Baritone and Soprano Saxophones
Generally speaking, most new saxophone students start off learning on either the alto or tenor. They are the easiest. The soprano and baritone saxophones have a few more issues that a beginner will face.
Although the soprano is smaller than the others, it is very difficult to play in tune. At least for the first little while. The baritone is very big and so will require more air. The intonation will be more difficult as well.
Having said that, I would encourage any student to start on the one they love the sound of the most. If you like them all the same, start on the alto!
The best thing to do is choose the one that you love the sound of the most. That’s the most obvious. If you don’t care and somebody’s giving you a certain horn, yeah, take lessons check out these videos learn how to play it.
The saxophone is easy to learn the fingering of course, and then takes a bit more time to develop a good tone, through your embouchure. and proper breathing. But all the little nuances that each of the different saxophones have can be overcome. Their problems can be overcome. All the notes are all the same fingering for all the saxophones. You have to transpose when you play with different instruments because of course, there’s the E flat and B flat. But on its own, the saxophone fingerings are all the same. Go for it! Less talking, more playing. See you later.
By the way, if you’re interested in tips on buying a saxophone check out the article I have written on that as well.
Rent vs Buying
In many circumstances it makes great sense for someone to rent a sax at first. If you’re unsure if you’ll really stick with it or for a school kid who may drop it in a few months.
Many large music store have a rental department and you can be assured the horn you rent from them will be in good playing condition since they have them routinely checked by a repair person. This may not be the case if you’re buying one privately.
A monthly rental for a saxophone is quite reasonable and you’ll know after a few months if you’ll want to keep at it or not and then move on with a decision to start shopping around for one to buy.
All saxophones, except for the C melody which is no longer in production, are transposing instruments. This means that when you play a C on a saxophone, that C will not be a regular concert C as when played on the piano. The alto is called an E flat because when you play a C it sounds Eb on the piano. When you play a C on the tenor it sounds Bb on the piano, that’s why it’s called a Bb tenor. This theory can be difficult to understand at first. I have a more detailed article which explains the saxophone keys theory in more detail.
Are you any closer in answering the question “which saxophone should I play?” Let me know if you have any questions about this. Also, keep this in mind: Deciding on which saxophone to play doesn’t need to be a long and laboring process because you can always switch to another one later!