This list has many of the things I use everyday and think other sax players will find quite helpful or at least, nice to have. Think of it as a gift guide/idea generator. No shame in getting yourself any of these items, but if you are shopping for a saxophone player I’m sure you’ll find a few good options in here. Keep in mind that the prices listed here are current as of the date of this video and can change.
I use mouthpiece patches on all my mouthpieces. I just don’t like how it feels with bare teeth. These are my favorite ones, clear and thin. You can find them here. ($12.99)
I just learned a great trick on how to put them on the mouthpiece without leaving a fingerprint. Watch the video to find out how.
Vandoren P200 Mouthpiece Pouch
Mouthpieces are expensive so in addition to protecting the beak with the mouthpiece patch, you should also protect the rest of it with a mouthpiece pouch. These pouches are from Vandoren/Protec are awesome and I use them all the time. ($19.99)
Rovner Mouthpiece Manager
If you’re like me and have a ton of mouthpieces, don’t just let them flop around in a drawer. This plastic stand by Rovner is super practical.
Important to note, that as much as you may want to display your mouthpieces for the world to see, if they are hard rubber, you should keep them in the dark to avoid discoloration. Metal and plastic are fine to leave out though. ($23.99)
Rovner Dark Ligature
My very first ligature upgrade was a basic Rovner, these things are pretty much indestructible, last forever and hold reeds on mouthpiece really well. They come in all sizes so you can always find one to fit pretty much any mouthpiece. You can find this one here. ($26)
BetterSax Jazz Cut Reeds
Can’t play the saxophone without reeds. These BetterSax reeds are the best I’ve ever played and I use every single one out of every box. They give me exactly the sound and response I’m looking for on alto and tenor saxophone. They are made from organic cane growing in the South of France where I live and our packaging is plastic free and eco-friendly. ($26.99)
BetterSax Ultimate Swab Kit
The sax swab is the most overlooked and underused accessory. Everyone should have one of these for each of their saxophones. Our Ultimate Sax Swab Kit comes with 3 microfiber parts. A body swab that I like to pass through 3 times after every playing session. A neck and mouthpiece swab. These get the most moisture and really need to be dried out. Finally a pad cleaner. I pass this under all the pads that stay closed, like the palm keys and G sharp, but also on the left hand keys that tend to get a bit wet.
Absolute must have accessory. ($29.99)
Earasers Ear Plugs
All sax players should be thinking about protecting their hearing. The saxophone is loud, and if you’re playing on stage with other loud instruments you risk damaging your hearing.
These Earaser ear plugs are awesome, they allow you to hear the music naturally but at a reduced decibel level. I use these for practicing, teaching and performing all the time. ($39)
K&M Orchestra Light
In the old days I had a stand light with a cable and light bulb which was a pain. This wireless stand light I got recently is awesome. The battery lasts a long time and you get plenty of light. The goose neck adjusts nicely. If need sheet music for gigs, you probably want one of these. ($39.99)
The Geeklet is my favorite saxophone accessory. I get improved performance from every reed using this. I can make good reeds great, so-so reeds good, and my best reeds last much longer. Every serious saxophone player should have one of these in their case. Hands down it’s my favorite accessory. ($49.95)
Manhasset Music Stand
These Manhasset music stands are still the best for me. I love how sturdy they are and the fact that they can handle a lot of weight. I don’t mess around with those fold up stands, too fiddly for me. I’ve got 2 of these, and love them. ($53)
Hercules Saxophone Stand
These Hercules sax stands are excellent, I love how it grips the bell of the saxophone when you put it down and releases when you lift it. Just a little more security to make you feel at ease. ($53.49)
I’ve been using the Saxholder for many years now. It’s still the best solution for reducing pressure on the neck when playing saxophone. The weight gets shifted to your shoulders and your neck is completely free. They still look a bit goofy, but so many players have adopted this, that it’s becoming the norm. ($59)
This is one of those nice things to have, that you might not buy for yourself though. It’s definitely expensive for what it is, but it will last forever and is a nice addition to any saxophone. Besides feeling nice in the fingers, many players feel that the extra mass added to the connection point between the neck and body tube help with overall resonance. You can find them here. ($71)
BG Zen Strap
If you want a more aesthetically pleasing neck strap, the BG Zen is a great choice, they come in different colors and do a good job of keeping the neck strap away from your throat area where all the blood is flowing. ($90.74)
Protec Micro Zip Case
I’ve been using this alto case lately and I have to say for the price it’s amazing. Protects the horn great, it’s light, small and the backpack straps are great. It has very little room inside for accessories, but there is a case cover you can add on for additional storage space. ($169)
Zither Wood Stand
This Zither Wood Sax Stand is meant to look nice in your music room. I like how it holds the saxophone a bit higher in the air and it’s got a very large and stable base. ($199)
The BetterSax Burnin’ mouthpieces have been hugely popular since they came out a couple years ago. This is the perfect upgrade for players of all levels that want the projection and and brightness of a modern mouthpiece along with the warmth and control of a vintage piece. Made from premium hard rubber in the USA at the JodyJazz factory, these are available for alto, tenor and baritone saxophone. ($249)
Apple AirPods Pro
I use the Apple AirPods Pro for every practice session. They allow me to hear my metronome, music or backing tracks clearly while I play, but more importantly, the Transparency mode, allows me to hear the natural sound of my saxophone but at a reduced and safe volume for my ears.
I can’t recommend these highly enough. ($249)
Apogee Mic Plus
In the BetterSax Studio I have our members submit recordings of themselves to get my feedback and a lot of them use one of these. It’s a high quality usb microphone that plugs into any device. It’s very easy to use and sounds great. You can find it here. ($259)
If you want to practice the saxophone completely silently so you don’t bother neighbors or while traveling, the Yamaha YDS-120 is a great tool. While you can’t develop your sound, you can work on fingerings. Learn songs, practice scales whatever. The key layout is exactly like a real saxophone and you can play with headphones. ($499.99)
Another electronic practice tool I like even more is the TravelSax2. This costs a bit more than the Yamaha, but it’s a lot smaller making it more convenient for travel. It also has bluetooth connectivity so you can play music from your device and hear it through connected headphones or speaker. This is the one I take with me when I’m on the road. ($752)
BetterSax Classic Saxophones
Now we get to the more expensive stuff that is only for the very good boys and girls. This is the BetterSax alto saxophone. It’s been the best selling band instrument on Sweetwater since they began selling saxophones 2 years ago. Its popularity is due to the fact that you’re getting an amazing high-quality instrument that looks awesome for an unbelievable price. It’s an ideal upgrade or starter instrument.
We have also just announced the release of our tenor version of this saxophone which is the same concept. We designed the absolute best saxophone possible at a very accessible price.
Both of these are available exclusively from Sweetwater where you get free, fast shipping, their 40-point inspection and setup, a 2 year warranty and the best customer service in the industry. ($899)
Beyerdynamic M160 Double Ribbon Mic
Now in order for me to demonstrate how these horns sound I’m going to record using 3 of my favorite microphones.
I love ribbon mics for saxophone and the Beyerdynamic M160 is a classic workhorse ribbon that you can use live or in the studio. It gives a really accurate representation of your natural saxophone sound. ($699, currently on sale)
Neumann MCM 114 Mic
When I’m playing live though, I usually use this Neuman clip-on mic. This allows me more freedom of motion so I can turn around and see the other musicians if I need to.
This is a condenser mic which gives a different sort of sound, but it is also very neutral sand represents my natural sax sound well. ($699)
Xvive U3C Wireless System
I use it along with this Xvive wireless system because I hate having a cable attached to my sax. This thing works great, just make sure you get the one with phantom power if you want to use a condenser mic with it. ($219)
AEA Nuvo N8 Ribbon Microphone
My favorite microphone though is this AEA N8. It just matches the sound I’m looking for in recordings and makes everything I play sound better. It picks up every subtle detail in the sound. ($1249)
I want to quickly thank the sponsor of this video Sweetwater. They are the top online retailer of music gear in the US and 2 years ago they began carrying Band & Orchestra instruments. Now they have a complete catalog and you can get every item in this video over there and pretty much anything else you can think of.
I put links in the description for everything. Keep in mind that Sweetwater offers free shipping, special financing options for more expensive stuff, amazing customer service, like you can just call up and get an expert who plays your instrument on the phone at any time. They know all the gear and can answer any questions you might have.
I absolutely love working with them and that’s why all our BetterSax gear is sold exclusively through Sweetwater in the US. They’ve got some killer Black Friday deals happening this week so be sure to check those out as well.
I’ve also done in depth reviews on many of the items in this list so you might want to check those out in this playlist here.
And if you want to get access to tons of free saxophone lessons as well as pdf and mp3 downloads, click the link in the description to sign up for the BetterSax Shed, you can opt in to my newsletter as well so get notified when I post new videos and to be the first to know about what’s happening in the saxophone world.