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

378 Comments:

  1. I HAVE AN ALTO SAX THAT I PLLAYED AS A KID. IT IS AN ANTIQUE PASSED TO ME BY A PREVIOUS GENERATION IT SAYS SYMPHONY PROFESSIONAL
    THE LETERS MCOEL
    AND ELKHART.
    IT IS SILVER TARNISHED .
    CAN ANYONE GIVE ME INFO. iT IS IN ITS ORIGINAL CASE NOWSTARTINT TO DETERIORATE

  2. Hi Helen,

    Do you know a German saxophone maker with an underslung octave mechanism?
    This saxophone is named Rem Super DES, there are more pictures.

  3. You wont believe this, but I picked up a pierret super artiste bari sax at a antique store yesterday, on your website you have pictures of the sax one serial number before that (I have serial 1291, on your site you have 1290, this post http://bassic-sax.info/4images/details.php?image_id=15317. with that being said, if you have any information on this sax, we may be a step closer to solving the mysterious ways of pierret serial number.

  4. What’s your opinion on that Sakkasu bass sax for only 4 g’s? It’s a china crap horn but their shop supposedly fixes them up. I’m skeptical, and anyways not sure they come in a long wrap model. Really want a late 20’s buescher or conn but can’t find one in my area, and terrified of poor packing jobs by amateur sellers, as I’ve had too many horns arrive bent that way. Thanks.

    • I don’t have an opinion on the Sakkasu bass, since I haven’t played one. I can tell you that they were made by Jinbao, and that those are ostensibly better than the Jinyin-made, vintage American-style bass saxes.

      I do know of at least one pro player who had developed wrist problems, and no longer could play his vintage Conn. He sold the Conn, and bought a Jinbao-made horn and is very happy with it.

      That said, the thing you have to remember is that these “short wrap” horns are copies of the Selmer Series II bass saxes, and that many people will tell you that they just don’t have the same umph as the Conns and Bueschers et all of the day. There is just something about the American-style horns that gives them a sonority that the French-style horns don’t have. These short wrap horns have been compared more to “big baritones” than to bass saxophones.

      However, since I have not had the opportunity to play one to date, I can’t comment with any real authority. I can tell you that of the people who I know who have bought them, I see about a 50% satisfaction rating. Half the people are satisfied or happy with the horns and keep them. The other half find them too much like big baris, and go on to sell them and find themselves a vintage American bass.

      • Thank you for your reply. I have heard that from othhers too, about them sounding like “big baris.” If your friend wants to sell his vintage Conn let me know! Are the Jinyin ones you spoke of the CANEX company? I have heard of them but also heard the craftsmanship was poor. It looks to me like there are a few Mark VI bass saxes out there going for about double my price range, and they are long wrap horns if my eyes are not decieving me. Do those sound like the old Conns and Bueschers? All the best, James

        • Jinyin made (makes?) all the vintage American-style bass saxes on the market. Period. Full stop. Canex is just one of the companies that ordered from Jinyin.

          The stencil name on the horn doesn’t matter. The manufacturer is all the same. I have spoken to the designer of these horns, and I can tell you he is not impressed, which is why he abandoned this style and put his company’s focus on only the Jinbao-made, French-wrapped horns.

          If you are curious about both the short comings and upsides of a Jinyin-made, bass saxophone, I urge you to read the review I wrote of one I played.

          As for the Selmer Mark VI’s you’ve seen, yes, your eyes are deceiving you. They are all short-wrapped. The only European horns you’re likely to see that are American style are J. Keilwerth. I put likely in italics, b/c it is possible that the odd seriously vintage German horn from a company like Kohlert or Adler might might pop up, but it’s not as likely as a JK.

          Hope this helps…helen

  5. I recently acquired this Saxophone, I could not find out anything about the Maker. It is Marked, Made in Italy, and “DiLeo” I don’t know anything about Saxophones , I just buy and sell vintage and antique pieces. Any input on value, as well as maker info I would be greatly appreciative of. Thank you, Shaun

    PS, I am happy to supply additional pictures.

  6. greeting
    I have one sax the new king sax alto and can not find any information on the net
    I think 1939 was in good shape.
    I beg you for help!!
    how much sax can be worth

  7. I was thinking of buying a baritone sax and don’t know what to look for. And also what price should i look for.

    • The answer to your question depends entirely on a number of factors: 1. What kind of playing you do. 2. How experienced a player you are. 3. What your budget is.

      All QUALITY baris are going to cost you A LOT more than altos or tenors.

      Depending on what type of playing you do, you have to decide if you want a low Bb or a low A horn. Low A horns a almost a must if you do pit orchestra work. That said, I have gotten away with using my low Bb Selmer Mark VI in pit work, and using the low A extension that Paul Coats designed. It works like a charm, but does have its limitations.

      If you are an experienced player already, then a vintage bari might be viable option for you. The JK-made Bundy horns are an excellent bang for your baritone saxophone buck. They are only keyed to low Bb. If you really want a low A horn, then a Weltklang could be a good choice as well, but their ergos leave a lot to be desired—especially if you currently play a modern horn already, and thus are used to more modern keywork.

      If you are looking for a new bari, I can highly recommend the new Seawind baritone. I played their prototype model for over a month, and it was very lovely. I tried to talk them out of it should they ever decide to sell it. (It doesn’t sound like they will though sadly.) I can tell you that had Seawind baris been available, I would never have bought my Medusa back in 2005.

      I would recommend that if you can’t try and buy a bari locally, that you buy it through an established dealer where you know what you’re getting. One such person I Quinn the Eskimo Vintage Horns. (I just noticed he has a YBS-53 that would be a strong contender.) Another is Gayle at vintagesax.com. Yet another is pmwoodwind.com

  8. Charles Carmody

    Oooops! So here’s the deal. I love working on mechanical things. For my retirement, I will be working on musical instruments. I have a Melody C sax that is totally dismantled. The leavers and pads are fine; however, I removed the springs to replace them with new……I will order a spring kit for the sax. Is there any diagram that will tell me and show me what size and length spring goes where, for what lever? Thanks, Charlie.

    • I have never seen a diagram for the size and length of springs on a saxophone.
      It is possible that they exist, but the chances of finding one for a 90 year old saxophone are small.

      The diameter of the spring must be slightly smaller than the hole which holds them.
      If the diameter is right you cut them to the required length.

    • You have just set yourself up for quite the adventure. Typically before changing springs, one wants to take a block of 2″ X 1″ wood and drill holes in it that reflect the position of each spring where it would be along the upper and lower stack (it will look a good deal like a cribbage board). This way you have record of the original diameter, length and location of each spring when you place it in its respective hole.

      Whether you have done this or not, you will still need to test the fit of the spring when you replace it. With the key loosely in place, push the spring though the post and check that it is slightly snug when its pointy end is about 1/8th to 1/4″ past the spring hook on the key. Use a utility knife to mark where you want to cut off the excess length of spring. A tempered wire-cutter will work, just be cautious of flying spring pieces; they can be painful.

      You will then gently grip the pointy end with a pair of pliers and heat the cut end with a torch until it is just about to glow red. Before it cools completely, tap the heated end with a hammer (a tack hammer is about the right weight) on an anvil (a jeweler’s anvil of hard brass is ideal, but the top of a bench vice works well) to form a short fan-shaped wedge. To install the spring, make note of the slot in the post and slide the wedge into it, pressing it in firmly (but not too hard) with your spring pliers. The next best tool would be round-nosed pliers; or gently press with a nail-set. Needle nose or standard slip-joint pliers are a Very Bad Idea™.

      Place the key in position (with its axle rod or end screws), use your spring hook to put the spring in position, and check your work. (The old-school substitute for a spring hook is a #6 crochet needle.)

      I suggest you start from the bottom. Even though this means repeatedly mounting and dismounting keys, it’s the best way to eliminate the fat springs till you get to the skinny ones.

      Have fun 8^)

      paul

  9. Hi,

    I need some help identifying a sax. I live in Cairo and have come across a sax marked as a Hohner but it looks like nothing I can find online. The serial number is 1363. Can anyone shed any light on this?

    Thanks in advance

    Julie

    • Here’s another pic

      • And the last one of the stencil. Thanks in advance

      • Hi Julie.

        Check your email, I wrote to you before I saw your comment here.

        For those of you following along at home, 😉 here’s what I wrote to Julie about this particular Hohner alto:

        Hi Julie.

        Thanks for your note.

        That sax is not a Hohner President that I have written about extensively. It is was of the later ones that seem to pop up for sale—mostly on German eBay—made by some Asian company. They are cheap, stencil horns that I can’t tell you anything about.

        The only things I can tell you, is that they are roughly modelled on a Selmer (like all modern stencil saxophones are), and it was likely made in either China or Taiwan.

        As for the question if they are any good, that is of course very subjective. Good compared to what? Are they as good as the original Presidents? No. These are not professional model saxophones. I would be hard pressed to see them being anything beyond student level horns. I can’t tell you anything about their build quality, or if they play in tune or not.

        I’m also not 100% sure if all the Hohner saxophones were made by the same factory, or if Hohner ordered stencils from different companies over the years. Furthermore, I have never been able to find any information when it was exactly that Hohner sold saxes after their own President production ended. Thus, I can’t tell you exactly when it might be that these horns were made.

        The reason I mention this last bit of info, is that we do know that horns Taiwan have gotten better over the past few years, while horns from China are still for the most part crap. If this horn was made early in Taiwan’s sax production, or comes from China, it is almost guaranteed to be junky.

        So there you have it.

        Hope this helps. It all depends on what you want in a sax, and what you plan to do with it. (And of course what the seller is asking for it.) If you are looking for an instrument to make a table lamp out of, and the price is cheap, then this could be a good choice. If on the other hand, you want a horn to last you a lifetime, I would suggest you keep looking…

        Warm regards,

        Helen

      • hi Julie Clarke
        i think have same sax!!
        to my write the new king
        do you know how much sax can be value??

  10. I saw a Facebook live video of one of the guys from sax.co.uk playing a P Mauriat bass sax but I can’t find anything else about this horn existing… Do you know anything about this horn? Prototype? Early release?

    • I did some research, and found nothing on P. Mauriat mentioning bass saxophones anywhere.

      Here are my thoughts on this:

      1. We know that P. Mauriat doesn’t make its own saxes, but rather orders them from a factory in Taiwan (probably) or China (not so likely). Therefore it isn’t that far a stretch to imagine that the company might work with either Jinyin (not so likely) or Jinbao (much more likely) to develop a bass saxophone to their exact specifications. Jinbao—the makers of the short, or “French” wrap bass saxes—has a history of working with companies like IW, Oleg, and even J’Elle Stainer to develop horns that are tricked out exactly as the ordering companies want them.
      2. The question that I would have is why would P. Mauriat go down this road? I know for a fact that R&D in this field is very expensive, and unless they figure that they can sell enough of them, why would they bother? Has P. Mauriat done some market research to see if they have a market for bass saxophones with their name on them? Because really, how many bass saxophone players are there in the world? How many potential players are there who aren’t being served by the existing new and used horn market? Very little (almost none really) new music is being written for bass saxophone.
      3. Most professional bass saxophone players in the world are opting for vintage American horns, and if they are well heeled, specifically the Conn 14M keyed to high F. If they want to buy new, they still have the option of buying a J.K. that is vintage American styled, or a Selmer, or an Eppelsheim—which would be my personal choice if I was a working bass player. Not many pro players I know are buying Jinyin or even Jinbao branded horns. These are really more the horns for amateur and weekend warrior types.
      4. Having said all that, I could be totally wrong, and perhaps P. Mauriat is developing a prototype b/c they know something I don’t. Perhaps they have had X # requests coming into their company for bass saxophones and they’ve decided to develop a horn. Who knows, perhaps another Asian manufacturer might even be jumping into the fray and developing one from the ground up. This seems unlikely, but hey, you never know. If the last 12 months have taught me anything, it’s that you can’t count on what you held to be true, to be true any longer.

  11. Marshall E. Norman

    I have an old Acme Artist Alto Sax. I am hoping to have it completely refurbished. It needs complete restoration. Where can I have that done?

    • Hi Marshall. Welcome to my site.

      There are many places that can refurbish your alto for you. Where abouts do you live? Perhaps I can send you to someone fairly close to home.

  12. Hi, I bougth a Vibrato Sax Nude and i want put the Led light like a Ellie Sax. Can you help me please. Thank you.

    • Hi Cinthya.

      Well, that’s a really good question. ellie.sax uses different type of LED light than I have used in saxophones. The type that I have used are a strip, and require electricity. Mine are multi-coloured as well, and provide lighting to saxophone lamp/art project. Like the one that Ellie uses in her sax, I have the LED lights inside the horn.

      However, since she plays her saxophone, the lights have to be 1. Battery powered, and 2. Not interfering with the sound.

      I took a really good look at the photos on her website, and I can’t quite figure out how those lights are attached. They do appear to be inside the sax. But given that she is playing with a professional, smooth jazz sound, I don’t know how she does that.

      I’m wondering if she has Vibratosax make a sax with lights in it specifically for her? Just a thought…

      You could always either write to Ellie herself through her website and ask, or to Vibratosax. I would start with Ellie and see if she would be willing to tell you if the lights are on the inside or outside of the instrument. And if they are on the inside, how they don’t interfere with the sound.

      In the photo on the wedding page, you can see that the lights are very close together, and almost seem to be part of the instrument itself…

      • here is an example of led strips on a saxophone:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=izIJiJzTPlM

        • Interesting, but not that practical for a working horn.

          That is the same light strip I use in my saxophone lamp though! Interesting. I never paid attention to the fact that it could be battery powered.

      • Hi Helen,

        Just got around to checking this out, and I am 99.44% certain the light are attached on the outside of the body, under her left hand, and continuing down the tube where they joint another set tucked in under the keyguard from bow to bell. The back of each cluster is opaque and the lights are directed inward, giving the impression of radiating from within. This type of polycarbonate has similar properties to glass fiber which is why the light diffuses so nicely. I’m guessing the battery pack and controller are under her left palm which would block any obvious dark area on the sax, and the wireless control is by blue-tooth, not infra-red.

        Peace,

        paul

  13. Thank you for your fast reply.
    Yes, i know he was just a dealer. But without any mark of any manufacturer, can’t tell who manufactured this horn.
    I would appreciate any help with it.
    I’ll send you pictures of the horn.

    Thank you.

    Regards

  14. Hi.

    Thank you for the information that you provide.

    I’ve bought an alto saxophone of Johannes Adler. It does not have any stencil in the front bell (just from the side Johannes Adler, Markneukirchen I. Sa. 323) and does not have any mark/sign near the thumb rest – not pointing to neither any of the brothers Julius Keilwerth or Max keilwerth. The serial number is: 1544. The bell keys are on the left side.

    Can you help me with some info about it? I would appreciate.

    Thank you.

    Regards

    • Hi Pedro. Welcome to my website.

      Johannes Adler was never a manufacturer of instruments, and only ever ordered them from manufacturers and had their name name “stencilled” on. Although Max Keilwerth is the most common manufacturer that I have seen, there are certainly many others who could have done it as well.

      In order to tell you who might have made the saxophone, I would have to see some photos of it. You can send them to at: bassic.sax.ca@gmail.com

      Regards,

      Helen

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *