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Differences Between a Student And a Professional Saxophone Model

Difference Between Student And a Professional Saxophone
Written by Corey Morgan

What is the difference between a student model and a professional saxophone model

A student saxophone’s response time is typically much shorter than that of a professional instrument. Professional musicians, who require an instrument with exceptional feel and response, inspired the novel design of the keys and other features like as the ball brace.

Saxophones are categorized into three levels of difficulty, from beginning (or student) to intermediate (or intermediate performance) and professional (or performance).

All aspiring saxophonists, it stands to reason, begin their musical journey with a basic instrument. However, if a learner reaches a particular proficiency level, they may consider upgrading to a better horn and begin shopping for an intermediate or professional Saxophone.

This article seeks to guide saxophone players to know the difference between a student and a professional saxophone model based on their skill level.

Is my Saxophone a pro model?

Many people have different ideas on what constitutes a “professional,” “intermediate,” or “student” model.

A professional model saxophone is one that is built to last, is in tune and has good ergonomics, and doesn’t require frequent adjustments or repairs.

Although this categorization is useful, it is not exhaustive because it may encompass saxophones that, because of their cost, would otherwise be classified as student saxophones. An example.of this is the Yamaha 23-25.

Some manufacturers, like Selmer, produce only professional-level saxophones, while others, like Yanagisawa, produce an entry-level model that is widely used by professionals, and others, like Yamaha, provide the vast majority of “student” saxophones in the country and world (and a bunch of pro models as well), most of which are also used expertly.

What to Look for in Student Saxophones

Student or beginning saxes are geared toward those who are just starting out. They are typically smaller in size and simpler to play so that the student doesn’t have to worry about having to practice to get any sound out of them.

Beginner saxophones have received a lot of attention from manufacturers in recent years. They worked hard to make instruments that won’t break the bank but still provide the convenience and tonal potential necessary to keep a young player interested in practicing and honing their craft.

However, not all horns are made equal; therefore, you shouldn’t get your young kids a really cheap starter saxophone. Choose a high-quality brand like Allora or Jupiter if you want a horn that will last a long time, provide a pleasant tone, and be easy to play.

Construction and Materials of Beginner Saxes

Constructionally, student saxes are typically flat, without ribs. This contributes to the instrument feeling lighter in the hand and making it easier to produce a good tone.

The majority of inexpensive models include yellow brass construction and a glossy lacquer finish. Professional musicians looking for a unique sound and appearance may opt for a saxophone crafted from bronze, copper, or silver.

They are not recommended for novices because of the darkness they add to the tone, the extra expense they incur, and the special care they demand. In general, a good quality beginner saxophone should be sufficient for a young player to use into middle school.

What are the major difference between a student and a professional saxophone model

  • Weight

Because of their simplified construction, student horns are typically easier to carry. There are two methods for fastening the keys to the body of a saxophone.

The first is made with a single post, while the second is ribbed. Most student models are constructed using a simple framework of one post.

Everything that connects to the central tube of the body will be soldered there. In ribbed construction, many posts are welded onto a single long rib using brazing (a welding technique used on brass).

We then solder the rib straight to the patient’s body. As a result, the saxophone is more sturdy and feels heavier in the player’s hands.

  • The Sax Bore and Keys

There’s also the taper of the bore, which is something that might not be immediately obvious. In general, the bore size of student horns is slightly narrower.

For a pupil who is not as skilled, this means that there is a little more challenge. Many pupils have got the opportunity to play a professional horn thanks to me.

One of the first things they note is how much more spacious the horn is, even while using their own mouthpiece.

Student saxes typically have smaller key sizes that are more comfortable in the hands of younger players. Saxophones like the Bundy II and the Yamaha YAS-23 are great examples of this.

These saxophones may feel good in the hands of a young child, but as a player becomes older, the instrument’s weight and shape may become awkward.

  • Placement of Tone holes

To my ears, the tone holes on student instruments are frequently improperly positioned. Meaning “slightly sharp” or “slightly flat,” respectively. The saxophone is out of tune with itself.

Professional saxophones still have some intonation issues. Adjustments to the location of the tone holes in student horns address the most common playing difficulties.

When a player is progressing, they may become acutely aware of their intonation problems and find that they are unable to fix them using their student model. When that happens, it’s time to upgrade to a more capable saxophone.

  • General Body Construct

A student horn will have a different build than a professional one. An average student horn will have a thinner body than a professional horn.

Manufacturing a student saxophone is not as time-consuming or labor-intensive as making a professional saxophone because of differences in the finer details.

To that aim, the manufacturing facility will not spend money on, instance, blue needle springs with tapered ends when a cheaper steel rod would suffice. However, the pads will not be made of professional-grade leather and felt. There may be a decline in cork quality.

There is typically plastic used for the critical parts rather than mother of pearl. While professional saxophones often feature metal resonators, student horns are typically made of plastic.

Key Manufacture Process

The keys are generated differently, which is still another distinction. Keys on student and some other less expensive saxophones are cast rather than machined.

Here, the molten metal is poured into a mold, and the key is produced, needing only minor adjustments to fit the saxophone and subsequent polishing or plating before being installed.

Key forgery is another option. Each component of the key must be handcrafted by stamping it from a sheet of brass and then brazing it together.

Forging a key improves the steel by making it stronger and reduces the likelihood that the key will bend, but it is a time-consuming procedure that significantly raises the price of a saxophone.


To be considered a professional saxophonist, one must not hold back when playing. You will discover the fit, and finish are of the greatest quality.

This intonation is perfect for a professional musician. A professional saxophone’s metal will likely be thicker, making it heavier.

To personalize a professional saxophone, engraving is usual practice. With the advent of computers and laser engraving, however, producers are finding that this is both a simpler and more cost-effective process, resulting in more sophisticated engraving on select beginner, intermediate, and advanced saxophones.

Still, only high-end professional saxes have their engraving done by hand.