Rudy Wiedoeft’s Saxophobia


Rudy Wiedoeft Source: Wikipedia

Rudy Wiedoeft was one of America’s earliest saxophone virtuosos. His rise to fame began in the 1910s, when the saxophone was still in its infancy as a musical instrument.

His body of work is very impressive. He recorded over 300 tunes, on many labels, and is credited with popularizing the sax in America as well as Europe.

Wiedoeft’s primary horn was the C melody sax. However, he did some recordings and performances on alto and soprano.

Rudy Wiedoeft’s style had that typical 1920s ragtime feel to it. It was full of the effects that we’ve come to recognize as of the time, such as: slap tonguing, double tonguing, triple tonguing, laughing, and of course vibrato.

Wiedoeft was also a composer, and some of his original music became extremely popular. One of his most popular pieces was Saxophobia, which was written in 1918.

While trolling YouTube, I came across these little gems. The first is a recording of Rudy Wiedoeft himself, playing his famous composition.


I also came across this version. Here Saxophobia is being performed by Bill Page from the Lawrence Welk orchestra. Page is performing the famous Wiedoeft tune on curved soprano, alto, and baritone.

BTW, did you notice the bass sax on the stand in the Lawrence Welk video? It appears this clip is from 1957. I wonder when they dropped the bass from their line-up?

If you would like to read more about Rudy Wiedoeft, I found an excellent essay on the man. Here’s the link to it on Google docs.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is 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. Cool Helen! Thanks for sharing. How did you stumble across him?

    • Hi Neal. How’s it going?

      I first heard of, and heard Rudy Wiedoeft when I was in university back in the ’80s. His place in the history of the saxophone is all but forgotten by popular culture, but not in academia.

      In the Internet culture, his name is of course most commonly associated with Holton, because of the line of saxophones that carry his name. However, as a musician & composer, Wiedoeft arguably contributed more towards the the popularity of the saxophone, than any other saxophonist in history.

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