9 Best Alto Saxophones [Buyer's Guide + Reviews 2019]

Posted in Woodwind Instruments | Last Updated on June 10, 2019

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To every musician out there, whether beginners, intermediate or professional, the importance of a quality alto saxophone to your music career cannot be overemphasized. However, with the myriads of alto sax available in the market, it could be a daunting task to get the most appropriate one to suit you.

This is why we have taken it upon ourselves to bring you a review of the best alto sax. We have invested hours of research into this review. We examined real user feedback and did extensive research to make sure we bring you a pretty comprehensive review.

To everyone out there thinking of investing n a quality saxophone, sit back and relax. Alto sax comes in various sizes, qualities and design. It is especially recommended for beginners, and they sound like the soprano type.

Besides the top alto saxophone reviews, we will also include a buying guide. This will help keep you on the right path in your quest for the essential wind instrument for your music career.

Review of the Top Alto Saxs


Yamaha YAS-280 (Student Sax)

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Yamaha prides itself as one of the top producers of musical instrument. This brand of alto sax is one of the most trusted wind instrument. Due to the reputation of Yamaha, musicians have come to trust the brand.

Yamaha YAS is a student sax which is appropriate for beginners. For anyone who would love to a career in music can get started with this. The YAS 280 is a proven tool to that gives out resonating intonation pleasant to the ears.

Designed with beginners in mind, it is light in weight with a beautiful shape. Any player regardless of the skill level can comfortably handle this sax, very responsive as it comes with a redesigned neck. While performing magic on this sax, there will be no pressure as Yamaha designed this for optimum comfort.

There are many proofs that this is undoubtedly one of the top saxes for beginners out there. The quality was impressive which ensures that it will last very long. We also love the beautiful sound that comes from this instrument.

We do not like that this instrument did not come with essential accessories. It, however, came with a carrying case and cork grease. We also wish this unit could be a bit price friendly.

All in all, this is a terrific wind instrument with fantastic build from inception to completion. The design is aesthetically pleasing.


Kaizer - E Flat Eb Gold Lacquer (ASAX-1000)

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Belonging to the Kaizer family, this is one of the high-quality saxes that demonstrates versatility, excellence, playability, and functionality. This is a budget-friendly instrument recommended for student and all beginners.

One of the best parts of Kaizer Alto sax is the quality. This instrument was built to last with minimal maintenance. It was made with a superb quality solid yellow brass which gives beauty to its intonation. The use of brass in manufacturing this wind instrument also makes sure it last very long.

It comes with essential features. Hence you get to express yourself fully with this top-rated alto saxophone. You also get the best intonation as a result of the presence of professional leatherette pads.

Weighing just 7 pounds, it is light and will not cause unnecessary fatigue for the player. We love that all accessories are present, gives beautiful sound and pretty light

It will, however, be good if the quality could be improved.

If you need a budget friendly wind instrument to develop your skill, this is worth going for


Glory - Alto Eb (B00OET2ICG)

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If you are tight in budget but need a good sax, go for Glory professional Alto Sax. It is one of the best quality saxophones that comes at a pretty good quality. It features a high F# essential sound alongside other beautiful output that brings out the genius in you.

It comes with essential accessories to ensure that you have a pretty good time using this sax. There are 11 pieces of reeds, eight pieces of mouthpiece, grease, screwdriver, a pair of gloves alongside cleaning cloths and rod.

It comes with a beautiful aesthetic design which makes it appealing to your audience. Hence, irrespective of your skill level, you will be seen as an expert while showing off your skill with this beautiful sax. The high-quality leather pads alongside the metal resonators allow for superb output.

Users will also enjoy a basic, perfect layout ensuring and compact design, providing that you never mix it with this sax. It is one of the top saxes in town with a total weight of 4.5 pound which makes it light and easy to handle. We appreciate the meticulous design of this wind instrument and the reasonable price.

It will have been nice if the materials do not bend easily.


Eastar - E Flat AS-III Commander

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This high rated wind instrument was produced by one of the top musical instrument manufacturing brands. This is a company that prioritizes quality which is evident in their output. It gives out a high tone which is so easy to control, a stable and powerful middle tone and a low tone that penetrates.

This high-quality alto sax is made from brass formain material characterized by Lead-Free Weldon crafts which enhances the performance of this wind instrument. Users enjoy controlled vibration while playing with a beautiful tune alongside super treble keys perfectly placed such that the fingers can easily manipulate them.

The body of this top quality wind instrument is specially crafted such that no welding was involved. With this, the output is of high quality with controlled vibration. This is a recommended instrument for beginners and mid players as well as those transiting to the pro level. It comes with an abundance of accessories.

The material was made from high-quality copper material ensuring durability advanced leather pads to provide the hand does not ache while playing. It comes with a superb trendy design which gives out a loud sound.

This is a budget-friendly saxophone, and we are proud that a lot of users have expressed satisfaction with the sax. It comes with all necessary accessories, making it a reasonable budget friendly wind instrument.

We, however, do not like the tendency for some keys not to work.


Mendini by Cecilio - Eb Alto (MAS-L 92D PB)

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Mendini comes in a black lacquered body with a high #f key. It features a large bore with classic leather pads and meal tone boosters. With a ribbed construction, the keys are contoured, making it comfortable for the players.

Mendini Sax enjoys top quality construction with superb materials that will make It last long. This wind instrument comes with varieties of accessories that make it appropriate for players of all levels. Users will have access to a pair of gloves, cleaning rod, a box of reeds, a cork grease, etc. the unit is shipped in deluxe nylon covered hard case that is light in weight and easy to carry.

Even with the ribbed construction, it is comfortable, and not heavy for beginners. Although, first timers on the sax might need a lot of adjustment, but with time, they will get the grasp of it.

We love that out of the box, it is already tuned hence, can be used immediately after un-boxing. The price is also reasonable.

Although, from time to time, users might need to adjust the tight mouthpiece.


Yamaha - YAS-62

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With its high-quality production, Yamaha YAS-62 stands out as one of the top grade alto saxes. It comes with some impressive features with a great aesthetic design. It is one of the top saxes for professional because of its outstanding neck design, made from a classic gold lacquer finish. It exhibits a golden construction which adds to the durability of the instrument.

The keys are made from strong and durable stainless steel strings which are very responsive. This sax, without a doubt, gives a pretty strong legacy as many top musicians since its launch has made this their choice. Users enjoy a great airflow as a result of the innovative neck design. All this adds to the quality which produces a consistent output

The body comes with beautiful engravings, and the effective mechanism that controls the low B to C# keys which gives way for an airtight seal. This provides a clear sound which has received several accolades from satisfied users.


Selmer - SAS280 La Voix II - Our Overall best

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The fluid network of this alto saxophone makes the player feel ready and relaxed while handling this sax. It is one of the best horn for a professional and solo artist. It comes with a traditional sized bell that helps give focus to tone and also brings out the harmony in your music. This is a high-end instrument with unique features like the professionally styled key which is peculiar only to high-grade sax.

It is one of the top choices for musicians, intermediate, professional and beginners. It comes with a traditional sized bell which allows for easy blending of the tone while playing .It features a black nickel plating finishing that blends with the professional keys. With this, players get the right finger placement while performing on it.

It has good intonation, comes with essential accessories which are not surprising as it is the output of one of the best wind instrument producers.


Yamaha - YAS 480 (Runner Up)

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Looking for a reasonably priced alto saxophone, consider Yamaha YAS-480. Finished with gold design, this is one of the series in the high-end Yamaha class. It gives a very accurate intonation and a warm tone, alongside a pretty quick response. No wonder it is one of the highly rated instruments among top-level players.

It is pretty light and durable, comes with a professional quality 62 style neck which enhances the quality of its output. It has many features that stand it out from the series of low-class sax in the market. It comes with a specially designed octave key with which players get to choose between the 62 style neck. It also comes with a crucial distinct guard which has screw stoppers that can be adjusted.

To increase playability, the left hand seesaw key was perfectly positioned for easy maneuverability. It is compatible with custom Yamaha necks and weights approximately 18 pounds. Many of our fellow colleagues have expressed utmost satisfaction with this instrument.


Herche - AS 630

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If you are in the market for a reliable alto sax for students and intermediary players, herche superior As – 630 is a good choice. It is an output of herche, one of the top brands in the manufacture of trusted wind instruments. This is a terrific instrument that will surely bring out your music skills and improve your dexterity on this wind instrument. It was built with solid brass which adds to its ruggedness and improves its durability.

It also features leather pads alongside attractive forged keys that are made from the most reliable materials. It was built to last. Hence players will not experience the frustration of broken keys. It brings out a resonating tone which every sound aligning with the expected intonation.

It features extended side Bb keys which ensures you play with ease and other interesting accessories to make you have a great time on this alto sax. Weighing approximately 9 pounds, it is does not cause excessive fatigue while using.


Top Brands

We discuss the highly rated Alto Sax to watch out for when seeking for one to buy

Yamaha

For decades, Yamaha has been in the frontline in producing high-quality musical instruments. It stands out for terrific wind instruments at a reasonable price. Its instruments are noted for their exceptional fittings and finishing.

All over the world, Yamaha instruments are known for their terrific intonation. They produce a professional instrument, and is a brand that can be trusted.

Cannonball

This is a new industry in wind instrument founded by Sheryl and Tevis Laukat. It features beautiful instruments that are handcrafted and designed to meet the playing needs of the artist.

It usually features double neck, blue steel springs leather keypads and the signature "big bell." All wind instrument turned out by Cannonball were professionally tested to meet an industrial standard.

Selmer

Selmer is also one of the top brands in the music industry with many terrific models to their credit. Selmer’s product features an excellent design style with a beautiful artistic appearance which is recommended for players of all levels.

This is the top choice for many Jazz musicians due to its solid warm tone and impressive finish.

Mendini By Cecilio

Based on customer review, this is one of the top producers of musical instrument. They are famous for the production of high-quality musical instrument that are very durable. They are also notable for the production of quality horn for beginners, students, and intermediaries.

The company prides itself in strict compliances to industrial standard in the production of its horns.

Jean-Paul

With headquarters in Dorai, Florida, Jean-Paul prides itself in producing amazing and top quality wind instruments that are guaranteed to last a long time. Their products are made of lightweight yet durable materials.

They are the top manufacturer of saxophones for students at a reasonable price.

Windsor

Windsor specializes in producing saxophones for professional and beginner players. Its line of product is noted for quality material alongside durable design with a strict complaint to industrial standards.

Their products are budget-friendly, adorned with gold lacquer finish and solid construction. All models are accompanied with the needed accessories


Buyer's Guide

Materials and Finish

Typically, Saxes comes in a yellow brass body. However, yellow is not the only color as top saxophone brands about are trying to produce high-quality brass that will meet the aesthetic need of users.

This explains why sax, alongside the standard brass body, is adorned with a twist. This could be in the form of a bell or neck made from different material like bronze or copper.

Also, times past, the clear lacquer was seen as the standard for all saxophones. However, there are varieties of finishing touches with which standard horns come this day which gives it an elegant look in addition to a brilliant performance.

Silver Plating: With silver plating, sax manufacturers are spicing things up. This gives the wind instrument a more precise projection with enhanced volume allowing you to express yourself.

Nickel plating: This is a good choice if you want a distinct sound from your wind instrument. This explains why it is the top choice for jazz players

Copper and Bronze: Besides adding weight, life, and fullness to your saxophone, it also gives your sax a soft finish that will produce rich and dark tones.

Presence of All Accessories

If you want to buy a good sax, do not be tricked into getting unnecessary accessories. While purchasing a sax, it is good to watch out for essential accessories to make sure you have a good time with it. Some of the essential ones:

  • Mouthpiece
  • Reeds
  • Case
  • Cleaning kit
  • And grease

What to Look for When Choosing

  1. Key:

Various alto Saxes comes with different keys. Many players have concluded that the extra keys are redundant since it causes cluster.

A beginner might find the extra couple of keys helpful though. We recommend an alto sax with high G or high F sharp. For beginners, we recommend the instrument with alternate key positions and adjustable height screws.

  1. Neck:

How comfortable your instrument is, is a factor of the length of the neck. As a result, you need to take note of this feature in choosing the sax. The good news is that you can replace the neck if you do not like the one you have.

  1. Material and Finish:

Majority of sax comes with a beautiful yellow brass finish. However, many also come in copper, bronze, and silver as discussed above. Bear in mind, that the construction material seriously affects the sound quality and the cost of the instrument.

Concerning finish, clear lacquer is the most common type. Although, others like vintage, black nickel plate, and colored lacquers also exist.

  1. Thumb rest:

A bad thumb rest will give you some discomfort while playing. As a result, it is essential to know how comfortable you will be while using the instrument. This is the part of saxophone where you rest your thumb to make your instrument balance. It is usually hook-shaped and could either be metal or plastic.

  1. Reeds:

These are the little wood that is found on the flat surface of the mouthpiece alongside the ligature. On blowing air through the wind instrument via the spokesman, the air flows through the pipe. The air travels between the tip and the slight opening of the mouthpiece. This air flow causes the reed to vibrate against the mouthpiece that gives out the sound.

Since there are various brands in the market, they come with a different reed which gives a unique sound that suits the taste of each player.

However, bear in mind that you will have to replace reeds quite often. With this in mind, it is recommended that you always have at least three reeds all the time.

  1. Presence of necessary Accessories:

A good sax always comes with the required accessories. It is essential to go for brands that offer simple accessories like cleaning kit, gloves, carrying cases and tuners.

Conclusion

We have examined the top alto sax available in the market. Our top choice in this review is the Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone.

We love it due to the presence of amazing features, as well as the budget-friendly price. It is recommended for both intermediate and professional sax players and will surely bring out the best in you.