Evette & Schaeffer Bass Saxophone On eBay

There is quite a rare bird of the vintage saxophone world up for auction on eBay at the moment: an Evette & Schaeffer bass. This vintage horn belongs to one the members of the Bass Saxophone Co-op.

Left Side Upright

     Source: eBay.com

Unlike many sellers on eBay who don’t provide many details about what they’re selling, this man does. Since this Evette & Schaeffer is his personal sax, he is familiar with it. He also is good enough to provide a lot of information about both the horn’s strengths, and its weaknesses.

This is how this seller describes this vintage bass:

Up for sale is my 1913 Evette and Schaefer, Buffet crampon, bass saxophone. It is currently in playable condition, but could use some more work to put it in top shape. Lacquer is good. Sax could benefit from a chemical cleaning. Pads could use replaced, but usable as is, except one pad that is real bad. Despite the bad pad i still have no problem playing all the way down to low Bb. Minimal denting, nothing bigger then a dime, except on the bottom bow. The dent on the bottom bow actually appears to only be a dent in the guard and not in the actual bow. There is a small dent on the top bow that should have some attention. The dent is right where there is a seam that appears to be separating, not leaking yet but will likely soon. Paul Woltz of Kennelly Keys in Lynnwood WA, and bass saxophonist with Uptown Lowdown Dixieland Jazz Band did some work on this horn before I purchased it about 6 years ago. He went through it and resoldered toneholes, patched the neck, replaced pads as needed, spot lacquered, etc. putting it into playing condition. At the time he suggested a repad to the old owner, but felt it could be played adequately as is. During my 6 years of ownership, I have replaced pads as needed to keep it playing. I contacted him before buying it and he felt it has the potential of being an excellent bass saxophone, possibly better then most Conns or Bueschers. It is low pitch, although it isn’t marked as such. I purchased a Paul Coats modified Runyon 88 bari mouthpiece that has been modified to be played on bass sax using bari reeds. Includes a custom made marine wood case, and a Hamilton stand. The hamilton stand consists of 2 parts. One part (a bracket) stays permanently attached to the sax and then slides onto the base. When I attached the stand bracker to the bell, it threw out the regulation of the lowest tonehole, so I adjusted it with the stand bracket attached. The lacquer on that key cup got burned. The sax also has some special keywork that Evette and Schaefer were known to have as an option. There is a key between the low E and low D that allows to trill between Eb and E. Additionally there are 2 extras keys to play low C# and Low Bb with the center finger of the right hand. It also has 2 separate octave keys rather then the usual on automatic. This has not been a problem for me. I find that so long as I do not do large jumps up to the upper portion of the upper octave, using one octave key suffices for me. Additionally the separate octave key helps me with the altissimo notes, since I can choose which octave vent to open. Overall, this is a decent sax as is, and with some work would have the potential to be an outstanding bass sax. This sax has the typical sharp palm keys, and flat lower octave, but Jay Easton felt that it played well in tune with his mouthpiece. He suggested a Babbit mouthpiece. This sax does not have the typical problem with middle D not speaking. It does have a problem with middle Eb though, but by opening up the low C# key, Eb speaks well. I suspect that a repad would eliminate the Eb problem. Both Paul Woltz and Jay Easton played this sax before I purchased it 6 years ago, and they both gave their seal of approval. I have decide to offer this sax up with NO RESERVE. And if it doesn’t sell for what I’d like to see it sell for, at least I hope it goes to someone who would like to play it.

Here’s an example of a couple of small dings in the body tube.

Small Dings

     Source: eBay.com

In this photo you can see both the dent in the bottom bow guard, as well as the burnt lacquer from the key guard repair.

Bottem Of Bow
     Source: eBay.com

This is one of the Paul Coats modified, Runyon baritone saxophone mouthpieces. If you’d like to find out more about what Paul does with them, and how Paul originally learned this technique from Santy Runyon himself, check out Paul’s Mouthpiece Page on my website.

Paul Coats Modified Runyon Mouthpiece

     Source: eBay.com

Custom Case

     Source: eBay.com

Personally I’m not a fan of the Hamilton stands. So if I were to buy this sax, this would be the first thing to go!

Bell With Hamilton Stand Brace

     Source: eBay.com

Left Hand Keys

     Source: eBay.com

In this photo you can see the additional keys that Evette & Schaeffer patented for their saxophones.

Patented Extra Keys

     Source: eBay.com

Saxophone historian Pete Hales, took a copy of an 1899 Evette & Schaeffer ad and made it more legible. This ad describes the new Patent Keys that Evette & Schaeffer added to their horns, and how these keys would be used. If you’d like to see the original, you can check it out on Saxpics.com.

Evette-Schaeffer Extra Keys

     Source: saxpics.com

For more information about Evette & Schaeffer in general, Saxpics.com’s Early Evette & Schaeffer page is a good place to start.

Engraving & Serial #

     Source: eBay.com

If this vintage bass sax interests you, you have until February 15 to get your bid in. At the time of writing, there were 17 bids in on this vintage Evette & Schaeffer bass saxophone. The high bid was $2550.00.

…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!

© 2010, Helen. All rights reserved.


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 have a friend selling an Evette&Shaeffer alto sax from the 30s would like to know what a fair price to offer for me to purchase.
    Can you suggest price range from fair condition to mint condition.
    Thanks for your time. Andrew Aranda,

    • Hi Andrew. Welcome to my site.

      I must admit I’m a bit confused. Is the horn in fair or mint condition? Or is it somewhere in between? The condition will make a significant difference in the overall value of the sax.

      I would suggest you check out this page on the main portion of my site for ideas on how to assess the value of the horn. Because it is a bit unique, it will be harder to find exact matches, but careful searches through dealer websites will also be helpful in this regard. But again, condition means a lot.

      Hope this has been somewhat helpful. If you would like further assistance from me, I’d really need to see some good, clear, large photos of the sax. Check out this page of my site as to what kinds of shots are the most helpful to me.

      Please be in touch if I can be of further help.



  2. Update: Gus did sell his Evette & Schaeffer bass on eBay. When the auction concluded, there were 25 bids on this vintage horn. The winner got the sax for $3,925.00. That is a very, very good price for any vintage bass… Especially one in actual playing condition ❗

  3. I had forgotten about the chart in the Universal Method. I use the book regularly, but never look at those pages. Thanks for refreshing my memory!

    I was going to write about a post about this, but I’m going to mention this here now, the Universal Method is available in a PDF version for downloading. The file is quite large (35 megs, or there abouts), but a very handy tool to have in e-form.

  4. That chart with the Evette & Schaefer patent innovations also appears in the Universal Method, right next to the fold-out fingering chart. Of all of the gadgets detailed there, the front F obviously caught on (probably because it has no disadvantages) but everything else — including fork Eb — has passed into history. Fork Eb generally sounds stuffy, unless you are so lucky as to have a horn with a full-size duplicate Eb tone hole as some baris did.

    As for the unpopularity of the other mechanisms, this might well be because of the inherent flex in any saxophone mechanism, making the horn not want to seal properly when the right middle finger is re-purposed. Also the levers are short, which is fine for C# but not so good for B or Bb. I would not mind a duplicate C# lever somewhere, but I think it would make a lot more sense placed under the right pinky, like a clarinet’s alternate pinky keys.

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