Just What Does A Sax With An Upside Down Mouthpiece Sound Like?

We’ve all seen the eBay ads in which some non-sax player is selling a horn. These ads are easy to identify. More often than not, if a mouthpiece is included with the sale, it is put on the neck upside down.

So I was a little surprised when I saw this album by Billy Vaughn and His Orchestra, titled Golden Saxophones, which depicts a saxophone with the same problem.

album cover, vintage, saxophone, flowers, LP,

     Source: musicstack.com

This album was released in 1960, and things might have been very different then, but I would think that the artist might have been able to say to the record company: Hey, that photo is flat-out wrong. Maybe Vaughn did, and the record company didn’t care. Or perhaps the model would have charged a lot to come in for a second shoot. 😈

Perhaps it was decided it didn’t matter, since who was really going to realize that it was wrong? A bunch of saxophone players? Were they really the target market for this album. I think not. Or maybe, just maybe, Billy Vaughn didn’t realize that the album cover was wrong. :devil1:

I must confess, I knew the name Billy Vaughn, but couldn’t put a sound to it. Thanks to YouTube however, I now have that sound permanently rattling around in my brain.

If you’d like to read more about Billy Vaughn, and what has been called his twin sax sound, check out the Billy Vaughn fan page.

I know of a German band that sounds exactly the same as this. And yes, they are currently still performing, touring, and recording with their signature, wide vibrato and twin saxophone sound. But more about them on another day…

…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!

© 2012, 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. @Andrew:

    Hi there Andrew. Welcome to my site.

    You’re right. I’d forgotten about that book. I use that with my students. I think a number of other Hal Leonard books in that series have the same mistake. Duh… What were the thinking??? :scratch:

    @Mark: Oh wow… I loved that “sanitized” version of Don’t Be Cruel. Then I saw a link to their version of Tequila… I had to click on that. It’s from their LP Solid and Raunchy. :mrgreen: ‘Nuff said…

    • Actually the album that came from is one of several that my dad had. (It is one of several I have been trying to get my hands on long enough to make a copy for a while)

  2. Hi Helen
    your mention of Billy Vaughn reminded Me of another band My Dad liked when I was a kid (Bill Blacks combo) here is a link to there version of don’t be cruel on YouTube. Note the sax solo that begins about 57 seconds in :saxy:
    PS Forgot the spamer box again :devil2:

  3. Andrew Germann

    This SAME mistake is on a saxophone book I have right in front of me. It has always driven me NUTS. It’s called Jazz & Blues, published by Hal Leonard. I’ve seen this on another book else where, but I can’t recall where. Love your blog, has a ton of great info. Thanks


  4. Kumar Molligoda

    I was in advertising as a Creative Director.This is how mistakes occur.A Production Team and a cameraman are involved in producing the required picture.Very often they lack even a basic knowledge of instruments.Once they procure a sax somebody will fix it up and pictures are taken.But why BILLIE VAUGHN allowed this picture on the cover is a mystery.In my country the best known band leader issued a CD with a similar picture .But what took the cake was the fact that the sax in the picture was a Baritone whereas this guy had never played Bari as he was an Alto player.The mistake occurred due to the fact that the picture was taken in Singapore by the CD duplicating Company and the sax they had got was a Bari with the mpc upside down and no ligature or reed. I have a copy of this CD.That other twin alto sax band is WERNE MUELLER who imitated Billie Vaughn. Both bands were very popular here in Sri Lanka .I also have an ADVERTISEMENT by a leading Hotel here with a picture of a sax player with his right hand on the upper stack of keys and his left hand on the lower stack of keys and no reed no ligature and no NECK STRAP(sling).I perform quite frequently at this hotel.

    • Hi Kumar.

      Welcome to my site. Thanks for that most enlightening and entertaining comment. There really is no end to the number of mistakes that get made in promotions, advertising, and productions. It’s quite funny when you think about it.

      How many twin saxophone bands from Germany are there? 😯 The band I was referring to was Captain Cook and his Singing Saxophones. Eins, Zwei, Drei, Prost! :cheers: :saxy:

      Are you a sax player as well Kumar?

      Thanks for dropping in. Hope you do so again sometime….helen

      • Kumar Molligoda

        Thanks for the welcome.Yes, I am a sax player.I play tenor,alto baritone straight and curved sopranos and C Melody.In another reply there was a mention of Bill Black Combo.At the start of my career,I used to play that music . I played in the Mid- East for 6 years with two different groups from my country .I’ve done a CD of covers. I’ve met performers such as Dave Brubeck,Charlie Bird ,Pearl Bailey,Louis Belson , Demis Rousos ,all the members of Duke Ellington’s band (1963).and some others here in my country or abroad.I am on SOTW as ‘HORNLOVER’.I recently became a friend of Matt Stohrer .I really enjoy your posts.There’s so much of valuable information for sax players on this great site.Kumar Molligoda.Sri Lanka.

        • I remember seeing your SOTW screen name. It’s a pleasure to have you here Kumar.

          I like Matt Stohrer. He and I share a love for vintage Keilwerths. We exchanged quite a few emails about these fine, classic saxophones.

          It sounds like you have had, and continue to have, a very interesting musical career Kumar. Now all you need is a bass saxophone. Then your touring experiences could really be complicated. :devil1:

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