In this guide we’ll take a look at the best alto saxophones for beginners.
I’ve compared sound, design, build quality and cost
to give you my top recommendations.

What Is The Best Alto Saxophone for Beginners?

IMAGE RECOMMENDED PRODUCTSPRODUCT OUR RATING
  • Affordable
  • Available in brass or silver
  • Best alto sax for beginners
  • Accurate intonation
  • Available in brass or black
  • High-quality sax
  • Nice, full tone in every octave
  • Available with a gold or silver finish
  • Hand engraved
  • Good for beginners
  • Available in many colors
  • Extremely affordable
  • Good value for money
  • Nice tone if you use a better mouthpiece
  • Lovely engraving on the bell
  • Affordable
  • Available in many cool colors
  • Everything a beginner needs is included
  • Unique looking saxophone
  • Great for kids
  • Inexpensive

More Detailed Alto Saxophone Reviews

Jean Paul USA AS-400 Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Affordable
  • Available in brass or silver
  • Best alto sax for beginners
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Jean Paul USA AS-400 Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

The  Jean Paul USA AS-400 is a very affordable saxophone, but don’t let that fool you!

I’m always a bit hesitant about so-called beginner instruments because they are often very bad, to be frank. This instrument is an exception!

I genuinely believe that some people would find it difficult to tell the price of this sax in a blind test.

Don’t believe me? Check out this video and listen to the difference between this sax and a Yamaha Custom. As you’ll hear, there is a slight difference in tone. The Yamaha has a warmer tone whereas the Jean Paul USA AS-400 is a bit sharper.

I would, however, be surprised if this small difference bothered beginners playing it.

Looks

This saxophone is available in brass or silver.

Who Should Buy It?

The sharpness of the tone you heard if you watched the YouTube video is enough to put experienced players off, so if you’ve been playing for years you might want to invest a bit more.

This sax is best suited for beginners or intermediate players, with the exception of advanced saxophonists who want a cheap instrument to bring with them when traveling.

The price isn’t the only thing that makes it great for beginners, but also the fact that everything you need to start playing is included.

You get 1 reed, a sturdy carrying case, cork grease, gloves, a cleaning cloth, swabs, and a mouthpiece.

Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Accurate intonation
  • Available in brass or black
  • High-quality sax
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Selmer SAS280 La Voix II Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

‘La Voix’ means ‘The Voice’ in French and is a very fitting name for this alto saxophone. The tone is really nice and very much like the human voice because it allows you to play with great control.

The intonation is almost perfect and together with the warm, full tone, this horn lets you play pretty much any music you like. It’s great for both band players and soloists.

Looks

The SAS280 La Voix II is available in a full copper body with yellow brass or black nickel, which is my personal favorite. I’ve always been a fan of black saxophones and have had one for several years. Let me tell you, I always get impressed comments from people who have never seen a black sax before!

Who Should Buy It?

This is an awesome saxophone that is suitable for advanced players or perhaps even professionals. Of course, less experienced players could benefit from playing it, but it is kind of expensive if you don’t know for sure if you’re going to be playing a few years from now.

Yamaha YAS-480 Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Nice, full tone in every octave
  • Available with a gold or silver finish
  • Hand engraved
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Yamaha YAS-480 Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

People often wonder about the difference between a beginner saxophone and one that’s suitable for intermediate players.

While it varies from model to model, I’d say that the biggest difference is the tone of the high and low notes. This is very much the case when it comes to Yamaha YAS-480. No matter which octave you’re playing in, it’s easy to achieve a full, lovely tone!

Looks

The Yamaha YAS-480 is available with a gold or silver finish and features floral hand engraving which looks really nice.

Who Should Buy It?

I’d recommend buying this sax to anybody who has moved well past the beginner stage and feels like they need a better horn. If you feel like your current saxophone is limiting you and stopping you from reaching your full potential, then you might want to give this one a go!

Mendini by Cecilio Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Good for beginners
  • Available in many colors
  • Extremely affordable
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Mendini by Cecilio Alto Saxophone Review

I feel like I need to rethink my prejudice against affordable beginner instruments. This saxophone from Mendini by Cecilio certainly stands out as something extra.

If you want to know what I mean, watch this video and listen to what a warm tone it has. It’s just full of life!

Looks

One of the great benefits of this model is that it’s available in all the colors of the rainbow and a few more. The colors that you can choose from are: blue, gold, green, nickel, purple, red, black/gold, black/nickel, gold/nickel and sky blue.

Who Should Buy It?

This horn is amazing for youngsters who are just starting out, as they can get it in their favorite color. This is something that can encourage them to practice and makes it fun to play.

Everything they need to get started is included such as a case, mouthpiece, neck strap, 10 reeds, cleaning cloth, rod and a pair of gloves.

Best Choice Products Professional Gold Eb Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Good value for money
  • Nice tone if you use a better mouthpiece
  • Lovely engraving on the bell
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Best Choice Products Professional Gold Eb Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

Most often when people buy a cheap musical instrument they are prepared that the sound isn’t going to be that good. For this reason, many have been surprised when they hear how great the tone of this very affordable saxophone can be.

As long as you replace the cheap mouthpiece that’s included for something better, you will be able to get a good sound out of this horn!

Looks

The solid brass saxophone has a gold finish and nice floral engraving on the bell, which I personally really like.

Who Should Buy It?

I think that both beginners and intermediate players should buy this sax if they are looking for a real bargain.

Since it’s not branded I suspect that you save a lot of money that would have been added to the price otherwise.

Everything you need to play is included along with a sturdy case that has a large pocket for sheet music.

Lazarro 360-BN Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Affordable
  • Available in many cool colors
  • Everything a beginner needs is included
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Lazarro 360-BN Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

Personally, I think the sax is perfect for jazz and perhaps not as good for classical music. But that depends a lot on what mouthpiece you’re using and your technique.

Looks

This horn is available in 11 different colors.

Some of the more unusual colors look amazing, I especially like the sea blue one with gold keys.

Who Should Buy It?

This is an instrument that is mainly for beginners, but anybody looking for a saxophone in a fun, unusual color might want to consider it!

It’s surprisingly high-quality and everything a beginner needs is included. You get reeds, a case, reeds holder, cleaning rod, cork grease, cleaning cloth and more.

Blue Alto Saxophone

FEATURES RATING PRICE
FEATURES
  • Unique looking saxophone
  • Great for kids
  • Inexpensive
OUR RATING
PRICE
VIEW LATEST PRICE →

Blue Alto Saxophone Review

Sound

This saxophone is a beginner instrument and that’s what it sounds like too. It’s not particularly bad, but then not remarkably good either. It does what it says on the box and works well enough.

Looks

The horn is blue with gold keys and looks really cool. It’s a fun color especially for children that want something unique.

Who Should Buy It?

If you have a kid whose favorite color is blue, chances are he or she is going to love this sax. I would recommend it for beginners who don’t want to spend too much on an instrument to start with.

Alto Saxophone Buyer’s Advice

Most saxophonists start playing the alto saxophone before they move on to soprano, tenor or baritone. Many people who buy alto saxophones are first time buyers and have no idea what to look for in a horn.

I’ve been playing the saxophone for 14 years and had quite a few different instruments, so I’m going to tell you what I look for when I buy a new saxophone.

Hopefully, you’ll be able to use that knowledge to find the perfect sax for you!

Sound

When you’re a beginner, it can be tricky to tell if a sax sounds good or not. I would still encourage you to either ask a staff member in a shop that specializes in saxophones to play a few different horns for you so that you can hear the difference.

That is if you are a total beginner and don’t know how to play yet. If you do know how to play a few songs, test play a few instruments yourself.

When you do, make sure to play as low and as high as you can and pay attention to if the low and high notes are easy to play. If not, this can often be helped by changing the mouthpiece.

Generally speaking, buying a better mouthpiece is a good idea. That is especially true if you buy a cheap saxophone for beginners.

If you want to buy online, see if you can find YouTube videos with the saxophones you’re choosing between so that you can hear if you like the tone.

What kind of sound you’re looking for depends on your personal taste as well as the genre you will be playing. Remember that the mouthpiece and your technique also affect the tone a lot.

Looks

Before you go saxophone hunting, decide what you want your saxophone to look like. My personal favorite is black saxophones with gold keys.

You wouldn’t think that the color makes any difference, but let me tell you, I feel much cooler when I’m playing my black sax than the gold ones!

Accessories

If you are a beginner you might want to look for a saxophone that comes with everything you need. Mouthpieces and neck straps are almost always included but are not always good or comfortable and you might need to buy better ones straight away.

You’ll also need reeds, cork grease, a case and something to clean the saxophone with after every use.

Beginner saxophones often times come with a cleaning rod that you just leave in when you’re not playing. I don’t find them very hygienic, so I would get a sax swab instead if I were you.

How Much Should You Spend?

The saying ‘You get what you pay for’ is very true when it comes to musical instruments. Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better the saxophone will be.

Buying a branded saxophone is also good in case something should be wrong with it.

I do get that not every beginner wants to spend too much on their new hobby, in case they stop playing after a while. But it’s good to keep in mind that if you do buy a very cheap horn and continue to play you will need to upgrade in a couple of years.