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Beginner Sax Alto versus Tenor


Well-Known Member
I started on alto 35 years ago moved to tenor then because of back problems moved back to alto 20 years ago, and I love the alto sound, that said all the horns have pros and cons, tenor is a little more forgiving but weighs heavier, alto can take sum mastering intonation wise (which is worse as you go up to soprano)but is more manageable size wise.
You will have a voice that suits one over another, and as others have said you will quickly have the desire to own more than one group of horn.
Go with your heart.


Another member mentioned a tutor and that's very important, and not impossible in these times!

There are many great teachers currently providing lessons online via Zoom or Skype. Try and find someone you can have a video chat with, and they may offer invaluable advice aswell as reasonably-priced future lessons. If they're a multi-instrumentalist, they can demo some of the sax family for you. You'll also be helping to support a musician - don't just rely on YouTube, there's an overload of information and disinformation out there. There are also excellent resources you can purchase via this forum.

I'm currently on alto (just over a year) and would love to add a tenor, but I want to feel more confident with my current set-up. I found a tenor much easier to blow because it requires a more relaxed embrouchure, but I think the grounding of an alto embrouchure (or clarinet etc) is invaluable for me.

I will end up with a tenor one day, and possibly a bari too! I WANT THEM ALL!


New Member
I found a tenor much easier to blow

That was how it seemed to me in my very limited try-outs in a shop.

Online lessons is probably something for another topic (or for me to do some forum searching first)… but if anyway has recommendations for good teachers providing online lessons, I'm sure it would be useful for others as well as me.


If your preferred sound is that of a tenor (think Sonny Rollins, Coltrane, Michael Brecker etc.) - Get a tenor. If you dig the sound of alto saxophones (Maceo Parker, Charlie Parker, David Sanborne) - get an alto. If you want to play in a band, get a guitar :)


Cafe Moderator

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
If you can't decide between alto and tenor, get a drum kit. You'll be just as popular with your neighbours and eventually get more work. ;)


Well-Known Member
I can recommend my tutor, Dave Plummer, moved to IOW now but he's confirmed today he IS doing online lessons and has been for a year or so since he moved there, so should be set up well already for doing this.

He's "littleplum" on here. Or see what he offers here: Lessons


I'd give my right arm to be 'merely bad'. In fact, the way I play I don't imagine anyone would hear the difference if I did give my right arm..
This sounds like inspiration for a possible Monty Python Saxophone sketch.

"I dreamed of having a right arm to make a dreadful sound. I didn't even have a left arm! Or lips! Or teeth! Or a mouth! My sound was the sound only eels sucking could hear and then only in mating season."
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