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Before You Click Buy

It's time to upgrade your saxophone to a professional model! You are either fairly sure that you know what you want because you're a nerd like me and have researched every model, or you are lost in an endless sea of questions. No matter which category you fall into, buying a saxophone is so much more than clicking a button! Check out the info below to make sure that you've covered all your bases and understand what you are getting.


What's the purpose of the saxophone? Sure, it's to make music, but are you primarily going to use it for concert band, jazz band, or both? Technology has allowed us to design and make instruments that lend themselves to certain styles better than others. There's also the option of picking a horn that is designed to be incredibly versatile and doesn't lean one way or the other too much.


Yamaha Custom Ex, a popular choice for professors

Are you planning on playing in college? You might want to know what is acceptable in the “academic world”. That's right, certain degrees and teachers will make you have certain brands or models. While most teachers have gotten away from making students only play on one brand, there are still many instances where there are only 2 or 3 acceptable manufacturers for what you want to study.


lake city soprano with both high F# and G#

Need a high F#? Need a high G? Not only do certain instruments come with different key work options, but different styles of music will demand different key options. So make sure you not only understand which horns have what key work options, but what is better for your musical needs.


Are you planning on making sure the instrument is setup and ready to play? This is the most common misconception I see from parents of students and players. “New horns are ready to go.” WRONG! Instruments do not come from the factory playing well most of the time. Occasionally an instrument only needs 30 minutes to an hour to be playing well, but most of them need quite a bit of work to be playing well when coming from the factory. Did you factor this into your budget? Does the music store you are buying from check the instruments and make sure they are playing right?


Have you talked about the options with someone that has played all of these instruments, understands them, and understands what their strengths/weaknesses are? If you are unable to play every option yourself, you should spend time talking with someone that has. They may bring to light thoughts and opinions of each model that help you decide and feel comfortable with your decision.


modern saxophones with strict MAP pricing

Searching for that great deal? 99% of the time, the manufacturers set strict prices, which is why you will often see the same price from every store. If you see a deal too good to be true, it probably is. I know instruments are a lot of money, but you really need to understand the ins and outs of where you are getting this instrument so it doesn't turn into a nightmare. The peace of mind you receive from dealing with someone reputable and knowledgeable is worth the extra money.


Finally, resale value and/or investment strength is often overlooked. The goal is not to resell at this stage, but it's still good to know what standard depreciation or appreciation is on the instrument. What is it worth next year? In 10 years? What is the trend of this brand compared to others? While it doesn't mean they play better, certain horns just have better resale value and it's best to know where yours will fall.


No matter where you get your saxophone, these are all important boxes to check off before you click buy. This a life investment and one that you don't want to regret or second guess. In order to make that happen, make sure you take your time. Time for a shameless plug- Give TM a call or send an email and talk through these topics with us. Even if you don't buy a saxophone from us, it's better to talk to knowledgeable people so you know 100% what you are doing. I answer these questions for people all the time and always enjoy knowing that they end up going the right direction. Don't just click the button and buy; take your time and talk to someone knowledgeable.

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