Knowing how much your saxophone weighs matters a lot when you travel a lot or play for extended periods of time.
If you’re a traveling saxophonist, the weight will affect how easy it is to transport your playing equipment from one place to another, and if your playing sessions are long, it’ll affect how long you can play comfortably before your arms start feeling sore.
So, if you’re wondering how much an alto sax weighs, keep on reading to take all the estimates into account.
How Much Does An Alto Sax Weigh on Average?
In terms of mobility, you’ll have to take into account a few other things when you’re calculating the saxophone’s weight. These include the weight of the case in which you’ll carry the saxophone, and the accessories that you’ll need with it.
While if you’re just considering the weight for duration of playability, you’ll only be considering the mouthpiece, reed, and neck.
Typically, a saxophone would weigh between 4.5 pounds, while adding the case would make the whole setup weigh around 10.14 pounds.
For transportation, alto saxophones are a bliss and don’t require too much effort. And while they aren’t too heavy to hold -by and large-, playing them for extended periods of time would require a carrying strap.
Still, they’re lightweight enough to finish a couple of pieces without getting sore, and that’s why they’re always recommended for novices and budding players.
How Important Is It to Consider Saxophone Weight?
Generally speaking, the weight of a saxophone isn’t a detrimental factor when it comes to picking a saxophone, but it can matter if you’re going to be transporting it a lot or if you’re going to be playing it for a long time.
This is especially true for marching saxophones, in which case you’ll need a lot of stamina to hold the instrument’s weight on your arms. Typically, the weight affects the design, which consequently affects the sound of the saxophone. However, modern technology allows for smaller adjustments that make the saxophones lighter without losing the brightness or quality of the sound.
So, while the weight can have a slight effect on your playing, it’s not as critical as it used to be in the 70s and 80s.
What Affects the Weight of a Saxophone?
The first thing that can affect the weight of the saxophone setup is whether the case is a hardshell one or not. Hardhsell cases are heavier, but they’re not as effective as soft ones, so choosing between them depends on just how rough the transportation process is going to be.
The mouthpiece can make a slight difference depending on whether it’s a standard hard rubber mouthpiece or a metal one. Also, the design of the saxophone itself can make a slight difference, which isn’t typically noticeable since all models from different brands are quite similar.
Reeds, on the other hand, don’t affect the weight so much, as their weight is relatively negligible, whether they’re cane or synthetic. If you’re looking for a good setup for your horn, you can check this article on the best alto sax reeds.
When you add all these factors that make slight differences, you can cut down a lot of weight from the saxophone so you can make it easier for you to move it around or play it for longer times.
How to Make a Saxophone More Portable?
If you’re in a band and you know you’re going to be playing your saxophone for long durations during concerts, a good addition to your setup would be a sling or a harness. Of course, the carrying strap is always an option, but these two are designed specifically for players that spend a lot of time playing their horn.
What’s the Difference Between a Neck Strap, Sling and a Harness?
A neck strap, as the name implies, is worn around the neck to hold the saxophone closer to you while you play. And while they do a good job at reducing the strain on your arms, they move all the strain onto your neck. Still, a good neck strap would be well-padded and will come with reliable hooks and give you adjustability, like the Neotech neck strap.
Slings, on the other hand, are worn around the shoulders, and help take off some of the instrument’s weight without depriving you too much of your mobility and capacity to move around. A good option for a sling strap would be this Neotech Sling.
On the other hand, a harness is a little more constraining, but it does a much better job at alleviating the weight off of your arms and/or neck. And if you’re looking for one, there’s none better than the Neotech harness.
So, you should only go for harnesses if it’s absolutely necessary, which wouldn’t be the case with an alto saxophone most of the time as it’s still a compact instrument overall. Opting for a sling would help allow you to keep moving freely while making it easier to play longer.
If you’re worrying about the weight of your saxophone, you should rest assured that the alto saxes are on the lighter end of the spectrum. Still, if you’re planning on moving around a lot with the saxophone, the abovementioned tips and tricks should make it easier. On the other hand, a carrying strap would facilitate the playing process and help you play for extended durations.