Who & What

This blog is part of the bassic-sax.info website of saxophonist/teacher Helen Kahlke.

Helen 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.

Helen has been playing horn for more than 20 years, and has played in a wide variety of musical settings including: rock, blues, R&B, jazz, Latin, concert, dance, and swing bands, as well as sax ensembles and small combos. She has also done studio and solo work.

Besides being an experienced, professional player, Helen has Master’s degree in Adult Education, and more than 20 years teaching experience. She uses many different teaching techniques with her students because she knows there many ways to convey the same information.

When Helen isn’t researching or writing articles for her blog, she is working on researching and writing new areas of content for the main portion of her website (bassic-sax.info). Helen is also working on a new project for her site. She is developing a gallery which will host all the interesting saxophone images of her site, and allow you to upload your own pictures if you like.

Helen is also a Content Expert and Moderator on The Woodwind Forum. If you haven’t yet checked it out, you should, because it isn’t just the same old, same old. It is a forum dedicated to all woodwinds, and has some of the most informed and respected players, techs, and dealers as members. It’s a truly civil place to get the info you’re looking for; no matter what woodwind you play.


  1. Hi Helen,

    Some pictures of a Toneking bassaxophone on this site:


  2. As far as this auction goes, the bidding for F. X. Hüller’s World De Luxe alto # 20400 is to start at $999.00. At the time of writing there were no bids yet on this lovely vintage sax. You have until September 19 to get your bid in…..

    yes this sax is mine!

    please let me know your email adress . i write on an sax-book, and write also with uwe ladwig

    see you

    ralph from germany – the town called ” Mauer” nearby heidelberg.

  3. Recently, I helped a bass trombone player friend produce an exercise book for bass trombone. He adapted it for baritone sax and I checked the exercises to make sure that they worked well for baritone sax. During our discussion, I pointed out that the bass sax range is only a major third lower than the low A baritone sax.

    The bass saxophone is a completely different saxophone – not like the baritone at all. The reason we play bass saxophone is for the SOUND, not the range.

    • The reason we play bass saxophone is for the SOUND, not the range.

      +1 :D

      Well that, and we really, really want to pack that extra 18+ lbs. of horn as well as a case to a show, because let’s face it, we are after all Slow Saxophone Players. (And I’m not referring to our playing abilities here.) ;) :lol:

      But seriously, I’ve recently been experimenting with using a octaver on my tenor to get a bass effect so I don’t have to pack my bass (real estate issues on stage with the blues band I work in). It just doesn’t sound the same. Sure the notes are there, but the haunting sound that bass has, which truly make it a bass saxophone, just aren’t reproduced by the octave setting on my pedal. I liken it to that unique sound that the bari has, that can’t be reproduced either with electronic effects. Each of our horns has a unique sound, and modern technology—as good as it is—cannot reproduce that acoustic timbre.

  4. sam netherland

    helen its me your ole chemo sax bud,i commented on a recent article concerning the best and worst sax solos they ask for name emai address and webb did that but for webb ithaught they ment where i heard about the article after thinking about it they may have wanted (my)webb.i appologize for this terrible mistake and hope you do not think me a complete idiot still enjoy your blog i have the same ole horns have several feelers out trying to get those pads for the padless sax have a great day and dont forget me.also yes there are a lot ladies women girls out there playing and recording just wonder why they are so good looking mabe its just me

    • Hi there Sam. Good to hear from you!

      It’s strange that your comment on the worst/best sax solos didn’t show up. If you remember what you wrote, perhaps you can post it again.

      I always suggest to people that they write their comments in another program like Microsoft Word, or whatever you use to compose letters, and then copy and paste it into the comment box. This will prevent you comments from getting lost should you encounter a “glitch” in the system.

      Just leave the web address blank. You’re correct. That’s where you would fill in the address of your own web site if you had one.

      Good to hear that you’re doing well, and keeping busy with your saxophone projects.

      I’m glad the Codera sold on eBay on its second time around. I was getting a little too tempted, even though I just bought the Hohner. Ah yes, gear acquisition syndrome (GAS) is pretty nasty business.

      What I really do need to buy, instead of another sax, is an amp. I’m tired of running through the board and through the mains when I play with the blues band. I would really like to control my own volume, reverb, and general sound. I would still run through the board at big festival shows where we’ve got a sound crew, but for smaller stuff, a really good amp would be fine.

      Take good care of yourself my friend…helen

  5. Hi Helen,

    I am enjoying your site even more that i have been “assimilated”. I sent you an e=mail to offset the spam blocker hopefully, you received it.

    There’s a series II silver plate for sale on e-bay.

    Thanks again,

    Glenn G

    • Yes I did receive it Glenn. Thank you. I’ve also posted it as a comment from you.

      I have removed the offending piece of software that blocked your legitimate comment, and have replaced it with another, that will not do this again. I appreciate your bringing this to my attention. I now have to wonder how many other legitimate comments have been blocked.

      As far as that Selmer bass goes, yes, it’s been around the eBay wheel a few times already. It’s just a bad time right now to sell something like this.

      • I’m pretty sure some of mine have. I usually wait and see if they show up later (sometimes as much as a day later) but one or two posts have never made it.

        • I’ve fished a number of your comments out of my spam folder, one as early as this morning. You and Chris both seem to suffer the same fate. Weird. I suspect it’s because despite you having the same email address, your IP address varies, and one of the spam blockers kicks in.

          The specific program that blocked Glenn’s comment however, didn’t even place the comment in my spam folder. That program just deleted the comment altogether. It uses a form of silent captcha technology. If your comments had been caught by that program, you would have been informed, like Glenn was. He was sent a message to the effect of: “You’re trying to cheat. Caught you.”

          I have been using 2 anti-spam programs (plugins) on my blog for over a year now… Once I started getting slammed with spam to the tune of about 200+ a day, and the plugin that came with WordPress required me to check each comment in the spam folder to make sure that it wasn’t in there by error.

          This AM I replaced the program that uses captcha technology with the program that comes with WordPress. That one unfortunately doesn’t allow someone to include more than 3 links per post, regardless of how many I set as my default. I do have a secondary program as well, but that one does not block legitimate comments. It compares IP addys to a list, and if the addy is known to belong to a spammer, the comment is blocked. I am sent an email telling me that a spam comment was blocked, complete with ISP info, email address, comment content, etc. etc. After a year of use, I know that it does not block legitimate comments.

          I can tell you that dealing with spam has become one of the most frustrating things about this managing this weblog. Once every search engine in the world found it, so too did every spammer. Trying to stay one step ahead of them, is a real pain in the ass. :mad:

          • I can explain the various IP addresses, and it may be a similar situation for others. You’re going to see the address vary as I log in from:

            * work
            * one of three WiFi networks across the street from work
            * home, where I go through a proxy that changes my IP address every 30 minutes and has four different proxy locations (though I have to deliberately change locations, that is not automatic).

            However, I have noted that in the cases of posts that got trapped, I had sometimes successfully posted already in the same session. It is generally when posting from work that is getting caught up in your filter.

  6. Hello Helen !
    It took time to be enough brave to write you, I tryed first on your own website, but because of any problems it does not go through. I am not a queen of using the internet, maybe that`s why I can`t find any live audio or video music on your website about your blues quartet or anything.Maybe can you help me.Now I am lying in the bed (cold,fever and so on) that means I`ve got time to look to your whole big work what you are doing hear in the Blog and your website!!! Waohh!! Marvelous!!! I think I need to be sick some longer to get all the reach informations all around the theme Saxophone! Haha! Anyway! Thank you for your nice kind of presentation of my website, but at the moment there is some problem with it, it`s blocked, but till it works again you can maybe get the time to look to my youtube marcellina1073`s channel there are the newest things of mine. There is an experiment of mine too (what is the answer ) singing and playing sax up side down ! This is natural a special show, but real live! I know you are more concentrate of saxophone only, but it could be an interesting spot for you.
    I hope we can get somehow also a direct contact, it would be nice for me to ask more private things about sax I`ll give you my email if you think.
    Smiles from Marcellina

    • Hello Marcellina!

      Thank you for the visit.

      That’s funny. It took time for you to be brave to write me? You get up on stage in front of hundreds, if not thousands of people and perform an amazing show regularly. You need not have any fear of writing a few words on a blog.

      I have to go now, I’m having an alarm system installed in my new house, but I wanted to acknowledge your comment. I’ll write more a little later this afternoon or this evening.

      Take good care, I hope you feel better soon.

      Warmest regards,


    • Wow! I watched the video of What Is The Answer, that is quite the performance. Yes, although my blog is about saxophones, you are a saxophone player, and you play your instrument in all the songs I’ve seen so far. You just happen to sing as well.

      You stage shows are very impressive Marcellina. They are so theatrical in nature, that I would imagine that time flies by, and before the audience knows it, the show is over. These types of stage shows captivate and entertain much more than music alone can.

      You are much more than a musician, singer, or a performer. You are an entertainer: something that is rather rare in today’s mass produced pop culture world.

      I, on the other hand, am nothing but a simple sax player. I play background to vocals, and solo. When I play with my own jazz band, I do front the band, but I’m pretty boring compared to you. I might tell jokes, but compared to you… It’s very boring.

      Thank you for the kind words on my website and blog. I do appreciate it.

      I hope you feel better soon, and that you can get back to your rehearsals. As much as I enjoy having you reading my blog, you do need to rehearse your incredible show.

      I’ll send you an email, and we can chat when you have time.

      Take good care.

      Warmest regards,


      • Hello Helen!
        I send you big hugs and a link with a new song of mine. It’s very simple , just an easy emotion of dream and relaxed mood. Let’s think about sax/sex compilation and let’s flying to a sexual feeling!! haha Yeah saxophone is sexual and that is right so!
        Smiles Marcellina ( I still love your blog and website and I wish sometimes to meet and maybe play together )

        • Hello Marcellina. Lovely to see you here again.

          I’m not sure which of your new videos you meant to attach a link to, so I’ll just include a link to your YouTube channel. I notice you have 3 new ones from last week. I must admit, I do like the German one best, but then I’m a bit biased. ;)

          I too would to like meet you in person and play with you sometime. If I am ever cleared to fly again, I would like to come “home” for a visit. It’s been too many years. A very close friend just moved back to Ravensburg to help her parents. Her father is dying of cancer, and her mother is going blind. I have never wanted to come back to Germany more than I do right now. I really wish that I could come and be there for her at this very difficult time in her life, and help in any way that I can. My own family in Stuttgart is also not well, so I would like to see them before it is too late.

          If I do manage a trip, I will let you know. If you’re around at that time, it would be nice to meet up with you somewhere, and do some playing. I think it would be a lot of fun.

          Be well, and thank you for the music…helen

  7. Hello everyone, there appears to be another bass saxophone on Ebay for what looks like $390.00 now w/ 6 days left.

    • Hi Chris.

      I just had time to do a quick check, but did you mean this Lyon Healy? There are 11 bids as of this minute, with the current bid of $510.00. The auction ends on September 27.

      • Yes I meant the Lyon&Healy on this website.

        I’m currently bidding on it with 1025.00 on the line. I only have up to 18,000.00 to go to. I’m still saving up for a bass saxophone, but if I can find a cheap one I will get it.

        • Which one of your bass saxophones is that Chris? I assume it’s a Conn, since it’s got rolled tone holes. I’m curious what kind of mouthpiece you’re using on it. I would think it would have some serious honk behind it.

          With all the bass saxes you already have, you could start your own Mummers band! :devil1:

          BTW, did you mean to say you’re saving up for a cheap contrabass?

  8. This is my all-time fav Bass Sax blog. Keep up the good work Helen!

    • Are there any other bass sax blogs out there? :scratch: :twisted:

      Seriously though, thanks for the compliment Jim. I know how you meant it. That means a lot.

      I put a lot of time into this every day, so I’m glad that it is useful. I get emails from people about my website & this blog, and how it helped them with X, Y, or Z. I always try to reply, but lately I’ve been falling way far behind. Too many emails, not enough time.

      Thanks again Jim.

      Warmest regards,


  9. Hello Kristin.

    You’re very welcome. It was a real pleasure to accidently come across your work.

    I do hope that the Kaslo, or another festival relatively nearby, has you back performing again, because I really would like to see you live.

    Warmest regards,


  10. Hello!
    Thank you for your positive review of my playing and work in general. It is very inspiring and helps me to stay motivated in my “struggle” of being honest and real in what I do.

    Thank you so much!!

    Kristin Sevaldsen *

  11. Hello Lance. Welcome to my blog!

    I was very pleased when I accidentally happened across the keywork modifications you were doing, so it was a pleasure to be able to write an article about them.

    Now you have my curiosity peaked about this Low A extension. So it’s conical, which is of course good. (No straight piece of pipe like the Conn.) You of course can make your own keywork. You’ve done it for your Martin, are you going to do it on other horn brands as well, or stick to Martins?

    BTW, you’re absolutely right about this update not being for the faint of heart. I have a hard time watching my tech working on my babies doing minor repair work. This type of work…I’d pass out! :eek:

  12. Thanks for the kind mention on your Blog. I’m happy to see that others feel the way I do about the vintage horns. Update not for the faint-of-heart: I just cut the bell (just above the last tone hole) of my The Martin Baritone in half and added an extended conical section to make it a Low A bari. Results are very, very, good. Do you know what the low end of a great MK6 sounds like?

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