on the Best Brass Instrument Care Kit, which may also be worth a read.
Or, if your heart’s fixed on an Alto sax, keep reading to delve even further into world of Alto saxophones + what to look for when trying to find the Best Alto Saxophone for you…