Questions & Suggestions

If you’ve got a question, and you’re not sure where to ask it, you can ask it on this page via a comment. If I don’t know the answer to your question, I’ll do my best to research it, and get as much information as I can for you.

martin-drums-yellow-blue

Photo by M. Margison. Photo effects by H. Kahlke ©2008

I get all kinds of questions sent to me via email. As time permits, I’ll get some of those questions that get asked often, and the answers to them of course, posted here as well.

Also, if you have any suggestions for future blog posts, I would love to hear them. Feel free to post your ideas here, or drop me an email.

Perhaps you have a vintage horn with an interesting history that you’d like to tell people about. I’m always open to having you tell your horn’s story on my website. Just get in touch with me, and we’ll figure out the details.

jazz-band

Photo & photo effects by H. Kahlke © 2009

404 Comments:

  1. Hello Helen,

    I wondered if you might comment on whether this Klingsor alto is worth buying as a first horn. I’m a complete beginner, so the other options I was considering are a Yamaha YAS280 or a silver plated Selmer (USA) liberty. However, a member of the forum suggested this Klingsor Hammerschmidt could be a good choice:

    http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?210308-F-S-a-matched-pair-of-Klingsor-Hammerschmidt-Tenor-Alto-saxophones&highlight=milandro

    It was originally listed as much more but is now 550 euro for the alto. The seller also has a different alto, a Besson-Couesnon Alto II for a similar price:

    http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?242818-F-S-nickel-plate-Besson-Couesnon-Monopole-II-alto&highlight=milandro

    Do you think either of these is worth the risk rather than just buying a (more expensive) new and known entity, given that at this stage I couldn’t even tell whether the sax plays in tune or not? I ask because I saw that you have regularly written about Klingsor. Any suggestions would be very much appreciated!

    Best,
    Jamie

    • I have not played a Cousenon like this, but I would say that you couldn’t go wrong with either.

      I have bought horns from Milandro in the past. As a matter of fact I bought a couple of Klingsors from him. He packs his horns extremely well, and mine did not suffer any shipping damage. YMMV of course.

      If Milandro states that there are no tuning problems with the Klingsor–which I believe he said about that alto–then I think you will be fine. The good ones are very nice.

      The Couesnon is also a very nice horn, so it you would be fine with it as well.

      Just recognize that no matter which sax you buy, that you will need to take it to a shop (preferably one that knows something about vintage saxes), and get it tweeked after its arrival. Also, ask Milandro if there is a mouthpiece included in the sale. If not, perhaps he can pickup a good beginners piece for you. A Yamaha 4C perhaps. You can get one yourself as well, but if he happens by a music shop, and you’re not near one, then it might be more convenient if he does it.

      Do you have a saxophone teacher already? If not, I suggest you find one. Picking up bad habits is easy to do, but very hard to correct later. That teacher could also help you with mouthpiece and reed selections.

      Hope this helps…helen

  2. Hi Helen! Here’s a link to an awesome alto sax reed bundle thingy on eBay:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/122256817628?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

  3. Hi, I am a beginner and without any pretention some people like my sound. I am playing alto and tenor sax for about 3 months but have played much more 34 years ago. I’have been asked lately to play 3 songs in a wedding party. I want to play “Tequila” the Champs version but nowhere I can find the music without the sax partition. I know that the internet is vast and someone somewhere should have that partition only with guitar, bass, drums and/or piano. How and where can I get such instrumental partition without sax?
    Thanks
    Saxman Sly from Quebec

  4. Hello, I have just purchased a La Monte superior alto sax (made in Holland)I am having hard time finding a site where I can run the serial #1520 and find out when this horn was made and if it is indeed a Keilwerth stencil. any help would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Hi Helen,

    Do you know the New Brunswick international saxophone stencil brand?

    Made by Max Keilwerth?

    No I have not made this up, it is from ebay and only 100 km away from me.

    http://www.ebay.de/itm/NEW-BRUNSWICK-INTERNATIONAL-BARITONSAXOPHON-MAX-KEILWERTH-STENCIL-/301898890344?hash=item464a937c68:g:y0gAAOSwoBtW6GX6

    The seller does not say much on the Max Keilwerth connection.
    It shows no pure tone stamp, only a serial number with the word “foreign”.
    The fluted toneholes are comparable to a Martin.

  6. This is Kinda weird, because this is a sax website, and I play trombone and only double on sax, but I happen to have an old majestic trombone and haven’t known very much about it or the maker (except that it plays great!). I have noticed a few posts about majestic saxes so if you could help me learn about the company that would be great.

    Thanks

  7. I have a 1925 Bass Buescher True Tone that I want to find a good home for at a fair price. Can anyone recommend an appraiser? I live in the metro Phoenix, Az area.

    • I happen to know someone in Phoenix who could probably point you in the right direction. I will email him.

      Update: Done. email sent. I think Pete will be able to help get you where you need to go.

      In general, bass saxes have withstood the bumps of the economy fairly well. I paid around $5,500 US for mine around in 2000. It is the same model as yours, and same finish. I could have paid more, since it had just had a total rebuild, and came complete with a custom stand. Paul was being nice since I flew all the way down to New Orleans to pick it up in person.

      But a search on eBay will show that these horns range in price from about $3500-6000 (approx) based on condition and extras (such as new cases, mouthpieces, stands, etc). But that’s just a very rough ballpark.

  8. Hi Helen,

    I just found your website after I pulled my alto saxophone out after a few years of not even thinking about it, and I had tried looking for information on this particular instrument years ago, but I’ve never even been able to find out anything about the brand. I bought my saxophone in 2003, used and at a music store. The store owner had also never heard of the brand, which I’m not even sure if I’m reading it correctly. It could be Barer or Rarer, and the font looks similar to Microsoft Word 2008’s Lucida Blackletter. The bell is covered in a large and very strange engraved design; it’s looks like it has a flower, but only one, and the rest is just something else that I can’t identify. Most of the undersides of the keys have a common number on them, and I’m assuming this is the serial number, which is 110.

    I’m really just looking for any information at all on this instrument. None of my three high school band directors had ever heard of it, Google hasn’t turned anything up at all, and none of the other music store owners in my area have ever heard of it. I would be much appreciative, if you could uncover anything about this instrument.

    Thanks,
    Rosemary

  9. Hey Helen, I was just wandering, have you’ve been interested in any other Bass Saxophone? Like a Selmer or an IW661? and if so, how do ya like the sounds of them?

    • Oops… I realized there a bunch of comments that I missed replying too. :oops: Sorry ’bout that T-Bone.

      Sure there are plenty of other bass saxophones that I’ve been interested in. However, the Selmer or the IW661 aren’t on the top of my list. I’d like to try them one day, but so far haven’t had the chance. I had the chance to buy a IW661 a couple of years ago, but honestly, I don’t play bass enough now to justify the purchase of another bass.

      The two bass saxes that I’m most interested in are the Eppelsheim and the JK. If I were to get rid of my Buescher, one or the other of those would fill the bass spot in my horn stable.

      The one comment I’ve regularly heard about the Selmer—and all Selmer copies like the IW661—is that they tend to sound like “big baris”, and not like bass saxophones. They lack that big, beefy, sonorous bass sound that we associate with American-style bass saxophones. There is something about the short wrap, French style bass that is “lacking” in that department.

      But again, that’s just something that I’ve heard from players who have tried them, and not something that I’ve heard from personal experience. One day I’d like to try a short wrap bass for myself and hear what all those people are talking about!

  10. Hi Helen,

    This morning I saw a full pearl Max Keilwerth tenor in the 56xx range.
    The F# thrill key guard is missing and the low C# key is still the old design.
    I guess it is a Mars.

    http://www.ebay.de/itm/Tenorsaxophon-von-Max-Keilwerth-generaluberholt-ca-70-Jahre-alt-vintage-/131538358199?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_77&hash=item1ea04c0fb7

    • That’s an interesting horn. I looked at it when you posted it, and again today. It’s still for sale. No drop in price though. In today’s market, if you’re going to ask EUR 999.00 for a tenor, it better be complete. The seller really needs to drop his/her price.

  11. Hello Gary,

    I just stumbled across your website by accident, maybe you’ll be a good resource for several questions that I’ve been trying to research on the Internet? I was lucky enough to find several instruments at a public school auction. These instrument may have been stored in an outdoor shed for many years.

    First question … I bought a Selmer MK VI bari sax. The finish is in terrible condition, it needs all new pads. The case was totally trashed, I threw the case away and ordered a new one. It does not have a neck. Do you have any suggestions where I might find (buy) a neck?

    I also bought a Noblet bass sax. The finish on this horn was in better condition. I had my sax tech replace all the pads, I needed to order a new case for this instrument also. It’s now in good playing condition. I’d consider selling it but I have no idea what it’s worth.

    The bass sax could use some minor polishing. I’m hesitant to use “windex” on the lacquer finish. Do you have any suggestions?

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

    Regards,

    – Bill

    • Hi Bill. Who’s Gary?

      Congrats on your score of a couple of potentially great saxes there.

      Let me tackle the Noblet bass sax question first, since that’s the most involved. No, you definitely don’t want to use Windex, or any other kind of cleaner like that on the lacquer. If the horn is not silver coloured, then you could use a little bit of Pledge on a soft cloth and use that to try to clean the lacquer that’s on the horn. However, the lacquer is a protectant for the brass, so at worst it might have some water marks and finger prints. Is the lacquer worn off in spots and the bare brass exposed? Is that what you are concerned with wanting to polish? Perhaps you could post a couple of pictures and show what kind of tarnish you’re talking about. It might be normal, and nothing to worry about.

      As far as prices goes, that will be a bit tricky to figure out, since Noblet bass saxes (they were made by Beaugnier BTW) don’t come up for sale very often. Check out this page on my website that can help you figure out what your horn is worth. Although these horns sold a few years ago, the prices are still relatively close to what they would sell for today (I wrote about them when they came up for sale on eBay: This slight beater was listed for $3,500 and didn’t get any offers. This nice one sold for $5048.00.

      As far as a neck for you Mark VI bari goes, that is an easy, but potentially expensive fix. You have 2 options: You can hunt around the Internet and try and find someone who’s selling a neck for a bari that is close in serial # to your sax. (Good luck with that.) Or, your best bet is to go with an aftermarket neck like Gloger. I personally don’t think that €250.00 for a hand-crafted neck to very much. You can spend more than for a genuine Mark VI neck.

      Hope this has been useful.

      Regards,

      Helen — NOT Gary. ;)

  12. Hi Helen,
    I just bought a 1922 Buescher Bass, similar to yours. It is in great shape, and plays smoothly, but the lower register notes are extremely flat, even with the mouthpiece pushed in all the way. It came with a Buescher True Tone mouthpiece. Do you have any suggestions to help this horn play in tune? Also, I’m wondering about the altissimo register fingerings if you know of a resource. Thank you!

    John

    • Hi John. Have you had the horn at your tech to have it checked for leaks? Although leaking won’t account for the flat-playing lower end, bass saxes nearly almost always have leaks that affect their playability. That said, the question then turns to your bass’s key heights.

      I have a listing of the best key heights for the Buescher that was provided to me by Paul Coats. This is how mine was set up after its restoration, and how it’s been maintained since I got it. When my tech went to do it, he mentioned that there was one small error in it, but I don’t remember now what it was.

      Here are the pad vents on the Buescher Bass. These begin with the low Bb, and work upward to the octave keys. Each vent measurement is in 0.001″. Each measurement indicates whether the pad in question is normally Open or Closed.

      Bb 0.698 O
      B 0.621 O
      C# 0.412 C
      C 0.694 O
      D# 0.459 C
      Fork Eb 0.313 O
      D 0.337 O
      E 0.320 O
      F# 0.288 C (key)
      F# 0.315 O
      F 0.322 O
      F? 0.272 O (activates the LH index)
      G# 0.225 C
      G 0.300?? Can’t get calipers in to measure
      A 0.275 O
      A# 0.316 C (side Bb key)
      B 0.215 O
      C 0.195 C (side C key)
      C 0.305 O (when middle finger down)
      C# 0.160?? Can’t get calipers in
      D 0.255 C
      Eb 0.275 C

      Secondary Octave Approx. 0.100
      Primary Octave Approx. 0.100

      As for the altissimo fingerings, I’ll dig around in my files. I have something that I should be able to email you.

      Another resource you should definitely check out is the Bass Sax Co-op. We’ve got hundreds of players from around the world—many of whom have decades of experience playing bass sax—who are very happy to assist others in figuring out what’s going on with their horns. Sometimes it’s as simple as switching to a different mouthpiece/reed combo, or playing a harder or softer reed.

      PS: I don’t know why my table for the key heights isn’t showing up. I must have entered the code wrong. It’s been a while since I’ve put a table in a comment. I’ll have to try and figure it out a little later today.

      • Helen,
        Thank you so much! I will take the horn to my tech and get the pad vents adjusted. I have another question: in this thread you mentioned that you would perhaps swap your Buescher for the Keilwerth Toneking bass that is available in On the web. I am essentially in the position to do so if I returned my Buescher. Can you elaborate on that? I value your experience with basses and want to be sure that I am making a wise choice with an important (and expensive) saxophone purchase.
        Thanks again,
        John

        • Hi John. I trust you had a pleasant New Year’s Eve with not too many complications. I think I’m finally caught up on my sleep today. ;)

          About my comment about the Tone King bass… I haven’t had the opportunity to ever play one. I purely wrote this comment out of speculation. I love my JK tenor and alto Tonekings, and believe that JK’s saxophone manufacturing was extremely good at that period of time. Therefore by extension their bass saxophones were no doubt also extremely well made, and most likely have a phenomenal sound.

          That said, there are so few JK bass saxes from that time period around—this is the first that I have ever seen—that buying one would be a crap shoot, since I personally don’t know anyone who has played one.

          If I still played bass professionally—something I haven’t done in 8 years&mdsah;then I likely would get in touch with one of the pro players I know in Europe, and have them pursue more info about the vintage JK Toneking bass on my behalf.

          I do know a player in Germany who traded his circa 1990s JK SX90 for a vintage Conn. Why? I don’t know, but I assisted him in locating his “new” Conn 16M. Now I’m helping him find an second, but this one keyed to high F.

          If the JK Toneking was in North America, it would be a much easier to make the decision to give it a go. The fact that it’s in Europe though, makes it much more expensive proposition. The risk is the same, but the costs incurred are just so much higher, and that for me it isn’t worth it—given my bass doesn’t generate any income.

          I hope I’ve explained my comment a bit better for you. It simply comes down to this: You know what you have. Do you want to risk that and go for something unknown, which of course could be damaged during shipping?

  13. Hi Helen,
    There are a few neat bass saxophones knocking around the ‘net right now that would be great in the photo gallery:
    http://www.berkelmuziek.nl/contents/nl/d16_saxofoons.html
    A vintage silver-plated Keilwerth Toneking split-bellkey bass in excellent condition. Even keyed to High F!
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Holton-Prototype-Bass-Saxophone-HISTORICAL-INSTRUMENT-WOW-QuinnTheEskimo-/361157380924?&_trksid=p2056016.m2516.l5255
    A very interesting prototype bass saxophone. The seller lists it as a “Holton.” I am not certain of this, but it does contain features that clearly differentiate it from both the Conns & Bueschers of the time. Especially interesting, it is unlacquered (doesn’t appear to have any factory finish whatsoever), without any maker’s mark, and keyed to High E (not Eb or F.)
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/361156864141?_trksid=p2060778.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
    A beautiful Buescher True Tone bass with original-style snap on resonator pads. Other than a resolder on the bell brace, it is in fantastic condition!

    • Hi there Tristan.

      Thanks for all of these. I’d missed them all. I’ve not been watching eBay at all, so I’m glad you pointed out the Holton and the Buescher to me. Now the JK Toneking is something very special. That would be one I’d love to own. I’d likely trade my Buescher for it if I had the chance.

  14. Hello,
    I was allowed to play a Vito Bass sax this year for solos and ensembles. Whenever I play it its Beautiful from regular C# down to the low Bb, but when i play regular octave key D, D#, E, it doesn’t want to come out right on the note and its a bit wonky. Anything above and below this is amazing. Do you have any idea if this is me or the bass. If its me, could you give me any tips?

    P.s. It just came out the shop from a 6 months of repairs be cause of bad pads and bent rods

    • If you mean the D on the fourth line of the staff, this is not unusual. Try using the D palm key instead of the octave key. This should also work fine for E-flat, though I can’t say if it will be so effective with E. Some modern basses (and baritones, which can exhibit the problem to a lesser degree) are fitted with a third octave vent for exactly this reason.

    • Hi Mikey. Welcome to my site.

      As Mal-2 was kind enough to point out already, when it comes to D2, stuffiness, airiness, wonkiness—or whatever else you want to call it—is quite common. Most of us who play vintage American bass saxophones play the D3 minus the octave key to get a nice-sounding D2. That said, on American-style bass saxophones, D#2 & E2 is not normally an issue. If those notes are problematic, it usually speaks to a problem with leaking in the horn, or perhaps a particular horn’s quirkiness.

      That said, the Vito bass you have played is not a traditionally American-styled horn. It is what is what commonly referred to as a short or French wrap, like the Selmer.

      I am not familiar enough with French-style bass saxophones to know what is normal for them, but from the players who I have talked to about their horns, I haven’t heard that particular complaint. If the culprit isn’t the horn—BTW 6 months out of the shop for a bass can be quite a long time, they go out of adjustment very quickly due to their size and weight—then it is quite likely you.

      When I first got my bass, Paul Coats (the player I bought it from in New Orleans), told me about the D2 issue. He also told me that once he got used to playing bass, he no longer had to play the note using the left palm key sans octave key to get a good sound. Developing good, solid bass chops takes time. It’s like any other saxophone voice: You can’t just pick it up and sound like bass player. You have to learn the nuances of the horn. That simply takes time, and in particular, time on the bass you’re playing.

      Bass saxophones are finicky instruments that require a lot of air, and really good breathing techniques. Another thing to remember is that if you have any deficits in those areas, the D2 (and specifically going from C2 to D2 “going over the break”) is where it’s going to make itself very obvious.

  15. Hi Helen,
    I have a herd of vintage saxes and love them all. Just recently I acquired a couple of Zephyr tenors… both typical great Zephyrs.
    However, one of them is the DARKEST green/black lacquer I’ve ever seen on ANY old horn. I’ve been assured that it’s original lacquer (which doesn’t bother me that much. But what does is the fact that it’s engraving is not the deepest and a small area of it seems to be “covered” by the green/black. You know the engraving is underneath it because you can see it’s outline – but not the brass color.
    In addition to this the bell seam is a straight 1/16″ fairly bright, smooth brass line down the whole bell – not other corrosion type color seen. I’ve seen a lot of bell seams on other vintage saxes and thought that they only appeared if that area was uncovered by lacquer for any time. However, just yesterday I saw a “closet” Zephyr listed, “original” lacquer, and it’s seam was obvious also. So now I’m rethinking the “no lacquer for a while” theory.
    There are no other signs of it being a relacquer – plus assurances by the knowledgeable seller and his “experts” that it IS original and probably just made that way from being in heat for it’s storage life… But I’m sure that the lacquer didn’t “flow” over the engraving…. PLUS the whole body is the SAME color, – all the keys look like normal aged, slightly pitted surfaces. Anmd the neck, although almost as dark as the body, is lighter and still shows the “amber brass “glow of the metal beneath it.
    The body, including the inside of bell, even, dark solid color is also very shiny, like a clear coat. My friends are pretty divided in their opinions. Pictures are almost impossible to show it well. I picked one out of several. The engraving that you CAN’T see is below the tone hole area.
    Can you shed any light on this?
    Thank you

    • Hi Don. You do have a bit of a mystery there. Do you want to send me some other photos? That might be helpful. With only the one photo to go on, my initial feeling is that it’s a relacquer, but other pics might tell more of the story.

      The other reason I’m wondering about the lacquer’s authenticity is that this was not a finish that King offered at the time. You don’t mention what year your horn is, but based on the way the key guards are attached I’m assuming it was one with the “eye brow” key guards.

      I’d like to see the bell seam you make mention of. I’m guessing it similar to the one on my horn. Also I’d like to see the rest of the peculiar things you mention. In the meantime, I’ll see if I can come up with a listing of the Zephyr’s finish listings. I have one for the Super 20 of the era, but nothing for the Zeph.

  16. Hey,

    I have an alto Buescher SN# 240,xxx and its in good playable condition with no dents. I was wondering if you could give me some insight to its age and value? Was this horn considered a “pro level” horn of its time? I was thinking about putting some money into getting the horn overhauled, do you recommend for or against; or should I try to sell it and look around for a Selmer Mk VI or King Super 20 to put that type of money and time into? Which horn do you consider the best vintage alto of all time (Brand and production year)? Thanks for your time and help.

    • Hi Mike. Welcome to my site.

      Well, based on your serial #, you have yourself a Buescher True Tone alto there. Is that correct? According to the serial # chart on saxpics, your horn is circa 1928. Furthermore, based on Pete Hales’ research, your horn would be considered a Series IV horn.

      Yes, the True Tone was Buescher’s professional model of the day. As for your horn’s possible value, that I can’t tell you. To a large degree that depends on its condition. Take a look at this page on my website. It will help you figure out an approximate value of your vintage sax.

      As for whether you should get your horn overhauled or not, again that’s not something I can tell you. This is a very personal decision.

      Overhauling a sax usually costs around the +/- $1,000 range (depending on where you live). Any actual repair costs (dent removal, resoldering, a lot of swedging, etc) is usually an extra charge. A tech skilled in vintage sax repairs should be willing to give you a quote so that you have an idea of what you’re looking at before the work starts. However, when the work is done you will still have a 1928 saxophone. Don’t get me wrong, I love my horns from the 1920s, and I have a number of them, but compared to the ones you mention, they are like driving a car from the 1950s, compared to one from the 1990s or newer.

      You ask if you should sell your True Tone and look for a Mark VI or a Super 20, well either one of those is going to cost you more than what you would spend on the overhaul plus any money you receive from the sale. The question is: How much money do you want to spend on a sax?

      There are a tone of great vintage altos out there. Some of my favourites (in no particular order) include: Conn 6M, Hohner President, Selmer Mark VI, King’s Super 20 and Zephyr.

      My advice to you is don’t get suckered into the year/serial # game. Play as many vintage horns as you can; take lots of notes about what you liked/didn’t like about them; even make a sound recording of each if you can. It’s very unlikely that you’re going to run across 2 vintage horns that are going to sound identical, and just because a horn sounds a certain way for me, doesn’t mean it’s going to sound the same for you. Check out this article I wrote on the source of tone to see what I’m talking about.

      Lastly, this article too might be of help if you’re looking for a new-to-you vintage horn.

      I hope my reply has given you lots to think about. You asked a lot of really good questions Mike, but none of them have an easy answer….helen

  17. Hi, I have a JK Alto Sax, serial number 50783 – any idea of it’s age and value. Thanks & regards,
    Graham

    • Hello Graham. Welcome to my site.

      Well I can tell you the age of your JK alto. It was made in 1965.

      As for its value, that I can’t help you with. I have no idea what model it is, or what condition it is in, or if it’s a JK brand name (eg. a Toneking) or a stencil horn.

      Have you checked out the JK section of my website? The Nauheim Years page is the one that applies to your horn.

      Lots of things changed with the JK saxes during the 1960s. Most notably they dropped the rolled tone holes feature, and the model names got jigged around. Lots and lots of stencils were made as well.

      To determine your alto’s value, I suggest you check out this page on my website. It will help you come up with an approximate value of what your horn is worth.

      Hope this helps…helen

  18. I have a Lafleur Boosley…anyone have an idea what the value may be?

  19. I just sent one I think but a note said check box to confirm not a spam. I
    touched a button in search of a a box and my finished comment went away.
    If you did get it please let me know. I am no wizz kid on computer. I’m not
    even a kid anymore. Jack

  20. Is an Anfree bari sax any good?

    • I’ve never heard of them Mike. Do you have a link you can send me so I can read more about them. I’m guessing at this point it’s an Asian horn of some kind, but I’m not sure if it’s a stencil, or a saxophone my by Greatmind saxophones. That’s why a link will help me do a bit of research before I can answer intelligently…helen

  21. Hi. I have a Grassi alto sax. Its marked ” Majestic”. I don’t play but have a few friends who play semi professionally play it and say its in good working order ( no leaks).
    Would you have any other info on it? What its worth etc?

    • Hi Dan. Welcome to my site.

      Well, I don’t know a huge amount about Grassi saxophones, so I did a bit of searching on the ‘Net to see if this was indeed built by the company. To my eye it was lacking a number of the tell-tale signs that distinguish Grassi saxophones from other manufacturers. That said, I have seen enough Majestic-branded horns that many players ID as being made by Grassi, so ATM I’ll go along with that.

      As I mentioned at the outset, I’m by no means an expert on Grassi saxophones. As a matter of fact, they are one of the Italian makers I know very little about. I can tell you however, since the name Grassi doesn’t appear on it, and the upper octave keys on these horns don’t display the stylized “G” logo of the company, that this is a stencil horn. Stencil saxophones were ordered by a company (in this case Majestic) from a manufacturer (in this case probably Grassi), with the ordering company’s name engraved, or “stencilled” on the bell.

      Stencil horns usually are less valuable then their brand name counterparts, and sell for less through dealers, online auctions, etc.

      If you would like to get a rough idea what your saxophone is worth, I have a page on my website that will help you determine your saxophone’s value.

      If you are looking for more concrete information about your horn, I might suggest that you check out Pete Thomas’ Grassi page—where he also mentions Majestic stencils BTW.

      If you’re interested in joining a forum, and getting the input of other players, I suggest you check out Sax on the Web. They have the largest Grassi section that I have ever seen, with many players quite loyal to the brand. You might get your questions answered through the existing threads, or you can start your own after becoming a member.

      I hope this helps Dan.

      Regards,

      Helen

  22. Good Morning Helen!
    I was perusing one of my local auction houses this morning and saw some saxes that may be of interest to someone in the Austin/ Central Texas area. This site specializes in school auctions and the pictures are always low quality, BUT, occaisionally that “Treasure” may be there. The one past auction that I went to view and was eventually outbid in was for a lot of 6 instruments which included a low A MK VI. It would have needed work but Hey!
    This auction will be over on April 14th and includes:
    King Zephyr Baritone with neck and case. (They have it listed as Vephyr)
    The Martin Baritone with neck and case.
    And (looks like)
    A Conn Shooting Stars Tenor.
    From what I can see in the pics, they’ve been remarkably well cared for in the Austin School District. Finishes look to be in better than Fair condition. No bids so far, all open at $25 and Local pickup only of course.
    Here’s the link to the page in case anyone is interested.
    https://www.onlinepros.com/servlet/Search.do?status=offline&status=live&categoryName=Musical+Instruments

    • Hey there Monty. Thanks for that link. The Zeph and the Martin look interesting. If you can get them both for $50 you’d be laughing. :twisted: An evil, maniacal laugh, but still laughing. I’d buy them in a heartbeat for $50, but then hey, we’ve already established that I have a problem. :beat:

  23. What can you tell me about a Jupiter Tenor Sax, particularly Model 689-687? If it’s in good condition is it worth $700?

    Gary S

    • Hi Gary.

      First the disclaimer: I’m by no means an expert on Jupiter saxophones. I tend to focus more on vintage pro models.

      That said, the research that goes into determining the value on any horn is the same. Finding info on modern horns is also often easier than on obscure vintage ones.

      So with all that aside, from the bit of research I just did, it seems that $700 is on the high side. According to USA Horn, Jupiter considered this model an intermediate level horn. (Too bad USA Horns doesn’t show the asking prices of their sold horns.) A music store just sold one on eBay for Best Offer, but it didn’t sell the first time around for $575. It appears to be in very nice shape.

      I have a page on my website that can help you calculate the value of a used/vintage saxophone. That should help you out.

      Since I don’t know where you live, I can’t speak to regional differences, but depending on where you live, you might pay more—for example in New York City—than if you lived in a less expensive city. If you live in an isolated part of the of the country, prices could be higher or lower, depending on the local market.

      Bottom line: $700 seems on the high side, but if you have no other local choices, and you know what you’re getting for that money, it might be a good option. On the other hand, if you’re buying it online, there are likely better deals on the same model/brand, or better horns out there.

      Hope this helps….helen

  24. How can you tell if the Yamaha yts-23 sax was made in Japan?

    • Hi Gary.

      That’s a really good question. I don’t have a YAS-23 or YTS-23 to look, but I did spend some time poking around on the web. I came up with this thread on SOTW which added a further option into the mix: Assembled in the USA. Apparently they had an assembly plant in the US, that took the parts manufactured in Japan, or Malaysia, and created the finished product. That plant in Michigan is now closed however.

      Other players on the board noted that their horns are stamped with “Made in Japan” or “Made in China”. Last week, I was at my tech’s and he was getting a YAS-23 ready for a student of mine. Maybe I wasn’t looking in the right spot, but I didn’t see any country of origin stamping at all. My tech however, said the horn was Japanese in origin—presumably based on its age, which he would know, since it’s in his old rental stock.

      To complicate things even further, there are seemingly no serial number charts for Yamaha saxophones, and from what I’ve read, the numbers aren’t necessarily even sequential.

      Lastly, I did come across this interesting article on the Hyson Music Store’s blog.

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