Are you worried the sax will weigh too much for you or your student?
As a music teacher for over a decade and a good friend to many (many band directors), I know how important it is to get an instrument fitting both someone’s personality, interest, and body type.
It’s not a good idea to give a smaller person a heavy instrument unless they’re serious about learning it, especially at the younger grades.
On average, the alto saxophone weighs 4 lb 5 oz (2.2 kg) with the mouthpiece on and outside the case. There is no big change between the brands and models. For reference, this weight is close to the weight of a two-liter bottle of soda or a bag of sugar.
This is the weight of the alto sax without its case, but you may also be interested to know how much they weigh inside the case and what each member of the saxophone family weighs.
Read on to get the details.
How Much Saxophones Weigh By Type
This table will cover all the important about sax weight. We’ll cover each of the common types of this woodwind instrument.
|Type Of Saxophone**||No Case – Weight in Pounds (kg)||With Case – Weight in Pounds (kg)*|
|Sopranino Saxophone||1 lb 2 oz (0.6 kg)||(Research in progress)|
|Soprano Saxophone||2 lb 2 oz (1 kg)||7lb 10 oz (3.5 kg)|
|Alto Saxophone||4 lb 5 oz (2.2 kg)||10 lb 14 oz (4.9 kg)|
|Tenor Saxophone||6 lb 4 oz (3 kg)||13 lb 14 oz (6.3 kg)|
|Baritone Saxophone (Bari Sax)||11 lb 1 oz (5 kg)||26 lb 6 oz (12 kg)|
|Bass Saxophone||24 lb (10.8 kg)||(Research in progress)|
|Contrabass Saxophone||45 lb (20 kg)||(Research in progress)|
*With this, we’re assuming a standard hardshell case. Cases have a much larger variety of weight than sax brands and models, which are largely the same.
**All numbers are an average of the standard size. From beginner saxophones to a professional model, they all about the same within each type category.
The “weight with no case” column includes the mouthpiece. It also assumes you’re using the standard hard rubber mouthpiece and not a metal mouthpiece.
How Much Does an Alto Sax Weigh?
As mentioned above, the alto sax weighs on average 4 lb 5 oz (2.2 kg). This is equivalent to a bag of sugar or two-liter of soda.
A hardshell case weighs around 6 lb 9 oz, depending on the type and brand. This brings the total weight with the case up to 10 lb 14 oz (4.9 kg).
You may also enjoy our article on the range of the alto sax.
How Much Does a Tenor Sax Weigh?
On average, the tenor sax weighs 6 lb 4 oz (3 kg). A standard building brick weighs around this amount.
A protective case usually weighs around 7 lb 10 oz putting the weight when in the case at 13 lb 14 oz (6.3 kg).
How Much Does a Baritone Sax Weigh?
A baritone sax (also called bari saxophone) weighs 11 lb 1 oz (5 kg) with no case and the mouthpiece on. This is the largest saxophone of the common types.
The standard gallon of paint or adult cat weighs this amount as well. Of course, the bari is more spread out.
A bari hardshell case weighs 15 lb 5 oz on average. Combined, you’re looking at a weight of 26 lb 6 oz (12 kg).
How Much Does a Soprano Sax Weigh?
The average soprano sax weighs 2 lb 2 oz (1 kg) with the mouthpiece on and not inside the case. This is the weight of one liter of water.
A hardshell case is 5 lb 8 oz, which makes a combined weight of 7lb 10 oz (3.5 kg).
Interestingly enough, though the soprano is a half lighter weight sax compared to the alto, the cases can sometimes weigh close to or the same.
How Much Does a Rarer Sax Weigh?
You’ll rarely find one of the rarer saxophone forms without its case. They come as a packaged deal, and if the case breaks, you need to contact a saxophone dealer such as Yamaha or Conn-Selmer to work something out.
The sopranino sax weighs 1 lb 2 oz (0.6 kg), which is about as heavy as a soccer ball or football.
The bass sax is 24 lb (10.8 kg), the same weight as a grown Daschund or bar of gold.
A contrabass saxophone is 45 lb (20 kg), half the weight of the standard toilet or a 1-2-year-old Dalmation dog.
Does Sax Weight Matter?
The weight doesn’t matter for most saxophone players, except for marching saxes. In this case, you’ll have to bear all the weight with your arms and body.
With the standardized modern design of saxes, the weight across all models is so close there are no real differences.
Saxes before the 21st century was still being experimented with design and weight. Now, an instrument maker will use tiny adjustments in design to create the bright sound or quality sound they desire.
A modern baritone saxophone will always weigh about the same, whether it’s an intermediate saxophone or a professional saxophone.
The quality saxophone doesn’t matter for weight, but it sure matters for sound. It’s the types of saxophone that make the difference.
When sitting, most of the weight will be spread across the sax player’s body either through a neck strap, shoulder strap, or back brace.
Commonly Asked Questions
What Are Saxes Made Of?
Saxes are almost always made of yellow brass and then covered with a gold or silver lacquer. Sometimes, they include some nickel.
How Many Keys Are On The Sax?
The exact amount depends on the model, brand, and type of sax, but there are around 20 keys usually.
Can An Alto Sax Reed Be Used For A Bari Sax?
Each type of sax needs to stick with its own type and size of reed. However, equivalent-sized reeds may be used between sax and clarinet.
Check out our saxophone vs. clarinet comparison.
Is The Baritone Sax The Biggest One?
The largest standard sax is the baritone sax. However, the largest of the rare types is the contrabass sax.
There is also a subcontrabass sax or a Tubsax, which is gigantic, but there is only a handful of these in the world.