Equipment Recommendations Part 1

Share this Post

Have you ever wondered which brand you should buy, in regards to purchasing the following equipment:

  1. Saxophones
  2. Mouthpieces
  3. Reeds
  4. Ligatures
  5. Neck straps

There are so many options available, that making a choice can be difficult. For the beginner, many of the items that come with your saxophone will work well. You can click here for our recommendations when buying a saxophone (a previous post). But once you have a few months under your belt, you may want to make some changes in your equipment.

This week we’ll cover some recommendations for upgrading your saxophone. Next week we’ll cover the rest of the list.


If you’ve purchased a student saxophone, obviously this is not something you’re going to upgrade within a few months. I would suggest playing on your student saxophone for a couple of years before upgrading. Here are some brand recommendations.

Wrap Up

As always, try as many saxophones as you can. There are many opinions being expressed online, which can lead to confusion. Take the brand suggestions in this post and use them as a guide to choose the best saxophone for you. Your personal preference on the following points are unique to you and will help with making a final choice.

  • Tone
  • Ergonomics
  • Price

All three of these points will vary with each saxophone brand. By applying your personal preference to the brands mentioned in this post, you’ll find a saxophone that’s a good fit for you.

Have you played on any of these saxophones? What recommendations do you have? Please feel free to share in the comment section.


Share this Post

Comments 16

  1. Hi Jeff,

    Its a very nice post indeed. I am with a CONN SELMER PRELUDE Alto Sax AS – 700. Its the very basic model Student level one. I bought it on the 10th july 2015. Its not even one year. As you have said rightly let me be with it for one more year & then I can give a thought to switch over. Here the tonal quality is so so. The E & F notes with the palm keys are not that melodious. This has F# in the palm key range also.

    When I go in for a better sax I wish to go for a ‘ SELES AXOS ” . I feel thats enough for me at this RIPE age of me. I am 65 now. ha ha ha.

    What do you say !!!!!

    I am highly thankful that am getting beautiful guidance as well as suggestions from you Jeff.

    best regards.


    1. Post
    2. Hi Sab my saxophone is also a selmar conn. Some say it is made in China.
      I am a ripe aged beginner like you. Hope to upgrade soon. cost is an important factor now.
      What Selmar model should I move on to?

      1. Post

        Hi Ernest,

        Thanks for your question. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Are you looking for the best, or something that is a little less expensive but still a solid saxophone?

  2. Don’t rule out secondhand. Saxophone repair shops can be a useful ally. I bought a Martin Committee from our local repair shop in Brighton England. Its a great horn, as played by Art Pepper, at a reasonable price. Look on You Tube several videos from saxophone repair technicians demonstrating different makes.

    1. Post
    1. Post
  3. Thank you for the prompt reply. I really appreciate the value your site’s instruction offerings and the content of your up-dates. I highly recommend your programs to others, as being professional as well as intuitive to the intricacies of learning to play saxophone.

    I acquired a Blessing (Serial Number AS1001065) Alto. It is fairly new (approximately 5 years old), and was not used very much. I am not sure of what level of manufacturing quality the horn is, as I know very little about Blessing instruments or their reputation.

    I tried looking for a website for the company, or some other background information, but it seems they had a site but took it down.

    Any help you can lend me I would greatly appreciate.


    1. Post

      Hi Jay,

      I’m happy to hear that you’re enjoying the lessons and we appreciate your referrals! Concerning the Blessing, yes, it’s difficult to find information on the quality of the instrument, and since I have not played on the instrument, I am unable to provide specifics on its quality. However, the price range and lack of website points to this category of instrument. I think this instrument would be fine to start on, but with consistent practice I think you’ll find that you may outgrow it in a couple of years. I would suggest taking it to a repair tech, have them play it and run a leak light through just to make sure all is well. Let me know how it goes. I hope you enjoy playing!

    1. Post

      Hi Ledin,

      I haven’t played on one myself, but I have heard both good and bad. We have a post that covers this type of saxophone and what to expect. It could be exactly what you’re looking for, or it could be the opposite. This post will help you choose. Let me know what you decide!

      1. I am currently playing a Mendini soprano sax purchased through Amazon. I am in my 80s and didn’t think I could justify spending the money for a better brand. I am now playing with 2 jazz bands and a dance band and the Mendini is ok, but I would like a sax with more consistent tone through three octaves. I’m looking at a Cannonball soprano. Do you have any knowledge about this sax?

        1. Post

          I’m happy to hear that you are playing so much! As far as a few years ago, the Cannonball soprano saxophones were a great instrument. They were very stable and easy to control (for a soprano). If you don’t want to spend the extra money for a Yamaha or Selmer, then Cannonball is a good option.

  4. Hi Jeff, I tried out a Cannonball intermediate level sax a short time ago and it’s seems to be a nice instrument. It had the E to F# keys in the upper range. Do you have any comments about this brand?

    1. Post

      Yes Ed, the Cannonball brand is a strong brand. Some may consider the Yamaha and Selmer brands as top tier instruments, and Cannonball a second tier. That does not mean that the second tier isn’t good, they simply don’t have the history of the the “top tier” brands. There are plenty of pro musicians that use this brand, that play very well. However, they normally play the pro models and not the intermediate. You can probably find a used Global series or Stone Series (both pro models) for a great price. If you can try multiple instruments, that is always best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *