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Looking to get started learning saxophone? In this article we’re going to round up some of the best beginner tenor saxophones on the market, so you can get playing with a solid instrument – without breaking the bank.

We’ve reviewed some of the most well-known tenor saxophone brands to show you the features and highlights of each. If you have extra questions, feel free to use the comments section at the end.

Whilst the alto sax may be most common for beginners (especially younger students) due to it’s smaller size, there are some great reasons why you might want to get started on tenor instead.

For a start, many of the most famous saxophone solos in history are played on this instrument.

From jazz legends like John Coltrane and Stan Getz, to many of the biggest pop hits of the 70s and 80s, there’s a huge amount of recognisable repertoire for this instrument.

On top of that, it has a deeper sound (more closely resembling the male singing voice) and, whilst it needs more air, it’s easier to play in tune.

Ready to get started?

Check this summary of our top picks of student tenor saxophones, then read on for more detailed reviews of each of these excellent beginner instruments…

BrandBest for...Buy
Jean Paul TS-400 the serious saxophone beginner Check Price on Amazon
Yamaha YTS-26 state-of-the art manufacturingCheck Price on Amazon
Mendini by Ceciliocomplete beginners on a budgetCheck Price on Amazon
Jupiter Intermediate a solid, long-term saxophoneCheck Price on Amazon
Selmer TS711 saxophone history at an affordable priceCheck Price on Amazon
Glory (Black & Gold)younger beginner studentsCheck Price on Amazon

beginner tenor saxophone

Jean Paul USA TS-400

Best for: the serious saxophone beginner 

If you’re looking for a beginner tenor saxophone which combines an affordable price with trustworthy quality, the Jean Paul TS-400 is our favourite.

Designed with traditional gold lacquer finish with a simple yet stylish engraving, it provides a solid basis from which to make quick progress playing saxophone.

It’s best described as an intermediate level instrument, somewhere in between beginner and professional, which is shown in its quality manufacturing methods that aid easy playability and resonant sound.

Whilst it’s not the cheapest horn on this list it offers brilliant value, especially when considering the fact that this is a leading international saxophone brand which backs their instruments with a generous parts and labour warranty.

If you are confident about sticking with playing saxophone, or want to give yourself the best possible start to learning it, Jean Paul tenor saxes are a worthwhile investment.

Jean Paul USA Intermediate Tenor Saxophone TS-400
  • Key of BB with power forged and tapered...
  • Beautiful yellow brass body construction...
  • Lovely engraved bell pattern for and...
  • Comes with robust contoured carrying...
  • Included accessories: one Rico reed,...

Yamaha YTS-26

Best for: state-of-the art manufacturing

Regardless of whether you’ve ever bought an instrument before, you’ve probably heard of Yamaha.

As one of the most famous music companies in the world, buying a tenor saxophone from them includes a certain guarantee of quality, even with their beginner instruments.

Whilst not cheap compared to many lesser-known student saxophones, the Yamaha YTS-26 tenor is a solid choice for the serious and developing musician and combines many of the state-of-the-art manufacturing elements alo seen on their professional models.

Whilst intonation and sound on a saxophone is highly influenced by the person playing it, this saxophone provides its owner with the best possible foundation on which to develop that.

Yamaha YTS-26 Tenor Saxophone
• Constructed from Yellow brass
• Nickel silver keys
• Drawn tone holes
• Stainless steel springs
• Waterproof leather pads
• Adjustable plastic thumb hook
• Includes case and Yamaha 4C mouthpiece with cap and ligature
Check Price

Mendini by Cecilio

Best for: complete beginners on a budget

California-based music company Cecilio have established themselves over the last 10+ years as a solid provider of woodwind, brass and string instruments.

Their Mendini tenor saxophone comes with classic gold lacquer as standard, but can also be ordered in silver/nickel or even black/nickel, for those looking for something a little more original.

As you’d expect from a good beginner saxophone, it comes with a range of accessories, such as an electronic tuner, sling and even reeds. As such, it’s ready to play right out of the box.

If you (or your child) are looking to start playing an instrument for the very first time, you probably don’t want to spend a huge amount to see if the saxophone is right for you. In this case, the Mendini by Cecilio is an excellent beginner instrument which mixes reliable manufacturing and a solid sound, at an excellent price point.

Mendini by Cecilio Tenor Saxophone, L+92D B Flat, Case, Tuner, Mouthpiece, Gold
  • All Levels, All Ages: Thinking of...
  • Quality Sound: Whether you're a pro, a...
  • Multiple Colors: Looking to stand out...
  • Travel Safely: Our nylon case ensures...
  • Bonus: You don't just get an instrument...

Jupiter Intermediate

Best for: a solid, long-term saxophone

Whilst Jupiter saxophones are less common amongst professional saxophone players (who tend to favour Selmer or Yamaha instruments), they are well-regarded as an incredibly high quality beginner and intermediate instrument.

As you might expect of a technically solid instrument and a trusted leader in saxophone manufacturing, these are not cheap in the world of beginner instruments. But, for your money, you get an instrument that can see you far past ‘beginner’ status and into the realms of advanced technique.

Whilst Jupiter saxophones come in various colours, we’ve picked this strikingly original silver and gold model as our recommended choice. The silver plating (created using special artisan tooling) helps provide that dark, vintage sound that so many tenor players are searching for.

The keywork is designed to allow agility and flexibility, meaning that you won’t find yourself restricted by your instrument once you start making progress with your technique.

Jupiter Intermediate Bb Tenor Saxophone, JTS1100SG
  • The Silver-Plated Sona-Pure Neck is...
  • Silver-Plated Brass Body is made from...
  • Contoured Left-Hand Table Keys with...
  • Key of Bb
  • Silver-Plated Brass Body

Tho­mann Antique Tenor Sax

Best for: combining modern manufacturing with a vintage style 

Based in Europe, Thomann is the largest online retailer for musical instruments, light and sound equipment in the world.

In their quest to provide excellent instruments at great value, they’ve invested in their own range of beginner saxophones including our favourite, the Thomann Antique tenor saxophone.

As the name suggests, the horn is finished with a beautiful antique look. It’s not just about looking great though; this classic vintage style also contributes to its rich, deep sound.

It’s light weight, quick response and adjustable thumb rest also makes it a comfortable choice for beginner saxophonist.

YAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophonesYAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophonesYAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophonesYAMAHA YAS-280 Saxophones Student Alto saxophones

Selmer TS711 ‘Prelude’

Best for: manufacturing history at an affordable price

Not to be confused with the legendary Selmer Paris company, the TS711 is nonetheless an excellent choice for a beginner tenor saxophone player.

Introduced specially as an affordable but quality option for beginner school band students, the classic yellow brass body is designed for for added strength, durability and enhanced projection.

The TS711 Prelude be ‘entry-level’ in name, but it’s a big leap forwards from the ‘under $500’ range of saxophones on the market and brings a great tradition of saxophone manufacturing into the 21st Century.

Selmer Tenor Saxophone (TS711)
  • Yellow brass body includes ribbed...
  • Designed as an affordable option for...
  • Left-hand table key rocker mechanism...
  • High F# key
  • Molded mouthpiece with cap and ligature

Glory Beginner Tenor Saxophone

Best for: younger students

The black & gold Glory saxophone is beautifully designed, with Selmer-esque engraving on the bell. As one of the cheapest tenor saxophones on this list, it can take a little time to get comfortable with, but it’s an excellent all-round student horn.

All Glory saxophones are hand-tested for quality before delivery, feature quality leather pads and come with adjustable key-height screws, meaning that you can tweak the set up to suit your specific requirements.

The key design is compact and lightweight, which makes this a great choice for even the youngest sax student.

Glory Black/Gold B Flat Tenor Saxophone with Case,10pc Reeds,Mouth Piece,Screw Driver,Nipper. A pair of gloves, Soft Cleaning Cloth.
  • Whether you want to buy a saxophone for...
  • ?Bb with high F# key tenor sax
  • Including: 10pc reeds(Size: 2.5),...
  • Hand Engraved Bell Decoration, High...
  • Before delivery, our saxophones are...

Hawk WD-S411 Tenor Saxophone

Best for: the adult beginner 

The gold lacquer-finished beginner tenor sax is a great all-rounder if you’re looking for a horn to play a range of different music, from classical to jazz to pop.

Whilst definitely an entry-level instrument, Hawk’s WD-S411 is on the high end of that spectrum with details such as mother of pearl key inlays, premium leather pads and an ebonite mouthpiece setting it aside from others in that category.

The lacquer finish can reportedly be prone to coming off over time, so you need to pay extra attention to the care instructions. However, as with many beginner saxophones, it comes with all the required accessories cleaning tools and accessories to help you with that.

Hawk WD-S411 Tenor Saxophone Lacquer Finish with Case, Mouthpiece and Reed
  • Includes deluxe case, neck strap,...
  • Easy-action springs
  • Gold lacquer finish
  • Leather pads with metal resonators
  • Band-approved Tenor Saxophone


Discover Jazz
Discover Jazz

The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!

Last update on 2021-09-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API