Soprano saxophone might not be as popular as alto or tenor saxophone, but it’s definitely no less charming.
Unlike its counterparts, a soprano saxophone is most often straight, although many models have curved necks. Which sax is the best for you really depends on your preferences.
Either way, it’s a beautiful and versatile instrument, but a bit challenging to learn However, a reliable, good-quality instrument makes the learning process much easier.
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned musician, you need to choose a model suitable for your needs, which is not an easy task.
To assist you in your search for the best sax, we’ve picked the 10 best soprano saxophones.
We’ll show you all kinds of models – from affordable beginner saxophones to state-of-the-art professional models.
We’ll also point out all the important things you should know before making a purchase in our soprano saxophone buyer’s guide.
Table of Contents
- 10 Best Soprano Saxophones
- 1. Yamaha Custom YSS-82Z
- 2. Selmer SSS280R La Voix II
- 3. Mendini by Cecilio MSS-CSBNG Soprano Saxophone
- 4. Allora Vienna Series AASS-502
- 5. Jupiter 547GL Deluxe Soprano Saxophone
- 6. Jean-Paul SS-400
- 7. Merano Silver Soprano Saxophone
- 8. Yanagisawa SWO1U Soprano Saxophone
- 9. RS Berkeley SOPR500
- 10. Yamaha YSS-475II Intermediate Soprano Saxophone
- How To Choose The Best Soprano Saxophone For You
- Final Thoughts
10 Best Soprano Saxophones
1. Yamaha Custom YSS-82Z
Besides being one of the most popular brands in the world, Yamaha managed to become known for manufacturing some of the best soprano saxophones.
And the Yamaha YSS-82Z is undoubtedly one of their most remarkable models so far.
It’s a professional soprano sax producing a beautiful, high-quality sound.
It has a classic, elegant design reminiscent of vintage saxophones. And its brass alloy and 1-piece design make it lightweight and easy to play.
This soprano sax looks really eye-catching, and its delicate hand-engraved design on the bell is cherry on the top.
The Yamaha YSS-82Z also provides a wide dynamic range, tonal versatility, and rich, expressive sounds.
And the ergonomic keys will ensure you the most comfortable playing experience.
All in all, if you’re searching for a top-notch professional sax that will meet all your expectations, you can’t go wrong with the Yamaha YSS-82Z.
- Outstanding build quality
- Very comfortable
- Classy vintage design
- High-quality sound
- Doesn’t come with extra parts
2. Selmer SSS280R La Voix II
One of the best soprano sax brands is Selmer. It’s known for its excellent craftsmanship and reliable instruments with exceptional sound.
And the Selmer SSS280R La Voix II is the best example.
It’s aimed at advanced and intermediate sax players and provides great performance, ergonomic keys, and excellent responsiveness.
This soprano sax comes with treated leather pads, a traditional bell flare, a USA-made mouthpiece, and a protective case.
It’s very compact, lightweight, and easy to hold.
And with its fluid, direct tone, it’s no wonder that the Selmer SSS280R La Voix II is popular among musicians around the world.
- Ergonomic keys
- Compact and lightweight
- Comes with accessories
- Excellent build quality
3. Mendini by Cecilio MSS-CSBNG Soprano Saxophone
The Mendini by Cecilio MSS-CSBNG is considered one of the best curved soprano saxophones.
Due to its curved neck, it has a slightly deeper, warmer sound, and it’s ideal for jazz musicians.
And this model is suitable for all levels of experience. It’s great for student practice as well as recording or performing.
Its nickel-plated gold keys and black lacquer finish make it look very stylish.
Moreover, the Mendini by Cecilio MSS-CSBNG comes with everything you need: a case, a neck strap, a pair of gloves, and extra cleaning supplies.
And it’s surprisingly affordable as well!
- Suitable for all levels
- Deep, rich sound
- Very affordable
- Comes with all the accessories
- Fake mother of pearl inlays
4. Allora Vienna Series AASS-502
The Allora Vienna Series AASS-502 is a reliable intermediate soprano sax ideal for beginners and students.
This model comes with two necks – one neck is curved and, therefore, provides deeper tones, and the straight neck offers a rather direct sound. This is great for players who are yet to decide which type of neck they prefer.
The Allora Vienna Series AASS-502 has ergonomic keys for comfortable play, and it’s generally designed to make the saxophone learning process easier.
As it’s the case with many beginner-friendly instruments, this soprano sax is also quite affordable.
And it comes with a gig bag, mouthpiece, and care products so you don’t have to spend extra money to complete the kit.
So, if you’re searching for a reliable instrument with excellent sound, appearance, and flexibility, The Allora Vienna Series AASS-502 is a great choice.
- Two necks
- Suitable for students
- Quality sound
- Not the best option if you want high tones
5. Jupiter 547GL Deluxe Soprano Saxophone
Another budget-friendly soprano sax suitable for students is the Jupiter 547GL Deluxe Soprano Saxophone.
It has a single-piece body and a good build quality.
The sound it produces is also solid, and perhaps not as bright as expected.
The Jupiter 547GL Deluxe Soprano Saxophone is really not expensive, so it’s expected that some parts are made of plastic.
But despite that, it offers good performance and a comfortable playing experience. And this model also has a fast key action, which is not always the case with budget-friendly instruments.
All in all, the Jupiter 547GL Deluxe Soprano Saxophone will certainly meet all your needs, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Good sound
- Some parts could be made of better quality materials
6. Jean-Paul SS-400
If you’re looking for affordable curved soprano sax, you should consider the Jean-Paul SS-400.
You can get it for around $700 which is a great price for an instrument of such value.
The Jean-Paul SS-400 is classy, durable, and designed for beginner and intermediate soprano sax players.
As it’s a curved soprano sax, it’s easy to hold and carry around, and you’ll get a nice case as a part of the package. You’ll also get a mouthpiece and the Rico H ligature.
This model looks quite charming too. If you look closely, you’ll see it has beautiful hand engraving.
Moreover, the Jean-Paul SS-400 is very comfortable to play as it has ergonomically-designed keys.
And it comes completely set up and ready to play.
So, it’s quite obvious why it’s popular among students.
- Good value for money
- Comes ready to play
- Some parts could be upgraded (a mouthpiece, for example)
7. Merano Silver Soprano Saxophone
Merano has a reputation for making affordable, reliable instruments.
You can get their Merano Silver Soprano Saxophone for around $300. Yes, it’s very affordable compared to many other options, but you don’t have to worry about the quality.
The Merano Silver Soprano Saxophone has good construction, a smooth sound, and even intonation.
That’s more than sufficient if you want to hone your saxophone skills.
It comes with all kinds of accessories including a hard velvet-lined case, a pair of gloves, a nipper, a screwdriver, and a soft cleaning cloth.
If you don’t expect to get an exquisite instrument suitable for large concert halls, you’ll surely be satisfied with the Merano Silver Soprano Saxophone.
- Great price
- Easy to play
- Nice sound
- Comes with all the accessories
- Made from cheaper materials
8. Yanagisawa SWO1U Soprano Saxophone
Yanagisawa is another famous name among soprano saxophone players. In the USA, Yanagisawa products are distributed by Conn-Selmer.
The Yanagisawa SWO1U is a professional model suitable both for experienced players and saxophone beginners.
It has ergonomically-designed keys and re-designed bore and tone holes. It’s also a single-piece instrument, which some people prefer as single-piece models tend to be more resilient and durable.
The tone of this elegant soprano is somewhat darker, but it’s still direct as you would expect from a straight sax.
All things considered, Yanagisawa saxophones became popular for a good reason, and the Yanagisawa SWO1U is undoubtedly a model worth putting on your shortlist.
- Suitable for all levels
- Single-piece body
- Improved sound
9. RS Berkeley SOPR500
If you prefer higher pitches and want to make your performance even more expressive, you should check out the RS Berkeley SOPR500.
As it’s categorized as sopranino saxophone, it’s a rather small instrument and, therefore, very portable.
Being the highest-pitched instrument of the original saxophone family, a sopranino saxophone has a very sweet sound, and the RS Berkeley SOPR500 is no different.
It has a ribbed body construction, a clear lacquer finish, brass and nickel-silver keys, and an adjustable thumb rest. This model also comes with a deluxe hard case, a mouthpiece, and a ligature cap set.
So, if you want to expand your playing with an authentic, charming saxophone, the RS Berkeley SOPR500 is a perfect choice for you.
- Good build quality
- A nice, sweet sound
- It’s a sopranino saxophone (in case you’re looking exclusively for a soprano sax)
10. Yamaha YSS-475II Intermediate Soprano Saxophone
The Yamaha YSS-475II is the first soprano in the Yamaha range, and it’s one of the most popular ones.
It feels like a professional soprano sax, but it’s not as expensive as some top-notch saxophones.
This intermediate soprano sax will ensure you are comfortable playing, have excellent tone and intonation, and great responsiveness.
It has a one-piece body so it’s not heavy, and its overall body design improves intonation and airflow significantly.
Moreover, the Yamaha YSS-475II is a very versatile instrument, and it can be used in different kinds of performances, which more experienced players will appreciate.
Either way, it’s a fantastic instrument that will meet all your expectations.
- Excellent build quality
- Great tone and intonation
- It might be pricey for beginners
How To Choose The Best Soprano Saxophone For You
If you’re a beginner, learning how to play the soprano saxophone might be challenging. But definitely not impossible, especially if you stick to your practice schedule and have a good learning source.
Whether you’re learning from online saxophone lessons or you hired a teacher, you’ll need a good instrument to practice on.
And even experienced musicians might find buying a new saxophone a bit difficult as there are so many elements to consider. And when it comes to technical stuff, it’s easy to get lost in all the specs.
To make the buying process easier for you, we’ll take you through all the things you should know before buying a new soprano saxophone.
Why Soprano Sax?
If you’re a first-time beginner, you might still be unsure whether this is the right instrument for you.
So, before we begin with the buyer’s guide, we want to point out a few things that might be helpful if you’re a saxophone newcomer.
As you’ve noticed, the soprano sax doesn’t look like a typical saxophone (tenor or alto.) It most often doesn’t have a curved neck, although many models on our list have it. But we’ll dig into the differences a bit later.
Also, soprano sax has a higher pitch than other types of saxophone. It’s mainly used as a solo instrument but it can also be a part of the band or an orchestra.
Nonetheless, this rather small type of saxophone can be heard in all kinds of music. But it first gained its popularity in jazz after being used by the great John Coltrane, Sidney Bechet, and Steve Lacey.
If you’re drawn to the distinctive sound and characteristics of the soprano sax, we definitely encourage you to try it out.
It’s true that many people try the soprano sax after playing the tenor or alto sax. So although learning the soprano sax might be challenging for first-time beginners, that shouldn’t discourage you.
After all, learning how to play the sax has never been easier as there are so many great online saxophone lessons. If you don’t have the possibility to attend music classes, you can simply do it from the comfort of your home!
So, if you feel ready to buy yourself a new instrument to start practice on, let’s finally start with our little buying guide.
Before going to a music store or an online shop, you need to establish how much you’re willing to spend on your new instrument.
The price of soprano saxophones varies a lot – it can be anything between $100 and $5,000.
Of course, for more money, you’ll get better quality. And if you’re an advanced player, you’ll have to be prepared for higher prices of professional soprano saxophones.
But nowadays, you can find an instrument that is both reliable and affordable, especially if you’re a student.
Straight vs Curved Neck
Another thing you have to decide is whether you want a straight soprano sax or the one with a curved neck. Some models on our list have removable necks so they offer both options, but it’s good to know what is characteristic for each one.
A curved soprano sax, apart from looking like a “typical” sax, has more immediate feedback due to the bell that projects the sound back into the player’s direction.
They also have a more mellow sound.
And straight soprano saxophones sound and feel a bit different. First of all, you don’t hold them as close as their counterparts.
With a straight soprano sax, the sound goes away from you. You can get a better intonation with it, and it generally sounds more direct.
It’s impossible to say which one is better – it all depends on your preferences.
However, due to their design and size, curved soprano saxophones are a better choice for children.
Good-quality materials are essential if you want a durable instrument with a proper sound. They will ensure you a better intonation and tone.
Most saxophone bodies are made from brass. Bronze is also considered a high-quality material.
And when it comes to mouthpieces, the ebonite and metal ones are the popular option. If you get a plastic mouthpiece with your saxophone, you can always replace it with a better one.
You should also be aware that different mouthpieces produce different sounds, so you need to make sure you purchase the one to your liking.
When you’re looking at the price of the instrument, you need to make sure what the package includes. If important accessories aren’t included, you’ll have to spend extra money to complete the kit. So it might not be so cheap after all.
But most of the models on our list come with everything you need – the case, a mouthpiece, and technical accessories.
A pair of gloves, extra reeds, and cleaning cloths are also often a part of the deal.
New vs Used Soprano Saxophones
If you’re on a budget but want to buy a reliable soprano sax, have you considered buying a pre-owned instrument?
Yes, the biggest advantage of a used soprano saxophone is the price. On the other hand, they often don’t come in the perfect condition, and you need to have a trained eye and ear to make sure you’re buying what you’re promised.
So, if you’re still a beginner but you can get the help of someone experienced, then buying a used sax can be an option for you.
However, new instruments are always the safest choice. And with so many different on the market, you don’t have to spend a fortune on a brand new instrument.
If you buy a new saxophone from a reliable brand, you’ll most probably get a warranty. So even if your new instrument has a flaw, you’ll be able to return it.
Moreover, new soprano saxophones are very – well, new. They have a perfect lacquer or plating, and you’ll know they’re in the best shape possible.
We know that buying a new instrument can be a bit tricky. There are many things to understand and consider.
Saxophones come in different shapes and colors, and as long as you know what you’re looking for, you’re already closer to picking the right one for you.
After all, it all depends on your level of experience, budget, and personal preferences.
So, if you have some experience or you’re well informed, you won’t have any problems with making a decision.
We hope our pick of the best soprano saxophones gave you some great ideas and that our buying guide helped you narrow them down.