Are you looking to purchase a student saxophone? Whether you have some playing experience, or never touched a saxophone before, choosing an instrument to spend your well-earned money on can be a daunting task, especially if you are unfamiliar with the different makes and models.

Whether you have a small or large budget, there is a student saxophone for everyone, and our range of payment options can also help with your purchase.

As the majority of people will start playing on either an Alto or Tenor saxophone, as they are quite manageable in terms of size and playability, these are the models that I will focus on in this particular blog.

Elkhart 100 Series Alto/Tenor

Price (January 2017) :- Alto £299.68; Tenor £468.29

A well-established entry-level instrument brand, Elkhart have been producing student saxophones for “beginners” for a few years now. Their Alto and Tenor saxes are best for players from beginner up to about grade 3/4 level, and are also great for the budget conscious players who may not be able to invest a larger amount in their instrument. Even though this is the most inexpensive saxophone we sell, you certainly still get a good quality, robust instrument for your money, and a nice sound.

Sonata Student Alto

Price (January 2017) :- £300.00

Much like Elkhart, our exclusive brand of student instruments Sonata offers good quality at affordable prices. Again we usually recommend that this Alto saxophone is suitable for players up to about grade 4 standard, or a player who is looking to keep their costs down. It’s lightweight but sturdy design makes this saxophone ideal for younger players, who can sometimes struggle with the weight of a saxophone, and its good quality sound is encouraging for beginners.

Jupiter JAS-500-Q/JTS-500-Q

Price (January 2017) :- Alto £692.82; Tenor £929.03

Jupiter as a brand sits comfortably in the mid-range of student instruments. Being somewhat more refined than the entry-level brands, Jupiter’s Alto and Tenor saxophones should take a player that bit further, to around grade 5/6 before you may feel the need for an upgrade. The quality craftsmanship of these saxophones contributes to their durability and polished sound, which is appreciated by many players and teachers. These saxophones would be a good choice for someone who has possibly rented for a while so has some playing experience, and is looking for their first purchase.

Yamaha YAS280/YTS280

Price (January 2017) :- Alto £835.00; Tenor £1183.00

At the upper end of the student saxophones we have on offer at Normans is the Yamaha 280 range. The Alto and Tenor saxophones are the most expensive in the student range, but definitely worth the investment. These instruments should take a player comfortably to grade 6, but often players will keep their 280 right up until grade 8 with the help of a good mouthpiece and reeds. A Yamaha saxophone may seem like a huge investment initially, but they often last many more years than their counterparts. The build quality of Yamaha’s student instruments is excellent and the quality of sound and longevity of their instruments reflects this, making it a favourite amongst teachers.

Yamaha YAS480/YTS480

Price (January 2017) :- Alto £1492.00; Tenor £1918.00

The final saxophones I wanted to mention in this blog are Yamaha’s 480 Alto and Tenor. These are not technically student instruments, but advertised by Yamaha as an intermediate range. These “step-up instruments” have a more refined, authoritative sound than the student saxophones, and are a great choice for players between grades 4 to 8, or a keen hobbyist. With a bit more resistance than the student models, this saxophone will help a player to develop their sound and technique. Again the build quality of the 480 range is exceptional, and you really get what you pay for.

If you would be more interested in the professional range of saxophones stocked at Normans, then please follow this link to read our other blog.

Payment Options

At Normans we are pleased to offer a range of ways to purchase your saxophone, whether you want to pay upfront, or in monthly instalments.

We offer many ways to pay securely at checkout including; debit/credit card, PayPal and Amazon Pay.

We also offer 0% interest free finance for any instruments over £450, or low interest rates for instruments under this value. You can read more about our finance provider Divido here.

Finally, if you would prefer to rent a saxophone to see how the player gets on initially, we offer the Sonata and Elkhart Alto Saxophones as part of our rental scheme. Full information and application for our rental scheme can be found here.

If you would like more information, or discuss purchasing a saxophone further then please contact our sales team on 01283 535333 (option 1), or by email

About the author

Having recently graduated from the University of Huddersfield Music Department, Isabelle is the most recent member of the Normans Sales Team. She has played both Clarinet and Saxophone for over 13 years, and has played in many ensembles both in the Staffordshire area and at university, and currently performs in a function band. With her experience of woodwind and performance, this is obviously what she loves to write about.