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If you’re a professional alto saxophonist, chances are you won’t want to turn up to performances with a lower quality sax. But buying an expensive saxophone that doesn’t quite live up to the price point is a real possibility.
Because of this, we’ve put together this list of top professional alto saxophones to make things easier. All will do a good job, but read on to see which will be right for you.
Yamaha YAS-62 Alto Saxophone – Best Overall
- Boehm System
- Treble Clef#
- Moisture and corrosion resistant
- Yellow copper alloy body
- Golden lacquer finishing
The Yamaha YAS 62 is already a legend and the instrument of choice for a large number of artists due to its performance and exceptional properties.
It owes its success to a group of visionary designers dedicated to its development and highly skilled craftsmen who carry out their work with commitment, passion, and unmatched perfection.
The new 62 series from Yamaha is extremely expressive and rich in sound. It retains the flexibility and excellent responsiveness of the previous models.
What we like most is its new shiny design, higher accuracy, higher musical expressiveness, and the new case. The 62 series is perfect for musicians looking for a versatile saxophone that works with all styles of music.
It is characterized by the Boehm System, treble Clef#, yellow copper alloy body as well as the golden lacquer. There's a new engraving and it has leather upholstery treated with silicone.
The neck of the new “62” has a slightly narrower hole with faster response and better control. Also, its specific S shape allows for better airflow, improves playing comfort, and allows any musician to have a centered sound.
By attaching multiple balls to a single pad, you get an instrument with moderate resistance and free emission with a rich and deep sound at the same time.
More elaborate and with extremely fine details, the new engraving brings a very nice finish.
The new mechanism of correspondence of the keys ensures a flexible, precise action.
The components are moisture and corrosion-resistant. The special design of the keys offers great flexibility in play as well as a quick reaction from the mechanics.
It has a light, semi-rigid housing with a modern look that can be carried by hand, with a shoulder strap, or as a backpack.
As many unsuspecting users have done, be careful of counterfeits from other sellers online and in stores. A lot of people had problems with the counterfeits, sent it back for fixing, and only discovered when it was returned back. Be careful, don't throw away your 3 grand. Only buy from the link.
What We Didn't Like
There are many counterfeits of this model and the price doesn't help matters should in case you end up with a counterfeit. So, watch out for the inauthentic versions.
It's designed for a large number of artists due to its performance and exceptional properties. It's particularly ideal for band directors. However, it's not for beginners or craftsmanship.
- Designed for fast response
- Beautiful lacquer finish
- Comes with a nice case
- Blows freely
- It's expensive
Selmer 52JU Alto Saxophone – Premium Option
- Mouthpiece with dynamic aesthetics
- Has acoustic resonance
- Octave neck key fully redesigned
- Full-ribbed construction
The Selmer 52JU is an upgraded edition of Selmer Paris' most popular saxophone ever! This premium Jubilee Edition series replaces the Super Action 80 Series II and III saxophones.
The models in this series are very aesthetically elegant, have redesigned features, are lighter, and also have more responsive keys.
The price definitely makes it inaccessible for many levels of saxophonists as it costs almost 24 times the price of other regular alto saxophones. However, this is one of the most popular professional choices for saxophonists around the world.
One of the reasons it's so popular is because it has a flexible, natural, and centered tone for all playing situations.
You will have yellow brass on the body tubes as well as the keys across the timbre spectrum. The durability is enhanced thanks to the full-ribbed construction.
The superior intonation of this series remains, which is why it's the right choice for professionals as well as those aspiring to be one.
With an experience of 125 years in building musical instruments, you can trust Selmer for the acoustics as well as aesthetics of the saxophone.
Selmer gives this a totally new identity, visually. However, the natural aesthetics and sound conception remain.
The gold lacquer gives it more presence and warmth. The new outline engraving style gives it a much thinner, elaborate, and elegant design from the bow to the bell.
It comes with an accessory kit that includes Selmer Paris' latest accessory line: a strap, cork grease, swap, and cloth.
The instrument weighs 15.45 pounds and measures 31.3 x 14.9 x 9.3 inches in dimensions. The device is made of brass, suitable for any musical style, and has the F Sharp key.
What We Didn't Like
While we will agree with the fact this is a premium model designed for professionals in the art, the price is a turnoff, considering you have alto saxophones priced between $200 to $1000.
This is only recommended for professionals. It is probably the most popular professional choice for saxophonists around the world. Its price and design, however, make it unsuitable for many starting, would-be, and intermediate saxophonists.
- Premium quality construction and coating
- Ergonomically designed
- Aesthetically pleasing
- Ideal for professionals
- Very expensive
Selmer SAS280 Alto Saxophone – Budget Choice
- Black nickel, silver, or lacquer color options
- High F# key
- Traditional sized bell
- Professional key styling
Next we have the SAS280. Selmer, around the 1960s, became a famous brand in music for its creative contributions to musical instruments. The brand made quite a lot of guitar amps. They were really good but they never got the right recognition.
Exhibited in their London shop were instruments such as the Woodwinds. These brass instruments shone with their impressive styles. You had to feel a bit overwhelmed by them.
The brand was founded in Paris in 1885 and has developed into a respected name in the field of musical instrument making. The valve amplifiers haven't been around for a long time, but the woodwinds and brasses live on.
The brand aimed to create an instrument that is a bit different from others. The SAS280 is one of its best products. It is made of yellow brass as usual. But it also has a nickel finish plated in black.
That makes it a bit noticeable. It certainly changes from the usual silver-plated or gold-plated instruments.
With its warm and rich sound, this is really well made. It offers high quality as well as key actions that are very responsive and produce the right intonation.
The bell has the traditional size and provides a warm, rich sound. It produces an evenly balanced sound but requires some control when changing notes. This could make it not suitable for students who are still inexperienced. It has a high F# key. Meanwhile, the construction is quite light at just 6 pounds.
The package includes the Alto saxophone, a backpack made of faux leather, a mouthpiece and mouthpiece cap, as well as a ligature.
The product does not include a strap or maintenance devices. However, it's a well-made saxophone, but the price seems too high for a student saxophone.
Meanwhile, if as a beginner, you can afford this, then you'll certainly be acquiring one of the best Selmer saxophones on the market.
What We Didn't Like
We are not personally impressed with the black color. However, this is purely a personal preference. We're not sure if we'd agree with the idea of making it stand out a bit from the brand. We'd prefer to think that your ability to play could make it stand out – not just the color of your saxophone.
The Selmer SAS280 is a saxophone that is more suited to the advanced player than a starter. However, the student player can also learn with such an instrument.
- Well-built with high-quality material
- Great sound and intonation
- Ideal for beginners
- Expensive for a starting instrument
- Doesn't have a neck strap
Selmer AS42 Alto Saxophone – Top Alternative
- Neck and mouthpiece from Henri Selmer Paris
- Light BAM case
- Beautifully hand-engraved
- Ribbed construction
The Selmer 40 series is a direct response from educators who told Selmer an entry-level professional instrument from them would be great if it sounded like a traditional Selmer instrument.
So that's what they set out to do and the way they did that first was by making sure it was a full rib design.
Henri Selmer Paris is making the neck and the mouthpiece for this instrument. The neck ensures that it sounds rich and full as well as that it has great intonation on the instrument.
The mouthpiece has beautiful custom hand engraving on it as well as metal resonators for deep sound and blue steel springs for a quick response. The 40 series comes with a very nice lightweight BAM case.
The Selmer AS42 is much like many other saxophones within its price range. However, it's safe to say that the only word you can use to describe this is beautiful. There's a nice engraving around the bell. We also like the nice design and specifically the key work.
In terms of ergonomics, everything is in top shape. And this is how Selmer saxophones should be.
The saxophone is well built. The keys click into place. The operation of the button is also solid. The saxophone has similar features found in almost all Selmer models. And this special thing is its sound.
The device is light but with no sharp edge. You will find it pretty easy to use and stay focused. You can easily play altissimo notes without people having a headache.
What is important here is the good balance between the scale and sound, which you can handle without any problems.
Every musician who blows this horn feels the excitement that comes from an outstanding performance. The 40 series is an exceptional instrument for the high school student, for the junior high student, even all the way through college. It works great on pop music, jazz music, and maybe classical as well.
What We Didn't Like
Its bright tone doesn't make it the best model for classic music.
We like its slightly lighter tone makes it suitable for pop, jazz, rock, or blues.
- Rich tones in both altissimo and lower tones
- Comfortable hold and key play
- Ergonomic design and good construction
- May come at a higher price.
How to Choose a Professional Alto Saxophone
As with any instrument, there are a few criteria to consider when buying an alto saxophone. Continue reading to discover them.
High-quality, robust material and hard-wearing lacquer are required for a professional musical instrument. The keys must be easy to use. This makes playing easier and is essential for fast and difficult pieces of music.
The right mouthpiece is necessary for the right tone. A good mouthpiece must sit optimally in the mouth and suit the person and their way of playing. The saxophone player has to feel comfortable with it.
The mouthpiece is usually made of metal, plastic, or rubber. You have your special preferences and you have to decide for yourself.
S-bow and body
The S-bow is an important part of the alto saxophone. It has a great influence on the timbre and intonation.
As a link between the mouthpiece and the body, it can be made of brass, gold brass, or silver. High-quality S-bows are made of silver. Gold brass is popular because it sounds particularly soft and round.
There is cork on the S-bend, onto which the mouthpiece is pushed. The tone changes depending on how far you push the mouthpiece open. The total length of the instrument changes as a result of the pushing.
The more length, the deeper the tones and vice versa. This should be taken into account because this is how the saxophone can also be tuned.
The body of a saxophone can be made of different metal alloys. It is usually made of brass, but occasionally also of copper or even solid silver.
After production, the surface is refined with clear or gold lacquer. Some instruments are silver-plated. It is not known whether this treatment of the body has any influence on the sound of the instrument.
In any case, the treatment serves to protect against external influences. This includes, for example, humidity or sweat. Nickel-plated or silver-plated instruments are much more resistant.
Choosing the brand
There are now countless manufacturers of saxophones, including cheap brands from the Far East. These are not usually unrecommendable, especially if you have a small budget; hence, a look here can be worthwhile.
But if you are a professional and have a large budget, you should choose from well-known brands like Yamaha, Jupiter, Selmer, or Yanagisawa. You should be ready to pay several thousands of dollars for a high-quality model from these.
For those with smaller budgets, you can go for brands such as Odyssey, Classic Cantabile, or Westerwald Symphony.
Accessories for the alto saxophone
In addition to the cleaning accessories, other accessories can make keeping, handling, and playing with the instrument easier.
The case for transporting the alto saxophone and a shoulder strap are normally included in the package. The strap takes the weight of the instrument while playing and makes holding it much more bearable. Most of them are neck straps that are like a loop around the back of the neck.
Back straps distribute the weight even better. Each saxophone has a ring on the back to which the straps can be attached. This makes playing much more relaxed.
Once you have found the right alto saxophone that you like, you should ensure that it is optimally cared for. Only a well-cared-for musical instrument produces an excellent sound and a long-lasting pleasure.
The saxophone should be cleaned after each use. To do this, clean the mouthpiece and the inside of the throat well with a suitable wiper.
The sheet should be removed to avoid damaging it. Special cleaning paper helps to keep the instruments clean and dry. A long wiper is inserted from the bell into the body to dry it. The octave hole is cleaned with the tone hole cleaner and the surface of the instrument is freed of dust and fingerprints.
The small and hard-to-reach parts of the alto saxophone should be cleaned about once a week. Care must be taken with the flaps so as not to bend anything.
A thorough cleaning should take place once a month. To do this, the instrument is disassembled into parts and all parts are cleaned well with water and brass soap. After that, each part must be dried thoroughly.
Top Professional Alto Saxophones, Conclusion
Today, music lovers come across the saxophone in countless musical genres. The spectrum ranges from classical concerts, dance music, big bands to pop, rock ‘n' roll, or electronic music.
Pay attention to the intonation of the alto saxophone. An alto saxophone must be in Eb. The instrument should also play the correct note with the correct fingerings without changing the airflow, lip pressure, or larynx opening.
The alto saxophone is particularly popular among professionals. Even beginners, children, or teenagers can cope with the size perfectly.
We, therefore, hope you can find a model that goes along with your budget out of the four models of professional alto saxophones reviewed.