To generate free content for you when you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What are the types of saxophones?

types of saxophones

In total, there are 9 different types of saxophones
Each one has a different sound color and, of course, a different pitch
Today in this article, we will review the four most common types today
We will tell about the history of each one and its use.
We will introduce you to different companies.
And we will explain everything you need to know about the types of saxophones.

General information about the saxophone


A saxophone is a musical instrument from the woodwind family
Although many mistakes it and consider it a metal wind instrument
The saxophone enters the wood category following the mouthpiece of the instrument through the creation of the sound in it
And the way some gamblers play is similar to a wooden musical instrument.

The saxophone materials are metal, bronze, or brass (a metal compound of copper and nickel) 

“Adolf Sachs” first invented the saxophone, which is still named after him.

The saxophone parts

The mouthpiece

This part of the saxophone is the part of the instrument that the player blows into.
The mouthpiece comprises two parts: the cup and the shank.
The cup is the part of the mouthpiece that goes into the player’s mouth.
The mouthpiece shank is the part of the mouthpiece that goes into the neck of the instrument.

The reed

Reed is one of the saxophone’s most essential parts, as it produces the instrument’s sound.

 It is a small piece of wood that vibrates when air is blown through it.
The reed’s vibration produces sound waves, which are then amplified by the rest of the saxophone.
The strength and hardness of the reed will determine how easy or difficult it is to play the saxophone.
Softer reeds are easier to play but produce less intense a sound, while harder reeds are more difficult to play but produce a stronger sound.

The Ligature

A saxophone ligature is a device to attach the reed to the instrument’s mouthpiece. The ligature must be tight enough to hold the reed in place but not so tight that it prevents it from vibrating. There are many different designs of saxophone ligatures, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. The most essential factor in choosing a saxophone ligature is finding one that is comfortable for you. There are many different materials and designs of ligatures, so it is essential to try out several different types before making a decision.

The neck

The saxophone neck is the instrument’s part that extends from the body to the mouthpiece. It is made of brass, and it is what supports the reed. The neck also has a cork lining, which helps to create a seal between the mouthpiece and the neck. The necktie, or ligature, goes around the reed and attaches to the mouthpiece. This helps to hold the reed in place and provides an airtight seal.


The saxophone leaf is the most essential part of the instrument, as it helps to produce sound. It is made of a thin metal with a hole in the centre. The player blows into this hole, and the air vibrates the metal. This produces the sound of the instrument.


The types of saxophones

There are four types of saxophones in use today.
Each one has a different range of notes and a different sound color
Sometimes the different types are classified by different playing styles
But this is not necessarily mandatory,
and each instrument has a different character
without a direct connection to the style of music

Here are the four types in ascending pitch order (:

  • soprano saxophone
  • alto saxophone
  • tenor saxophone
  • baritone saxophone


Soprano saxophone

The soprano is the highest of the quartet of saxophones
And third in height after the sopranino
Unlike the rest of its lower peers, the shape of the soprano is usually straight and not curved.
Although certain companies give it a curved shape
The soprano is rarely used in gas music which is known as the fan of the instrument.
And only the lower ones, such as alto and baritone
On the other hand, it became relatively popular in chamber and classical music.
And even took historical solo roles more than once
The careless playing of the soprano can produce an unfriendly sound
Due to its high pitch, breathing and training are more challenging.
In most ensembles, you will find him as a doubler for alto or tenor.


Alto saxophone

The alto saxophone is the most well-known and widely used.
It is also the one most students start learning due to the comfort of playing it.
It is in the range between the soprano and the tenor and is always preferred due to the balance between height and sound quality.
The sound range of the instrument is usually two and a half octaves
It is an E flat instrument, starting from B flat.
One of the best-known alto players is Charlie Parker
which brought the beginning of bebop in the forties.
In saxophone quartets or quintets, the alto takes centre stage
And often, there are two alto players in the ensemble
You will find the alto usually preferred over the tenor in classical music
For example, in Leonard Bernstein’s works in which, you will find a clear emphasis on the alto saxophone

Tenor saxophone

The tenor saxophone is the most prominent and deepest-sounding member of the saxophone family.
It is considered the most versatile of all the saxophones, capable of producing many tones.
This  size its most commonly used in jazz and big band music but can be used in any style of music.
 typical range for a tenor saxophone is from low Bb (the second-lowest note on the instrument) to high F (the highest note on the instrument).
lowest note on a tenor saxophone can be as low as E, but this is rare.
The highest note on it is usually around C or D, although some professional players have been known to reach F# or even G.
The tenor is undoubtedly the saxophone most associated with broad jazz music.
He made an exciting path until he reached the mainstream jazz
Today it is included in every component of a saxophone quartet or quintet.


baritone saxophone

types of saxophones

The baritone saxophone is the most prominent member of the saxophone family, and its deep, rich tone has made it one of the most popular instruments in jazz.
This one are usually tuned to E-flat, but some models are available in other keys, such as C or D.
Baritone saxophones have a wide range of sounds that can be produced, from mellow and smooth to harsh and aggressive.
They are versatile instruments in various genres, including jazz, rock, and blues.

 Baritone saxophonists have a unique style often characterised by their use of vibrato and extended techniques such as multiphonics and altissimo.
The baritone is heard quite regularly in jazz music, Mainly as an accompaniment or under a fifth voice.
Professional baritone players even get a solo in it and manage to produce unique sounds!
Of all the types of saxophones, the baritone is very interesting to many other musicians due to its depth of sound.

Well-known saxophones brands

1. Yamaha

Regarding saxophone brands, Yamaha is a name that typically comes up. This Japanese company has been making saxophones for over 100 years and remains one of the most popular brands.

 Many different models of Yamaha saxophones are available, including student, intermediate, and professional instruments. Each model features a unique design and specification that makes it perfect for specific needs or uses. 

One of the best things about Yamaha saxophones is their quality and durability. They’re built to last, and many users attest to their reliability and excellent sound when played correctly.

If you’re in the market for a new saxophone, check out the available selection from Yamaha. You won’t be disappointed!

2. Selmer

This is a brand of saxophones that has been manufacturing brass instruments and reeds since 1876. Selmer produces high-end professional instruments and entry-level models for students and hobbyists. 

One crucial feature of Selmer saxophones is “double reed” technology, where two reeds are inserted into the instrument’s bell, allowing for a broader range of sounds. 

The brand also offers various mouthpieces, which can affect how the saxophone sounds. Some mouthpieces are designed for players who want a more mellow sound, while others produce a louder sound. Selmer also manufactures several models of brass instruments, including trombones, trumpets, and baritones.

3. Conn

Conn is an American saxophone manufacturer that produces both classical and jazz saxophones. They produce two types of classical saxophones: the SAxto Grande and the Sixto alto. 

Conn also produces a jazz saxophone called the Jazz Standard. 

Conn was founded in 1847 by Nicholas Connick. They are one of the oldest U.S.-based saxophone manufacturers still in business. Conn has a reputation for producing some of the best-sounding saxophones on the market. 

Famous musicians such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Dave Brubeck often use their instruments. The company also sponsors many worldwide music competitions, including the International Saxophone and the International Trombone competitions.

5. Keilwerth

Keilwerth is a saxophone brand found in the U.S. and Europe. They produce high-quality instruments that are Greeley-tested and approved. 

The company was founded in 1880 by Adolph Keilwerth, credited with inventing the modern saxophone.

 Keilwerth saxophones are some of the most expensive on the market, but they provide exceptional sound quality and playability.

Recommended saxophones

Yamaha YAS-480 Alto

types of saxophones

Selmer STS280 Tenor

Conn SSS311 Soprano

Singer's day Baritone

types of saxophones

Choosing the right saxophone for you

In this section, we will make a quick summary for you of everything we talked about
From the types of saxophones to brands and parameters.
So you can decide if you are interested in purchasing one.

1. Decide what type of saxophone is right for you

When it comes to choosing the suitable saxophone for you, there are a few things you need to take into account. 

What type of music do you want to play? What is your budget? And what size saxophone do you need?
The soprano saxophone is the highest sounding and the smallest of the four. It is often used in jazz and classical music. The alto saxophone is the most popular type of saxophone. 

It has a medium range and is used in various genres, from jazz to pop to rock. The tenor saxophone is lower sounding than the alto and is often used in jazz and blues. The baritone saxophone is the lowest sounding of the four and is used in jazz and big band music.

Once you have decided which type of saxophone is right for you, you need to take into account your budget.

 Saxophones can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand.
If you are a beginner, consider renting a saxophone or buying a used one.
If you are an experienced player, you should invest in a high-quality instrument.

Finally, you need to consider what size saxophone is right for you. Soprano and alto saxophones come in two sizes – standard and compact. 

Standard-size instruments are larger and have a richer sound, while compact instruments are smaller and more portable. Tenor and baritone saxophones only come in standard size.

Choosing a suitable saxophone for you is a personal decision. Take into account what type of music you want to play, your budget, and what size instrument you need. With a bit of research, you will be sure to find the perfect saxophone for you.

2. Consider your playing style

When choosing a saxophone, it is important to consider your playing style. Are you a jazz player? A classical player? A rock player? Each type of saxophone has its own strengths and weaknesses, and each type of player will have its own preferences.

Jazz players, for example, tend to prefer alto and tenor saxophones. These instruments have a warm, rich sound that is well-suited to jazz’s mellow style. Alto saxophones are also relatively lightweight, making them easy to hold and play for long periods of time.

Classical players, on the other hand, tend to prefer soprano and baritone saxophones. These instruments have a brighter, more powerful sound that can cut through an orchestra. They are also better suited to playing classical music’s more complex melodies.

Rock players, meanwhile, tend to prefer tenor saxophones. Tenor saxophones have a loud, powerful sound that can be heard over a loud rock band. They are also relatively easy to play, making them a good choice for beginner rock players.

Of course, these are just generalisations.
Much great jazz, classical, and rock players prefer different types of saxophones. 

Ultimately, the best way to choose a saxophone is to try out different types and see which one you like best.

3. Choose the right size saxophone

you must first consider the right size.
Of course, apart from the sound quality, we also have the physical size of the instrument.
For example, the soprano is a straight saxophone
But some brands decide to give it a curved shape
Take this into account!

Once you have decided which size saxophone is right for you, the next thing to consider is which brand to buy. 

There are many different brands of saxophone, each with its own unique sound. Try out different brands to see which one you like best.
Above we explained in detail some of the big brands
You can take a look.

4. Consider your budget

When choosing the suitable saxophone for you, budget is certainly something to consider. There is a wide range of saxophones available on the market, from beginner models to professional instruments, and the price tag can vary quite a bit.

If you’re just starting out, consider a less expensive model to get started. There are some great beginner saxophones available that will keep the bank intact. Once you’ve been playing for a while and have a better idea of what you’re looking for, you can then upgrade to a more expensive model if you wish.

Of course, if you’re already an experienced player, then you’ll probably want to invest in a higher-quality saxophone. These instruments can be pretty pricey, but they’re definitely worth the investment if you’re serious about playing.

No matter your budget, there’s certainly a saxophone out there that’s perfect for you. It’s just a matter of researching and finding the best suits your needs.


Get more quality reviews