Choosing the right horn can be difficult especially for beginner musicians, that’s why we decided to we compile a list of best alto saxophones in 2017 and their reviews, divided into 3 sections: Beginner, Intermediate and Professional.
Table of contents
Alto saxophones for student/beginner players
In the first section, we are reviewing cheaper alto saxophones intended for newer players. It can be frustrating buying an instrument for children knowing they can easily damage it or move on the another activity, on the other hand, you don’t want your kid learning to play an instrument on a faulty sax that you can hardly keep in tune.
The main thing to watch out for when buying a horn for new players is that instrument is durable, easy to play and not too expensive, but I would not recommend going too cheap because you still want good quality sound and tone.
Yamaha yas-280 is great entry level alto saxophone and it is used in many woodwind schools around the world, considering the quality of the instrument and Yamaha brand, this horn can be easily suitable for intermediate students too.
Yamaha Yas-280 is light-weight and ergonomically designed, which makes him extremely easy to hold and play. The responsiveness and ease of blowing on this model makes it stand out from similar student horns, and it is especially helpful for new players, as long exercise sessions and practicing, in general, becomes much easier.
It produces consistent and quality sound, especially for a student-level model. The pads are aligned well and will last for a long time.
This horn is our top pick for best alto for beginners.
Jean Paul USA AS-400
This model is: “Amazons choice for a great student Alto Saxophone”
It is nicely built, delightful yellow brass body with Lacquer finish makes him one of best-looking horns for students.
The sound is warm and pleasant, quality is excellent for this class of sax. Since this model is designed exclusively for new players, you can expect very durable instrument that can be used for years, on top of that it is designed for easy use with ergonomic key shapes and comfort thumb rest.
Very good first pick, it brings good all around quality for reasonable price.
LJ Hutchen Eb Alto Saxophone
LJ Hutchen is a respectable brand that specializes in instruments intended for students, their goal is to develop a quality saxophone at a reasonable price and this alto sax is exactly that.
Designed for younger players with smaller hands in mind, improved key layout with careful pinky key setup and ergonomic design are features that make this horn great “first buy”.
It is built to be very durable because student are not often very careful when dealing with their instruments, and it comes with the special bracing structure that can stop misalignments in a case of an accident. The quality of sound is decent, but just replacing original mouthpiece with better one, sound quality increases greatly.
Body finish is epoxy lacquer and keys are nickel-plated.
Alto saxophones for the intermediate player
In this section, we will review and show our selections for the mid-tier alto saxophones intended for the intermediate player who does not want to spend plenty of money for a professional horn but still wants to enjoy similar benefits that come with a high-tier instrument, like excellent sound and tonal quality.
Selmer SAS280 La Voix II
Selmer is known for making top-tier saxophones for more than 100 years, some of the most famous jazz performers have used their instruments through the years, so it’s not surprising that the SAS280 La Voix II is an impressive alto all around.
It is a beautiful looking horn with a nicely crafted yellow brass body, very comfortable to hold and play, and on top of that, it produces great clear sound with flawless intonation. In many ways, it outperforms a decent number of professional models.
Comes with a very solid light-weight case to keep your instrument safe from damage.
Considering the quality and price of the saxophone it is safe to say that the purchase of SAS280 La Voix II is a great bargain.
Optimally designed and very comfortable to play, YAS-480 gives you option of adjusting thumb rest for even more comfort while playing and comes with new redesigned key pattern that provides fluid playing experience.
The neck is based on high-tier Yamaha model – YAS-62, that’s the reason why It produces accurate and clear notes from highest to lowest without any problems, new neck design improves air flow and responsive’s of this alto. The sound is beautiful and deep, perfect for playing jazz tunes.
A body is made of yellow brass and you can choose between two body finishes: silver plated and gold lacquer. With the horn, you get a very hard suitcase that you can carry on your back like a backpack, quite useful if you travel a lot with your instrument.
This instrument is recommended for serious saxophone students who want professional quality sax at an affordable price.
Yanagisawa is a brand known for making elite class handmade saxophones, respected all around the world. Their saxophones reflect the understanding of how to build a quality professional instrument and it can be seen on this model.
Fantastic intonation, excellent responsiveness, clean and smooth tone are just some of many features of this horn.
Compared with older models this horn brings two important upgrades, they added a small plate on the neck of the instrument for improved tonal resonance, resulting in the production of warm, clean and focused sound, besides that they redesigned the shape of the ball making it more ergonomic and modern.
Outstanding horn for advanced band musicians.
Alto saxophones for professional players
In this section, we will present you our picks for the Top-tier alto saxophones intended for professional players. These instruments are world class quality in all aspects.
Selmer Paris Series II Model 52
This model is the most popular alto sax made by Selmer Paris which is not surprising considering the all-around quality and elegant design. Manufactured in France to ensure top quality workmanship.
Technical aspects of this model are astounding, the action is great and intonation is flawless. You also receive a professional mouthpiece S80C, which provides an optimal resonance and beautiful smooth sound. Sax is extremely responsive and lightweight which makes him “easy to play”, a perfect choice for professional musicians who spend a lot of time practicing and performing.
Ribbed construction, leather pads, clear lacquer and with authentic Henri Selmer signature on the ring, he is certainly among the most beautiful alto models for professionals.