If one is looking at purchasing a used saxophone, two presumptions or considerations may arise: first, that the person purchasing must get the item which will give him the best value for his money; second, that the person is using it for playing music. The importance of the second point is that saxophone, as a musical instrument, comes in different kinds. The difference lies in the music and pitch being produced by each type of instrument, sizes and shapes, as well as considerations which are related to the skill level of the player of the instrument.
Therefore, to be able to make the best decision as to which saxophone best suits any player of the instrument, it is important that one has a working knowledge of the different types of saxophones as well as the corresponding differences that distinguish one from the other. In doing this, one can effectively discriminate and choose the saxophone that best suits him.
There are generally four types of saxophones available in the market today. The first type is called the soprano saxophone. The soprano saxophone is tuned in the key of B flat (or Bb). It has the highest tune or pitch among all the other types of saxophones. Consequently, playing the instrument requires some skill because the pitch, being high, is more difficult to manipulate and manage. Therefore, most of the players of this type of saxophone are already adept at playing the instrument and are what can properly be considered as professional saxophonists.
The second type is the Alto Saxophone which plays at the key of E flat (or Eb). The position of this type of saxophone’s bell allows its player to hear more of the sound produced by the instrument than by the other saxophones played. Most pieces composed for practice are also tuned in the key of Alto Saxophone. Consequently, it is considered as most befitting beginners and anyone whose skill level in saxophone is elementary.
The third type would be the tenor saxophone. It is larger than the alto saxophone and the sound its produces is closer in range to the human voice. This is also the best type of instrument for playing jazz and some rock.
The fourth type of saxophone is the baritone saxophone. It has the lowest range among the other types of saxophone and is usually used in the bass section in soul music or tunes. It is also the biggest and heaviest among all the other types of saxophone.
All of these types of saxophones are best in their own respect. One just needs to identify precisely the use of the saxophone to be played or purchased. So if one is a beginner, it is strongly suggested that he starts playing the alto saxophone first. It also depends upon the sound that the player is most interested in. If one prefers to play jazz tunes, then the tenor saxophone is recommended. But if one is more into bass range sound, richer and deeper tone then the baritone is the best choice.
One may also take into account the size and the weight of the saxophone which will affect its manageability and overall comfort in playing the instrument. There are, of course, no hard fast rules applicable in determining the best type of saxophone. The person has to weigh in different factors in the process of trying top get the saxophone which is just right for him.