Saxophone Sucks

One of the sites I started – – has articles about vintage saxophones, including C Melody saxophones, which some folks use to play in worship bands, because they are better suited for playing in the sharp-heavy guitar keys of most modern worship choruses.

I have had many reader questions about saxophones in general, and a few about sax in church.

I have played sax – mostly tenor – in many worship bands over the years, and I always enjoyed it thoroughly and felt like I was really pouring all that I had into spiritual worship. Frankly more than when I’m playing guitar, which I do far more often these days. So I was amused when I received the following e-mail out of the blue from a complete stranger.

I hate the saxophone because there is no way for it to not sound jazzy. I hate jazz- it does not belong in church, period.

In the words of of the early Internet users: ROTFL.

Obviously the writer has never heard me play, because I am somewhat classically trained, and when I “loosen up,” I tend to play Rock sax, not Jazz styles.

I contacted the writer back and asked what they played. Piano and handbells. Handbells! Now THERE’S a discussion worth having.

All told, the writer made my day. Right up there with the people who groan or make stupid cracks when I take out my banjo, but who can’t help but listen intently once I start playing. And I’m not that good!

Claiming you hate any instrument is just talking because you enjoy the sense of your mouth moving. And, frankly, enough people enjoy saxophone or banjo or accordion or whatever that even if you do hate the thing, saying so does not devalue the instrument or its players, it betrays what your other opinions are worth as well.

Although I appreciate ANYONE who gives me a good belly laugh.


About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like,, and to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.


  1. My dad purchased a c melody in 1956 or so it’s silver satin finish with brass inside the bell. I played it in the 50s and it seemed to work just fine. I think it has a straight neck and says Conn in the bell I don’t believe there are any scratches or dents. It has the original case with purple velvet lining all in good condition.
    I believe it’s a pretty decent instrument and would like to see it in the hands of someone who understands and appreciates it.
    Thanks. Gordon Smith

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