Is it worth buying used saxophone?

Worth it . buying used saxophone can be a great option. However, potential issues such as hidden damage or shorter lifespan must be considered.

Is it worth buying used saxophone

The Market for Used Saxophones

The market for used saxophones is vibrant, presenting various opportunities for potential buyers and sellers. It caters to both novice and experienced musicians, with a broad spectrum of instruments available from different periods and brands.

Current State of the Market

The current state of the used saxophone market reflects a robust demand. Various factors have influenced this, such as the renewed interest in jazz and the general preference for vintage musical instruments. While the demand is high, so is the supply, with many used instruments coming from older players retiring from the field or professionals upgrading to higher-end models. According to a 2019 report on musical instrument sales, the used market has seen considerable growth over the past few years.

Where to Buy Used Saxophones

There are many avenues to buy used saxophones. Traditional physical stores, such as pawn shops and musical instrument stores, are common sources. Online platforms have also become increasingly popular, offering a wider range and potentially better deals. Websites like eBay, Craigslist, and Reverb have numerous listings. Specialized online marketplaces, such as Saxquest and, also offer a vast selection of used saxophones, providing additional assurance regarding the quality of the instruments.


Typical Price Ranges


Type of Saxophone Typical Price Range (New) Typical Price Range (Used)
Soprano $1,000 – $4,000 $600 – $2,500
Alto $600 – $5,000 $400 – $3,000
Tenor $800 – $6,000 $500 – $4,500
Baritone $1,500 – $10,000 $1,000 – $7,500

The Pros and Cons of Buying a Used Saxophone

Before investing in a used saxophone, it’s essential to weigh the benefits against the potential downsides. Each buyer’s situation will be unique, influenced by factors such as budget constraints, playing level, and personal preferences.


Disadvantages and Advantages of Buying Used saxophone

Advantages Disadvantages
More affordable than new saxophones Potential for hidden damage
Access to unique, vintage instruments Typically shorter lifespan due to prior use
Higher quality instruments for beginners Limited or no warranty
Instruments might be already ‘broken in’ Possible need for immediate repair or adjustment
Potential for better value for your money Uncertain history of the instrument


What to Look for When Buying a Used Saxophone

Purchasing a used saxophone requires thorough inspection and evaluation to ensure you are making a wise investment. Below are some key aspects to consider during the process.

Inspecting the Physical Condition

A saxophone’s physical condition can significantly impact its playability and lifespan. Here are some critical elements to inspect:

  • Pads: Check if the saxophone’s pads are in good condition. Worn or torn pads can affect the saxophone’s sound and playability.
  • Body: Inspect the body of the saxophone for any dents or scratches. While minor surface damage might not affect the instrument’s sound, significant dents can alter the saxophone’s pitch or tone.
  • Keys: The saxophone’s keys should move smoothly and easily. Sticky or unresponsive keys can indicate an issue that might require repair.
  • Neck: The saxophone’s neck, particularly in the case of alto and tenor saxophones, should fit snugly and securely.

Checking the Sound Quality

Sound quality is a subjective factor but is crucial when buying a saxophone. It would be best if you tried playing the instrument yourself or have a more experienced player test it.

  • Tone: The saxophone should produce a full, rich tone across all notes. Any inconsistencies could indicate potential issues.
  • Intonation: Check the intonation of the saxophone by playing different notes. The saxophone should be able to produce consistent pitch across its entire range.
  • Response: The saxophone should respond quickly and easily to your breath. If it’s difficult to produce sound, there might be leaks or other mechanical issues.

Checking the Sound Quality

Assessing the Value

To ensure you’re getting a good deal, assess the saxophone’s value before purchase.

  • Price: Compare the asking price with other similar used saxophones on the market. Ensure you’re not overpaying.
  • Brand: Certain brands might have a higher resale value based on their reputation for quality.
  • Included Accessories: Consider any additional items included with the saxophone, such as a case, mouthpiece, or neck strap, as these can add value.

Tips for Caring for a Used Saxophone

Regardless of whether a saxophone is new or used, proper maintenance is crucial in ensuring its longevity and preserving its sound quality. Here are some key tips on caring for a used saxophone.

Regular Maintenance Practices

Regular maintenance plays a critical role in extending the lifespan of a used saxophone and keeping it in optimal playing condition. Here are some routine practices:

  • Cleaning: After every use, it’s essential to clean the saxophone to remove moisture and prevent damage to the pads and key mechanism. Use a swab or cleaning cloth to clean the interior and exterior of the saxophone.
  • Storage: Always store your saxophone in its case when not in use to protect it from dust and potential damage. Ensure the case is sturdy and fits the saxophone properly.
  • Lubrication: Lubricate the key mechanisms regularly to ensure they move smoothly and easily. Use a good quality key oil recommended by saxophone professionals.

Common Repair Issues and How to Avoid Them

Even with diligent care, used saxophones can still encounter certain common repair issues. However, awareness of these issues can help in prevention:

  • Pad Wear: Over time, the saxophone’s pads may wear down or tear, causing leaks. Regular check-ups with a professional technician can help detect and fix these issues early.
  • Misalignment: Regular use can lead to misalignment of the keys, affecting the saxophone’s playability. Avoid pressing the keys too hard and have regular adjustments done by a professional.
  • Corrosion: The saxophone can develop corrosion over time, particularly if not cleaned regularly. Always dry the saxophone thoroughly after use and consider using anti-tarnish strips in the case.


  1. Saxophone
  2. List of Saxophone Manufacturers
  3. Saxophone Repertoire
  4. Saxophone Technique
  5. Saxophone Quartet
  6. History of the Saxophone

Is buying a used saxophone worth it?

It depends on various factors, such as the player's level, budget, and preference. A used saxophone can be cost-effective and might offer a unique tone, but it also comes with potential risks like hidden damage or shorter lifespan.

Where can I buy a used saxophone?

You can buy used saxophones from physical stores like pawn shops or music instrument stores, or through online platforms like eBay, Craigslist, Reverb, Saxquest, and

What should I check when buying a used saxophone?

Check the physical condition, including the pads, body, keys, and neck. Also, check the sound quality, particularly the tone, intonation, and response. Finally, assess the saxophone's value to ensure you're getting a fair deal.

What are some common issues with used saxophones?

Common issues include hidden damage or wear, potentially shorter lifespan, and the inability to try the instrument before buying, especially when purchasing online.

How can I maintain a used saxophone?

Regular maintenance includes cleaning the saxophone after every use, storing it properly in its case, and lubricating the key mechanisms regularly.

What are some common repair issues with used saxophones?

Common repair issues include pad wear, misalignment of keys, and corrosion. These can often be avoided or minimized through regular maintenance and professional check-ups.

How does the condition of a used saxophone affect its sound?

The condition can greatly affect the sound. For instance, worn or torn pads, significant dents in the body, or misaligned keys can all alter the instrument's sound quality.

Can a beginner start with a used saxophone?

Yes, a beginner can start with a used saxophone. In fact, used instruments are often 'broken in,' potentially making them easier to play for beginners.

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