Why Are Saxophones So Expensive? It’s To Do With…

Why Are Saxophones So Expensive

If you like music and are thinking about learning to play an instrument, you may be wondering why saxophones are so expensive. Saxophones are an excellent instrument for people to learn how to play, but the price at first can seem like an obstacle that may be a difficult hurdle to overcome.

Saxophones are expensive because of the amount of research and development that has gone into making each saxophone. Each type of saxophone is built by hand and requires years of product to be made into a distinct saxophone type, and the brand is unique.

Once you understand the basics of why saxophones are expensive, you can choose the right instrument for you. Read on to determine how saxophones are made and why they are so costly.

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What Makes a Saxophone So Expensive?

There are several factors that impact the pricing of saxophones. Each instrument is carefully crafted, and most makers don't cut corners just to reduce the price.

Materials Used

Since it is a brass instrument with the same producing sound elements of woodwind instruments, it can be challenging to understand the instrument's various pieces and tie them into the instrument's expense.

The saxophone is composed of the neck and body. These two parts are made out of brass and are shaped and welded together to create the instrument. The shape and the design of these pieces are based on years of research.

The instrument's neck and body have added keys on them, and some of them have mother of pearl on the keys; this can up the instrument's cost and create a more expensive instrument.

Before a saxophone is made, companies will look at old blueprints and decide what designs they would like to utilize in their saxophone. This is because the way the body is shaped determines what type of saxophone it is. The various types of saxophones determine how much brass is used and the number of other materials required to make the instrument.

The instrument's outside is typically lacquered to protect the brass, but some models are plated with silver or gold to protect the brass. If the instrument is plated rather than lacquered, the price will be higher.

All of these things can make the saxophone a costly instrument. The price of materials will impact how much the company can charge the customer to make a profit.

Type of Saxophones

There are four different types of saxophones. Each one will play a different pitch of the sound that can add to music differently.

Alto Sax

The Alto Sax is the most widely used saxophone. This is because it is smaller than some of the other types of saxophones. This allows it to be lighter and requires less effort to produce sound.  Thus, it is typically used for beginner players and children, which means it is more widely available and less expensive.

Tenor Sax

The next more widely available saxophone is the tenor sax. It is a bigger instrument than the alto sax and requires more air to be pushed into the instrument to create sound. Because of the large amount of brass needed and that experienced players mainly use it, it makes the alto sax a little more expensive than the alto sax.

Soprano Sax

The soprano sax is the most difficult of the different saxophone models to play. It is the highest-pitched one meaning it can be challenging to maintain the pitch through breath, and it is the more awkward one and heavy one to play. The soprano sax has a couple of different models but is quite expensive due to many levers, and it's not readily available.

Baritone Sax

The final type of saxophone is the baritone. This is the largest saxophone to play. It is easy to keep in tune but can be heavy to carry. This is the rarest saxophone to play, making it difficult to find and extremely expensive to pay for.

All of these saxophones can be bought new or used; it just depends on your price range and what you need the instrument for. But it is essential to do your homework and decide for yourself what your budget is.

Price Difference in Buying Options

Price Difference in Buying Options

The condition of the saxophone can help determine the price. Typically, cheaper saxophones will be used, but there are benefits to getting a new one.

New Saxophone

A new saxophone can be an excellent instrument, especially if you want the guarantees of buying something brand new. You will be the first person to use it, and all of the parts will be in working order as soon as you get it. You will also get a warranty and support to cover any problems you may have with your instrument.

One of the cons of buying a new saxophone is they are typically mass-produced. This can lead to inconsistency in the horns and not allow them to produce the intended sound.

A new saxophone can be quite pricey; they will run between $500-$1200. This expense can be relatively high for someone who may be learning for the first time, just considering buying a saxophone. But with new saxophones, the price range varies, so there is a better chance of finding one you like.

Used Saxophone

A used saxophone can be a great way to buy the instrument without paying as much money for the type of saxophone you want. These horns can be found at music stores, auctions, and online. They have this mysterious appeal that can help you connect to the past when you use it, such as the big band era.

Used saxophones are usually made of stronger brass and are typically plated with other metals to keep the brass nice. They also may have more engraving and different designs on them than new horns, which adds to the mysterious appeal.

When looking to buy a used saxophone, the only problem is knowing if it is working and how much it is worth. Before purchasing any horn, you want to make sure you are doing your research and learning how to tell how much the sax is worth.

It is best to buy used saxophones from a reputable source and even a music shop because they will perform the needed repairs before buying them. The price of used saxophone can be anywhere from $200-$800 depending on what brand it is and the quality of the saxophone.


Another option when looking for a less expensive saxophone option is to look into renting one from a music shop. This option can be more affordable for new players and allow them to experience the instrument before paying a lot of money for their own.

Depending on where you get your saxophone, there may be a rent-to-own option, where you can pay to use the instrument until you have paid off the entire thing. This can be a good option for someone who may want to upgrade their model and already knows the instrument they are looking for.

Why Are Saxophones So Expensive? Final Thoughts

Saxophones are a costly instrument to play, and if you are newly starting, you may want to consider buying a used horn to see if you like the instrument. If you have already learned to play, buying a saxophone can be a lifelong investment full of history and splendor.

P.S. Remember though, none of what you've learned will matter if you don't know how to get your music out there and earn from it. Want to learn how to do that? Then get our free ‘5 Steps To Profitable Youtube Music Career' ebook emailed directly to you!

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