The best professional alto saxophone is a fascinating musical instrument whose invention was fairly recent compared to other instruments. Adolphe Sax, a Belgian professional instrument designer, invented the saxophone in the 1840s. In recent years, the most common saxophone has been the Alto, which may be heard in various relevant musical genres, from classical to concert to swing to jazz to soul and chamber music.
If you’re a professional saxophone player but you’re forced to play an instrument that doesn’t match your skill level, you’re not producing your finest work. There is a huge difference in the sound of different instruments; therefore, if you want crisp sound, you should buy a top-notch professional alto saxophone.
Here, we’ll look at several professional alto saxophones that are guaranteed to impress you with their clarity, build quality, and durability. As a result, you’ll be well-versed in the greatest names in the business when you shop.
We’ll also discuss how to pinpoint the best professional alto saxophone, what to look for in a pricing range, and what to consider before making a purchasing decision in our complete buyer’s guide.
6 Best Professional Alto Saxophones Reviewed
The best professional alto saxophone created has a clear and beautiful tone. These are classic woodwind instruments in the jazz music world. Here, we’ll go over our top five picks for the professional alto saxophones on the market today. These musical instruments, if properly cared for, might last you your entire professional career.
Let’s take a look at our review for each of the top picks.
The Glory Professional Alto Eb Saxophone is an excellent pick that comes in a range of eye-catching hues. This professional-level alto saxophone is available in four distinct colors, allowing you to express your personality while creating brilliant music.
This is a professional alto saxophone in Eb E flat. It also includes a high F# key. The leather pads with metal resonators, adjustable metal thumb rest, and hand engraving bell design are a few of the essential characteristics of this saxophone.
This fantastic saxophone is tested and intended for use by both adults and children. It features a more compact size and a more acceptable key layout than other models, so advanced players should comfortably reach the keys when playing. This is an excellent choice for professionals to consider.
You will receive 11 reeds, eight mouthpiece cushions, a mouthpiece, a neck strap, cork grease, a screwdriver, a cleaning rod and cloth, gloves, and a hard-shell travel box with your purchase of this saxophone.
- Compact and lighter mechanism
- Affordable price with great value for money
- Ready to be used as it comes pre-tuned
- Several aesthetic color options
- Can create great sound quality to mesmerize your audience
- Comes with adjustable metal thumb rest and leather pads with metal resonators
- Includes all the necessary accessories, including a hard case
- The mouthpiece will probably need adjustment or replacement
The Yamaha YAS 480 is an intermediate alto saxophone built for professional needs and intermediate players. This premium alto saxophone has a yellow brass body with a gold lacquer finish.
Yamaha brand from Japan is one of the top saxophone brands with a good reputation and long history. Its high-quality tone and durability in different instruments are guaranteed. Hand-engraved parts are a premium feature of the Yamaha YAS 480 alto saxophone. This gives the instrument prestige and individuality.
The Yamaha YAS 480 alto saxophone is tuned in E flat pitch like a professional alto saxophone that sounds great. The alto sax has no extra tuning keys, making it appropriate for professional players. However, it suits no beginners.
One of the commonly known aspects of the Yamaha YAS 480 alto saxophone is its compatibility with different Yamaha alto saxophone necks. The 62 style neck keeps the instrument’s distinctive feel and will appeal to fans of the traditional saxophone look. This perfect instrument’s left-hand seesaw key and polyester key buttons are designed for added comfort and better services.
The Yamaha YAS-480 alto saxophone comes with a substantial 5-year warranty. However, since the warranty is limited, carefully check the terms and conditions.
- Beautiful gold finish and hand graved design
- Perfect for professional players
- Produces a rich and warm tone
- Highly accurate intonation and quicker response for a nice sound
- Includes 62 neck style, separate keyguards, and left hand seesaw key for increased comfort and easy playability
- Comes with a 5 year limited warranty
- Very expensive
Savvy and professional alto saxophone players will appreciate Selmer’s this creation. The fluid network gives this alto saxophone a comfortable and pleasant tone. This saxophone is suited for jazz soloists as well as concert bands and orchestras.
These Selmer saxophones have traditional sized bells for a focused and rich tone, which professionals can rely on during stage performances.
The Selmer La Voic II alto saxophone is an excellent instrument for the job of delivering warm sound. The instrument’s near-perfect intonation lets it fit into a group better. You can also upgrade this saxophone to a professional standard.
The Selmer La Voic II offers users some of the highest quality features at a lower price than other brands.
This alto saxophone is ideal for intermediate players and professional players who aspire to deliver legendary performances. This alto saxophone is also ideal for transitions.
The Selmer La Voic II saxophone is constructed of yellow brass and features leather pads and nylon resonators for a classic look.
The professional alto sax has a two year warranty. You can expect excellent quality at a reasonable price.
- Easy carrying with a lightweight body and a case
- Fluid and quick response, ideal for airstream development and embouchure
- Comes with a Selmer USA mouthpiece allowing for an excellent warm tone and perfect intonation
- Amazing classic appearance with several color options, including sterling silver
- Comes with a two year warranty
- A bit pricey in case of affordability of a typical consumer
Yamaha company has a widely known reputation for offering great instruments for all levels of players- students, intermediate, and professionals. The YAS 62 professional alto saxophone is the finest option for professional saxophonists who can’t afford to forgo quality, reliability, and playability for more sophisticated models.
Since the ’70s, this professional alto sax model has improved response time and intonation over the old models with mini rib construction.
A solid tone and flexible sounds made it more comfortable and playable over time. The neck of this saxophone has been widened to allow for free blowing. The bore is narrower, allowing for faster response and better sound control when you blow. Its reduced weight makes this saxophone easier to play for longer sessions of practice or performances.
Less weight and a smaller bore promise for easier playability, but the sound may not project as well as heavier equivalent equipment.
The YAS 62 saxophone has an adjustable thumb rest, polyester key buttons, a standard golden lacquer finish, the famous AS4C mouthpiece, and a two-piece bell with hand engravings.
This alto saxophone also comes with a nice carrying case.
- Lightweight, sturdy and solid construction for long play sessions
- Improved comfort with ergonomic design and superb playability with solid tone and fluid sounds
- Quicker response and better sound control with narrower bore
- Better airflow with a narrower neck
- Comes with an AS4C mouthpiece, an adjustable thumb rest, a two piece bell, and polyester key buttons
- Compared to heavier instruments, the generated sound may be lacking some oomph
Eastar’s alto saxophone offers a better vibration while playing professionally. The tuning is also excellent.
This alto sax is appropriate for marching bands training as well as studio recording. You can expect to have much control over jazz, classical, and pop with a bright tone and flexible tone.
These professional alto saxophones are manufactured of high quality materials, such as musical instruments specific copper. It is developed using a lead-free welding manufacturing process. As a result, you should feel at ease playing this saxophone.
This fantastic alto saxophone also has treated leather pads (imported from Italy). Flicking tongue skills will be easy to flaunt with high air tightness.
The imported blue copper needle spring and moderate flexibility with a quick response during finger pressing are among the hallmarks of this saxophone.
Instead of regular gold lacquer, this saxophone employs long lasting gold electrophoresis craft. Hence, it guarantees that the brilliant and dazzling color will not fade. It also has beautiful natural abalone inlay Keys.
The handmade carvings on the bell mouth make this saxophone suitable for both refined and popular aesthetic tastes when standing on the stand.
This alto saxophone has a larger bell and provides a louder tone with improved air penetration. The left hand button and copper fingerplate are ergonomically designed and tailored to European and American hand types and usage habits. It is now slightly easier to switch between a newly designed C key and an E Flat.
The bass button of this saxophone is reinforced with two knots to improve performance stability.
You will receive a carrying case, a set of mouthpieces, a pure leather neck strap, cork grease, two padded shoulder straps, gloves, five reeds, a soft swab, a soft cloth, and a saxophone stand when you purchase this professional alto sax. A 12-month product warranty covers each specific saxophone.
- Better vibration and wonderful tuning, great fit for professionals in the industry
- Affordable price with impressive quality
- Responsive; moderately elastic, and easy to play right and left treble keys
- Bright and beautiful colored design with the elegance of electrophoresis gold and handmade carvings of the gorgeous bell mouth
- Produces easy to control high tone, stable middle tone, and easy to penetrate low tone
- Equipped with all the necessary accessories, including a padded strap to carry and a 12 month warranty
- Not so perfect intonation
That was all about our top choices for the professional alto saxophone. However, there are plenty of other alto saxophones you can consider as well. Our honorable mentions include the following.
- Yamaha YAS 82ZII Custom Z Alto Saxophone
- Selmer Paris Series III Model 62 Jubilee Edition Alto Saxophone 62J (with full ribbed construction)
- Mauriat Grand Dreams Alto Saxophone
- Roy Benson RBAS302 Eb Professional Alto Saxophone (with bar-mounted keys and relaxed neck design)
- Selmer Paris SeleS AXOS Series Alto Saxophone, and Jean Paul USA AS-400 Alto Saxophone
This Alto Saxophone is the centerpiece of Mendini’s brand, which focuses on producing high-quality instruments at a reasonable price, rendering them one of the biggest sellers in the entertainment industry since 2004 for their proven reliability and efficiency in manufacturing.
The alto saxophone is constructed of durable and non-malleable brass that is designed to withstand the relentless use that will occur during extended practices and performances with your saxophone.
The body of the saxophone is polished in a gold lacquered paint and has a beautiful texture that is soft and smooth. It is optimized in Eb with a high F# tone like most alto saxophones, so you are already comfortable with it. Its fabrication is structurally sound and ribbed and it has 100 percent real leather cushions that can provide sufficient padding every time a key is pushed.
The foundation of the inlaid curved keys is crafted of faux mother of pearl to complement the glamorous attribute of the varnish; and it comes in a variety of colors, including black, blue, green, nickel, purple, sky blue, and red.
The instrument’s big bore allows for younger players to produce a sound that is rich and full-bodied. The quick action keys, which make it simple for musicians of any skill to play the saxophone, is yet another feature that can appeal to them. In addition to that, the sound of this alto saxophone is powerful and deep, and it has an even intonation over the whole range.
A chromatic tuner with metronome is included with the alto saxophone. Any instrument may be tuned with the help of this tuner, which features a big LCD display and is simple to read. When the Metronome feature is used, an audible beat is produced, making it possible to locate the downbeat in any of the compound or duple meter settings with ease. The pace of the metronome may run anywhere from 30 to 230 beats per minute. With a note value and tempo range that can be adjusted, it is possible for any level of musician to play it.
It also comes with a professional deluxe case that is hard-shell, one book that can be comfortably fit into your pocket, a full set of 10 reeds in 2.5-inch length, one neck strap, a brush rod, a cleaning cloth, brushes for the mouthpiece, gloves, and a stand that you can fold and keep in a carrying bag that is also included in your package.
- Beautiful surface finished with high-quality gold lacquers
- Available in a variety of eye-catching colors
- Springs made from stainless steel
- Ribbed construction
- Ribbed construction
- Relatively easy-to-play for beginners
- Includes every accessory you’ll need to get started
- Incorporates a chromatic tuner that is simple to use
- Resonators made of metal
- The company provides a one-year guarantee on manufacturing defects
- The reeds may need to be replaced
- The pads require regular oiling
Buying Guide for the Best Professional Alto Saxophone
When entering the realm of professional music, there is a slew of factors to consider, including the manufacturers. All alto saxophones, regardless of model or material, have a unique sound that can be affected by even the smallest variation in diameter or material polishing.
The following discussion will guide you in the right direction. After considering all of the important factors described in detail below, you will be able to make an informed purchase decision for a alto saxophone.
Types of Professional Saxophones
Saxophones come in a striking 14 varieties. Generally speaking, there are four main types: alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, and baritone saxophone.
Due to its small size, the alto saxophone is ideal for the beginning musician, especially younger ones.
The tenor saxophone is the most common and what most people envision when picturing a professional saxophone. Jean Paul USA Tenor Saxophone is a perfect choice for a tenor saxophone
With the soprano, the saxophone can reach its highest pitch. For instance, Yamaha YSS-475II Intermediate Soprano Saxophone is an excellent example.
The baritone saxophone can produce deep and strong tones. Another gem from Yamaha corporation, Yamaha YBS-62 Professional Baritone Saxophone, is the perfect example.
What Kind of Performer You Are
The first important factor to explore is your performance style. Of course, you already know what kind of performances to expect from your saxophone.
Whether you are a soloist playing jazz or an ensemble playing classical music, make sure the alto saxophone you purchase can match your performance style. Think about whether you’ll be standing or seated and how long each performance will last. Make sure the professional saxophone you choose can withstand the performances.
Manufacturing and Design
Making the right decision regarding the best saxophones requires careful consideration of manufacturing, production, and design. In terms of appearance, you can choose whether you want a more traditional looking alto saxophone made of gold brass or something a little odd and creative but reliable.
Material and finish aren’t only for looks; they also accentuate the sound, giving each professional saxophone its own distinct tone. Alto saxophones with matte finish or black lacquer finishes are capable of producing rounded, richer tones. If this isn’t your desired sound, silver plated saxophones have a more pure and well-centered tone. They also have an enhanced volume.
In terms of the materials utilized, many players want to ensure whether it is brass or bronze as it is durable and will last for many years. It’s pointless to invest in a professional musical instrument if it’s not going to last. The last thing you should have to worry about is having to buy new musical instruments every year.
Pitch and Sound
The alto saxophone’s pitch and tone will vary across pieces, which is another important point. When sampling your professional alto saxophone, keep an ear out for the right sound. The alto saxophone’s material, bell, and pipes all affect the sound.
After you tune and test your professional saxophone, hear how rich, mellow, profound, or pure the tone is. A premium alto saxophone should be able to play all notes smoothly and in full sound. Otherwise, it has a pitch issue and needs to be returned.
Bell and Body Construction
The bell of the alto saxophone is the space where the bell originates from. The greater the sound, since it bounces off the edges of the bell before coming out, the thicker the bell grows. Because of the thick sidewalls, the sound will be thicker and stiffer in a perfect saxophone. The sound will be lighter and smoother if the bell has a thin construction.
The bell will alter depending on the tone you want. The keys are embedded in the body of the alto saxophone, and the sound passes through it. When the thickness and diameter of a bell change, the sound becomes stiffer or smoother.
The Tip Opening
The size of the tip determines how much air – and thus effort – is required to produce a sound with perfect warmth. In general, a smaller tip hole requires less air, whereas a larger one requires more.
A larger opening that requires more air would sound deeper and warmer and give the saxophonist more control over various saxophone playing methods, such as note bending.
Smaller openings, on the other hand, are much easier to play, which is suited as a great choice for beginner level and intermediate level players. However, they don’t provide the player as much control. Hence, they are more common in student saxophone. At the same time, larger tip sizes are advised for more experienced saxophonists as they can easily handle those.
The chamber regulates the speed of airflow through the horn’s body. A smaller chamber allows for faster airflow and more projecting. Larger chambers slow the air flow, producing a mellower tone.
So, to summarize, a small chamber would be better for a funk or rock band. A larger chamber would assist classical, or jazz artists obtain a rounder tone.
In general, you shouldn’t be concerned with this matter because most alto saxophones come with plenty of reeds and are interchangeable. On that topic, let’s imagine you’ll be replacing them frequently because their normal lifespan is a week to a couple of months.
Reeds can be either soft or firm. Soft reeds are typical for a student saxophone since they take less effort to play and are easier to grasp, ideal for beginner players. They’re well-known for their brilliant tone and a plethora of harmonics.
On the other hand, a hard reed requires more effort to play and is associated with deeper, more mellow notes, unlike a student-level instrument. They are perfect for alto saxophones.
Basically, the baffle is the mouthpiece chamber’s ceiling. Older saxophones have a straight baffle that complements classical music, the sole genre employed until the 1930s.
The straight baffle on the older models of the alto saxophones provides for a larger opening and slower airflow, giving the alto saxophone a more mellow sound. Smaller apertures with slanted baffles in modern saxophones speed up the airflow and make the sound brighter.
While the soprano and baritone saxophones have high G and low A keys, the alto saxophone has a high F-sharp key. Intermediate and professional alto saxophones are built with high F-key standards; therefore, their range is higher.
Gold lacquer is the most frequent on alto saxophones among the various types of lacquers. It’s wonderful for solos, classical, jazz, or mixing with other musical instruments in an ensemble.
Silver plating provides a professional saxophone with a brighter sound, making it popular among jazz musicians. The mouthpiece on a silver plated saxophone can adjust the tone’s brightness, so you can still get a darker sound if you like.
Natural tones become moodier with the use of black lacquer on an alto saxophone. Of course, it also has a sleek appearance that is attractive to the eye.
A lacquer free professional saxophone has the least vibrations and thus better projection. Lacquer-free finishes also let you mix seamlessly with other musicians when playing alto saxophones in groups.
Other lacquer alternatives include nickel plating in dark vintage, matte, black, or silver. If you choose these finishes, you should research the saxophone to ensure it produces the desired sound.
The ligature secures the reed to the mouthpiece of an alto saxophone. The tightness and material of the ligature affect how the reed vibrates against the mouthpiece, and hence the sound of the professional alto saxophone.
Consider patterns like double screws, single or inverted ligatures, and materials like string, leather, or metals.
The form of the mouthpiece also impacts the professional saxophone’s sound. Analyze and focus on the differences between round and square chambers inside the mouthpiece and the distance between the reed and the mouthpiece rials.
Mouthpieces are interchangeable. You can carry many to suit different situations.
Besides the interior and exterior build, the neck straps and accessories of the saxophones will surely alter the playing experience.
A neck strap helps the player maintain good posture while playing a saxophone and helps optimize hand movements by spreading the weight equally around the neck. While many alto saxophones come with standard neck straps, they can be upgraded.
Some of the higher end saxophones include padding and adjusting mechanisms to fit the player’s preferences. Notably, larger alto saxophones like a baritone or bass saxophones may require neck straps.
Getting an alto saxophone case is normal because they are intended for their individual model so that you can easily travel without worrying about damage.
The weight of your professional alto saxophone can affect your playing experience. You don’t want an alto saxophone that’s too heavy or too unstable. This can be irritating and deter you from playing your professional saxophone.
A well-balanced alto saxophone will make your experience more enjoyable and your music better.
Your saxophone will need a warranty. If you want to play professionally, these are lifetime investments. Warranties range from 1 to 5 years.
Make sure your warranty covers the entire alto sax. Because most professional saxophones are custom made, finding replacement components is difficult.
Consider your budget. Not all aspiring professionals can afford a $10,000 alto saxophone, so plenty of professional standard alto saxophones are available.
Each of our suggestions can easily reach all notes while having the durability anticipated of a professional alto saxophone. You will also receive your money’s worth if you can regularly give outstanding performances over time.
Professional Alto Saxophone Maintenance Tips
- Before opening the alto saxophone case, place it on a stable and flat surface.
- When your alto saxophone is in its case, always use the end plug.
- Apply cork grease to the neck cork regularly to prevent wear-off.
- Attach the mouthpiece to the neck first, then to the body.
- Adjust your neck strap so that the top of the mouthpiece hits your top teeth while keeping your head straight.
- Check for stuck pads, especially G# and low C#, before playing your professional saxophone.
- When taking a break from playing, replace the mouthpiece cap.
- When laying flat, place your saxophone on the keys side.
- When you’ve finished playing for the day, don’t leave your professional saxophone out.
- Pad savers (fluffy things that stay inside the horn) are not appropriate for a saxophone.
- Use high-quality swabs to clean your alto saxophone.
- After each playing session, swab your mouthpiece, neck, and horn.
- Clean the neck tenon before storing it.
- The weighted end of the body swab is placed in the bell first, not the other way around.
- Repeatedly run the swab through your saxophone.
- Check that your case is properly latched/zipped up.
Alto saxophonists are among the fortunate musicians who have access to such an elegant musical instrument. Many of the companies in this field take great pride in the craftsmanship that goes into their alto saxophone, and the sounds they produce when played are incredible.
However, the sheer number of alto saxophones on the market can make choosing your own right saxophone challenging. It usually boils down to playing skill and budget when it comes to horns in this category. When you combine these factors with your circumstances, you’ll be able to choose a top-notch professional alto saxophone for you and have fun while playing.
Do more expensive saxophones sound better?
Ans: The key action of more expensive saxophones will be smoother than lower-end horns, with less discontinuity in spring force pressing back on the keys, more uniform resistance from key to key, and sharper and better aligned seals on its more precisely rolled tone holes.
It will also be made of more expensive metals and may require more manual labor in finishing or flaw checking before shipment. It will almost certainly be more pleasing to the eye and offering excellent value for decades.
How much does a professional alto saxophone cost?
Ans: The best beginner saxophones typically cost between $800 to $2,700. Intermediate or step-up alto saxophones typically cost between $2,000 and $3,000, with professional alto saxophones costing around $3,000 and up.
What is the best brand of alto sax?
Ans: Yamaha and Selmer; with outstanding brand integrity and the highest quality
What is the most expensive alto saxophone?
Ans: A standard Grafton alto sold for $144,500 at London’s Christie’s auction on September 8, 1994, is the world’s most expensive alto saxophone.
This molded, cream-colored acrylic plastic alto saxophone stood in stark contrast to Thailand’s $60,000 saxophone made of crystal. It is adorned with diamond and gold, which remains the most pricey saxophone ever sold.
Which parts of the alto sax are replaceable?
Ans: All parts of the alto saxophone are technically replaceable. That isn’t to say that if you have a problem, you should turn to replacements. This is a professional saxophone that has been meticulously built. Contact the manufacturer for further information about replacement parts for your specific alto saxophone, and be prepared to pay a high price.
Who is the most famous alto saxophone player?
Ans: Alto saxophonist Jackie McClean is a towering figure in jazz history. He recorded and performed as both a leader and a sideman on some of the genre’s most memorable albums alongside many of its giants throughout his five-decade career journey.