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  • Alto Sax Learn More
  • Mary Brainerd
Alto Sax Learn More

The Structure of the Saxophone
Learn the names of the parts

The saxophone consists of four fundamental parts: the neck, the body, the U-shaped bow, and the round, flared bell. Along the length of the instrument, there are 25 tone holes.

Saxophone components

Apply cork grease to the joint of the neck before assembly. When assembling, please be careful not to put pressure on the neck or keys.

Assembling the instrument
The entire display

     

    The pads are made from circles of felt covered with sheep leather.

    Because a number of parts work together for a single function, a single saxophone comprises about 600 parts.

    Though there are 25 tone holes, a person has far fewer fingers, so keys and levers are provided to enable the player to close distant holes simultaneously with others.

    The round tone-hole covers are called pads. The largest pad on an alto saxophone is five centimeters in diameter. Of course, this large pad covers an equally large tone hole.

    The pads are made from circles of felt covered with sheep leather.

    The pads are made from circles of felt covered with sheep leather.

    Because a number of parts work together for a single function, a single saxophone comprises about 600 parts.

    Originally there were 14 members of the saxophone family. In fact, Adolphe Sax conceived of an orchestra consisting solely of saxophones, and so he made saxophones in a range of sizes.
    Yet today, there are only 6 types in widespread use. In pitch order from high to low, they are the sopranino, soprano, alto, tenor, baritone and bass.

    The saxophone family

    Why We Play Alto Sax versus other Saxes

    The alto saxophone is easier to play than the soprano saxophone and the bigger saxophones, and so it is a good choice for beginners.

    A simple comparison of the length of the soprano and alto saxophones shows that they are about the same, 70 centimeters long. However, the alto has a bend, so the alto saxophone is about 1.5 times longer overall than the soprano saxophone, and because of that it is heavier as well. When performing, most of the weight of the alto saxophone is supported by the strap, and from the point of view of maintenance as well, the alto saxophone is a good first choice.  The alto sax is sometimes too heavy for a younger 4th grader.  The Tenor and Bari are too heavy for almost all 4th-6th grade beginners.

     

    • Mary Brainerd

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