7 Saxophone Brands To Avoid (Buy These Instead)

Worst saxophone brands should be avoided at all costs due to various reasons. If the functionality and clarity of notes are not appealing, the instrument might be frustrating to beginners and even for players at other levels. Therefore, it is necessary to buy the best possible option for the amount you spend. Since cheap saxophones tend to have low durability and inconsistent sounds, make sure to avoid these saxophone brands. Use this guide to help you shop for the perfect instrument that can help you perform well.

Worst Saxophone Brands to Avoid


These are some of the worst saxophone brands that need to be avoided when purchasing. The poor quality in build and low performance of sound would make them not worth the money.

1. Schill


This is a cheap musical instrument of inferior quality made in China. Even beginners should not use this brand to train as it would easily discourage them from learning music. As it is very inexpensive, the buyers would get a hint on the low quality of its build. It has a weak metal body and fake leather pads. The rough and imperfect tone holes and keys made of white metal alloy make terrible sounds. The sax pads have a spongy feel as they are made more of soft plastic than genuine leather.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Very bad intonation
  • Certain notes sound flat or sharp.
  • It does not meet the quality expectations of players.
  • Not recommended even for beginners.

2. Monique


Although Monique saxophones are affordable, they have no proper tone when compared with others. Despite having a high-quality build and keys and pads functioning correctly, the tune of this instrument is dull. As the sound is not appealing, purchasing this saxophone driven away by its appearance is not worth it. So, it is listed among the saxophone brands to avoid. 

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Dull sound music notes
  • Inconsistent intonation

3. Helmke


Helmke has a poor reputation for the quality of its instruments. This being another cheap brand doesn’t play well and most often has a very short lifespan. It has a very shiny appearance and some people comment it as a good product for the price. However, most players are not satisfied with this saxophone and consider it as a brand to be avoided.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Don’t play adequately.
  • Fall apart quickly
  • Poor quality of build

4. German Engineering

German Engineering

Saxophones with German Engineering technology are often inferior and have failures in the mechanism. It would not play all the notes accurately, and most people refuse to purchase this brand. There are many negative reviews on this product which makes it a worse brand of musical instrument for purchasing.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Parts are difficult to be found.
  • Lacking in intonation
  • Poor craftsmanship

5. French Engineering

French Engineering

Just as the previous brand, French Engineering saxophones are also not up to the required quality. As they are very cheap, most people often tend to purchase from this brand. However, it would not produce the desired level of music and disappoint the players.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Inferior craftsmanship
  • Poor intonation
  • Not desirable even for beginners

6. Antigua Winds

Antigua Winds

Antigua tenor saxophone has got certain negative reviews in the forums as they are unimpressive. The left-hand keys do not produce proper notes, and the notes get sharper until the F sharp is almost a high G note. It has a poor build and is not reasonable for the price. Better quality saxophones can be found in terms of both durability and sound.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Poor intonation
  • Sharper notes in left-hand keys
  • Poorly made
  • Not worth the cost

7. Chinese Products

Chinese Products

It is recommended to avoid purchasing Chinese brands with unfamiliar names that are not popular in the market. Even though there may be some trustworthy manufacturers from China, there are many fraudulent manufacturers who create cheap copies of expensive brands. Therefore, as there are more unreliable brands than good saxophone brands, it is better to check the integrity of these instruments. Although they may appear fancy and good-looking, it is always better to keep away from these Chinese brands.

Reasons to Avoid:

  • Poor quality
  • Made with inferior material
  • Not reliable manufacturers

Recommended Saxophone Brands

The choice of good saxophone brands would vary depending on the level of practice. There are different types of saxophone for different levels, from beginner to professional players. However, choosing from a recommended brand would help you achieve your goals in your career.

1. Selmer


Selmer is a music instrument manufacturer who has been in the industry for over 60 years. Their premium quality of products such as saxophones, trumpets, and clarinets is very popular and incomparable with others. As they have an extended experience in these products, their products have even replaced the Mark VI series that were once the most incredible saxophones. The Selmer Paris Reference 54 Tenor saxophone is a highly recommended instrument.


  • Premium quality and reliability
  • Preferred brand by great musicians
  • Has a good reputation for decades
  • Value has remained the same without diminishing.
  • Though quite costly, it is worth the money


  • No recorded cons

2. Yamaha


Yamaha is a famous brand that exists in every home in the form of some appliance. These saxophones are consistent in functionality and intonation when compared to other brands. They are innovatively designed with adorable horns. The keys and fittings have absolute precision and are hence suitable for practice. Yamaha YAS280 Student Alto saxophone is highly recommended.


  • Premium quality build
  • Precise maneuverability and intonation
  • Precise keys and fittings
  • Innovatively designed horns and other features


  • No recorded cons

3. Yanagisawa


This is another top-quality manufacturer that creates musical instruments in the ranges of soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone saxophones. They are high in quality and durability, just like the previous brand. As a quality ebonite mouthpiece is provided, it is not required to shop for a better mouthpiece. They have unbeatable intonation and great functionality.

Yanagisawa 991 models are perfect as intermediate-level horns but have many significant actions similar to the professional ones. Yanagisawa WO20 series is the ideal saxophone for professionals as it is made with bronze and is 17 pounds in weight. Even though they are a bit expensive, it is worth the investment due to the careful craftsmanship and longevity of the instrument. Yanagisawa WO20 Series Alto saxophone is a recommended instrument for purchase.


  • Durable with excellent craftsmanship
  • Premium body quality
  • Produces very clear and bright sound
  • It has a great projection.
  • It comes with an ebonite mouthpiece of top quality.


  • No recorded cons

4. Keilwerth


Keilwerth is another unique saxophone with premium quality. Most saxophone manufacturers have horns with a vintage Selmer appearance, while this brand has other alternatives. This instrument has top-notch craftsmanship and is popular for its quality from the inception of production. The keys are made solidly and not easily bent, while the pads and felts are of similar high quality. The felts do not get flattened easily, and the pads are resistant to dust and humidity. The SX-90R is one such consistent saxophone with excellent intonation.


  • It has a distinctive design.
  • Top-quality craftsmanship
  • Easy to play
  • Solid keys
  • Have consistent intonation


  • No recorded cons

5. P Mauriat

Saxophone Brands To Avoid

This is a new saxophone brand well-known for high-quality musical instruments. They are based in Taiwan and yet different from other manufacturers. They are hand-assembled instruments and have a solid intonation. The mechanics of sound handling are remarkable. The price is also reasonable compared to other popular saxophones of the same quality.


  • Handcrafted with quality material
  • Solid and consistent intonation
  • Perfect sound mechanism
  • Very affordable 


  • No recorded cons

Buyer’s Guide

As saxophones have great versatility with a warm and mellow sound, they are often featured in pop and jazz music. Being one of the most popular musical instruments, saxophones are preferred by most new players starting from elementary, high school, and college. Therefore, choosing one from the good saxophone brands is necessary when purchasing. 

Types of Saxophones

There are some major types of saxophones, depending on the tone. You might need to know about what they are when buying a saxophone.

  • Alto Saxophones – This is tuned to E flat and has two and a half steps higher than the tenor saxophone and is the most famous among starters. It is a solid choice for students and offered at a lower cost. It has relatively low precision in tone, intonation, and playability. 
  • Tenor Saxophones – Tenor is most closely related to jazz players and has a curved body style. It is tuned to B flat and easier for beginners to start with. It is neither large nor heavy, making it easy to play. It might be quite susceptible to damage and need to be more concerned about durability.
  • Bass and Baritone Saxophones – These saxophones can produce lower frequencies and are considered to be the lowest-pitched in the family. The base model is always played in a seated position and tuned to B flat, one octave below the tenor. These are more common in classical arrangements. The baritone model has a regular appearance and has a deep tone. They are often played standing using a strap to help and tuned to E flat, which is two and a half steps higher than the bass tuning. 
  • Soprano Saxophones – This is the ideal choice for those who look for a rich sound with higher registers. It is less costly due to the small build as it requires less material. However, it can be a difficult instrument for beginners to learn from. Although they are often built in a straight body, the curved models are also available for those who prefer so. It is tuned to B flat, two and a half steps higher than the alto.

Body Construction

The saxophones are of ribbed or non-ribbed construction of how the posts are attached to the body. Most of the modern instruments are ribbed, and the individual posts are attached to the plates with high-temperature soldering or brazing material. These ribs strengthen the bond between the posts and body, which keeps the adjustments longer.

Material and Finish

Yellow brass bodies are mostly common among saxophones, while some have components such as bells and necks made of bronze, copper, or sterling silver. These added materials darken the tone and add cost to the instrument. The standard finish is of clear lacquer but can be chosen from a range of alternative finishes with colored or pigmented lacquer. They can also be chosen from antique or vintage finishes with silver or black nickel plates.

Additional Keys

Most saxophones have an F sharp key, and some soprano saxophones offer a high G key, even though these notes can be played without the keys. An additional C sharp resonance key is offered by the Selmer Paris Series III altos for better clarity of the middle C sharp. Most baritone saxophones come with low A keys as well.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much should I spend on a saxophone?

The general range of the cost of saxophones is from $300 to $1000. However, there are many other options at the lower end.

Are expensive saxophones easier to play?

As expensive saxophones are well-made, they would be much smoother to play. The keys are released efficiently once they are pressed.

Is alto or tenor saxophone better?

As the alto is smaller, it has higher and brighter notes than the tenor. Experts can create a vast range of sounds from both these instruments. Players with smaller hands and lesser lung capacity find it easier to play the alto.

Which saxophone is the hardest?

The soprano saxophone is known as the hardest to play among all others.


If you are choosing a musical instrument, many worst saxophone brands should be avoided. Do not get deceived by the low prices and shiny appearances, as the outer appearance of the instrument cannot determine how well it is played. So as described in this guide, choose the best option from the recommended brands, according to the requirements. If you cannot afford the best, you can still make sure to buy the best for the amount you can spend. If you are planning to buy more instruments, be aware of Worst Ukulele Brands and these Trombone Brands to Avoid.

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