Q&A: Why aren’t saxophones made of wood?


Saxophones can be made out of wood (I looked on YouTube) but usually (and traditionally) they are not, they are made out of brass.

Prince Chokorda and his wooden saxophone

Wooden saxophone

Wooden Saxophone — Bart Hopkin (this one doesn’t look like a saxophone but still sounds like one)

Thoughts on the Bamboo Sax (not so sure about this one because no way there isn’t studio reverb being used here).

Saxophones can also be made out of various types of plastic etc.

Graham Lyons Plays Vibrato Plastic Sax

Vibrato Polycarbonate / Plastic Saxophone

Carbon Fiber Tenor Sax

Also other metals apart from brass:

Mini Saxophone Stainless Steel | Miss You

Yanagisawa AWO20S Silver Plated Bronze Alto Saxophone

Yanagisawa T992 Bronze Tenor Saxophone

Nickel Saxophone Test Playing



Saxophones are made of brass because their creator, Adolphe Sax, wanted to create an instrument family that could project as well as a brass instrument and bridge the gap between the brass sound and the woodwind sound. The body is brass because it resonates better and creates a louder sound. The single reed is from Sax’s work with bass clarinets. It make a smoother sound in a brass body and a double reed, hence it would be a better sound for his goal of bridging that timbre gap between brass and wood winds.

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Flutes are woodwinds too, as are recorders made of plastic. 🙂

The classification of wind instruments is by how they produce the vibrating column of air. In brass instruments, the vibration comes from the player’s lips. In woodwinds, the vibration comes from splitting a stream of air over an edge, such as a reed or fipple (you’ll find the latter on a recorder.) That’s the basic taxonomic distinction: not the material of the instrument, but the origin of the sound.

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