BC101 - Getting started on Saxophone

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Posted by Daniel Christian on 05 Nov 20:02

Setting up your Saxophone correctly is the first step in beginning to play...it's vital that you do it correctly and safely!  The Saxophone can be quite intimidating but in this free online saxophone beginner video lesson I show you how to get your mouthpiece set up and how to put together your Saxophone for the first time.  

Online Saxophone Lesson 1: Do not fear the Saxophone!

Welcome to your first online saxophone video lesson by Dan Christian! Your Saxophone has many levers, keys, pads, holes and things to generally intimidate you initially, do not be afraid!  The 6 pearl keys(aka button keys) along the front of the saxophone are the bread and butter of our playing.  The majority of the other buttons are really there as aids to move rapidly between two notes.  

Your Saxophone will come in three main parts:

  • The Crook/Neck
  • The Body
  • The Mouthpiece and Ligature

I like to set up my mouthpiece first. That way I can place the mouthpiece straight onto the Saxophone without worrying about balancing multiple objects! The mouthpiece has 3 parts: The Mouthpiece, The Reed and The Ligature.

What you need: Options....


Reeds are a bane of all Saxophone players...at least this used to be the case. There are now many quality synthetic reeds on the market that, in my opinion, play remarkably well each time you play them. In my, I find hard to distinguish between wooden and certain brands of synthetic reed. I like to use Legere signature series but you'll need to experiment with the various cuts to find out what suits you. For the average player I'd recommend starting on a Legere Signature Series 2.75 and see how you go with that.


Its worth investing in a decent ligature right off the bat, the default two screw generic ligatures are hardly fit for holding your reed in place and often break very quickly.  Save yourself the time and effort and get a cheap decent one like:

Alto Saxophone - Rovner Ligature

Tenor Saxophone Rovner Ligature 

Soprano Saxophone - Rovner Ligature

Neck Strap

You need to play with a strap in order to keep your posture and not risk dropping a rather expensive and shiny Saxophone on the floor!  I recommend purchasing one with as little "bounce" as possible.  There are many "bouncy" straps on the market and in my honest opinion, they're rubbish for both posture and technique.  No need to give yourself problems :)

Really good BG Neckstrap

Reed Holder

Keeping your reeds somewhere safe helps to prolong their life and keeps them playing as well as possible.  I highly recommend getting hold of a reed holder:

Reed holder for all saxes

Pad Saver/Cleaning Products

Pad Savers have mixed reviews but using them does remove moisture from inside the Saxophone limiting odours and mould.  Just be careful not to force the pad saver into the Saxophone and all should be well.

Pad Saver


Mouthpiece - Put the ligature on first to avoid risking catching the reed. Place the reed evenly on the mouthpiece, see the video for a live demo of this.

The crook fits into the neck of the Saxophone making sure that the Pin/Octave lever fits underneath the little hoop on the crook, this is so that you can use the Octave key to vent (or lift up) the lever on the crook later. Try and line the Saxophone Neck so that it is in line with octave pin and only tighten the next screw after you have hooked on your strap.

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