Low G Bass Saxophone For Sale In London, England

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Buescher Low G Bass Saxophone

The other day I happened across a very unusual on-line ad. Howarth of London was selling a Buescher Low G bass saxophone, which they described as “probably one of a kind”. This is the PDF  for the Low G bass being sold in the UK.

I immediately thought of the Low G Buescher bass that I play-tested last year that Quinntheeskimo was selling. I really liked the horn, but in the end took a pass on the unusual beastie.

The main reason I took a pass on the sax was that the left pinkie cluster re-design was too hard for me to operate. My friend Jim had no problem with it, but for me, it would have been too difficult. The horn was sold just a few days after I decided not to buy it.

After seeing the ad for the bass for sale in the UK, I was wondering: Could there be a 2nd Low G Buescher bass out there? If so, maybe this one would have easier-to-use keywork.

I emailed Howarth of London about the sax, but because of the time difference, it didn’t reach them until after their shop closed. In the meantime I also did a bit of digging about the Low G bass that I played in Seattle. It turns out that that Buescher was sold to a someone in the recording industry in England. scratchchin smilieMmm… Perhaps it was bought for a specific purpose, and now that it has served its purpose, it is up for sale again….

This AM I had a reply from Howarth of London to my email. Although they did not include any photos of the bass that they’re selling, the description certainly indicates this sax is most likely the same one that was sold to someone in the UK last summer.

Hello Helen,

Thanks for the enquiry. I will do my best to answer.

What is the horn’s finish?

Who did the extension? I’m not sure although we think it may have been done in Brazil. I think this is where the horn came from.

Is the extension a straight pipe that was added, or is there a gradual flair towards the bell? (This could aid in telling us who did the extension.) The pipe work appears straight.

What is the added key work like? The added key work is heavy as would be expected for lower extensions of this size however it is relatively easy to operate with left and right hand extra thumb keys.

How is this key work operated? The A and Ab are operated with left thumb keys and the G with a right thumb key

Does the horn need any work? Or is it “gig ready”? The horn has had a tumble and we need to do some work to it, but it will be back to as good as possible when it is done. We do however have to fit this around other repairs and with the instrument being so big it will take us some time. It will probably be ready mid August.

I hope that helps. Please feel free to come and view it or get back in touch with any questions.

All the best


Everything Stuart wrote about the keywork indicates that this sax is identical to the one that I play-tested in summer last year. If it’s not the same horn, it is its clone. Although he didn’t answer the question about the horn’s finish, I’d be willing to bet it is nickel-plated.

If you’d like to know more about the Low G Buescher bass I played last summer, check out the other posts in this Series for all the information and photos I have on that particular custom horn.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

© 2009, Helen. All rights reserved.

Series NavigationThe Low G Buescher Bass Is SOLD!Extenders Of The Buescher Low G Bass Saxophone Finally Identified


Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.


  1. I like your new site Lance. It will be great once the content is up.

    I know how much work that is. I am currently redoing the main portion of my website. It will look the same as this web log in design, and have a lot more content on it. It is much more work than I had originally thought it would be.

    I would love you to do some work on some of my horns one day. I need to do some thinking on that, and pick the horn and the mod that would be of the most benefit.

    I have a lot on my plate right now, so until some of that clears off, I’m not going to be doing anything however.

    I will be checking out your site regularly to see how it’s coming along. Thanks for the link. I’ll put it up on my links section both on my blog, and on the new site. Just give me a few days. I’m in the middle of a family emergency at the moment.

    • If you want maximum benefit, I’d suggest you pick a horn with these issues:
      * Pinky key axles down the outside
      * No high F#
      * Misplaced and/or uncomfortable thumb hook
      * Poor fitting tenon (to be replaced with a fully conical tenon)

      I suggest these because they are all things he routinely fixes on the horns he is sent. If you have anything without a Front F, he can take care of that too.

      Maybe this will help you focus in on one particular horn.

  2. For some reason your comment from 8:06 AM got caught up in the Spam folder, so I just rescued it.

    No, you’re absolutely right Lance. Nothing about that Buescher’s mechanisms where comfortable or efficient. It was quite difficult to play, and it would take a lot of getting used to before a player would get proficient on the sax. Perhaps in time speed would come, but the design and functionality of the design would always be a hindrance.

    I think this Buescher would be an interesting second bass for those rare events where you needed/wanted to play to a lower range. However, as a primary bass sax, I personally found it too limiting. Someone else’s mileage may vary of course.

  3. It looks as if they did not spend a great deal of time or effort to make the new mechanism comfortable and optimally efficient.

  4. I see where they patched the original LH C tone hole on the original bell section and soldered a new tone hole on the Right side. It appears that they didn’t spend much time/effort in the design and fabrication of the new spatulas and key work for comfort or functionality. Sliding linkages need to be replaced with roller linkages on the bell keys.

  5. Nice place to visit.

    I had a few inquiries on the matter. I had actually never really considered it before. We’ll see how full we can get the lower register to sound with some preliminary tests.

    • Well if you want any more photos of the Buescher, I can dig through my files and see if I have any more, and email them to you if you like.

      The one thing that really caught my attention on the one I played was how rough everything was. The edges of the keys were not terribly smooth like you would have on a regular sax. The entire horn had a very “after market” feel to it. It felt like something that had been radically altered from stock. Does that make sense to you?

  6. I’m just finishing up the Low A Bell section/Keywork mods on a few The Martin Baritones, which are very nice. The next project will be a low G Mod for baritones. I’d definitely go with the RH (bass clarinet style) thumb keys for the Ab and G. I’d insert a conical extension at the Eb bow coupling, with Eb and D tone holes. C# and C would be on the patched and expanded bow section ( split on the bow brace side and a bore correcting strip brazed in). B, Bb, A, and Ab would be on the new bell section.

    • Hi Lance. Nice to see you back for a visit.

      That’s an interesting project you’ll be undertaking. From the photos I’ve seen of your left pinkie tables, they certainly appear superior to the one on the low G Buescher bass that I played in Seattle in ’08. In a similar vein, I suspect that the RH thumb keys will be better as well.

      Have you had much interest expressed from players for these mods? I think it’s a really interesting idea, and I’m sure there are at least a few players out there who would go for the work.

  7. Update: Stuart, from the Saxophone Division of Howarth of London, and I have exchange a few emails over the past couple of weeks regarding the Low G Buescher that they currently have for sale.

    After closely looking at the photos on my site, Stuart believes that the horn they have there is most likely the same one I play-tested last summer. There is a spot of wear on the plating, which both horns share, which is what makes the chances greater that the 2 horns are indeed one and the same.

  8. The bari I saw was, I believe, a Yanagisawa prototype that never went into production. It belonged to a bass trombone player at a nearby university who also was the resident repair tech. It was significantly different from an aftermarket extended horn in several ways — for one thing the bow curve was made deeper so that the bell only rose as high as a typical Low A bari, making the instrument reach the floor for a seated player, and I had to use a pillow on the chair because otherwise the mouthpiece was at eye level. The bell section looked like it was punched from a standard low A bari bell tube, though the holes were positioned differently. There were still three holes on this portion. The extra length was added to the bow section, and it carried two additional holes. This undoubtedly required all sorts of magic to accommodate the acoustical changes from the location of the U-bend and the greatly reduced cone angle in the bow.

    The reason this bass trombone player liked it (it was the only saxophone he owned) was the ability to nail the equivalent of his pedal Bb. He also had a low C bass clarinet, but those aren’t terribly hard to find.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the guy knows Jay Easton, since he is similarly obsessed with low pitched instruments.

  9. I’m curious who does these extensions on saxophones. We pretty much know that J’Élle Steiner didn’t do the extension on the bass I played last year, since one of their people more or less confirmed that in an email to Jim.

    Since J’Élle Steiner’s saxophone extensions tend to be of the conical, rather than the cylindrical variety, if this bass in the UK for sale at the moment isn’t the same one I play-tested last year, it too wasn’t done by J’Élle Steiner, since it doesn’t appear to have a conical extension either according to the email quoted above.

    Other than J’Élle Steiner, I don’t know of anyone doing extensions on saxophones, but I guess someone must be doing them. Do you happen to know anything about the Low G bari you saw? Do you know who did the work? Do you know of someone in CA doing this kind of work? Maybe one of the custom car shops? Heh, maybe it’s the Pimp My Ride people! :devil1:

    Is there a weird cottage industry somewhere that we don’t know about? Is it some guy in his garage with a hack saw and a drill? 😆 Who are these people taking these horns and bastardizing them ❓

    • Aha! From the authoritative book Writing for Saxophones: A Guide to the Tonal Palette of the Saxophone Family for Composers, Arrangers and Performers by none other than Jay Easton:

      A few Brazilian makers, led by Galasso began making bass
      saxophones with extended low range for use in local popular music in the mid-1980s. This has grown into a small movement in Brazil, and now several makers there are making basses with a keyrange descending as low as G or F. There have also been some contrabasses and extended-range baritones made in Brazil in recent years, however few, if any, of these have been exported to other parts of the world.

      • Good find! That’s really interesting Mal-2. So there is, or at least was at one time, a cottage industry doing these conversions.

        I still wonder if this particular one (which was also most likely the one I played a year ago in Seattle) was a “one of”, or if more had been done by the same company.

        Interestingly enough, I was recently looking through some albums that members had posted on the Bass Sax Co-op, and this same horn, or one just like it, was in there as well. I was meaning to email the former owner (I write former, since he says he sold the sax) and ask him some details, but forgot. This has just jiggled my memory again, so I should try and do that later today, before I forget again.

  10. The only low G sax I have seen (which was a bari, not a bass) had the usual keywork down to low A, and two roller-equipped levers below the RIGHT thumb for G# and G, much like the RH pinky keys (in fact they may have been “acquired” from RH pinky keys). This is an adaptation of the way low C extensions are done on bass clarinet, and might be more to your liking. Bass clarinets with low C (and basset horns and basset clarinets) end up with THREE right thumb keys for D-C#-C. Eb remains a fifth right pinky key as it is on bass clarinets lacking the extension.

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