Oscar Adler Gallery Gets Major Update

Oscar Adler Gallery, screen shot, Bassic Sax Pix, bassic-sax.info, bassic-sax.ca, vintage saxophones, vintage sax, German saxophones, Markneukirchen

Over the past couple of months I’ve not been writing a lot of articles for this portion of my site, in part because I’ve been busy trying to maintain and update bassic-sax.info in its entirety. By far and away the greatest amount of pages on my website are contained on the gallery portion of my site: Bassic Sax Pix.

The 20,000+ images that I have to date managed find and upload to the site, represent all sizes of the saxophone family, and span the horn’s history thus far. Since my website’s focus is primarily vintage horns, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that most of the instruments shown in Bassic Sax Pix predate 1980. I’ve also tried to focus more heavily on brands for which no pictorial collections previously existed on the Web.

The Germans are coming, the Germans are coming…

I’m currently in the process of updating a number of the German horn manufacturers’ galleries in Bassic Sax Pix. A couple of days ago I finally completed a major update of the Oscar Adler Gallery.

Oscar Adler & Co. was based in Markneukirchen, and was the first company to build a saxophone in the German-speaking region. The company’s first horn was built in 1901, and for 20 years they were the leader for all things saxophone.

Julius and Max Keilwerth were involved with the development and building of Oscar Adler saxophones, and it wasn’t until Julius started manufacturing horns under his own name, that the company lost its top-dog status.

If you’d like to read more about the Oscar Adler company, check out the page dedicated to them on my website.

But what about that Oscar Adler Gallery?

With the 200+ new images that I’ve just finished uploading, and the restructuring of the Oscar Adler Gallery, I’m now very happy to say that if you’re trying to research your Oscar Adler saxophone, you have a very good place to start.

There are now just over 500 photos of Oscar Adler saxophones that you can peruse through in the gallery—all broken down into model names, or engraving styles. I am not aware of another source on the Web that has as many Adler saxophone images.

Over the next few weeks/months I’ll be updating more of the German, and other European saxophone galleries. I have literally thousands of images that I have collected over the past couple of years that will substantially increase a person’s ability to research their vintage saxophone.

In addition to adding to the various European saxophone galleries, I also plan on adding a couple of new ones to the mix, such as Hess, and restructuring a few which desperately need it.

…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!

Klingenthal-era Hess Saxophones

Post-WWII era vs. Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones: is there a difference?

vintage catalogue, Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, Ernst Hess, 1940 musical instrument catalogue, Graslitz

Almost a year ago to the day I published my first article on Hess saxophones. At the time I focused on the horns that come from West Germany, after the company’s owners were driven out of their homeland in Klingenthal—a town directly across the border from the Czech city of Graslitz.

Recently the topic of Hess saxophones came up again on the Woodwind Forum, when Pete happened across a Klingenthal-era Hess saxophone that carried the Otto Riedl name.

It is worth noting that at the time Hess did not make their own saxophones, but rather bought them from “reliable manufacturers”. Ernst Hess stood behind the horns that he had stencilled for his company, since he offered an 8 day trial period, as well as a 5 year guarantee on all his saxophones.

Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones

The following is a page from a circa 1940 catalogue, which explains the three versions of Hess saxophones: the “Schlager”, vollkommene, and Solisten models. BTW, the illustration is of the alto intermediate version—the vollkommene, or complete model—which is Nr. 80.

Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, Ernst Hess, vintage musical instrument catalogue, 1940,  Graslitz, Klingenthal, Hess saxophone

Since the majority of you who frequent my site don’t read German, I’ve translated the features that each of the Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones had. You will find the information in the chart below.

1940 Hess Saxophone Features

Modell “Schlager” Aimed At Features Available In Finishes
orchestras & dance bands none provided Eb sopranino – straight, Bb soprano – straight, Eb alto, Bb tenor, Eb baritone shiny silver nickel plating with gold plated bell
silver plated with gold plated bell
Das vollkommene Modell Aimed At Features Available In Finishes
demanding players keyed from low Bb to high F Eb alto nickel plated with inside of bell gold plated
automatic octave key satin silver plated, with inside of bell gold plated
B&C trill keys satin silver plated, with inside of bell gold plated, and keys highly polished
chromatic F# key Bb Tenor nickel plated
2nd B key satin silver plated
plate for a new B, combined with G# key – presumably articulated G# satin silver plated
easy operation of low B to G#, low Bb to G#, and low C# to G#
easy connection to all other tones, and easy A flat key operation
Bb can be played with either left or right index fingers
4 rollers
key guard on chromatic F# key
10 MOP key touches
right-sided bell keys
microtuner
modern engraving
protective capsule for the automatic octave key lever
tone holes are drawn & rolled
all pads have metal rings and are moisture resistant
Solisten Modell Aimed At Features Available In Finishes***
none provided keyed from low Bb to high F Bb soprano, Eb alto, Bb tenor, Eb baritone
nickel plated with gold plated bell
automatic octave key satin silver plated with gold plated bell
front F key** satin silver plated, with bell gold plated, and keys highly polished
B&C trill keys satin gold plated, connecting rings, keys, and engraving highly polished
Bb can be played with either left or right index fingers
chromatic F# key
easy operation of low B to G#, low Bb to G#, and low C# to G#
easy connection to all other tones, and easy A flat key operation
plate for a new B, combined with G# key – presumably articulated G#
F# – G# & G – G# trill keys**
automatic C-D trill key and automatic connection of D with all other notes**
7 rollers**
13 MOP key touches**
key guard for the chromatic F# key, and for the pillar of the connected, right sided bell keys-C#, B, & Bb**
microtuner
modern, rich engraving**
protective capsule for the automatic octave key lever
tone holes are drawn & rolled
all pads have metal rings and are moisture resistant

**Specific to the Solisten model
***Finishes are different in the Solisten model because they are available across all voices of horns.

Based on these descriptions, the Otto Riedl alto saxophone shown above is a version of Das vollkommene Modell, with an added G# trill key.

A year ago I originally published the following catalogue page from Hess. The company had moved to West Germany—specifically Munich. It is there that they operated a massive mail-order business, and sold their saxophones.

We know that ten years earlier in Klingenthal the company bought stencil horns, but did Hess manufacture their own saxophones after their forced relocation to West Germany? That’s a bit unclear, since the 1950 catalogue page I have describes the following, and doesn’t specifically mention saxophones:

…their musical instruments were made by Sudeten German refugees—those who had been expelled from the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia after 1945—in their home shops. Hess Musik however, assumed all guarantees for quality and clean workmanship.

As I mentioned last year, although this saxophone pictured here shares similarities with a number of German saxophone makes (JK, Kohlert, and Hohner), it doesn’t look like any one of them. Unfortunately over the last year I haven’t come across any photos of West German Hess saxophones, which makes it harder to draw any conclusions.

vintage musical instrument catalogue, Ernst Hess, Hess saxophones, 1950, West German saxophone, I’ve translated the features that each of the post-WWII era Hess saxophones for you below.

1950 Hess Saxophone Features

Modell I Features Available In Finishes
keyed to low Bb Eb alto & Bb tenor nickel plated
automatic octave key lacquered
B&C trill keys quadruple silver plated
Bb can be played with either left or right index fingers
plate for a new B, combined G# key – presumably articulated G# key
F#-G# trill key
chromatic F# key
easily move from G# to all other notes
with rollers and MOP key touches
massive tone holes
rust-free screws
strengthened bow guard
patented pads with moisture resistance
Bb and B like on Modell II on right side of bell
Modell II Features Available In Finishes
guaranteed lightest and most comfortable grip through improved key layout Eb alto & Bb tenor nickel plated
keyed to low Bb lacquered
automatic octave key quadruple silver plated
special high F key
B&C trill keys
Bb can be played with either left or right index fingers
plate for a new B, combined G# key – presumably articulated G# key
F#-G# trill key
G-G# trill key
chromatic F# key
easily move from G# to all other notes
7 rollers & 12 MOP key touches
massive tone holes
rust-free screws
strengthened bow guard
patented pads with moisture resistance
right-sided Bb and B keys ensures smooth key operation

Post-WWII era vs. Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones: What are the differences?

If you compare/contrast the Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, to those sold by the company after their move to Munich, you’ll notice that many of the features are indeed the same. What they did however, is add a few new features.

  • The West Germany-made horns had “massive” tone holes.
  • These horns also had an improved bow guard.
  • They sported rust-free screws.
  • And the Modell II (the more expensive model) had an improved key layout.

Where the post-WWII era horns differed substantially from the Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones was in their voices. Prior to their move from Klingenthal, Hess had saxophones available in sopranino through to baritone. After WWII the company sold only altos and tenors.

Finishes were also different after WWII, in that only three basic finishes (lacquer, as well as nickel and silver plate) were available on the Hess alto and tenor saxophones. On the Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, finishes varied from nickel or silver plated with a gold plated bell, all the way to gold plated. Lacquered saxophones were not even an option in the company’s Klingenthal-era.

I will keep an eye open for more Hess horns—both Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, as well as post-WWII era ones—in hopes of finding out more about this unusual brand. If you happen to have a Hess-engraved saxophone and would care to contribute it to my research, please get in touch with me. Thank you!

vintage catalogue, Klingenthal-era Hess saxophones, Ernst Hess, 1940 musical instrument catalogue, back cover, snow covered mountains, Graslitz

…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!

April Fools’ Day Joke: Sax Busker Style

It’s April 1st. Who can resist a good April Fools’ Day joke? This one comes from commercial illustrator Mark Armstrong, who on April 1, 2013 published this Busker cartoon on his personal blog

saxophone cartoon, April Fools Day joke, Mark Arstrong, Busker

Anyone who has ever busked knows that it can be a difficult, and at times thankless job. Just when Busker thought he hit pay dirt, it turns out to be nothing more than a bad April Fools’ Day joke.

I have never busked as a musician, nor as any other kind of street entertainer. Even if some of the venues have been outdoor ones, I have always been lucky enough to have been employed by someone, or some company while working as performing artist. Regardless if I was a mascot in the sweltering summer heat during the Pierret Waiters’ Race, or if I performed with a rock band in the -20° C cold during the Canada Winter Games, I got a paycheck.

I remember back in the very early days of SOTW (pre vBulletin), there was a section dedicated to busking. There were a number of members who busked as either their main source of income, or as a supplement. I don’t remember anyone mentioning that they hit the mother lode and received anywhere near a million dollars in pay for a performance…   :saxy:    … but then I can’t remember an April Fools’ Day joke of this magnitude played on them either.  :twisted:

…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!