How Much Does a Saxophone Cost? Pricing Guide (2023)
A saxophone will cost you anywhere from $250 all the way up to $35000, depending on your level and type of saxophone. From student models and mini saxophones, which are cheaper, to tenor, alto, and professional models, the price range differs quite a lot.
Here’s what you should expect to pay for a saxophone based on the model:
- Student models: $250-$1200
- Intermediate models: $1000-$2500
- Professional models: $2000-$8000
- Tenor saxophones: $700-$8000
- Electric saxophones: $400-$800
- Alto saxophones: $250-$5000
- Baritone saxophones: $2500-$7500
- Soprano saxophones: $600-$4800
- Mini saxophones: $50-$100
- Contrabass saxophones: $15000-$35000
You can also find some cheaper models that are intended for students, children, and complete beginners.
Tenor Saxophones are quite versatile, which explains why they’re so popular. They’re available in a variety of shapes as well as sizes.
They typically fall in the range of $700-$8000. Some higher-end models may exceed that range as well.
Alto saxophones are popular among beginners and intermediate players. They’re smaller than Tenor saxophones but not as small as Soprano saxophones. You can get an Alto saxophone for as low as $250, but some higher-end models may cost you up to $5000.
An Alto saxophone is good to start with because it’s relatively easier to play. Alto saxophones are often seen in rock and blues music, along with jazz music of course.
Baritone saxophones are often favored by advanced saxophone players who perform with big bands. They’re the largest saxophones available, falling right behind the Contrabass.
Beginners may have a hard time playing the Baritone saxophone in tune. Not to mention, its price range is too high for someone who’s still trying to learn the saxophone. A Baritone saxophone can cost up to $7500 with a minimum of $2500.
Soprano saxophones are the smallest in the saxophone family. They’re also the only saxophones that have a straight shape.
Although they’re smaller, Soprano saxophones can be a bit hard to play in tune, especially for beginners. They capture the higher-register tones, meaning they are high-pitched instruments.
Soprano saxophones cost $600-$4800 depending on the model and the brand.
Mini saxophones are intended for kids and casual saxophone players. They won’t produce a pro-level sound, but they’re easy to play. Mini saxophones can cost you as low as $50. The most expensive mini saxophone won’t likely exceed $120.
The Contrabass saxophone is the largest and most expensive saxophone you can get. It’s quite heavy, too, which is why it’s not so common. You’ll probably only see this one in orchestras.
Its sound register is very low, meaning it captures low-pitched notes. You’ve probably guessed it by the name as well as by the size of the instrument.
Contrabass saxophones can cost you up to $35000, with a starting price of $15000.
How Saxophone Sizes Differ
When choosing a saxophone, you should consider your level along with your budget. Soprano saxophones are a bit tricky for beginners simply because the intonation is somewhat challenging to nail for new players. A Soprano saxophone can be straight or curved.
Alto saxophones can also be straight or curved, but they’re much more beginner-friendly. Not to mention, they make an excellent choice for kids due to their compact size.
Baritone saxophones are too large and are mostly used by professionals, while Tenor saxophones fall right in the middle between Alto and Baritone saxophones. Naturally, the contrabass saxophone is the largest one of them all.
What Determines the Cost of a Saxophone?
Here are some of the factors that contribute to the pricing of a saxophone:
Brand: Reputable saxophone manufacturers will often charge you more for their saxophones than other lesser-known ones.
Material: Student saxophones use cheap materials, but they’re often durable enough for beginner use. However, higher-quality saxophones will have handmade parts, ergonomic design and keys, and metal resonators, which pump up the total cost quite a bit.
Case: Saxophone cases can cost $50-$70 for low-quality ones and up to $300 for higher-quality models. Despite any price, they are a smart investment.
Mouthpiece: Cheaper saxophones come with low-quality plastic mouthpieces, which often get the job done for beginners. However, professionals use the more-expensive hard-rubber mouthpieces that improve sound accuracy and consistency. Metal mouthpieces are quite costly too.
Condition: Obviously, a new saxophone will cost you more than a used one for the same model or size. However, a used saxophone that needs extensive maintenance and repairs will cost less than one in good condition.
Warranty and Services: Some manufacturers offer after-sales services like free repairs and part replacements, which add up to the overall cost of the saxophone.
Extra Accessories and Costs
When calculating the cost of a new saxophone, consider the accessories you might need to get the best out of your new instrument.
If you’re a beginner, you’ll probably need a method book. It’s also worth noting that the mouthpiece that comes with cheaper saxophones is often not that great, so you’ll probably need to get a new higher-quality one down the line. Mouthpieces often cost somewhere between $30 and $150.
Other accessories like cork greases, reeds, cleaning cloths, and neck-straps won’t cost you more than $50 combined.
If you’re serious about starting your saxophone journey, you’ll also need to enroll in saxophone lessons taught by a professional. A 60-minute lesson will cost you $60-$120, depending on the teacher and their experience.
Saxophones also require maintenance with heavy usage. Maintaining a saxophone can cost $10-$1000 depending on what you need to repair or replace. Some people just upgrade to a new saxophone if they got a cheaper model at first.
To recap, saxophones vary greatly in price depending on the model, brand, size, and quality.
A mini saxophone will cost you just $60, while a contrabass can cost up to $35,000. As you can tell, the price range is quite vast, but that’s a good thing since you can essentially get a saxophone no matter what your budget is.
Of course, higher-quality saxophones will be better in the long run, but if you’re just starting, getting a reasonably priced model might be a good idea.
Something in the range of $500-$2000 will be a good starting point if you want a beginner-friendly saxophone that can also last a while without requiring maintenance or replacement.