Ten Things You Should Know About Alto Saxophones

The alto saxophone is a member of the saxophone family, but unlike other members, it produces its unique sound by being more prominent. Since its inception, the alto sax has helped make jazz music today. They are the perfect soprano and tenor saxophones hybrid, designed to give you a solid upper range. In this article, we’ll go over ten things you should know as well as some interesting facts about the alto saxophone itself…

Ten Things You Should Know About Alto Saxophones

Alto Saxophones Are Meant For Beginners To Learn

Alto saxophones are widely considered the most accessible instrument in the family because of their smaller size and tone quality. As you can see at consordini.com, there is a big difference between other instruments, especially if you’re already used to soprano or tenor. Some teachers even encourage their students to start on alto because it has less resistance than the saxophone.

They Cost Less Than You Think

On average, they are priced at about the exact cost as a high-quality beginner instrument for other instruments, so it’s perfect because of their smaller size and lower maintenance requirements. You can start learning on alto, whether you want to stick with it or switch later.

It’s Named After Its Designer!

The alto saxophone was invented by the Belgian instrument designer Adolphe Sax somewhen in the early 1840s, but it wasn’t patented until 1846 which is the same year the Liberty Bell cracked after it was rung for George Washington’s birthday!

Alto Saxophones Are Versatile Instruments

The alto is generally considered an instrument with excellent tone quality and projection blend. It does not have the sheer projection power of the larger instruments such as baritone or bass, but it still has more bodies than its smaller brethren (the sopranino and soprano).

Would You Pay $60,000 for One?

The good news is you don’t have, but in 2007 at the Thailand Millionaire Expo a little alto sax made from glass plated with 2.82 ounces of gold and 10X 2-carat diamonds was actioned off to benefit the Princess Pa Foundation and the top bidder was $60,000 by an unnamed musical collector.

Ten Things You Should Know About Alto Saxophones

They Sound Better

Some musicians do prefer the sound from an Alto because it settles into the middle ground between size and strength because there isn’t as much effort involved in creating a big sound on this instrument. Alto saxophones are a little bigger than sopranos, but they still have the advantage of being compact enough to have a more subtle tone and better agility on the bottom end.

Some Famous People Use Them

From the French classical saxophonist Marcel Mule to the American virtuoso classical saxophonist Frederick Hemke, influential performers seem to prefer the sound of the alto sax as well as the feel as many of them used the same instrument throughout their lives (with occasional repair and repentance of course).

It Could Save Your Money

Alto saxophones do not get their own family of mouthpieces or reeds, so they share accessories with the soprano and tenor. For this reason, many musicians go for alto saxophones because they can save money by using what they already have at home. Instead of shelling out even more money to buy a whole new setup because their tastes changed slightly from tenor to alto. You should expect to pay a few hundred dollars for a good beginner’s alto saxophone in terms of the price range.

Did You Know It Was a Transposing Instrument?

If you are playing a written middle C on an alto sax those with a trained ear will notice that it produces a different pitch! That is because it is said to transpose “at the octave” and make it sound higher than what is written.

Alto Saxophones Have a Higher Pitched Range

Alto saxophones have the same range as the tenor, from low A to high F above the staff, but they are more elevated than their larger brethren by almost an octave. This means that you can quickly move between both instruments without having to change your embouchure or tongue position too much – keep in mind that alto saxophone will be a little more difficult because of the increased pitch. The great thing, though, is that you can take many tunes written for tenor and transpose them upwards with ease, so if you ever play with a pianist who has less than the perfect pitch, you will be in good shape.

Alto saxophones are great instruments for musicians who want to add something new and exotic to their portfolio of sounds. Just be sure that you give yourself enough time to practice with these guys before bringing them out to any gigs.

Author: Gus Barge

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