Best Alto Saxophones Review 2019
Alto Saxophones come in myriad of different price points depending on the brand, quality of materials used, level of craftsmanship, and the overall design.
While it is almost impossible to pinpoint the best out of the variety of options that is present in the market today, there are a few alto saxophones that tend to rise above the rest. To save you from all the trouble on scouring the market for the best, we will present to you a review on the 5 best alto Saxophones of 2019.
Related article: Best Tenor Saxophones 2019
The top 5 Alto Saxophones featured in this review are only a few of the almost endless collection of available options that you can find in the market today. Each model, however, offers a sophisticated series of markers that makes it distinctly exceptional compared to the rest of the competition. In the end, it us up to you to decide on which on is the best for you and your style of music.
Best Alto Saxphone
Yamaha YAS-82ZII Custom Z Alto Saxophone
The Yamaha YAS-82ZII saxophone is a major improvement over the previous Custom Z saxophones, especially when it comes to control, expressiveness, and response. The good thing, however, is that it still retains the Custom Z’s great features and functionalities that made it a popular instrument all over the world.
The three things that you can expect from the YAS-82ZII alto saxophone right away is its superb response, intonation, and huge sound. It’s bell, body, and neck are all carefully handcrafted to ensure an exceptional, quality finish and the set-up is done very well upon completion. It’s V1 neck provides a fine free-blowing feel and offers plenty of versatility to the user.
The instrument’s keys are located conveniently for different types of players and the key action is simply superb. It’s one-piece bell, meanwhile, aids in creating more consistency, enhanced resonance, and better low end response. The new metal tone resonators enhance the response, the overall sound, and back-side volume.
Overall, the Yamaha YAS-82ZII Custom Z Alto Saxophone feels great, sounds huge, and has the quality to last for many years even after constant and prolonged use. Advanced high school and college students and players will surely have a great time when they get their hands on a YAS-82ZII, but the same goes for the professional musician. It’s just a bit pricey though so if you’re working on a tight budget, you might find it unrealistic to have this gorgeous musical instrument at your disposal.
Yanagisawa A-992 Alto Saxophone
If you are a serious alto saxophone player or someone who wants to make a living out of playing the instrument, you need an alto saxophone that is a cut above the rest. With that being said, the Yanagisawa alto saxophone A-992 is a premiere model that you may want to look into. With a world class construction and design and fine craftsmanship to go along with outstanding sound and intonation, the A-992 is dubbed by many as the “God” of all saxophones, capable of creating beautiful classical, jazz, and any other type of music asked of it.
The A-992 comes with Yanagisawa’s sway-free mechanism for F auxiliary and low C-sharp keys, that allows improved air-tightness and intonation and helps in adjustment and repair. It also has its own case, mouthpiece, cap and ligature, and care products. Carefully handcrafted from bronze, this elegant instrument provides a distinct warmth and richness of response, and wide dynamic range that you simply won’t find in other models.
In the end, the Yanagisawa A992 is an easy saxophone choice for the serious musician. This instrument carries all the features that you need to make you look good and sound your best. On the outside, it’s simply stunning with a lacquered bronze finish that gives it a deep, mellow, rich tone complemented by the beautiful darker finish. The inner workings of the horn are carefully handcrafted to maintain durability and ergonomic quality. The inner rib, meanwhile, offers a durable framework to support the entire instrument.
Overall, if you’re looking for an alto Saxophone that will be your last, look no further than the Yanagisawa A-992. Every aspect of the saxophone speaks professional and state-of-the-art innovation. It simply looks beautiful, feels amazing, and creates rich powerful sounds. What more can you ask for?
Cannonball Raven Alto Saxophone
The Cannonball Raven Alto Saxophone is a beautiful piece from Cannonball’s Big Bell Stone Series. The instrument offers excellent feel and is very well built all around with an ergonomic key work – everything is placed with the player’s convenience in mind. It also comes with two crooks that you won’t find in other models. The first crook is a Fat Neck under slung that is very much Conn mould while the other one is a more standard Selmer style affair. It also has a very effective and versatile key action – especially at the lower portion, with twin arms to the lower keys and standard leather pads.
For people with relatively bigger hands, however, the palm keys may not feel that comfortable but for most people, the key positions would prove perfect. The Raven’s intonation and articulation are also excellent. Hitting the first note and you will know exactly that it is a saxophone capable of producing magnificent musical pieces in a wide range of sounds.
If you prefer playing softly, the Saxophone can create smooth, sensual, soulful sounds. If you want to create more powerful sounds that can blow the house down, the instrument will respond with volume, depth and a case full of character.
Cannonball’s Raven Alto Saxophone is prized all over the world for its elegant appearance and soulful sound. Before it leaves the manufacturing facility, it is treated with stringent testing to guarantee uniform quality and a perfect appearance. The Saxophone, however, is at the higher end of the price spectrum and only elite players place these instruments in their collection. If you’re a beginner without much to spare, you might want to look for another, more affordable model.
When it comes to the best of the best of all time, Selmer Saxophones are always in the centre of all discussions. Selmer has been in the Saxophone business since the late 19th Century and has a legendary track record of producing elite Saxophones that have been the favourites of famous artists all over the world. Claude Delangle, Marcel Mule, Frederick Hemke, John Coltrane, Paul Desmond, Zoot Sims, and Herschel Evans are among those who consider Selmer as their weapon of choice when it comes to captivating crowds with Saxophone brilliance.
Selmer’s legendary Mark VI and VII, while no longer in production, are one of the greatest if not the greatest alto models of all time. To put it simply, Mark models are smooth and stunning. They follow a flawless key design, airtight fittings, and a striking appearance, making the VI and VII highly prized in both symphonic and jazz settings. It’s difficult to find Mark models nowadays, but if you want to experience its legendary performance, you can opt with Reference 36 and Reference 54 Firebird. With an amazingly warm tone, and a dark finish, Selmer References are the instruments of choice for Jazz musicians.
Unfortunately, it would be near impossible to get your hands on a Mark VI or VII these days because of its price. Over the last 20 years, prices for Mark VI alto and tenor saxes have climbed to as high as $16,000 USD. Mostly, you will have to shed more dollars for a good condition Mark VI than a brand new instrument. However, buying a Mark VI is an investment unlike most other saxes because it is priced all over the world both from collectors and musicians alike. In fact, a well looked after horn will appreciate over time giving you serious money in the long-run.
Jupiter CXL Alto Saxophone
Jupiter Saxophones are one of the well known names in the industry. The company was first built in 1980 by its Taiwanese parent company KHS and today is now creating and distributing an array of percussion, woodwind, and brass instruments. At the professional level, Jupiter Saxophones are not as widely sought after compared to other brands but are extremely popular to beginner and intermediate level players.
The new Jupiter CXL, in particular, is a superb Alto Saxophone with Gold lacquered body, Nickel plated keys, Rose Brass neck, and high F# Key. Built to maintain high quality standards, the CXL instruments are a limited distribution line by Jupiter tailored specifically to cater the needs of beginning students. The instrument also includes its own mouthpiece, body swab, Neck Strap, 1 Reed, and Deluxe wood case. The Jupiter Sax have been endorsed by famous artists like Kevin Harris, Roger Lewis and Dale Fielder, all jazz musicians of recent years.
But if you’re looking for a more professional piece however, you can refer to any of the four mentioned above. Again Jupiter Saxophones are not known for their professional qualities but have built a solid reputation in the market as a high quality horn for beginners and intermediate players.