Saxophone: Renting vs. Buying for Beginners

If you’re thinking about taking up the saxophone, you might be considering whether you should purchase a new instrument or rent one until you’re sure the saxophone is something you’re seriously interested in pursuing. Similarly, if you have a child who is interested in playing the saxophone, but you aren’t sure if he or she will lose interest in playing it, you might think that renting is the obvious choice. Though it’s very often the case that renting the instrument is the best option for anyone who is new to the saxophone, it’s important to have all of the facts before you make any decision. This guide is designed to help you make the right one.

When Does Renting Make Sense?

Saxophone rentals are a great idea for anyone who is just starting out, or has a child that’s just starting out. If you’ve had an interest in playing the saxophone and have contacted a music teacher to set up lessons, then renting is the perfect option for you. Renting gives you the opportunity to really get a feel for the instrument before you make the investment of purchasing.

The first step in the saxophone rental process is deciding which type of saxophone you want to learn to play. The four major types are soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone, each with its own distinct sound. The alto and tenor are the most popular to play, as well as the most popular to learn on. Once this decision is made, you’ll want to research different rental plans. Knowing how to rent, return, upgrade, and maintain your instrument is crucial to your success. Rental companies usually have an initial rental period, often of about 3 months, that a saxophone needs to be rented before it can be returned. There are also month-to-month or long term rentals available in some cases. Even though a 3-month minimum rental might seem like a lot at first, the cost is much less than the cost of purchasing the instrument outright or the potential costs of trying to repair a used instrument purchased at a yard sale or pawn shop. If you rent through a trustworthy, quality service, you can be confident knowing that your instrument will work and be taken care of throughout the rental period.

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One really great option that you should take advantage of, if you’re able, is the rent-to-buy plan. Many companies offer credit during your rental term that can be applied to the purchase of an instrument down the line. With this plan, you (or the child you’re renting for) can reduce the cost of your first instrument simply by taking the time to practice and learn. With rent-to-buy plans, you’ll sometimes have the option to apply the credit to a new instrument or buyout your rental. Rent-to-buy plans are a great option for any beginning saxophonist.

When Does Buying Make Sense?

Obviously, buying a new instrument makes the most sense once you’ve established that you (or the child you’re buying for) are committed to learning and playing the instrument on a long term basis. It’s generally not a good idea to buy a new instrument just to force yourself into that commitment, so you should avoid buying for that reason. If a beginning saxophone player has been renting and practicing for a while, then it may be time to consider purchasing one. It should be said that, while you also have the option of purchasing a used one, that can come with some headaches that you may be well-advised to avoid.

The first saxophone that you buy probably won’t be the fanciest one in the store, but it will be your very own, so it’s important that you’re prepared and committed to properly maintaining the instrument. There are many reasons you’ll want to maintain your saxophone properly, the first of which is that you’ll always want your instrument to sound right when you’re playing. The second important reason is that you’ll want the instrument to last a long time. Properly maintained saxophones can last a lifetime, which makes them an excellent investment and potential heirloom. If you do feel confident that buying a saxophone is the right idea, then you should talk to your (or your child’s) music teacher about which instrument they’d recommend for you to start with. Many music teachers have experience with starter instruments and they can help you with any questions or issues that you may have.


Regardless of whether you choose to rent or buy, the professionals at Music & Arts can provide all of the quality accessories and saxophone information that a beginning saxophonist will need.

Music & Arts

Music & Arts is a family owned and operated music resource for parents, students, educators and musicians. With over 140 stores in 23 states and the largest private lesson program in the United States, Music & Arts is an authority on music education and a resource for new and experienced musicians alike.

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