The saxophone family is comprised of instruments classified by the pitch of the music they produce. While most students get started with a simple alto saxophone, you should also be aware of the alternatives. These include the tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone and soprano saxophone.
After setting a budget, you should research the various manufacturers of saxophones with the help of an experienced player or professional music teacher. This will help you gain a better understanding of the features of different instruments and will ensure you invest your money as wisely as possible. When you set your budget, keep in mind that you'll need to allow for replacement parts and repairs down the road. Thus, you should also research the upkeep and repair costs associated with any saxophone model you're considering, as these can vary significantly.
There are pros and cons to both sides of the age-old new-or-used debate. When you purchase a new instrument, you're guaranteed to attain a piece in perfect working order and you'll be protected by a warranty. On the other hand, you can save significant money by purchasing a secondhand saxophone, so long as the instrument is in good condition and isn't in need of costly repairs or replacement parts.
If you choose to purchase a used product, make sure to compare the seller's asking price against the cost of a new instrument to determine how much value you're getting for your money. Whenever possible, have an experienced player come with you to inspect the instrument. An experienced eye can detect possible flaws and faults that a novice will almost always overlook.
You should have your own supplies on hand when testing out a saxophone, especially if you're buying a used piece. Make sure to bring:
Because you won't be able to test out any saxophone you buy online prior to purchase, make sure that the seller accepts returns or offers some form of money-back guarantee.
Most new players learn best when taught by an experienced instructor, though you might be able to teach yourself the saxophone if you have prior experience playing other brass wind instruments, such as the trombone. Collect referrals to qualified teachers by visiting your local music store or browsing print or online classified ads in your area.