Saxophone

Best Tenor Saxophone

August 10, 2018
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Best Tenor Saxophone

The tenor saxophone is a favorite horn among musicians because of its small size and mellow smooth sound. If you are looking to buy a tenor saxophone, you will be spoilt for choice since they are so many. However, you should ensure that you buy the right one since the wrong choice will cost you. In this article, we provide you with information on factors to consider before buying a tenor saxophone.

Key Considerations When Buying a Tenor Saxophone

Due to the popularity of the tenor saxophone among students and professional saxophonists, there are many tenor saxophones in the market. If you are a novice buyer, you will be at a loss on the best one to choose. In theory, you will notice that all tenor saxophones look and function the same. However, a few factors can help you distinguish between a good and a terrible buy. This guide is here to help you make that distinction. Consider the below factors before buying a tenor saxophone to help you make an informed decision.

Materials used

The materials used to make your tenor saxophone will determine how the saxophone sounds. Here are a few important pointers to consider when it comes to the material used to make your tenor saxophone.

  • Choose a tenor saxophone that has quality rods and ribbed posts for durability.
  • Leather pads are more durable compared to cardboard ones. In addition, ensure all the pads cover the holes to prevent air leaks.
  • Tenor saxophones are bound to last. The body should further be coated with lacquer or another coating for protection.

 Experience level

There are different tenor saxophones for the beginner, intermediate, and professional experience levels. It is important to know your experience level so that you can narrow your search. Here are a few things to remember when buying your tenor saxophone.

  • Tenor saxophones made for beginners are ideal for students. You will find that these are easy to play, have less complicated features and are often cheaper.
  • The intermediate tenor horns are for those who already know the basics who want to scale up to the professional level. They are more responsive than the student’s saxophones and are harder to play.
  • The professional level tenor saxophones are ideal for the pro players. However, they are more expensive than the student’s saxophones as they have great detailing and more keys.

Different Brands

Having an idea of the brand to buy from is important because this saves you time while searching for a tenor saxophone. Some brands produce durable and great sounding saxophones. Others are known for their affordable price.

  • Selmer is a brand that is known to produce quality and reliable tenor saxophones for both the beginners and professional players
  • Yamaha is a known brand in the music industry. Their student tenor saxophones are popular among beginners while there are other reliable exotic options for the pros
  • Keilwerth is known for manufacturing the best professional tenor horns that are often used in bands and solos
  • Alpine tenor saxophones are the best when it comes to students. They are affordable, durable, and easy to play.

New or Used Tenor Saxophone

Even if you are a new buyer, you might be wondering if you should go for a vintage tenor saxophone or a new one. The answer to this question lies in the middle since there are pros and cons to each choice. Vintage tenor saxophones are those manufactured before 1980. This means that they have passed the test of time and have a unique sound. The advantages of getting a vintage sax over a new sax include:

  • Many vintage horns are cheaper compared to new saxophones. They are ideal if you are on a budget.
  • Most of these vintage horns are handmade. Thus, they are of very high quality and some have artistic touches such as sophisticated key guards and engravings
  • A vintage tenor saxophone has a vintage tone and look. This sets yours apart in a crowd of new ones
  • Some rare and esteemed Vintage tenor saxophones value rise with age. Therefore, you might find that you can resell the sax at a higher price if it is well maintained.

On the other hand, new tenor saxophones do have their advantages over their vintage counterparts including:

  • They usually come with a warranty so they can be repaired in case of defects
  • The sax is often without defects, bends, or damages. This is unlike the vintage horns which that might need repairs or regular maintenance
  • New tenor saxophones may be more flexible when it comes to tuning and tone. You are less likely to have a mouthpiece mismatch unlike in vintage horns.
  • New tenor horns often come with accessories that will save you money

What’s Your Budget

When buying a tenor saxophone, you will find that some are priced higher than others. You should have an estimated price range of your ideal saxophone to make your search easier. Below are a few factors to remember when it comes to price.

  • Tenor saxophones made by reputable brands are highly priced.
  • If you are on a budget, consider buying a used rather than a new tenor saxophone. The former is often cheaper than the latter.
  • Tenor saxophones for beginners are cheaper than for professionals. This is because they have minimal features and handwork.
  • The material used to make the saxophone can influence the price. Cheap might mean a compromise on quality or durability although this is not always the case.

How Do I Know I Have The Perfect Tenor Saxophone?

Knowing what look for and having the perfect tenor saxophone in your hands are two different things. We recommend you test the saxophone first before buying. If the seller allows it, you might want to play it for more than a few minutes. This will help you get a feel of the horn before you make a decision. Thus, here are a few pointers that show that a tenor saxophone is perfect for you.

  • You should love playing your saxophone. If it does not feel right maybe, it is not the right one.
  • You should be able to hold it comfortably. Ensure that you can hold the body of the horn, as well as place your fingers on the keys.
  • You are able to comfortably blow enough air on the mouthpiece to produce sound. A tenor sax requires more air to produce sound.

Our Top Recommended Tenor saxophones Reviewed.

Mendini By Cecilio MTS-L+92D

  • Made of quality materials that are meant to last
  • Comes with extra keys such as F#
  • The gold finish gives it a professional and beautiful look
VIEW LATEST PRICE

Jean Paul USA TS-400 Tenor Saxophone

  • Pivoted body and keys that allow for ease of play
  • Comes with many accessories providing value for money
  • Made from quality materials
VIEW LATEST PRICE

Glory Blac/Gold B Flat Tenor Saxophone

  • Quality tenor sax that is affordable
  • Visually appealing
  • Has a compact design and comfortable key hole positions
VIEW LATEST PRICE

Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone

  • Quality sound and ease of play
  • Comes with a soft case that can be carried as a backpack
  • Low notes come out smooth and the high notes do not crack
VIEW LATEST PRICE

Yamaha YTS-62111 Professional Tenor Saxophone Lacquered

  • Ideal for intermediate and professional players
  • Comes with additional keys and features such as F# and springy keys allowing for precise and clean play
  • Comes with a backpack style case
VIEW LATEST PRICE

We are aware that finding the perfect tenor saxophone can be a daunting task. The above factors can help in making a good choice. However, if you are still finding it difficult to make a choice we have a few recommended saxophones. Below are some of our top recommended tenor saxophones in the market.

Mendini by Cecilio MTS-L+92D Gold Lacquer B Flat Tenor Saxophone

The Mendini MTS-L+92D Tenor saxophone is from quality materials that make it long lasting. It has durable leather pads, a brass body, a durable case, and stainless steel tone boosters. These do not rust. Furthermore, the gold finish makes it beautiful to look at. Additionally, it is affordable and ideal for student and intermediate players.

Pros:

  • Made of quality materials that are meant to last
  • Comes with extra keys such as F#
  • The gold finish gives it a professional and beautiful look
  • Affordable and comes with a range of accessories

Cons:

  • Might need some tuning after purchase
  • Some customers complain that some keys do not work

The Mendine MTS-L+92D horn is a great option for those looking for a quality sax on a budget. It provides great value for money. Moreover, it is affordable and comes with a kit of reeds, a mouthpiece, and tuner among others accessories. It is also easy to use for beginner players and it produces a rich thick sound.

Jean Paul USA TS-400 Tenor Saxophone

The Jean Paul TS-400 Tenor saxophone is the perfect horn for intermediate and student players. This horn comes with tapered pivot keys for ease of use. Moreover, this sax is from quality materials with power-forged keys and a bell supported body. It also has a quality deep sound and comes with accessories allowing you to play it out of the box.

Pros:

  • Pivoted body and keys that allow for ease of play
  • Comes with many accessories providing value for money
  • Made from quality materials

Cons:

  • A bit pricey for beginners
  • Some customers complained that the keys were not well aligned

This durable saxophone can last a lifetime. It is easy to play and you can use it for both practice and concerts. The price is a bit high for a beginner sax. Nonetheless, those looking for a durable horn with a quality tone this is it.

Glory Blac/Gold B Flat Tenor Saxophone

The Glory Black B Flat Tenor Saxophone is ideal for students, intermediate and professional players. It is of quality materials and it has a mellow sound. It also comes with a brass body coated with a black coat. Moreover, the sax also has a hand engraved bell making it very beautiful. It is also affordable and comes with a lightweight padded case among other accessories.

Pros:

  • Quality tenor sax that is affordable
  • Visually appealing
  • Has a compact design and comfortable key hole positions

Cons:

  • The reeds and mouthpiece are of low quality
  • Customers complained that some notes did not play as expected
  • Although it is made for all players it is more suitable for beginners

A high-quality saxophone that comes at an affordable price. It is easy to play. It also comes with many accessories including a padded hardshell case for ease of transportation. Furthermore, its black coat makes it stand out from the crowd.

Selmer STS280 La Voix II Tenor Saxophone

The Selmer La Voix TS220 Tenor saxophone offers a rich lower tone with good projection. Furthermore, the big bell provides a better tone and projects the sound. This horn is of a high-quality copper brass body. Moreover, it comes with a durable case that has detachable backpack straps.

Pros:

  • Quality sound and ease of play
  • Comes with a soft case that can be carried as a backpack
  • Low notes come out smooth and the high notes do not crack

Cons:

  • A bit pricey
  • The engraving on the horn looks cheap
  • A player might need to buy a new mouthpiece

This is an excellent tenor saxophone for intermediate and professional players. It offers great sound. Moreover, the keys are close together which makes it easy to play. It also comes with usable accessories.

Yamaha YTS-62111 Professional Tenor Saxophone Lacquered

The Yamaha YTS-62 III Tenor Saxophone is a rebranded version of Yamaha 62 model. It is ideal for professional players. The sax comes with an easy sound and gives more control to the player due to the narrow neck. Moreover, it is easier to play altissimo with this instrument. It also has an additional F# key. The keys on this horn are firm with a quick spring, which allows for clean play.

Pros:

  • Ideal for intermediate and professional players
  • Comes with additional keys and features such as F# and springy keys allowing for precise and clean play
  • Comes with a backpack style case

Cons:

  • The price is on the higher side
  • Comes with few accessories

Professional saxophonist will enjoy playing this horn. This is a perfectly crafted horn made of durable materials. Furthermore, it also comes with additional features and keys common in professional saxophones. It produces a great mellow sound and the tone is just right.

Final Thoughts

In summary, tenor saxophones do not come cheap. With so many brands of tenor horns in the market, making an informed decision can save you lots of money. Therefore, you will want to consider the material beforehand. Price, experience level, and brand are other important factors to put into consideration. More importantly, you will want to buy a saxophone that you love and one you can play comfortably.

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Agnes holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and is an avid feline lover and adoring owner of two cats, Agnes’s love for music has led her to a successful career as a freelance writer specializing in the music space.
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