Manufacturers build their saxophones in one of two ways: ribbed body construction and post-to-body construction.
- Post-to-Body: Each key post is individually soldered directly to the saxophone’s body.
- Ribbed Body: Key posts are first soldered onto a brass plate or “rib”. Afterward, the rib is soldered onto the body.
In this post, we’ll explore the differences between these two saxophone body types. We’ll also discuss whether or not one is better than the other.
Post-to-body saxophones have less mass. As a result, they resonate more freely than ribbed saxophones.
Most student saxophones are built like this. That way, the horn’s less resistant and beginners have an easier time playing it.
Ribbed Body Construction
Ribbed-body saxophones have extra brass plates along the body. The added mass adds a little extra warmth and color to the sax’s tone.
Consequently, they’re slightly less responsive than post-to-body saxophones.
Ribs are often a selling point for intermediate and pro saxes. That said, not every pro horn has them.
Which is Better?
It’s a common misconception that ribbed saxophones are “better”. This likely comes from the fact that most student saxophones feature post-to-body construction, while many intermediate and professional horns have ribs.
But in reality, neither one is better. Just different.
Some players will prefer the resonance and lighter weight of a post-to-body sax. Others will like the extra warmth and body of a ribbed sax.
Saxophonists, repair techs, and band teachers will all have varying opinions on ribbed saxes and durability.
Some claim that ribs help stabilize the key posts and protect against small bumps and dings.
But as far as general wear and tear is concerned, every sax will need regulation regardless of how it’s built.