The Complete Saxophonist Booking Guide for 2023: Tips, Costs and FAQs

The Complete Saxophonist Booking Guide for 2023: Tips, Costs and FAQs

Whilst always a familiar presence on the live music scene, the saxophone has recently seen a huge surge in popularity. From solo wedding saxophonists and DJ Sax combos to more traditional jazz-based groups, the versatility of the instrument has given it wide-spread appeal across a multitude of genres.

In our booking guide, we'll explore all facets of hiring a saxophone player, including typical costs, on-the-day requirements, popular sax songs, and frequently asked questions.

If you're already set on hiring a sax player and are ready to start browsing, head over to our saxophonists page, where you'll discover a variety of professional musicians across the UK.

Types of Sax Players:

Sax music can mean different things to different people, so it's important to determine what kind of sax player you're after. That way, you can find a performer who matches your specific needs and preferences.

Whether you're looking for a wedding saxophonist for your ceremony or laid-back Ibiza vibes for a stylish corporate event, most professional sax players can turn their hand to just about any genre. Below are some of the most popular types of performances on offer:

Ibiza Style Sax:

An Ibiza-style saxophonist is perfect for a wide array of events, easily switching from laid-back Café del Mar vibes to contemporary dance floor bangers.

This type of performance usually features electronic dance music with the saxophonist playing over the top, creating a distinct sound that's sure to add a chic and unique soundtrack to your event.

Wedding Sax Players:

A wedding sax player offers a range of performance styles to cater to every part of your wedding day. From solo instrumental pieces during the ceremony, to afternoon drinks receptions, to getting everyone on the dance floor during the evening party, a wedding saxophonist will help to create an unforgettable atmosphere for your special day.

Sax DJ:

A Sax DJ, also known as a DJ saxophonist or sax and DJ combo, combines the talents of a saxophonist with those of a DJ to create a performance that's both exciting and visually appealing. This type of performance features a DJ playing a selection of tracks with a saxophonist improvising the melody, creating a sound that's perfect for dancing the night away at a party, wedding or nightclub.

Jazz Saxophone:

Jazz saxophonists are often associated with the classic sounds of the 1920s and 1930s, making them ideal for a sophisticated cocktail hour, corporate reception or dinner music.

Whether performing to backing tracks or working alongside instrumentalists such as a pianist or guitarist, a jazz saxophonist will cover an extensive repertoire of jazz standards to complement your event.

How much does a Sax player cost to hire?

As with all musicians, the price of a sax player varies considerably depending on several factors. At Bands For Hire, our sax players charge between £260 and £595 for a local event in their area.

What Affects the Price of a Sax Player?

In this section, we'll explore some of the key considerations that affect the cost of hiring a professional sax player. From the experience of the musician to travel expenses and seasonal pricing, we'll provide insights to help you understand how saxophonists price their services and how to plan accordingly to get the best value for your money.

1. Experience of the Saxophonist

The experience of a sax player is a key factor that will undoubtedly affect the cost of their services. Experienced saxophonists with a strong reputation, trusted reviews, and a long track record will usually charge more than newcomers to the industry.

An experienced saxophonist will have a better understanding of how to read the crowd and create a performance that fits the specific needs of your event. They'll be able to improvise confidently, adapt to different musical styles, and work seamlessly with other musicians or DJs if required.

And last but not least, an experienced saxophonist will have worked on their stage presence and feel at ease performing in front of a live audience. All these factors combined mean that you might have to pay a little more to book an experienced sax player, but the impact and quality of their performance is worth the investment.

Professional sax player - DC Sax

2. Seasonal Prices

When planning your event, remember that the day of the week and the time of year will almost certainly affect your budget. For example, if you're planning an event during the summer months, you may find that prices are higher for weekend performances than for weekday events. On the other hand, if you're open to an off-season performance, such as during the winter months, you might be able to secure a great deal.

3. Travel Expenses

If you're working on a budget, it's a good idea to search for sax players based in your local area. With the recent rise in fuel costs, many musicians are experiencing an increase in expenses and need to consider this when quoting.

If a sax player is travelling to your event, they may also need to consider the time spent driving to and from your venue. This could impact the total cost of their services, so it's worth discussing any potential travel expenses with the musician before finalising your booking.

4. Performance Times

It goes without saying that the longer your sax player performs, the higher the price. Most sax players offer a variety of options to accommodate your event's schedule, but their base rate usually includes two sets of 45 to 60 minutes.

Similarly, the time spent at the venue will also affect the overall price. If a sax player is required to arrive more than an hour before their performance or stay longer than the standard booking time, they'll need to charge a fee to cover their time.

wedding saxophonist with bride

What Music do Solo Sax Players Play?

With its unmistakable sound, the saxophone has become a staple of the music scene across a range of genres. Long gone are the days when the sax was solely associated with jazz. Today, the sax can be heard in classical compositions, pop hits, funk jams, soulful ballads, and even club anthems. Whether you're looking for smooth jazz, soulful funk, or upbeat pop, a skilled saxophonist can provide the perfect accompaniment to your event.

When booking a saxophonist, it's a good idea to check out their setlist to get a better sense of their musical range, and whether their style aligns with the vibe you're looking for.

Check out some of our favourites below to get an idea of the type of music you might hear at your event. From soaring solos to soulful riffs, the sax has got it all!

  • Jubel - Klingande
    Jubel - Klingande
  • Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
    Mr. Saxobeat - Alexandra Stan
  • Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty (Bassmonkeys Remix)
    Baker Street - Gerry Rafferty (Bassmonkeys Remix)
  • Changes - Faul & Wad Ad vs. Pnau
    Changes - Faul & Wad Ad vs. Pnau
  • Take Five - Dave Brubeck
    Take Five - Dave Brubeck
  • Man With the Red Face - Mark Knight & Funkagenda
    Man With the Red Face - Mark Knight & Funkagenda
  • Lullaby - Sigala, Paloma Faith
    Lullaby - Sigala, Paloma Faith

What Equipment Do Saxophonists Provide?

In addition to their instrument, most saxophonists come equipped with a small PA system to amplify their sound, ensuring that the sound of the sax is well-balanced with the DJ or backing tracks. The PA system can also provide a touch of reverb or delay to create a more ambient sound and add depth to the performance.

Remember that the specific equipment and gear a sax player brings can vary depending on the musician and the event requirements.

How Far in Advance Should You Book a Sax Player?

If you're planning to add some sultry saxophone sounds to your upcoming event, you better act fast! The best sax players are often in high demand and can be booked out months in advance, particularly during the peak season.

To make sure you snag the perfect saxophonist for your event, it's recommended to start your search at least 12-18 months before the big day. This will give you enough time to explore various options, weigh-up costs, and secure the ideal artist for your needs.

However, if you're a little late to the table, don't despair. It's worth reaching out to musicians to check availability, even at short notice. You may find a sax player willing and able to take on your event, particularly if it's during an off-peak period or if they happen to have a gap in their schedule.

How much space does a saxophonist need to perform?

A solo saxophonist will typically only need a small corner of a room to set up, usually in the region of 2 x 2 meters. One benefit of hiring a sax player is their ability to roam free across the dance floor, creating a more intimate and engaging performance for guests.

Can a saxophonist take song requests?

Most sax players are extremely versatile and relish the opportunity to show off their ability to improvise on the fly, while others prefer to stick to a predefined setlist.

If you have song requests prior to the day, it's always best to run them past your musician so they can prepare in advance.

Can a saxophonist play outdoors?

Sax players are usually more than happy to take their performance outside. You'll need to ensure that you can accommodate any requirements they may have, including a suitable power supply and provisions for wet weather.

Ready to book a Sax player?

Now that you're fully up to date on the ins and outs of hiring a sax player, it's time to start your search.

Head over to our sax player section, where you'll find an extensive roster of wedding saxophonists, Sax/DJs, jazz duos and wedding bands featuring sax. Once you've found an act you're interested in, drop us an email through the contact form and we'll come back to you with a quote.