Transitional Hohner President Alto Sax

I’m literally weeks behind in checking my emails, so when I finally opened my email program yesterday, I was excited to find a link to this eBay auction. It turned out to be a transitional Hohner President alto sax. It is serial # 10737, which would make it circa 1961.

saxophone bell, alto sax, Max Keilwerth, transitional Hohner President alto sax
Source: maximilian1287 on

If you’ve subscribed to my weblog for a while you know that I’ve been writing about, and researching the Hohner President saxophones for years. These saxophones built by Max Keilwerth are just as good as (better?) the more famous ones built by Max’s brother Julius, but have generally not: 1. Received the recognition they deserved, and 2. Been researched and examined to see how they evolved over their 20 year production run.

In order to increase the sax-playing community’s knowledge about these fine, Max Keilwerth-made horns, I created:

This morning’s eBay find is exciting because it adds further information into the vat of knowledge about Hohner President saxophones. The photos provided of this transitional Hohner President alto sax show all the sides of the horn, and all its key features.

Note that it has the new style of G# key, and is keyed to high F#…

Left Palm & Pinkie Keys, transitional Hohner President alto sax, saxophone, Max Keilwerth
Source: maximilian1287 on

While at the same time having rolled tone holes…

Rolled Tone Holes & Pad Details, transitional Hohner President alto sax, Max Keilwerth, alto saxophone
Source: maximilian1287 on

Despite its older feature of rolled tone holes, it sports the new style bell to body brace…

transitional Hohner President alto sax, alto saxophone, Max Keilwerth, silver sax
Source: maximilian1287 on

Despite the new-style bell to body support brace, this transitional Hohner President alto sax still has a D/D# trill key…

Front View with Neck
Source: maximilian1287 on

I had previously done up a chart that illustrated the obvious changes that occurred at approximately the 12XXX stage of the Hohner President. Using that chart as a building block, I’ve now added the very early, as well as the transitional and late-model Hohner President saxophones to the matrix. Please note, this is a work in progress, and once finalized, will be published on the Hohner President page on my website.

Serial # Tone Holes G# Key Bell to Body Brace D/D# Trill Key G# Trill Key High F# Key Octave Lever
Pre 25XX Bevelled or straight Wider on horn side & plain Straight with 2 posts joined together Present Present N/A Shaped like the butt end of a rifle
25XX – 12XXX Rolled Wider on horn side & plain Straight with 2 posts joined together Present Present from 2200 – 4500 Optional 45XX onwards Shaped like the butt end of a rifle

**Transitional Horns

Rolled, straight, or combo Wider on horn side & plain, or Hohner logo & thinner on horn side Straight with 2 posts joined together, or arched metal Present or not N/A Optional:



Shaped like the butt end of a rifle, or like an oval with a bit taken out for left thumb rest
13XXX onwards Straight Hohner logo & thinner on horn side Arched metal N/A N/A Present Oval shape with a bit taken out for left thumb rest

Getting back to the transitional Hohner President alto saxophone currently for sale on the German eBay site, this is how the seller describes it:

HOHNER “President ” versilbert, Becher innen vergoldet…. Original-Zustand unglaublich gut erhalten… voller fetter Klang,leichtgängige Mechanik..Hoch-Fis . Versilberung 100% erhalten ,keine Beulen oder Lötstellen etc…. bestimmt ein Exemplar in einzigartigem Bestzustand !!!!Original-Fotos…Koffer,stabil, gepflegt . . Das Saxophon wurde von Fachwerkstatt überholt und exakt eingestellt! ……es wurden für 600.- € alle Verschleißteile Kork ,Polster, Filz und zum teil Federn …. erneuert und dann nicht mehr gespielt.

Helen translate says:

Silver plated Hohner “President”, with gold plating inside [the bell]… Original condition, unbelievably well maintained. Full, fat, tone; smooth key action; with high F#. Silver plating still 100% intact; no dents or solder repairs, etc. This is certainly an example in exceptionally top condition!!! Original photos… Case is sturdy and cared for. The saxophone was overhauled by a professional workshop and set-up to exact standards. All wearing parts: pads, corks, felts, and some springs, were replaced for €600. Reconditioned, and then no longer played.

Yes, this does appear to be a minty horn. Here are the rest of the pics of this transitional Hohner President alto saxophone…

There are only a few days left in this auction, since it is scheduled to end on March 7. Unfortunately the seller will only ship to Germany, so if you don’t live there, or have family or friends who will take delivery of this lovely horn for you, you are likely SOL.  :sol:

If however, you do have the opportunity to bid on this fine transitional Hohner President alto sax, you have to start your bids at €1,150.00. I can tell you that at the time of writing no one had bid on this sax yet. I wonder if we’ll see it again, or if it does sell at this price. This will be an interesting auction to watch.

…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!

Oh, Piss On It: Sculptures In Belgium

This morning I was taking a look at what the fine folks who post pics on Flickr had recently uploaded, and I came across these little gems from Brussels. This brings a whole new meaning to the expression: Oh, piss on it…

Piss on it #1

Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belgium, toy saxophone, commemoration of Adolphe Sax, piss on itPhotography by: Antonio Ponte  Source: Flickr

Is anyone else asking themselves at this point WTF?   :wtf:      Well Antonio Ponte was kind enough to provide a link to the manneken-pis site, but unfortunately I can’t read French. Even without running the Google Translate program on the site, it’s pretty clear that yes indeed, this little pissing sculpture must be a commemoration of Adolphe Sax.

Piss on it #2

Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belgium, toy saxophone, commemoration of Adolphe Sax, piss on it
Photography by: Antonio Ponte Source: Flickr

I have seen virtually nothing written about Adolphe Sax’s personal life, and I’ve seen nothing written about whether he had a sense of humour or liked to laugh. I’m hoping he did, because otherwise he’s likely spinning in his grave right now.   :top:

Oh, did you happen to notice that even toy saxophones put out for display tend to get their mouthpieces put on upside down? The people who put up this tribute to Adolphe Sax are no better than the clowns who sell horns on eBay and don’t know which way is up and which way is down. Jeez… Oh, piss on it…    :tongueincheek:

Piss on it #3

Manneken Pis, Brussels, Belgium, toy saxophone, commemoration of Adolphe Sax, piss on it
Photography by: Antonio Ponte  Source: Flickr

So we know of at least two things that were done in Brussels to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Adolphe Sax’s birth: Sax200 was held, and the most famous fountain in the city was dressed in a suit and saxophone. Was other stuff going on as well? Most likely, but for pure comedic value, Manneken Pis would have stolen the show. And that could just piss a lot of people off.  :devil1:

…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!

Stencil Horns: Then & Now

saxophone bell, bell engraving, stencil horns, stencil saxophone, stencil sax, Keilwerth saxophone, The New King, angel wing

Maraphone tenor # 34889. A Keilwerth-made stencil of their famous The New King. Source: 1357alfred on

It used to be that what a stencil horn was, was clearly identifiable.

Vintage stencil horns: what were they?

Very simply put, a stencil saxophone is a horn that was made by one of the major manufacturers for another company or perhaps a music store. The ordering company would then have their name engraved, or “stencilled”, on the saxophone, and then the horn was sold without any reference to the actual manufacturer.

Oftentimes the major manufacturers would alter their main line of instruments slightly for their stencil productions, depending on what the ordering company wanted. American and European saxophone manufacturers were for the most part, all involved in manufacturing stencil horns for others.

For a complete discussion of vintage stencil horns, please see the stencil saxes page on my website.

Saxophone production today: How we got here

tenor sax, SeaWind tenor saxophone, stencil horn, stencil saxophone,

Phil Dwyer Edition, SeaWind tenor saxophone.

Today however, the definition of a stencil horn is not so clear. Over the last few years, there are fewer and fewer companies making their own saxophones. And with the fairly recent influx of saxophones from the East, it’s harder to tell the players without a program.

Factories in Taiwan and China make horns with a multitude of brand names, but how many make saxophones under their own names? (For example, we know Jinbao does.) How many factories only make stencil horns?

These are very good questions, but ones difficult to find the answers to. Jinbao—the makers of the French-style bass—do make a few with their own name engraved on it, but for the most part their horns are sold with names such as: Oleg, Hunter, International Woodwinds, Tuyama, Levante, Swing, and Wessex.

So with all these factories all over Taiwan and China producing their saxophones for other companies, music stores, and even individuals, it strikes me that many (most?) of the new saxophones sold today are stencil horns.

Think I’m wrong? Think about this for a moment: How many big name saxophone companies are left now? Selmer Paris. Keilwerth. (They are still around, aren’t they?) Yamaha. Yanagisawa. As well as a few smaller and boutique companies like: Borgani, Eppelsheim, and Inderbinen.

Now think about all the companies and individuals that have their saxophones made by the factories in Taiwan and China: Trevor James, Cannonball, P. Mauriat, Theo Wanne, Steve Goodson, Kenny G, SeaWind, etc, etc, etc. These are just some of the higher-end, name-brand, new stencil horns from the Far East.

Now think of all the cheap stencil horns that are found by the thousands all over eBay and online stores. Do you think that the combined sales of horns from the Far East out-sell Selmer, Yamaha, JK, and Yani significantly?

The answer is yes, which is why we’ve seen a major new product announcement from Selmer Paris as they try to compete with their new SeleS saxophone, and why Yamaha no longer produces its student horns in Japan. Established saxophone companies are having to shift their way of doing business in an effort to compete with the new kids on block… But it isn’t so rosy for all these new kids either.

I was recently told by a person in the know, that there used to be approximately 50 factories in Taiwan making saxes. Now there are only 5.

Why this remarkable reduction in saxophone factories? In part because they are getting squeezed out by cheaper labour in China. Does this sound familiar?

When Japan began manufacturing saxophones, this was the directly responsible for many European companies being forced out of saxophone production since they could no longer compete with the cheap Japanese products. It took a few decades, but a few years ago we already noticed that Japan was being beaten at its own game.

Cheaper labour costs in Taiwan were undercutting the prices of Japanese saxophones to the point where the Japanese companies could not compete with Taiwanese-made horns. Now we see the cycle being repeated yet again, as China aims to fill the world’s need for cheap consumer goods.

All this leaves me wondering: What country can beat China for cheap labour? Why are we as a society so obsessed with cheap consumer goods? What’s wrong with buying a quality item, and keeping it for our lifetime? (Aside from the fact that we are of course being bombarded by ads 24/7 telling us to buy product X or Y, to fill a supposed need we have in our life.)

So what is a stencil horn today then?

Given the plethora of factories cranking out saxophones with names, many of which no one has ever hear of before, I would argue that in today’s world almost all saxophones are stencil horns. Only saxophones coming from, and bearing the names of established manufacturers like Selmer Paris, JK, Yamaha, Yani, Borgani, Eppelsheim, et al, are not stencil horns.

Some companies like Selmer Paris don’t make stencil horns. Other companies like Yani and JK have made them in the past. That said, the economic situation today is such that very few, if any, companies are going to established saxophone manufacturers for their stencil horns. Instead company X is turning to factory Y in Taiwan, or more likely China, to have their new stencil horn made.

…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!