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Best Beginner Saxophone Gear Setup

Where to Start

Before you can begin your journey on the saxophone, you’ll need to make sure that you have the right gear. I’ve put together a list of the saxophone gear that you’ll need to get you started, and what my recommendations are for each. There are several items that you’ll need, and I will detail each of them below.

Saxophone

The first thing you’ll need is a saxophone. There are several different types, but most beginning players start on either an alto or sometimes tenor. My recommendation for an affordable, reliable saxophone that is perfect for beginners is the BetterSax Alto and the Classic Tenor.

Designed to address the need for a high-quality, reliable, and attractive entry-level instrument at an affordable price, these saxophones aim to challenge the expectation of what a “student” saxophone is. You’ll find a lot of features on these that would normally be found on an intermediate or pro level saxophone. Darker cognac lacquer and design elements from vintage saxophones make these stand out against other entry level instruments.

BetterSax EAS112 Alto and Classic Tenor Saxophones

 

 

Mouthpiece

Saxophone mouthpieces can come in a variety of sizes, shapes and materials. The most common type for beginners to start with is a plastic mouthpiece, however they do also come in hard rubber and metal as well. 

My recommendation for the best beginner mouthpiece is the BetterSax Classic. The Classic line of mouthpieces are perfect for beginners. They are easy to play on and get a great sound from. They respond well across the whole range of the saxophone, making it easier for beginning students to get started on the right foot.

These mouthpieces are 100% made in the USA by legendary mouthpiece manufacturer JJ Babbitt. They are reliable and  very affordably priced, making them a great option for beginners. 

BetterSax Classic Mouthpieces

Reeds

Once you have your mouthpiece, you’ll need to choose a reed. The reed is what vibrates to produce the sound when you blow into the mouthpiece. Most reeds are made out of cane, but you might also see some that are made out of synthetic materials as well. Most beginners will want to start out on a cane reed.

When selecting the right reed to start with, the most important thing to consider is the strength. Reeds come in different strengths, which will determine the amount of resistance you get when you blow into the mouthpiece. Beginners should start lower, ideally with a #2 strength.

My recommendation for reeds are the BetterSax Jazz Cut Reeds. These reeds are great for all popular music styles, and play great straight out of the box. They offer a great balance between low and high frequencies across the full range of the instrument. Also as an added bonus, they are made from 100% organic French Cane and come in eco-friendly packaging. 

BetterSax Jazz Cut Reeds

 

Ligature

After selecting your mouthpiece and reed, you’ll need a ligature, which will hold the reed onto the mouthpiece. My recommendation for a great ligature for beginners is the Rovner Dark. What makes these great is that they are extremely durable, they’ll fit on pretty much any mouthpiece, and they hold the reed in place really well on the mouthpiece without shifting. 

Rovner Dark Ligature

 

Swab Kit

Another thing that you’ll need to make sure that your saxophone stays in great condition for a long time is a swab kit to keep it clean. Swabbing your saxophone out each time you play it is the most basic level of maintenance every saxophone player needs to do every time you play. This is not only for hygiene, but also to keep your instrument functioning properly.

A swab kit is a small investment that will pay big dividends saving you money on repairs, maintaining the resale of your instrument and keeping things from getting nasty and stinky. My recommendation for a swab kit is the BetterSax Ultimate Sax Swab Kit. These come in two sizes, one for alto and one for tenor.

These are the first and last saxophone swabs you’ll ever need for your saxophone. This kit includes 1 neck and mouthpiece swab, 1 saxophone body swab, and 1 pad dryer to absorb moisture from your pads that can make them sticky.

BetterSax Ultimate Sax Swab Kit

 

 

BetterSax Beginner Course

Once you’ve got all the gear that you need to get started, you’re ready to start the BetterSax Beginner/Refresher Course. This course is free, and was designed to help you get started on the right foot with good habits when starting on the saxophone.

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