Buying a Saxophone on a Budget

Are You:

  • A parent who’s not sure how long your child will play saxophone?
  • Someone who wants to play, but a $3000 saxophone isn’t the right price for you?
  • Someone who wants to play, but you’re not sure if you’ll be successful?
  • Someone who wants to give the saxophone a try and you don’t need a long term solution?

These Are Good Reasons

Any of these reasons are legitimate for hesitating to spend thousands of dollars on a saxophone. Will your money be well spent, or end up in a closet collecting dust?

Descent, to pro saxophones, can cost anywhere from $2000-$8000. Because of the high price of saxophones, I’m sure some people feel like learning an instrument can be too expensive. If you do have the money, it can still be difficult to spend $2000 on a saxophone that you or your child may only play for 6 months. But if it only cost a few hundred bucks, would you give it a try?

Let Me Be Clear

Keep in mind that the lower cost of saxophones discussed in this post will not be for everyone. If you know your child is going to stick with it, or you want to provide the best tool for you or your child to succeed, then the higher priced pro saxophones may be a perfect fit for you. They will be the best tool to help you succeed as a beginner, and help you improve to a professional level. Now, if the pro model is not for you, then keep reading.


When I receive questions about “which saxophone should I buy?”, the $300-$1000 range is usually the price range people ask about. Even if you’re looking at the lower end, there are still plenty of options.

A $2000 Saxophone for Up to 75% Off

If you’re just getting started with the saxophone, then a student model is a good place to start. A new student model from Yamaha or Selmer can cost around $2000. However, these saxophones don’t hold their value as well as the pro models. Because they don’t hold their value as well, you can get up to 75% off for a saxophone when buying used. Of course it may be a few years old, but if it’s taken care of, it will play like new! I would suggest sticking with Yamaha and Selmer in this category. You can find specific model suggestions in this post.

A New $300 Saxophone

This is the category of saxophone that nearly every professional musician will tell you to stay away from. I’m going to do the opposite. If you just want to spend a few hundred bucks to “test the waters”, and then invest in a better saxophone down the road, this might be a good fit for you. However, before you buy a brand new saxophone for $300, I would suggest reading this post to avoid any pitfalls.

What Saxophone Do You Play?

Do you play a student model Yamaha or Selmer? Did you buy a saxophone in the $300 category? We would love to hear what you think about your saxophone so others can benefit from your experiences. Thanks in advance for sharing! And to kick it off, I’ll share my experience with a $300 saxophone in the comment section below.

Part 2

Next week I’ll provide a step by step process for buying a used brand name saxophone, and a $300 range sax. That way, when you purchase your saxophone you’ll have confidence that you’ve made the right choice.


Comments 4

  1. Post

    The first $300 new saxophone I became familiar with was the Etude EAS-100. I had a student that wanted to buy this saxophone because his school didn’t have a saxophone for him. In short, I suggested that he only purchase the saxophone if there was a solid return policy. He ended up buying it from He brought the saxophone to his lesson, so I could play it, and to see if it was going to work for him. I was very surprised how well the saxophone played. It was not a perfect saxophone, but it fit his needs as a beginner. He continued lessons with me for about a year, and he didn’t have any issues with the saxophone during that time.

    Another student was caught in a financial bind and needed a saxophone right away. I suggested the same saxophone. He really liked it as well, but one of the keys broke after a few months. This is not a normal issue with well-made saxophones. However, it was an easy fix and was taken care of by a local repair tech.

  2. Interesting article. However, the register is a very important factor that determines the instrument price. The “middle-register” saxophones are cheaper than their extreme cousins, given the same make/model. For each brand, the alto and tenor are cheaper than the soprano and baritone equivalent. Or, in other terms, for the price of a standard mid priced soprano or baritone, you could get a mid- or high-end alto of the same brand. Very good tenors can be found for some $2,000, while a soprano of the same quality goes up to $3,500 let alone a baritone that skyrockets to $6,500 or more. Moreover, some manufacturers do not feature mid-quality baritones in their market line, only top-notch.
    Something is clearly true: no student starts on other register than alto or tenor. So baritone or soprano saxophones are instuments 99% of the times bought by pros.

  3. Hi Jeff,
    I recently bought an older Vito alto for $350.00, and also a 45 yr. old Vito tenor for $450.00. Both saxes needed only minor tweaking, and I’m very happy with both horns. Both play very well. I had to look for a while for the tenor, but it was worth it.

    1. Post

      Thanks for sharing Tim. I’ve played on some great Vito saxophones, and I’m happy to hear that you’re happy with your saxophones.

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