The saxophone is one of the most distinctive instruments. Even the layperson can pick out the sound of a saxophone in an orchestra or jazz band, they are often used as ensemble and solo instruments. The sound of a sax is smooth and silky, giving any jazz song that lazy, hazy feel.
But there are 3 different kinds of saxophone. Most sax experts will tell you that there is a distinct difference between an alto, soprano and tenor saxophone.
One of the first differences you might notice between a soprano and other types of sax is the shape - the soprano doesn’t come in the standard S-curve, most models are completely straight.
A soprano saxophone is pitched a lot higher than the other sax instruments and is traditionally smaller in size. The only smaller saxophone is the sopranino saxophone, which is an even higher pitch again.
When it comes to purchasing a new soprano saxophone, you’ll need one with all the correct finger positions and the number of keys that typifies a conventional saxophone. It needs to be made out of the same unique brass composition or something very similar to achieve that high and rich soprano sax sound.
But where can you find the best soprano saxophone? What features does a soprano sax need to have and what materials should it be made from to give you that pitch-perfect sound every single time? How much can you be expected to pay for a decent soprano sax?
Well, saxophone fans won’t have to wait much longer for answers to these all-important questions, because we’ve compiled a list of some of the best saxophones currently available on the market.
We’ve also got a buyer’s guide to help you discern the good saxophones from the bad ones, along with some frequently asked questions.
OUR TOP PICK
Our first model of soprano sax is one by a brand that has recently introduced itself on the market, but has quickly established itself as a leader.
With plenty of high ratings on Amazon, this saxophone really is one of the best that this company has to offer - introducing the ammoon LADE Straight Bb Soprano Saxophone.
This soprano saxophone has got a durable body made from solid brass that plays really well and will give your sax tone that perfectly rich and resonant sound.
When it comes to having the ideal sound, then you’re going to want something made from decent materials that won’t perish after use.
You can hit those high key Bb notes quite easily on this model, with faux pearl inlays that are very responsive and allow for a very smooth transition between notes.
It also has a leather-cushioned case that you can use to transport it, the padding on the inside more than adequately protecting your sax from the knocks and bumps that can damage the functionality.
- This instrument comes very highly rated by sax aficionados, most of them complimenting the solid body, the rich tone and the resilient construction of the sax itself.
- The bell is hand engraved and decorated, which will certainly appeal to players who think style is just as important as substance.
- This unit is very compact, making it the perfect travel companion if you’re playing with a jazz band on the road.
- The leather case is very hard wearing and padded to protect the body of your saxophone, which can succumb to damages that will affect the functionality of the instrument.
- This might be a slightly more complex model for beginners who are still struggling to get to grips with the finger positions and traditional saxophone mouthpieces.
This next soprano saxophone has been variously described as a solo and ensemble instrument, giving out a shrill yet rich tone that will brighten up the sound of any live band.
It comes with a gold lacquer plated body with a solid design and construction that can withstand a lot of different impacts - introducing the Merano B Flat Gold Soprano Saxophone.
This saxophone has a gold lacquered finish that will stop it from succumbing to a lot of the battery and bruising that can affect a touring instrument.
It will also prevent corrosive elements such as sweat and water from destroying the ball, barrel and keys of the sax - all the elements that you need to achieve a high standard of playing.
For those players who want a sax that stands the test of time, this might be the perfect model. It comes with additional accessories such as a velvet hard case, as well as a nipper, a soft cleaning case and a screwdriver.
These tools will give you the best chance of keeping your sax in mint condition lending it an extra few months, and possibly years to its lifespan.
- The lacquered body - this saxophone will be able to resist most of the elements that corrode the metal and eventually reduce the functionality of your soprano sax.
- With a solid brass body, this soprano saxophone will deliver those high B Flat notes that you need to give levity or celebration to your composition, offsetting the other bass instruments such as contrabass sax or trombone.
- This is a very professional-looking instrument, which will mean a lot to people who expect to be playing regularly in a band setting.
- The velvet case will ensure that your saxophone stays in pristine condition for as long as possible. This is important if you are a touring musician.
- The price - this is a little more expensive than some of our other saxophones, which might deter the beginner who wants something a little cheaper that will allow them to get to grips with finger positions and breathing techniques.
You might notice that our next instrument looks slightly different from even the traditional soprano saxophone.
It is smaller and made from silicone but you can still practice all the finger patterns associated with a soprano saxophone, which is why we’ve included it in this list.
This is the perfect instrument for beginners who have zero experience with the saxophone - introducing the Nuvo jSax Student Saxophone.
This one is perfect for entry-level saxophone players who don’t want to spend too much on their first instrument, preferring a facsimile that they can use without worrying about damage.
With this training sax, you can practice hand positions and exercise the muscles in your lips, throat and jaw on the mouthpiece. This is a great way to discover whether you want to commit to the sax fully without having to pay the price of a pro-standard one.
The construction of this sax closely mirrors that of a professional brass soprano sax, perfect for use during basic lessons.
The silicone is lightweight and will allow you to hold it in the same position for hours at a time, which will be essential to those beginners looking to progress.
- This saxophone will give you as close to the real thing as possible, the silicone producing a very similar tone to that of a brass soprano saxophone.
- The price - this is probably the best aspect of the Nuvo. The cheaper price tag will certainly appeal to amateurs who want to tentatively move into the world of sax playing without committing to the hefty financial cost.
- This saxophone can easily hit the higher register of the soprano saxophone, allowing you to flex those notes anywhere between the middle C up to the G in the next octave.
- The construction - the lightweight silicone is durable and can withstand a lot of the more intense impacts that you might experience if transporting it from your home to the rehearsal room or between gigs.
- This model is obviously no substitute for the real thing, you won’t be able to achieve the sound of a solid brass saxophone, so buyers should be aware of that before purchasing.
Our next saxophone goes back to the traditional brass construction, with the extremely high price tag that goes with it.
This is ideal for intermediate or professional sax players who want to up their sax game with something a little more heavy-duty, with a solid one-piece body and lacquered keys - introducing the Selmer SS600 Soprano Saxophone.
This one certainly can achieve the high notes that most soprano saxes can experience, giving you that rich and bright note that soars above the bassier instruments.
The solid brass of the Selmer will have no trouble resonating the high notes. The lacquered body will prevent rusting from long term exposure to moisture that live instruments often experience.
This model comes with a plush velvet carry case that is made from solid wood, so you can be sure of a very safe transit for you and your saxophone.
When it comes to extending the overall life of your saxophone, having a sturdy carry case will make all the difference between having it for a few years and a few decades.
- The lacquered keys are very responsive and allow for a fluid transition between the notes. When it comes to having that professional-sounding instrument, you’ll need something that has that little bit of bounciness in the keys.
- The keys on this saxophone will be more than capable of handling the higher register notes of a soprano. This will be ideal as a first, second or final saxophone, the solid brass casing lasting many years.
- The carry case of this saxophone is made to a professional standard, so it will keep your soprano sax safe from wear and tear for years to come.
- The construction of this saxophone is very lightweight, meaning that you can practice for much longer. The size of it also means that you can store it easier in your garage or bedroom, handy if you’re only a casual player.
- The price - with a professional-grade saxophone comes a very hefty price. You can expect this to cost you a few hundred dollars, which might not appeal to the novice player.
Our final saxophone resembles the typical alto saxophone we’re all used to seeing, coming in a curved S-shape.
This is a great saxophone that can be used by beginners as well as intermediate players, with a solid construction, it will fit seamlessly into most orchestras, jazz bands or practice room sessions - introducing the Lazarro Soprano Saxophone.
If you’re thinking of picking up a unique soprano sax for practice, this will be the perfect model - affordable, well-built with top-notch design, this one comes highly rated by both students and teachers. This is also the perfect bridging instrument between beginner and intermediate.
This saxophone comes with plenty of accessories that will give the beginner or intermediate player everything they need to keep their instrument in premium condition.
With white gloves, cleaning rod, screwdriver, reeds holder, cleaning cloth, neck strap and many more, you’ll be able to look every bit the stylish and sophisticated sax player.
- This saxophone gives the intermediate player everything they will need to begin playing - with a cleaning kit and all the industry-standard mouthpieces and reeds, you’ll be able to achieve that classic soprano sound in no time.
- The keys on this sax are classic in their design and style, with lacquered keys that are both responsive and allow for a smooth transition between notes.
- This saxophone has a much more unique shape, which means that you will be able to quickly differentiate your sax from the conventional straight-shaped soprano models.
- This is ideal for all levels of saxophone player - whether you’re a first-time blower, transitioning from intermediate to pro, or are a seasoned jazz saxophonist who wants that professional tone.
- The price - as with all the other pro sopranos on this list, this one is very pricey. Some newbies on a limited budget will certainly want to steer clear of this model.
Best Soprano Saxophone Buying Guide
Buying your first saxophone might be daunting, even if you’ve been playing for several years, you might still not know what you’re looking for in terms of build quality and features.
Before purchasing you have to think about the level of intensity at which you’ll be playing, as this will affect the types of keys, the build quality and the tone of your sax.
Here are a few features that you’ll want your soprano sax to have to give you the best in terms of tone and playability over many years.
Are The Keys On Your Sax Lacquered?
This will make all the difference when it comes to achieving those smooth notes, with responsive keys that push back against your fingers but don’t stick.
You’ll want to keep your keys greased to avoid the build-up of rust, grime and other substances that affect the brass body of a soprano saxophone.
If you are looking to practice the distinctive finger positions of a soprano saxophone, then you’ll want to buy a practice model with matching keys.
What Is The Weight Of Your Saxophone?
Weight is very important for a sax, particularly if you’re thinking of gigging extensively. Possibly part of the reason for opting for a soprano sax is because of the lighter weight.
A heavier saxophone will be a lot more difficult to lug around, so you might prefer the portability as well as the playability of the soprano.
You’ll want a sax that feels durable in your hands, with the ability to withstand intense playing. If your sax is too light, this is a good indication that it is made from substandard materials.
However, if it is too heavy, it could severely impede your performance, so you’ll want to find a middle ground.
How Does Your Sax Play?
Generally, a soprano sax is a lot smaller than a tenor or an alto sax, so it should feel very easy to handle in your hands, not cutting too hard into the neck or tiring you out during long hours of gigging late into the night.
Best Soprano Saxophone - FAQ's
Is It Better To Buy A Saxophone From A Reputable Seller?
Yes. The reason for this is because when it comes to instruments, you really won’t want to be cutting corners.
Sellers that are less well-known and reputable could manufacture instruments from substandard materials, resulting in your new sax lasting barely a few months.
Manufacturers such as Yamaha and Mendini have established themselves as brands, so we would recommend that you seek these out first.
We would also suggest that you try and find instrument sellers that have over one hundred 5 or 4 star reviews, with plenty of comments stating what buyers thought about their product.
What Materials Is A Sax Traditionally Made From?
Your conventional saxophone is made from brass, sometimes plated with nickel or silver-nickel keys. You can also find saxophones made from silicone or carbon fiber elements.
However, silicone is normally used on practice soprano saxophones.