(I had to change this, significantly, from my website, because I'm really a saxophone and clarinet guy.) Get a decent horn. OK, what kind? The answer is, as long as it's decent, it doesn't matter much. Here's some details: The "standard" percentage breakdown is that the horn contributes to approximately 5% of your sound and your mouthpiece/neck/whatever setup contributes another 5%. The rest is YOU. If you're a professional, you can worry about that 10%, because you've already got the other 90% taken care of. If you're a beginner, you need to concentrate on the 90%. The absolute best bet on a horn is to tell the instructor to get you one or get whatever he recommends. In some of the other threads about specific instruments, we'll recommend some instruments, but the instructor should be your first stop. And if he doesn't know or care, you need a better instructor. The point: if you have a decent instrument that's in good repair, any problems you're having -- ANY problems -- with how you're playing is caused by your technique. It is not caused by the horn. You will not sound appreciably better on a $7000 Inderbinen sax (for instance) than you will on a $1200 YAS-23 sax. Seriously. ============ Other info: * Don't buy a "vintage" instrument of any make/model, even if it was a professional horn or whatever. * Here's the reasoning: while you might be able to buy a really nice professional horn that's in 100% perfect shape, chances are better that you'll buy a shiny student model from 1970 that needs a complete overhaul. Or the wrong pitch. Or is missing modern keywork. Or has some other problem. I base this on thousands of e-mails I received when I ran saxpics.com -- and I only concentrated on the saxophone, there. Additionally, don't buy into the hype: "vintage" instruments aren't necessarily made better, have thicker brass, or whatever. Some "vintage" instruments are just old (I think I've mentioned something like, "A 1934 Cord is vintage. A 1972 Pinto is old"). Again, there's a better chance that you'll get junk than get a gem. All this being said, you can sometimes get used student/intermediate/pro horns for cheap from a dealer. As long as the horn has been completely overhauled and has a warranty. And is a recognized brand. We'll talk more, later.