What Saxophones Do Professional Use? (Find Out Here)

What Saxophones Do Professional Use
Written by Corey Morgan

You may be wondering what saxophones you need to invest in if you have aspirations of becoming a professional saxophonist. There are a lot of different brands and models to choose from, and some of them are better than others.

The Saxophones Used by Professionals Are As Follows:

Saxophones like the Conn 6M and the Buescher 400 are used by professionals. Yamaha and Selmer are the two most popular names, but Yanagisawa is quickly gaining ground.

What Brands of Saxophone Are Popular Among Professionals?

Yamaha, Selmer, and Yanagisawa are three of the most popular saxophone manufacturers.

Some players are loyal to a single brand, particularly if they have a business patnership with the company.

Some people prefer one brand’s alto to another’s tenor, or vice versa. Vandoren is a common brand of reeds and mouthpieces used by professionals.

It’s fine to draw inspiration from the pros, but you don’t have to play the same brands they do. Play as many different models of saxophone as you can before settling on one.

Which Saxophones Do Jazz Professionals Play?

Many saxophonists specialize in jazz and thus require high-quality instruments.

Each saxophonist has their own taste in instruments, and that includes the brand and model they play.

Think about some of the most well-known jazz saxophonists in history and today. T hen, you can see if you can achieve a similar sound by emulating the brands they’ve used.

1. Kenny G.

Most people would agree that Kenny G is the most well-known saxophonist currently performing.

He is best known for his work on the soprano saxophone, but he is also accomplished on other instruments in the saxophone family. His go-to instrument is a Selmer Mark VI, whether he’s playing soprano, alto, or tenor sax.

I was unable to find any information about the make or model of Kenny G’s baritone saxophone, but I do know that he rarely uses it in his performances.

2. Alexa Tarantino

Alexa Tarantino - Practice Routine for All Levels

Alexa Tarantino, despite being so young, is already making waves as a jazz musician. She uses a Yamaha YAS-82ZIIS and a Yamaha alto sax neck.

She plays on a Yamaha YSS-675 soprano saxophone. She always uses a Vandoren mouthpiece and reeds, whether she’s playing soprano or alto.

3. Michael Brecker

Michael Brecker Beast mode on Saxophone (Studio Sessions)

The Selmer Balanced Action and the Mark VI were clearly two of the most well-liked models. Another saxophonist who played both types was Michael Brecker.

Considering how popular the Selmer brand is, it’s possible that this is just a coincidence. Perhaps the various jazz musicians discussed and recommended new equipment.

4. Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan - Satin Doll

Gerry Mulligan, an early expert on the baritone saxophone, used a Conn instrument. Conn made this model in 1926, and it was plated in gold.

He added an M.C. Gregory baritone saxophone mouthpiece to the instrument. Although the brand isn’t widely known, it was instrumental in producing Mulligan’s incredible sound.

5. Perry Adams

Perry Adams, who used a Selmer, was another well-known jazz bari saxophonist. Nine unique models were created by Selmer just for him.

Because of his fame, Adams can afford to pick out the finest instrument available. He had been using the same instrument for 30 years, and he finally decided to get something better.

6. Charlie Parker

Kim - Charlie Parker - Best Alto Sax Solo

As far as I can tell, Charlie Parker used a King Super 20 alto saxophone. He also played the Grafton saxophone, an acrylic plastic model, so it’s quite unique.

Aside from the Conn 6M and Buescher 400, he also played other models of saxophone. The Grafton plastic saxophone, however, stands out as the most popular and well-known of its kind.

7. John Coltrane

John Coltrane - Equinox (Original)

John Coltrane, another well-known jazz saxophonist, got his start playing a Selmer Balanced Action tenor sax. Soon after, he switched to a Selmer Mark VI.

You can get a great jazz sound out of either model because they’re both excellent. Although there are likely other saxes that John Coltrane played, the following two are the most important to know about.

8. Stan Getz

Those 6 Times When Stan Getz Melted Our Hearts | bernie's bootlegs

Like Coltrane, Stan Getz used to play two different Selmer saxophones, but in same order.

Getz first played a sax with a Balanced Action mechanism before upgrading to a Mark VI.

Nonetheless, I learned that he occasionally used a Conn 10M saxophone. Like many players, he likely sought out the optimal setup at various points in his career.

Which saxophones are used in classical music?

When compared to jazz saxophonists, classical musicians may not have quite as many household names. If classical music is more your style, however, you may be curious about the best equipment for this type of music.

Classical repertory isn’t as common, but it does exist. Take a look at the following list of well-known classical saxophonists and the instruments they used.

9. Marcel Mule

A.Glazunov Saxophone Concerto by Marcel MULE

Marcel Mule, like many of his contemporaries in jazz, favored the Selmer Mark VI saxopho. The metal Selmer mouthpiece he chose was the perfect complement to the instrument. Mule collaborated with Selmer to create a high-quality Mark VI model.

That’s likely why so many musicians of different styles have adopted it.

10. Jess Gillam

Jess Gillam - Milhaud: Scaramouche - 3. Brazileira

Jess Gillam, at age 12, is one of the youngest well-known classical saxophonists today.

The AWO20U, A992U, T992U, SS91SP, and SWO2U are just some of the models she performs on.

These saxophones range from the soprano to the tenor. I was unable to locate any information regarding the baritone saxophone(s) she may play, but if she does, it will likely be a Yanagisawa.

11. Amy Dickson

Amy Dickson - Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Another well-known female saxophonist is Amy Dickson.

Although I was unable to learn her exact saxophone preferences, it appears that she is prefers the Selmer instruments.

Therefore, if I had to guess, I’d say she most likely uses, or at the very least has used, a Selmer Mark VI. She could play the Mark VI in addition to or instead of other models.

12. Rousseau, Eugene.

Indoor 2004: Dr. Eugene Rousseau with the UMMB

When you think of great classical saxophonists, Eugene Rousseau is likely to come to mind. From the soprano to the baritone, he’s proficient on every Yamaha saxophone.

He uses Yamaha 875 models for his soprano, alto, and tenor instruments (so the YSS-875, YAS-875, and YTS-875). He uses a Yamaha YBS-62 as his primary instrument when playing the baritone sax.

Which Alto Saxophones Are Most Popular in the Music Industry?

The Yamaha and Selmer brands of alto saxophones are the most popular among professionals.

The YAS-82 and YAS-875 are the two most popular Yamaha models.

The Mark VI appears to be the most well-liked Selmer model among both classical and jazz musicians. The Yanagisawa family of alto saxophones comes in at number three.

Performers usually use Vandoren or Selmer mouthpieces with these instruments. In addition to reeds, vandoren is a popular option.

To be a successful alto saxophonist, you need not play any of these specific models. A better option is to pick a make and model that you know will serve your needs.

Which Saxophones Do Jazz Musicians Play? To that end, I present the nine most sought-after designs.

Which Tenor Saxophones Are Most Popular in the Professional Scene?

In terms of high-quality, commercially available tenor saxophones, Selmer is unrivaled. The Selmer Balanced action model was once widely used by musicians, especially in jazz.

As of late, the Selmer Mark VI has been trending upward in popularity. The model is popular among classical and jazz musicians and has been used with Selmer mouthpieces.

The Yamaha YTS-875 and the Yanagisawa T992U are two other well-liked tenor saxes. This is, of course, a very brief sampling of the many professional tenor saxes available.

Which Baritone Saxophones Are Most Commonly Played by Professionals?

Larger and more expensive than other saxophones, the baritone sax is played by a smaller fraction of the population. Nonetheless, some key figures have adopted a variety of approaches over the years.

Among the best bari saxophones on the market, the names Conn, Selmer, and Yamaha stand out. The Yamaha YBS-62 is a popular choice for those who enjoy the sound of Yamaha’s other 62, series models.

Pepper Adams used nine different Selmer models, though it’s unclear whether they were all unique.

There may have been minor adjustments made to the instruments that didn’t merit new model numbers.

Which Soprano Saxophones Are Most Commonly Played on the Professional Level?

Selmer Mark VI, Yamaha YSS-675, and Yamaha YSS-875 are some of the best-known professional soprano saxophones.

The Yanagisawa SS91SP and the SWO2U are alternative models.

The soprano saxophone is, like the bari saxophone, less common than the alto and tenor. Professional soprano saxophones aren’t as readily available as they once were, but you can still find a good variety of instruments to choose from.

It’s important to try out a few different brands and models before settling on a saxophone. Then you can pick an instrument that really suits your needs.

Can You Be a Professional Without Playing One of These Saxophones?

It can be useful to be familiar with the styles of both current and former professional saxophonists.

When looking to upgrade your equipment, you can use the data to narrow your search.

However, don’t force yourself to use one of the more popular professional models. Different people have different needs, so what helped Charlie Parker or Jess Gillam may not help you.

If you want to stand out from the crowd, go with a less common model that still fits your needs and appeals to your ears, Then, you can take your time practicing and playing shows.