beginner saxophones: a buyers guide

February 10, 2020

By Jeremy Trezona

What's the best saxophone for beginners?

So, let's say that you've settled on the type of saxophone that you want to learn (just as a refresher - the two main types are alto and tenor) - you can read more about them here.

The next big decision is - what saxophone should you buy?

What brands or models are the best? What should you be looking for in a beginner saxophone?

Well, never fear, here at SaxTuition we have you covered!

In our handy YouTube video below, we break down the things that are important to look for in a beginner saxophone, how to save your budget, and specifically, what models of saxophone we recommend!

Note: SaxTuition does not have any sponsorships or endorsements from any of the brands mentioned in the video. The opinions expressed below are purely in the interest of providing you the best possible advice when choosing a beginner saxophone.

Buying a pre-owned saxophone

For reasons of ergonomics, build quality, intonation and price our #1 recommendation for beginner saxophonists is to buy a pre-owned Yamaha saxophone.

The best place to find these are Craigslist, Gumtree, eBay, or whatever the local classifieds listing in your area is. As Yamaha saxophones also tend to be the most popular brand of saxophone, they're usually the easiest to find!

Whilst you can't really go wrong with any Yamaha model, the particular student models to look out for are listed below:

Yamaha Alto Saxophones


Yamaha Tenor Saxophones


Note: Yamaha do not make student model soprano saxophones. The closest equivalents are the YSS-61 and YSS-475, which are intermediate / professional models.


Pictured: A mint condition Yamaha YAS-23.  Source:

Buying a brand new saxophone

Does the lure of a brand new, shiny saxophone sound too good to resist? Who could possibly blame you?

If you'd prefer to buy your saxophone new, we've got 2 fantastic recommendations for you, depending on your budget.

Note: The following section contains Amazon affiliate links. If you make a purchase on Amazon through these links, SaxTuition may receive a small commission for the referral.

Jean Paul USA AS-400 - Alto Saxophone

In a relatively short space of time, this saxophone has garnered a fantastic reputation online (including from many in the SaxTuition community) for being a well built, high quality saxophone.

So, if you're looking to buy brand new sax for around $500 USD, the AS-400 is a fantastic choice.

Jean Paul AS-400

The Jean Paul USA AS-400   Source:

Jean Paul USA TS-400 - Tenor Saxophone

Jean Paul TS-400

The Jean Paul USA TS-400   Source:

Looking for a tenor version for the AS-400?

Well, the TS-400 has you covered, and with all the features of it's alto counterpart!

Yamaha YAS-280 - Alto Saxophone

Have a bit more money in your budget?

For around USD $1200 you can pick up a brand new, Yamaha YAS-280, which has long been the gold standard for beginner saxophones.

And, as long as fits your budget, it's all round the best choice for a brand new, beginner saxophone.

Jean Paul AS-400

The Yamaha YAS-280   Source:

Looking to learn the saxophone from scratch?

Once you've purchased your first saxophone, there's only one thing left to do - learn how to play it!

So, if you like the idea of learning from home, on your schedule, we've got the perfect solution for you.

The SaxTuition Beginner Series is a complete package for learning the saxophone from scratch!

With SaxTuition you get:

✔ 12 Lesson Videos (over 3 hours of content)
✔ 68 page eBook (packed full of great songs)
✔ 200+ playalong tracks

Ready to begin your journey?

Watch Lesson 1 below!

The SaxTuition Beginner Series is available for both alto and tenor saxophones.


✔ Download a free sample of the eBook and playalong tracks
✔ Get free saxophone tips delivered to your inbox
✔ Receive an exclusive discount on the Beginner Series, valid for 7 days after sign-up

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