If a nice little saxophone shop could be found down on the corner, it would simplify buying an instrument greatly. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. You may be lucky enough to have a shop in your neighborhood where an instrument dealer and repairman specializes in the saxophone. However it is more likely that you will have to look for a shop in a general music store or even online.
The best places to buy a saxophone are local music stores in which the owner and staff have some knowledge about saxophones. The sax is a complicated instrument. A poorly made new one might look shiny and nice, but be extremely hard to make nice music on. A used sax might seem to be a good deal, but need so much restoration in terms of replacing pads, restoring cork, etc., that the cost of the sax plus repairs equals the cost of a fairly good new saxophone.
Saxes are usually rated as student models, intermediate models or professional level saxophones. Serious saxophonists will want to get the best sax they can afford from the saxophone store. Many musicians who are knowledgeable about saxophones say the best way to get a good one is to buy one of the “big four.” These are the four most well respected saxophone makers in the world, and they include Selmer, Yamaha, Yanagisawa, and Keilwerth.
Of course, these saxophones, especially in the professional models, cost many thousands of dollars. Maybe, though, you’ll find a great deal on one of the big four at that nice little saxophone retail store down the street.
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