In my quest to buy my new soprano I came across a number of fine retail outlets that carry soprano saxophones (as well as some very so-so retailers I won’t mention). Here’s the rundown on some great soprano saxophone shopping resources. These are the businesses I’ve interacted with in some form or another, and feel good about.
Kessler & Sons, Las Vegas, NV
This is a small family run business that happens to cater very nicely to the pro sax player. Of course they carry band instruments to service the local school market. But they also stock a very nice selection of high end Selmer, Yanagisawa, and Yamaha saxes, including sopranos. They also sell a line of their own Taiwan made saxes that offer a very nice value for the money. Dave Kessler is quite knowledgeable and a good source of information on all things sax. There’s also a very reputable repair staff on the premises. I suspect you’d be hard pressed to find a better new sax shop anywhere in the US.
Saxquest in Saint Louis, MO
Saxquest is a fine small shop that does high end repair, and offers a selection of saxophones including sopranos. They don’t carry quite the new stock that Kessler does, but they do carry a nice assortment of quality used instruments, brought up to their fullest potential by their fine repair shop. They’ve got some good videos of the instruments for sale on their website. They also carry a tempting array of new, used, and vintage mouthpieces.
I’ve not been there, but from everything I can tell via their website and youtube videos, Sax.Co is Sax Heaven. It looks like they offer the world’s best selection of saxes, including sopranos, with a world-class staff. I had a number of questions for them via email, and they were very kind, patient, and knowledgeable. Instruments are less expensive in the UK than in the US, although shipping and import duty adds to the cost. Still, I believe someone in the US might come out ahead on price, shopping there.
Brassbarn or QuinnTheEskimo
Brassbarn and Quinntheeskimo are two ebay sellers that carry high end saxes at discount prices. From what I can tell they are one-man operations. I feel good about both of them, having communicated with them via email and purchased from one (Brassbarn). They are independent importers as opposed to factory authorized dealers, and that allows them to sell well below normal retail. They offer clear and honest communication, and easy returns. Sometimes they offer factory demos or returns that are in top shape at even lower prices. If you are shopping price for a new soprano, and don’t feel the need to get one-to-one in a shop with your seller, they’re worth checking out.
Joe Guirdullo at SopranoPlanet
Joe’s the soprano mouthpiece expert to get in touch with if you have a soprano mouthpiece that doesn’t seem to play as well as it should. He’ll either fix it for you, or sell you a much better one, and provide sage wisdom in the process. And his website (which I built for him, incidentally) is overflowing with of information.
Stores And Sellers I Avoid:
- Chinese knock-off sellers
- Huge retail outlets that carry guitars, amps, keyboards etc and don’t know much about saxes
- Smaller stores that carry few saxes, don’t know much about them, and don’t do much in the way of in-house repair
- Anyone who comes across as grumpy, prickly or disagreeable
- Any ebay sellers who do not have a 98+ rating and lots of selling experience, or are questionable for any reason.