11 Alto Saxophones Reviewed – The Best Brands of Saxophones

If you’re in the market for an alto saxophone, doing your due diligence and research is extremely important. I reviewed some of the best options online here and wish to help narrow down your choices to the most popular, trustworthy alto saxophone brands out there. Just starting, or have years of experience? I would like to provide value through hours of research and product comparison.

I created this review with a few important questions in mind: “what are the best beginner / intermediate / professional alto saxophones? Brands? Cost?”

While each alto saxophone has their own qualities that differentiate them, choosing the right saxophone comes down to your budget, how you want it to look and feel, the brand itself, and your overall skill level. Considering how much you want to budget for a new instrument is vital in determining the right choice. Weighing your options and what interests you most in looks and functionality should be an important factor. Also consider that higher grade, professional brands of saxophones are designed for the enthusiast in mind: they will run you for your money, and for a reason.

These are only a variety of factors to consider when looking at purchasing a new alto saxophone, but really show the depth and level of research necessary to find that perfect saxophone for your skill level.

Below, I decided to compile some of the best brands of saxophones into a single review post so buckle up! These are some of the best alto saxophones on the web for beginners to professionals. Other options are available locally through your town’s music stores and in pawn shops; this review is designed for those with online in mind.

With enough said, it’s time we get into it.

How Much Does a Saxophone Cost?

I go into greater depths on this same topic, but in summary:

“With so many brands out there that make wonderful affordable instruments, it is better to start out on a beginner instrument than shell out the money for a professional one immediately. It would be a great idea to save at least $300, and if you’re more experienced looking for a professional one, $1000 or more is recommended.”

So many factors come into play when considering costs associated with playing an instrument. Accessories, reeds, lubricants, maintenance; the list goes on and on! Luckily, many of the instruments below come with a kit – usually a case, pack of reeds, and a neck strap. The essential tuner may be included (and always recommended!), and these come from reputable brands you can trust.

Consider costs before just diving into a purchase. I don’t personally think that purchasing an instrument online is a bad idea, as I have done this with great results. However, it isn’t a terrible idea to go into a store and check out the instrument yourself, especially if you are more experienced. Save your money and research while you do and you will be light-years ahead of the person who never did.

Best Brands of Saxophones & Saxophone Brands to Avoid

There are dozens of extremely reputable and tenured saxophone manufacturers out there, and a variety that do not live up to their price point. Understand which saxophone brands to avoid and which brands are quality can save you thousands and headache down the road.

Most brands nowadays are worth what you pay for. That being said, a variety of quality alto saxophones are sold at very affordable prices, and does not necessarily mean they are not that high quality. Weighing out brand options, checking reviews, digging info on the manufacturer and more can enlighten you greatly in the search for the right instrument.


Selmer is one of the old-and-great saxophone brands, hands down. Plenty of brands out there claim greatness, but this brand stands to hold its history all the way back to the 19th Century with Henri Selmer and his clarinet reed and mouthpiece business. This is personal opinion, but to many huge jazz musicians such as John Coltrane and Paul Desmond, Selmers are preferred too. You will not go wrong with a Selmer.


Cannonball Saxophones are a relatively new series of instruments, stemming from a company only recently founded in 1996. Tevis and Sheryl Laukat founded this company due to their passion for creating the finest instruments for both aspiring beginners and seasoned professionals.

After their saxophones get manufactured in Taiwan and sent to the US, they hand customize each instrument and re-regulate each saxophone. The process even includes play testing among the stringent list of requirements before it hits the market.


Yamaha Saxophones are revered worldwide and drive a hard bargain for their wonderful intonation and maneuverability. While these are more professional instruments, finding a brand that can be trusted is answered with going with a Yamaha.


Founded in 1896 as a brasswind company, Yanagisawa is another huge player in the game with high quality saxophones that professionals worldwide use today. A key component of these saxophones come from the bronze build that creates the warm, resonant tone we know of today.


Jupiter was established by parent company KHS in 1980 as a distributor/manufacturer of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Revered by some to this day, this new kid on the block has some serious skin in the game.


The Julius Keilwerth Company was established in 1925 and is famous for being what is known as a “stencil manufacturer” – they would create horns that other companies would stencil their own information on. This also applied to parts, and famous stencils such as H&A Selmer Bundy Special and King Tempo Saxophones show the professionalism behind Keilwerth.

They also create their own series of saxophones that stand out among the crowd, such as the ST90 student range, or SX90R professional range.

Mendini By Cecilio

Mendini By Cecilio specializes in beginner-level instruments. Based on reviews and findings, they provide a pretty affordable instrument at the ultimate cost of quality and longevity. You will find they make decent beginner horns, but a seasoned player may prefer something like from a brand above.

That’s not to dissuade purchasing for a beginner on a low budget; rather, if your within a higher budget area I’d highly recommend something from Yamaha or more reputable.

11 Best Alto Saxophones

Now that we’ve gone over the best brands of saxophones, let’s dive into the review. Keep in mind that not all of these instruments are the same; some brands are much higher quality than others. It is important that the right information can be provided about what brands to avoid and what to choose, and I hope to do that with this review.

These are the best 11 alto saxophones that I could find, with relevant information and comparable specifications. Understanding your play style and skill level is vital in making the right purchase. Some of these horns I would only recommend to a professional, while others would make a great beginner alto saxophone.

Best Alto Saxophone for Beginners

Selmer Prelude AS711 Student Alto Saxophone

Selmer is a world-renowned brand and starting on one of these horns is a fantastic choice. A beginner alto saxophone will be developed with note formation and tone in mind, and what better than to start with a world-best?


  • Left-Hand Table Key Rocker Mechanism
  • C# Adjusting Screw
  • High F# Key
  • Molded Mouthpiece / Cap / Ligature
  • Engraved Bell
  • Adjustable Right-Hand Thumb Rest
  • Dark Lacquer Body and Keys


  • Case
  • Neck Strap
  • Cork Grease

This kit includes cleaning instructions and a cleaning kit. The case is an awesome design, with the prelude signature on the corner. With the included accessories (minus a tuner; definitely pick one up!), this is a fantastic overall beginner kit. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Best Intermediate Alto Saxophone

Yamaha YAS-280 Student Alto Saxophone

Yamaha is another fantastic brand, and this choice was with price combined with value. They have a huge variety of instruments, and their service combined with brand history is enough to consider getting one of these horns.


  • Adjustable Thumb Rests
  • Stable Neck Receiver for Low B-C# Adjustments
  • Clear Response for Low Notes


  • Case
  • Cloth
  • Cork Grease
  • Neck Strap

With the intermediate player in mind, this is a great alto sax for someone who’s been playing for a while, but needs something more than the cheaper beginner saxophone they may have. No matter which brand you choose, just remember that you can never go wrong with a Yamaha. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Best Professional Alto Saxophone

Yanagisawa AWO10 Series Alto Saxophone Bronze


  • Professional Grade Parts
  • Iconic Yanagisawa Bronze Build
  • Backed by One of the Largest Brands in the World


  • Fabric Wood shell Case with Back straps
  • Saxophone

Yanagisawa is a world-renowned brand, and for good reason: a long history of quality craftsmanship combined with brand loyalty has led this brand to saxophone greatness. An ergonomic choice, Yanagisawa is a fantastic choice for a professional player. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

More Saxophone Reviews

Yamaha YAS-480 Intermediate Eb Alto Saxophone

Continuing on Yamaha’s legacy, I decided to also review the YAS-480 intermediate Alto saxophone.


  • Gold Finish
  • 62-Style Neck
  • Hand-Engraved Bell Pattern
  • Adjustable Screw Cap Stoppers
  • Left Hand Seesaw Key


  • Case
  • Neck Strap
  • Mouthpiece

This is a wonderful choice for an intermediate or advanced saxophonist. Yamaha is a quality brand and their craftsmanship shines through with the YAS-480 series saxophones. A really cool feature of this horn is that Yamaha designed it to allow an interchange between the custom included 62-style neck, or Custom Z and Custom EX Yamaha necks. This maneuverability is iconic for Yamaha and shows what quality can truly be. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Yamaha YAS-26 Alto Saxophone

The YAS-26 is a fantastic bang-for-buck saxophone that provides a quality sound at a reasonable price.


  • Nickel Plated Keys
  • Yellow Brass Body & Neck
  • Leather Pads, Wool Felt


  • Case
  • Mouthpiece
  • Saxophone Care Products

I really like this saxophone, particularly for a few reasons: craftsmanship, price, and features. Yamaha’s reputation precedes this horn in craftsmanship, but the price for the professional features such as tapered pivot screws, leather pads and wool felt, and an improved low B-C# connection. All in all, Yamaha makes an astonishing saxophone.

While this is a fairly pricier option compared to some of the others on the list, considering brand and quality of features is super important if this kind of instrument is within your budget. This would fit a beginner player, and even an intermediate or slightly professional player, very well. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Mendini by Cecilio Alto Saxophone Kit

Mendini by Cecilio is a hugely popular brand on Amazon and elsewhere known for decent constructed instruments at a very reasonable price.


  • Gold Lacquered Body
  • Large Bore
  • Ribbed Construction
  • Leather Pads
  • Contoured Keys
  • Faux Mother of Pearl Inlays


  • Hard-Shell Case
  • Mouthpiece
  • Neck Strap
  • 10 Extra Reeds
  • Cleaning Cloth & Rod
  • Gloves
  • Tuner/Metronome

So many accessories with this horn! This brand is known for cheaper instruments so I would only recommend this to a beginner, but for a band student or an aspiring saxophonist, this is a fantastic choice as it comes with all essentials. You have cleaning equipment, tuner and metronome, case and even a pocketbook! However, you’ll definitely want to upgrade as your skills improve.

For the price, it is hard to find a more thorough beginners kit than you will with Mendini by Cecilio. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Glory Saxophone Kit

Glory is another budget brand of instrument known for their beginner starter kits and decent construction.


  • Hand Engraved Bell
  • Leather Pads
  • Adjustable Key Height Screws
  • Metal Thumb Rest
  • Tested By Quality Inspectors


  • Hard-Shell Case
  • Mouthpiece
  • Neck Strap
  • Grease
  • Screwdriver
  • Cleaning Cloth & Rod
  • Gloves
  • 10 Extra Reeds

While Glory is not a household name compared to Yanagisawa or Yamaha, it is a fairly underrated beginner brand that packs a punch for its features. It comes in a variety of different colors and is designed with a reasonable key layout and compact design, making it a fantastic choice for players with shorter reach or smaller hands that may have difficulty with other horns.

They are quality tested, and for a beginner horn this is a very important factor. Horns at this price may be more susceptible to damage, either in transit or after breaking it in, and having a stress test done by a professional is a great way to work around this. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Jupiter JAS710GN Alto Saxophone

The JAS series saxophones from Jupiter still prove to be a sufficient saxophone line today.


  • Lacquered Brass Body
  • Nickel Plated Keys
  • Tilting G# – Bb Table Keys
  • Metal Tone Boosters


  • Wood-Frame Case
  • Mouthpiece & Ligature

Best for beginner to intermediate students looking to hone in on their craft through secondary study, a college student would have a wonderful time perfecting their skill on this horn. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Selmer La Voic II Alto Saxophone

This is a rich option if you’re considering the world renowned Selmer brand.


  • Case

This is an excellent choice for an alto saxophone by Selmer. Played just like a professional horn, this saxophone provides features other beginner horns just can’t match. This horn exemplifies Selmer’s goal to provide to the world unprecedented professionalism at a reasonable price. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Jean Paul USA AS-400 Student Alto Sax

Jean Paul seems to be another beginner oriented brand, providing excellent value with their beginner alto saxophone kits.


  • Yellow Brass Body with Lacquered Finish
  • Quality Build


  • Semi-Hard Shell Canvas Carrying Case
  • Mouthpiece
  • Neck strap
  • Cap
  • Ligature
  • Cleaning Rod

For a beginner on a budget, I’d consider looking into Jean Paul. They seem to provide a good product judging by reviews, and at the price you won’t go wrong with this bundle. It includes a variety of very important beginner accessories that can save you a lot of frustration. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

LyxJam Alto Saxophone Kit

LyxJam provides an excellent beginner alto saxophone kit with almost all the essentials at a low cost.


  • Gold Lacquered
  • Faux Mother of Pearl Inlays
  • Nonslip Palm Key Risers
  • Durable Ligature


  • Case
  • 10x Reeds
  • Neck Strap
  • Cleaning Kit & Rod
  • Gloves

Besides a tuner, this kit provides almost everything a beginner alto saxophonist would need. At such an affordable price, this is an excellent choice for the musician on a tight budget. Down the road, I would definitely look into a new instrument if this wears out, but judging by reviews, this seems to be a fairly qualified instrument. Check Prices and Reviews on Amazon.com.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right alto saxophone as a beginner student or a professional comes down to due diligence and research, understanding your preferences, and ultimately having a budget in mind. As such, being prepared allows you to feel more comfortable about your purchase and what to expect after owning it for a while.

Thank you for taking the time to read my article. You’ll find more on our homepage that may interest you!

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