Advice for the “late bloomer” looking for their first saxophone
This is a companion piece to our article on buying a saxophone for beginner.
The �late bloomer� is the less common beginning student and generally has different goals and aspirations than the beginning child. They are at a decided advantage in that they are dedicated to picking up the instrument and probably have the financial resources at their disposal to buy a professional horn.
A rent to own program is not generally the right answer for this type of player. Instead, they should seriously consider buying the saxophone from a reputable local or Internet based music store. eBay is always tempting to these players but they should keep in mind that the majority of saxophones purchased off of eBay require a trip to the repair shop to be put into reasonable working order. When I purchase a horn off of eBay I go under the assumption that it will require hundreds of dollars of work to get it into the playing condition that I require.
Because this level of player is probably going to be dealing with a reputable music store and they will be fighting the urge to buy a horn from eBay they will generally consider buying a used professional horn. This is not necessarily a bad idea nor is it a good one. One of the problems with buying a used horn is that there are many choices out there. There are recent horns that are used and there are �vintage� horns. I wouldn’t normally recommend a �vintage� horn to a �late bloomer� because there’s a steep learning curve to truly understand which �vintage� instruments are desirable and which should be avoided. Instead, I would recommend that if the player wants the most bang for their buck that they find a quality used horn that is in good shape from a reputable source.
Generally the best recommendation for the �late bloomer� is to start out with a new intermediate or entry level professional instrument. These horns will not break the bank and provide a log of bang for the buck and should require minimal adjustment (although even new horns generally need to be set up by a technician). They provide the entry point for the player into finding out what kind of instrument fits their needs and it allows them a ready frame of reference when comparing other horns.
Before buying that first horn the late bloomer should find an instructor who can not only teach the player but advise them on what horn to purchase given the budget that the player wishes to spend. The instructor may also be aware of a quality used horn in good repair that may represent a good investment for the new player. Additionally, the instructor should be able to recommend a quality mouthpiece and reeds. A quality instructor will help guide the new student on their path to achieving their musical goals.
Below is a listing of my personal recommendations for used and new saxophones. These are conservative recommendations based on my personal experience. There are other options available as well but these are generally accepted quality makes and models that are somewhat common.
High Quality Used Saxophones (the safer bets)
Selmer Super Action 80
Selmer Super Aciton 80 serie II
Couf Superba I (made by Keilwerth)
Couf Superba II (made by Keilwerth)
Recommended Online Dealers for Used Saxophones
Recommended New Saxophones