A few weeks ago I was contacted by a reader of my blog who happened to have a vintage Orsi catalogue. Since I have written both here in my weblog, and on my main site, about my La Monte tenor (an Orsi stencil), he thought I thought I might appreciate copies of the catalogue’s saxophone pages.
Unfortunately there is no date given in the catalogue, so we can’t be sure when it was published, but the owner believes that it might be from the 1960s. He is planning on writing Orsi to see if they might be able to provide information about the year of publication.
For ease of viewing, I have converted the PDF pages to JPEGs. All the images are used by permission.
The Orsi catalogue shows an interesting variety of saxophones available. Beginning with their student model altos and tenors, it appears that they offered both low B and low Bb models in the student line.
In their pro line of horns, what is immediately obvious is that the bell keys were located on the right side of the horn.
Orsi certainly offered a wide variety of soprano saxophones. Again, the most obvious difference was the presence or absence of the low Bb.
The left pinkie tables look like a real ergonomic nightmare in the low B variety of horns. Here in the sopranos, as well as in the tenor student model pictured above, there appears to be a gap between the keys. This would make playing fast, technical passages nearly impossible on these horns.
In the baritone department, Orsi offered both low Bb and Low A varieties.
Here is Orsi’s bass sax offering at the time. Note it goes to low Bb.
Orsi is of course known to be one of only a couple of contrabass saxophone makers in the world. This was the contra they offered at the time the catalogue was printed.
Orsi was established in 1836, and continues to produce musical instruments in its factory just outside of Milan, Italy. What is unique about Orsi, is that they will make any instrument for you that is no longer in current production. For example, have you always coveted a contrabass sarrusophone? Orsi used to manufacture them, but don’t anymore. However, they will make one for you upon request.
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