We're here to help!
1-800-397-9378
Call for suggestions or assistance
Home > The West Music Blog > A Guide to the Saxophone
The West Music Blog
The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and worldwide customers.

The West Music Blog


Subscribe
A Guide to the Saxophone
By Scott Sandberg
12/7/2010 11:12:00 AM

Scott Sandberg HeadshotSaxophonist Scott Sandberg is originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota.  From 2005-2007 he held the positions of Instructor of Saxophone at the Bloomingdale School of Music in New York City and Instructor of Woodwinds at Wright Music Studios in Port Washington, New York.  He was the Adjunct Instructor of Jazz at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, during the 2003-2004 academic year.  Sandberg has performed with the Dubuque Symphony, the Waverly Community Orchestra, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and the Dick King Classic Swing Band.  He has performed at several conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance; toured Europe, including performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival; and was a finalist in the 2000 National MTNA Competition.  He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of North Dakota and his Master of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Iowa, and he is currently a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Iowa. For more information, please visit Scott's website. 

One of the most important things to know when purchasing an instrument is that the process will take some time and research.  Instruments are an investment, and the effort will pay off in the long run.  Start by asking several musicians, including band directors, instrument sales associates, and local professionals their opinions on brands and models.  Even if they are not saxophonists, they will likely have general advice and know of major brands.  The Internet is also a good place to do research, but when purchasing an instrument it is best to go to a reputable retailer.

Instrument Categories

Saxophone makers generally divide their instruments into three main categories:  student, intermediate, and professional. 

Student level instruments are almost completely machine-made and are designed to take a little more wear and tear.  When trying out a student level instrument it should be fairly easy to make a sound, and it should have good mechanics, meaning that the keys should move freely. 

Intermediate level saxophones are made with more attention to detail, so the intonation (in tune versus out of tune) and tone should be better.  They may be more hand-made and are more delicate than student level instruments.  Intermediate level saxophones include a high F-sharp key, allowing the player to be able to play one note higher. 

Professional saxophones are much more hand-made and are produced with higher-quality materials.  This produces even better intonation, tone, and response, and also causes each instrument to be more individual.  The higher the quality of the instrument, the more important it is to try many, including multiple instruments of the same brand and model, to find the right one for you.  Professional saxophones also have the high F-sharp key. 

Instrument Materials

Most saxophones are made of brass with a lacquer coating.  Clear lacquer is the most common, while colored lacquers can be an option on some saxophones.  It is also possible to get an instrument that is plated in silver or gold.  There is much debate over how much, if any, the color of the lacquer or different plating options affect the sound of the instrument.

Parts of the Instrument

The biggest part of the saxophone is the body.  The neck strap attaches to a ring on the back of the body and holds the weight of the instrument.  The smaller, curved piece that fits into the top of the body is the neck.  The final three parts are the mouthpiece, which connects to the neck, the reed, and the ligature, which holds the reed onto the mouthpiece.  Often called the “setup,” these are the most important parts, as they generate the sound and thus have the biggest effect on response and tone.  With a good setup a player can make an average instrument sound great and a great instrument sound brilliant.  It is also worth noting that, in most cases, the quality of the mouthpiece and ligature provided do not equal the quality of the saxophone, so trying other mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures can be a very worthwhile upgrade.

Other Important Features

The four most common saxophones, from highest to lowest in pitch, are the soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone.  The most popular and the one that the majority of saxophonists start with is the alto.  The notes and fingerings used for one saxophone are the same for all, so if you can play alto saxophone, you can essentially play the others. 

About the Author

Saxophonist Scott Sandberg is originally from Grand Forks, North Dakota.  From 2005-2007 he held the positions of Instructor of Saxophone at the Bloomingdale School of Music in New York City and Instructor of Woodwinds at Wright Music Studios in Port Washington, New York.  He was the Adjunct Instructor of Jazz at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa, during the 2003-2004 academic year.  Sandberg has performed with the Dubuque Symphony, the Waverly Community Orchestra, the Greater Grand Forks Symphony Orchestra, and the Dick King Classic Swing Band.  He has performed at several conferences of the North American Saxophone Alliance; toured Europe, including performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival; and was a finalist in the 2000 National MTNA Competition.  He received his Bachelor of Music in Music Education degree from the University of North Dakota and his Master of Arts degree in Saxophone Performance from the University of Iowa, and he is currently a Doctorate of Musical Arts candidate at the University of Iowa.

www.scott-sandberg.com


Currently rated 0 by 0 people

Tags: saxophone, buying a saxophone
Categories: Band & Orchestra
Bookmark and Share

Comments:

No Comments have been submitted.

   
 
Write your own comment
 
  Your name (required):  
   
  Your email address (required):  
     
  Your website address (optional):  
   
  Submit a Picture No larger than 250kb (optional):  
   
  Submit a video via URL (optional):  
   
  Your comments (required):  
   
   
 
Text From Image:
 
   
 

The West Music Blog presents articles, press releases and other information of interest to our local and wordwide customers.

Include comments
Categories
Mariachi (11)
Live Sound, Recording & Software (5)
Music Advocacy (50)
Music Education (91)
piano (2)
Band & Orchestra (75)
Classroom Furniture & Equipment (13)
Company Culture (70)
Conservatory (319)
Contests (11)
Pianos, Digital Pianos & Keyboards (21)
Drums & Percussion (27)
Extraordinary Associate of the Month (41)
Guitars & Folk (34)
Kids & Movement (25)
Live Sound & DJ (9)
Music Therapy (55)
Music, Books & Resources (63)
Orff (16)
Press Releases (13)
Recorders (16)
Recording & Software (8)
West Music Cedar Falls (62)
West Music Coralville (137)
West Music Decorah (2)
West Music Marion (99)
West Music Piano Gallery (47)
West Music Quad Cities (76)
West Music Dubuque (1)
 
Recent Posts
Extraordinary Associates of the Month November 2016: PASIC Crew
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
7 Tips for Practicing over Winter Break
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Urbandale December 2016 Musician of the Month: Charlie LaCroix
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Cedar Rapids December 2016 Musician of the Month: Lauren Miller
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Cedar Falls December 2016 Musician of the Month: Emma Schaffer
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Coralville December 2016 Teacher Feature: Caleb Lambert
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Coralville December 2016 Musician of the Month: Carly Ephraim
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
10 Holiday Gifts That Your Kids Will Love
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Cedar Rapids November 2016 Teacher Feature: Ryan Swedean
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
Quad Cities November 2016 Teacher Feature: Merit Ringberg
  Comments: 0
  Rating: 0 / 0
 
Recent Comments
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Ryan West wrote: Hey all-
We are working on the comments and mak... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Kerry Cornelius wrote: Twitter: @songsforsuccess
Instagram: songsfors... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Darcy Perez wrote: West is Best! If I win, I'll get more sound shape... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Mike LimBybliw wrote: I Mike LimBybliw, of sound mind and body, plan to ... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Sara DePaoli wrote: This is such a fun idea! I'm in!

Here are ... [More]
West Music and Music Therapy Ed Social Media Contest (6)
Carly Litvik wrote: I am planning on entering the #WestistheBest conte... [More]
"It's Time For Discriminate Listening!" Lynn Kleiner Talks Recorder Quality (1)
Michael Bresler wrote: Absolutely! After 40 years of experience, I hearti... [More]
Coralville November Musician of the Month: Grace Huber (1)
Morgan wrote: atta kid Grace... [More]
Coralville September 2013 Musician of the Month: Nathan Stone (1)
Valerie McNally wrote: Congratulations, Nathan! You work hard and it is ... [More]
Urbandale Piano Gallery August 2013 Musician of the Month: Jonathan Ruth (1)
Joe wrote: Nice job Jon James!... [More]
 
Authors
Abbigayle M. Hicks (1)
Amanda Hazelett (8)
Amy Huston (1)
Ann Eisen, Sneaky Snake Publications, LLC (1)
Anne Carley (1)
Artie Almeida (1)
Author: West Music Conservatory (1)
Benjamin Coelho (1)
Cathi Dorr (1)
Cindy Weber (1)
Dan Ehl (The Kalona News) (1)
Dan Jacobi (8)
Deanna Swoboda (1)
Debbie Yarrow (1)
Denise Gagne (1)
Don Muro (1)
Doug Ducey (8)
Doug Goodkin (1)
Dr. Donna Emmanuel (1)
Emilia, MT-BC (4)
Erin, MT-BC (3)
Gavin Wright (2)
Griff Gall and Paul Weller (1)
Janet Stephens (1)
Jeff Taylor (1)
Jennifer Winegarden (8)
Jerry Zinn (1)
Jim Solomon (1)
Joanie Mercy (2)
John Feldman (2)
John Waltz (2)
Jom Van Gelder (1)
Jon Baumgartner (1)
Jordan Wagner (24)
Judy Pine (6)
Kalani Das (1)
Katey, MT-BC (5)
Kathy Bohstedt (2)
Kelly Klemz (1)
Kelly McNichols (1)
Kirk Davis (1)
Kyle Ware (6)
Kyle, MA, MT-BC (2)
Laura Fehr (1)
Lea Ann Huegel (8)
Lindsey - MA, MT-BC, NMT (6)
Lisa Bost-Sandberg (1)
Lisa Sullivan (1)
Lorna, MT-BC (2)
Lucy , MT-BC (1)
Lucy Schipper (2)
Mark Nicolay (1)
Maureen Butler (1)
Melissa Blum (5)
Melissa Raap (5)
Morgan, MT-BC (1)
Nick Janssen (9)
Paige Schneweis (9)
Patrick Downing (1)
Peter Hart (5)
Rachel Federman Morales & Joel Shwartz (1)
Rachel, MT-BC (1)
Randy Hargis (2)
Robbin L Marcus (1)
Roger Sams (1)
Rosemary, MT-BC (4)
Ruben Newell (2)
Ryan West (1)
Sam Marchuk - West Music Education Consultant (2)
Sandy Lantz & Gretchen Wahlberg (1)
Sanna Longden (1)
Sara Roth (1)
Sara Volz (1)
Scott Sandberg (2)
Shannon Price (2)
Sharon Burch (1)
Sol Weber (1)
Staff Music Therapist (3)
Stephanie, MT-BC (1)
Teresa Heitman (3)
Tim Wiegand (1)
Valerie Johnson (8)
Valerie Johnson and Rod Pierson (1)
West Music (12)
West Music Cedar Falls (14)
West Music Company (271)
West Music Conservatory (183)
West Music Coralville (26)
West Music Mariachi (2)
West Music Marion (13)
West Music Ottumwa (2)
West Music Piano Gallery (9)
West Music Quad Cities (13)
 
Archive
2016
 December (7)
 November (7)
 October (3)
 September (4)
 August (5)
 July (8)
 June (9)
 May (8)
 April (8)
 March (10)
 February (15)
 January (10)
 
2015
 December (10)
 November (8)
 October (8)
 September (11)
 August (14)
 July (15)
 June (19)
 May (18)
 April (16)
 March (11)
 February (15)
 January (7)
 
 
Blog Roll
Rhythm For Good
 



McAfee SECURE sites help keep you safe from identity theft, credit card fraud, spyware, spam, viruses and online scams
Buy BoardAdopt a ClassroomReverbClass WalletEbay
NAMM Believe in MusicNational Association for Music EducationNAMM Top DealersMusic Inc Mag Retail Excellence AwardHoopla Now Four Time WinnerIowa's Creative Cooridor
Current DMA Code: '511'