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A Saxophone Beginner’s Guide - Everything you need to know

08 Jul 2021


4 min read


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A Saxophone Beginner’s Guide - Everything you need to know

Have you always wished to be a part of a genre of music that’s lively in nature and keeps listeners dancing on their toes?

Jazz is one such musical genre that individuals can always associate with - it’s fun, flirty, and always energetic.

And it also involves a lot of instruments that have gained a lot of popularity since their inception - like, trumpet, trombone, clarinet, bass guitar, drum kit, keyboard, and guitar.

While these are popular and are pursued by avid learners all over the world, there is one instrument that still stands underrated.

Any guesses? We’re referring to the instrument Saxophone here, also promptly quoted as the soul of Jazz music.

As the acclaimed, American Saxophone player Charlie Parker once said - “Don’t play the Saxophone. Let it play you.

As a beginner, it is important to know what binds you to the instrument.

In this particular case, we are referring to the Saxophone. So what do you like the most about the Sax?

Is it the tone, the way it plays, or the tunes it manages to serenade you in?

As you begin to figure your way around learning this soulful instrument, we have something that will compliment your starting point perfectly.

Begin your learning journey with our learner’s guide as we take you through the intricacies of this beautiful instrument.

Go on, reader, take a look at what we have covered ground on for you:

How did the Saxophone come about to be?

The musical instrument Saxophone was invented by a Belgian instrument maker and musician named Adolphe Sax, that is why it is called the Saxophone.

History tells us that Adolphe Sax (1814 - 1894) was a musical instrument designer born in Belgium who could play many wind instruments.

Adolphe’s idea was to create an instrument that combined the best qualities of a woodwind instrument with the best qualities of a brass instrument.

In the 1840s he achieved his vision as he was able to conceive the concept and construct the saxophone. This invention was patented in Paris in 1846.

What are the various types of Saxophones?

There are many divisions of the Saxophone that are available all over the world. But the four main types of Saxophone are:

1.Soprano saxophone

According to sizes, the soprano saxophone is the third-smallest member of the saxophone family. Unlike the larger saxes, its body is typically straight. It is also the highest note ranking saxophone out of the four.

2. Alto saxophone

Alto comes second in the note ranking department and is also one of the bigger saxophones in comparison. It is popular as a beginner choice in saxophones because of its achievable, flexible scale.

3. Tenor saxophone

The tenor saxophone consists of a larger mouthpiece, reed, and ligature than the alto and soprano saxophones. Visually, it is easily distinguished by the bend in its neck, or its crook, near the mouthpiece.

4. Baritone saxophone

The baritone saxophone or “bari sax” is one of the largest members of the saxophone family. The baritone saxophone is the lowest-pitched saxophone in common use.

What are the different components of a Saxophone?

Themainframe(1) of a Saxophone is shaped like a long tube with openings. This tube is conical in shape and the body is usually made of brass.

The start of the instrument, that is the mouthpiece(2) - is very similar to other wind instruments like the clarinet, bassoon, and so on.

The only difference between these instruments is that the Saxophone has an inverted lower end at its mouthpiece, a reed(3) and this is detachable.


The ligature(4) is a fixture that secures the reed firmly against the body of the mouthpiece while allowing it to vibrate freely.

The openings on a Saxophone are controlled by these padded keys that decide the pitch of the notes you hit while playing. These keys are divided into three types - palm keys, spatula keys, and slide keys.


The Palm keys(5a)are located on the front end of the instrument and these are instrumental in delivering the highest pitch notes of a song.

Slide keys (5b)are those that conduct the baritone when needed, they touch the most bass of notes in a song.

Spatula keys (5c)are the closest to the edge of the Bell and these are played with the little left finger.

Now you may ask what is a Bell? The Bell(6) is the flared part of the sax. It’s a continuation into a u-shaped bottom is called the Bow(7).

The saxophone, also referred to by its acronym sax, is usually categorized into two parts: Its anterior portion being called the upper stack(8) and its posterior portion being referred to as the lower stack(9).

Which Saxophone Artists should you listen to?

1. Charlie Parker

2. John Coltrane

3. Sonny Rollins

4. Coleman Hawkins

5. Lester Young

6. Joe Henderson

7. Joshua Redman

8. Benny Carter

9. Gerry Mulligan

10. Eric Dolphy

Why learning the Saxophone will be beneficial for you?

Saxophones are probably recognized most as a Jazz instrument. But this is not the only genre that they are featured in.

Saxes are also very popular in other musical genres such as classical, contemporary, marching bands, and soul to name a few, meaning the saxophone suits almost every creative taste!


Playing any musical instrument allows you to express your creative side, but the saxophone is particularly good for this due to its wide range of dynamics and flexible sound.


So go on, try it out on our platform and we promise that your learning will be smooth, exclusive, and full of remarkable success.

That was the detailed study of the musical instrument Saxophone, for you.


If you wish to learn more, explore ipassio’s Online Saxophone Courses that are available and cover different genres.


Sign up for our lessons that are taught OnliVe (Online + Live), exclusively, on a 1-on-1 basis.Click here to know more. Let us know what you think about this article in the comments below.


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