Price ranges of saxophones

By lmt-editorJune 18, 2024
Est. Reading: 8 minutes

The saxophone's captivating sound and versatility have made it a staple in various genres, from jazz and classical to pop and rock. With its rich tones and dynamic range, it's no wonder why musicians from all walks of the music world are drawn to this iconic instrument. 

However, for those looking to join the ranks of saxophone enthusiasts, navigating the vast price range can be overwhelming. To make an informed decision, it's essential to understand the factors that influence the cost of saxophones.

Man in suit holding saxophone

Factors affecting saxophone price

Types of saxophones

Saxophones come in various types, each with its unique characteristics and price points. The most common saxophones are sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone. 

The soprano saxophone, being the smallest and highest-pitched, tends to be more affordable compared to its larger counterparts like the tenor and baritone saxophones. 

Conversely, baritone saxophones, with their larger size and more complex construction, generally come with a higher price tag.

Materials and construction

The materials used in manufacturing a saxophone significantly influence its price. Most saxophones are made of brass, but the quality of the brass and the craftsmanship involved can vary widely. 

High-end saxophones often feature superior materials such as rose brass or sterling silver, offering enhanced tonal richness and projection. 

Additionally, the method of construction, whether a saxophone is hand-crafted or mass-produced, affects its cost. 

Handcrafted saxophones are typically more expensive due to the meticulous attention to detail and the expertise required in their production.

Brand reputation

Brand reputation plays a significant role in determining the price of a saxophone. Established brands with a long history of excellence often command higher prices due to their reputation for quality and reliability. 

Brands like Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, and Keilwerth are well-regarded in the saxophone community and are known for producing instruments of exceptional craftsmanship. While these instruments may come with a higher price tag, they often offer superior playability, durability, and resale value.

New vs. used

Whether to buy a new or used saxophone is another factor that can affect the price range. While new saxophones offer the advantage of being in pristine condition and often come with warranties, they tend to be more expensive. 

On the other hand, used saxophones can be significantly cheaper and may offer excellent value for money, especially if you're on a budget. 

However, when purchasing a used saxophone, it's essential to carefully inspect the instrument for any signs of damage or wear and to play-test it to ensure it meets your standards.

Accessories and additional features

The inclusion of accessories and additional features can also impact the price of a saxophone. Higher-end models often come with a range of accessories such as quality mouthpieces, ligatures, cases, and cleaning tools. 

Some saxophones may also feature advanced mechanisms or custom options, such as keyword enhancements or special finishes, which can increase the overall cost. 

While these extras can add to the price, they can also enhance the playing experience and provide better value in the long run.

Rarity and collectability

Certain saxophones, particularly vintage or limited-edition models, can fetch premium prices due to their rarity and collectability. 

Vintage saxophones from renowned makers or those associated with famous musicians often command high prices at auctions and among collectors. 

The condition, provenance, and historical significance of these instruments can significantly influence their value, making them coveted items for enthusiasts and investors alike.

Woman holding saxophone

Price range overview

Now that we've explored the factors influencing the price of saxophones, let's break down the typical price range you might expect to encounter:

Student saxophones: £300 - £1000

The price range for purchasing a starter saxophone typically ranges between £300 and £1000.

This range provides a variety of options for beginners, allowing them to find an instrument that suits their budget while still ensuring a reasonable level of quality.

Saxophones at the lower end of this spectrum, around £300, are generally mass-produced and may be made with less expensive materials, affecting their durability and sound quality. However, they are still adequate for beginners who are just starting to learn the basics of playing.

These more affordable options can be a practical choice for young students or those who are uncertain about their long-term commitment to the instrument.

On the higher end, saxophones closer to the £1000 mark tend to offer better craftsmanship, higher-quality materials, and superior sound production. These instruments are often produced by more reputable manufacturers and may include features that enhance playability, such as improved key action and better intonation.

Investing in a saxophone within this price range can provide a more enjoyable playing experience and potentially reduce the need for early upgrades.

For serious beginners who are committed to their musical journey, spending a bit more upfront can be beneficial in the long run. It offers a more reliable and satisfying instrument that can support their development as musicians.

Intermediate saxophones: £1000 - £3000

Saxophones for intermediate players are specifically designed to bridge the gap between beginner instruments and professional models, offering enhanced features and superior craftsmanship.

These saxophones, priced between £1000 and £3000, improve sound quality, playability, and durability.

Intermediate saxophones are typically made from higher-grade materials, such as better-quality brass and more refined pads and springs, contributing to a richer, more resonant tone and increased longevity.

This makes them ideal for musicians who have progressed beyond the basics and want to elevate their playing to the next level.

In addition to superior materials, intermediate saxophones often incorporate advanced design features that enhance the playing experience.

These can include more ergonomic key layouts that provide greater comfort and ease of play, especially during extended practice sessions.

The key action on intermediate saxophones is typically smoother and more responsive, allowing for faster and more precise fingering. Improved intonation and tuning stability are also hallmarks of intermediate models, ensuring the instrument stays consistently in tune across different playing environments.

For players serious about their musical growth, investing in an intermediate saxophone can provide the tools necessary to achieve a more professional sound and develop their technical skills more effectively.

Professional saxophones: £3000 - £8000+

Professional saxophones, typically priced between £3000 and £8000 or more, represent the pinnacle of saxophone craftsmanship and performance.

These instruments are designed for advanced musicians and professionals who demand the highest level of quality, precision, and reliability.

Made from the finest materials, such as premium brass and meticulously crafted components, professional saxophones deliver an exceptional sound quality characterized by rich, full-bodied tones, superb dynamic range, and outstanding projection.

The attention to detail in the manufacturing process ensures that each instrument produces a consistently high-quality sound, essential for professional performances and recordings.

The design of professional saxophones often includes features that significantly enhance playability and comfort.

Ergonomically designed key layouts allow for smoother, faster, and more accurate fingering, which is crucial for complex and demanding pieces. Advanced key mechanisms and superior craftsmanship ensure a responsive and reliable action, making it easier for players to express subtle nuances in their music.

Additionally, professional saxophones offer excellent intonation and tuning stability, maintaining precise pitch even in challenging playing conditions. For serious musicians, investing in a professional saxophone is not just about owning a top-tier instrument; it is about having a tool that enables them to fully express their artistic potential and perform at the highest level.

Vintage and collectable saxophones: Prices can vary widely

Vintage and collectable saxophones are a fascinating niche within the saxophone market, with prices that can vary widely depending on factors such as the instrument's age, rarity, condition, and historical significance.

These saxophones, often prized for their unique tonal qualities and craftsmanship, attract musicians and collectors.

Prices can range from a few hundred pounds for less rare or damaged instruments to tens of thousands of pounds for highly sought-after models in excellent condition. Instruments from renowned manufacturers like Selmer, Conn, and Martin, especially those produced during their golden eras, are particularly valued.

The allure of vintage and collectable saxophones lies in their potential investment value and their distinctive sound and playability, which many musicians find incomparable to modern instruments.

The aged brass and unique design characteristics of these instruments often produce a warm, rich tone that is highly sought after in genres like jazz and classical music.

Collectors, on the other hand, are drawn to the historical and aesthetic aspects, seeking out saxophones with unique engravings, original lacquer, or notable provenance.

Whether for performance or collection, owning a vintage or collectable saxophone is about appreciating the instrument's history, craftsmanship, and enduring legacy in the world of music.

Saxophone Shops in London

London is home to a variety of saxophone shops that cater to musicians of all levels, from beginners to professionals. Whether you're looking for a new instrument, seeking expert advice, or need maintenance and repairs, these shops offer a wide range of services and products. Below is a list of some of the top saxophone shops in London, each known for their quality instruments and excellent customer service:

Buying a Secondhand Saxophone

Purchasing a secondhand saxophone can be a cost-effective way to acquire a quality instrument, but it requires careful consideration to ensure you get a good deal. Here are some key tips and advice on how to buy a secondhand saxophone:

  • Research and Knowledge: Before starting your search, familiarise yourself with different saxophone brands, models, and their market values. Understanding the typical price range for the specific type and condition of the saxophone you want will help you make an informed decision.
  • Inspect the Instrument: If possible, inspect the saxophone in person. Check for physical damage, such as dents, scratches, and corrosion. Pay special attention to the condition of the pads, keys, and springs. These parts significantly affect playability and can be expensive to repair or replace.
  • Play and Test: Bring along a mouthpiece and test the saxophone. Play it across its entire range to check for any issues with sound quality, intonation, and response. If you're not experienced enough, consider bringing a knowledgeable friend or hiring a professional to test it for you.
  • Ask for History and Maintenance Records: Inquire about the saxophone's history, including its age, previous owners, and any repairs or maintenance it has undergone. Well-maintained instruments are more likely to be in good playing condition.
  • Negotiate: Be prepared to negotiate the price. Use your research and any identified issues as leverage to get a better deal.

Where to Buy Secondhand Saxophones in London

  • Gumtree: Gumtree is a popular online marketplace where you can find a variety of secondhand saxophones. It's important to meet sellers in person to inspect the instrument before purchasing.
  • eBay: eBay offers a wide selection of secondhand saxophones. Ensure you buy from reputable sellers with good feedback and ask detailed questions about the instrument's condition.
  • Preloved: Preloved is another online platform for buying and selling secondhand goods, including musical instruments. It often has listings for saxophones in London.
  • Local Music Stores: Some music stores in London sell secondhand instruments. Stores like and Phil Parker Ltd might have used saxophones in their inventory. Purchasing from a store can provide added peace of mind as professionals typically inspect and refurbish the instruments.
  • Facebook Marketplace: Facebook Marketplace is another platform to find secondhand saxophones. Like Gumtree, meeting the seller in person is advisable to examine the saxophone.
  • Craigslist: Craigslist can also have listings for secondhand saxophones. Again, it is recommended that you meet the seller and inspect the instrument before purchase.

Always use common sense when buying an instrument secondhand, and be careful when carrying cash. Please read all the safety guidelines from

Also, read about your rights here on

Saxophone on the floor

Conclusion on Sax Prices

Discover the perfect saxophone that's tailored to your needs and budget!

By understanding the key factors influencing price, you'll be well-equipped to find the ideal instrument for your musical journey. 

Remember to also haggle prices slightly, as most saxophone shops will be willing to offer a slightly lower price than the asking price!

Whether you're just starting out or you're a seasoned professional, there's a world of options waiting for you.

Dive in, explore the possibilities, and prepare to make sweet, unforgettable music with your new saxophone! 

Embrace the adventure and let your passion for music soar!

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