Can You Play The Saxophone Left Handed? (Explained)

Can You Play The Saxophone Left Handed
Written by Corey Morgan

Don’t let the fact that you’re left-handed prevent you from learning to play an instrument like the saxophone.

If you want to learn how to play the saxophone left-handed, follow these steps:

If you’re left-handed but want to learn to play the saxophone, you can either have a special instrument made for you or look for a used one. Or you may switch to playing right-handed, which will save you money and open up additional saxophone choices.

Are Left-Hand Saxophones Made by the Bigger Brands?

There are left-handed saxophones available from many major manufacturers they aren’t as common as the regular right-handones, though.

Left-handed versions are a specialty item, made almost exclusively for special orders. That rules out buying it at a local record store and instead requires ordering from the company’s website.

Additionally, given that the firm must make your saxophone before they can ship it to you, you shouldn’t anticipate receiving it any time soon. Right-handed saxophones are often in stock and ready to ship when purchased compared to their left-hand counterparts.

Is it possible to acquire a left-handed saxophone at a reasonable price?

Since left-handed saxophones are so uncommon, the cost to acquire one will certainly exceed that of a comparable right-handed model due to the necessity of special ordering. That price increase can be well worth it if you can’t get comfortable playing a right-handed saxophone.

Still, if you’re just starting out on the saxophone, you might not want to shell out quite that much. The good news is that not all left-handed saxophones cost a fortune.

When choosing a left-handed model, bear the following factors in mind.

  • Used Market

Consider checking the used market to see if anyone is offering a left-handed saxophone for sale. In comparison to regular saxophones, these types will be tougher to find.

If you’re lucky enough to stumble upon one, though, you might be able to acquire it for significantly less than the cost of a made-to-order version. There is probably not much demand for a left-handed saxophone because of its rarity.

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any left-handed models available for purchase at this time. Due to the smaller market, sellers may increase their asking prices in an effort to attract buyers.

The Concept of “Reasonable” Is Highly Subjective

Think about how reasonable is somewhat subjective when shopping for a new or used saxophone. For someone just starting out who wants to make sure they like playing the saxophone, spending more than $1,000 could seem excessive.

Although you might be willing to invest considerably more if you’re serious about the saxophone. A price of $3,000 or more could be considered acceptable if it guarantees you the instrument you require.

It may also be related to the amount of money you bring in and have saved. You should evaluate your circumstances to establish a reasonable budget.

Although many handcrafted left-handed saxophones can cost several thousand dollars, a brand-new one reportedly costs substantially less. At least one unofficial source puts the price of the model at 615 Euros (about $600 USD).

This price may be significantly cheaper if you discover a used one. It’s a lot cheaper than other saxophones, making it a great option for novices who want to learn to play left-handed.

Is it Possible for Left-Handed People to Play a Regular Right-Hand Saxophone?

Many people who are left-handed are able to play a standard saxophone that is designed for the right hand. It’s considerably simpler to locate new or used normal saxophones, and they may be had at any budget.

Holding the saxophone with your right hand could cause some discomfort. That’s why so many people play right-handed even if their natural hand isn’t.

Can Left-Handed People Adapt to Play Right-Handed Instruments?

Anyone can switch to playing with their non-dominant hand. Although it’s more challenging, many left-handed musicians learn to play their instruments right-handed.

If you’re left-handed and wish to play like a righty, give the following a try.

  • Don’t Rush Things

When you first start playing the saxophone, go slowly. Do not attempt extremely rapid scales, which can be challenging even for right-handed novices.

Instead, focus on learning and holding a single note at a moment. As you gain familiarity with the instrument, you can gradually increase the distance you play between notes to practice pressing the various keys with your right hand.

Time and practice will allow you to pick up speed, and using your right hand will feel more natural. Though your progress on the saxophone could be slower than that of a right-handed beginner’s, it is still possible for you to learn.

  • Stay Consistent

The next step is regular practice, so grab your saxophone and set aside some time every day to play some notes. Build up the muscle strength in your right hand to improve your playing.

If you’re just starting out, it’s not a good idea to put in hours of practice time every day, especially as a beginner. However, even a little period of practice can assist strengthen muscles and cement new knowledge in long-term memory.

After practicing for a while, you might be able to play a simple scale with more confidence. Then, even if you’re left-handed, your saxophone playing will improve as time goes on.

  • Try the Horn

Perhaps no matter how much you practice, you just can’t seem to master the art of using your fingers effectively. Find a left-handed saxophone if you wish to learn to play a brass instrument.

Learning to play the horn (or French horn) is an alternate, maybe less difficult choice. You’ll need to use your left hand to operate the horn’s valves, which could be more natural for you.

Sure, that’s the right-handed way to do things, but if you’re having trouble making your right hand’s fingers do anything, it’s a good alternative. In that case, you can still play an instrument, and you could even have an easier time mastering the various skills.

Are There Any Famous Left-Handed Saxophone Players?

Notable saxophone players can be found throughout history and in the present day.

The saxophone was first played by Belgian instrument maker Adolphe Sax in the nineteenth century. Born into a family of musicians, he began crafting instruments at an early age. By the time he was 15, he had made his own flute and clarinet.

Aside from him, John Coltrane is also regarded as one of the greatest composers and jazz saxophonists in American history. The blues and gospel music he heard in his hometown shaped his sound.

Coltrane was a self-taught musician and a dedicated bebop listener. Working his way up, he eventually joined Miles Davis’ band on tenor sax, but by 1959, he had struck out on his own and was performing with his own groups. The Kind of Blue record by Miles Davis is only one of several albums on which he played as a studio musician.

Charlie “Bird” Parker, on the other hand, is widely regarded as the originator of bebop. At a young age, he began studying music with the help of the state of Kansas’s freely available educational facilities.

He was given the name “Yardbird” when he was little, and eventually shortened to “Bird.” Because of his fascination with birds, he often gave his pieces bird titles.

Next, we’ll fast-forward several decades to a well-known female saxophonist. Candy Dulfer is a contemporary pop saxophonist from the Netherlands who rose to fame a few decades after her father, the famed Dutch jazz tenor saxophonist Hans Duffer.

At the age of six, she picked up a soprano saxophone and by the time she was seven, she had moved on to the alto. At the age of 11, she made her solo debut with her father’s band, De Perikels (The Perils). At age 14, she formed her own band and gave it the name Funky Stuff.