Vintage Saxes & Obscure Brands

If you are interested in finding out more about her unusual collection of vintage saxophones, get in touch with Helen.

The photos directly above (of the bari) and below (at the Arty Awards) were taken by Jason Brown of Revival Arts Studio. If you are looking for photographer with an amazing eye, and with a gift for finding the artistic shot, he is the person you need talk to. Check out their work. It speaks for itself!

256 Comments:

  1. Hi Helen, I think you and some of the other readers would enjoy seeing this sax.

    (link here: https://www.ebay.com/itm/Bass-Saxophone-Vintage-Holton-New-Pads-Original-Lacquer/282647368857?hash=item41cf189499:g:f2kAAOSwNiNZta5v).

    On Ebay there is currently a rare Holton Bass Saxophone up for sale. The seller says it has it’s original lacquer with minor scratches and dents. It appears that it also has all new padding. While it has a beautiful Holton engraving on it, it is obviously a Conn because arrangement style of the serial numbers and the X-style body brace..

    It’ s been up for a while now, I think it’s the second time it’s been listed for 30 days. It’s currently priced at $5,250, a Holton lover (like me) would surely pay the price.

  2. hello helen,

    peter pick from lewes, england here, an SML devotee and collector of obscure saxophones (it seems). in pursuit of this and after seeing reference in your fine blog to ‘majestic’ saxophones (i have a bent majestic tenor) i have discovered this obscure machine on e-bay:
    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/ALTES-SAXOPHON-ALTSAXOPHON-MAJESTIC-40-PARIS/263323325738?ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT&_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649
    seemingly a french-made ‘majestic’ which doesn’t immediately resemble anything i can recall seeing before.

    best wishes

    peter

    • Hi Peter. Welcome to my site.

      There was a Majestic a few years ago that was rather peculiar as well. I will have to take a look for it later when I have a bit more time. When I find it I will post the link to it here.

      In the meantime, thank you for the link. What an interesting horn. I’ll have to see if I can figure out what it is….h

  3. Hi Helen! I just acquire a back-up tenor. It is obviously a SBA knock-off of some sort. I wonder if you have ever seen this around. No inscription whatsoever on it except for a serial: J045
    Any info or hypothesis would help
    Thank for your time!
    Antoine

    • Hi Antoine.

      Thanks for your comment, and the additional photos to my email account.

      I don’t believe I have ever seen an Asian-made sax with that type of key guard assembly before. Usually they are a Mark VI configuration. BTW, it is not an SBA, but rather a BA-style horn. Balanced Action saxes had the 2 indiviudal key guards on the bell keys, while the SBA’s had them combined.

      Well info I’m short on, but I’ll give this hypothesis based on what we know about modern stencil horns:

        1. It doesn’t match up to any of the remaining “big name” pro-level manufacturers, thus we know it wasn’t made by JK, Selmer, Yani, or Yamaha. Nor is it a R&C or any of the other “boutique” brands.
        2. It has no country of origin engraved. This is a telltale sign that it comes from either China or Taiwan.
        3. Whatever this Selmer-esque horn is, I wouldn’t call it a knock-off, a counterfeit, or even necessarily a copy since it has no brand name engraved on the bell. In this case I would call it a Selmer BA-inspired horn, or a Selmer BA-esque horn.
        4. Speaking about engraving… That engraving visible in the pics you sent me is clearly not coming from the Selmer factory. An experienced buyer might mistake it for that, but the engraving smacks of laser, and not hand-craftsmanship.

      So FWIW, those are my thoughts.

      I have a question for you: How does it play? How is its intonation? Does it have an even scale across the entire range of the horn? How much resistance is there? Anything odd, bad, or good about it?

      I assume it was used when you got it. Or was it new. Tell me a bit about it. I’m curious now.

      I hope my informed theories will help you a bit. I’m looking forward to hearing back from you…helen

  4. Hi Helen and everyone. I’m Terence in southern USA and I’m new to forum. I just picked this alto up. It says “D’Andrea” on the bell but there’s no mark to indicate where it was made. Serial # is 0386 (which seems low, if that means anything). I have searched the brand and all I can find is that D’Andrea is a great guitar pick manufacturer dating back to the early 1900’s. The horn is very nicely featured with “modern” left pinky table, rounded tone holes, nailfile G#, “stepped” Right hand side keys, bell keys on right, and a very “low-set” action. The octave key is “contoured” with the octave thumb rest for quick action. Like I say, pretty nice features. I’m sure it’s a stencil but have no earthly idea who the maker might be. Can anyone help? Thanks!

    • I think I know who made your horn Terence, but to be sure, I’d need to see some more photos.

      Please send them to: helen@bassic-sax.info

      If I’m right, your sax should also have rolled tone holes as well. Right? That said, I’ve been wrong before about this brand, that’s why I need to see some photos. Please include photos of all sides of the horn, and be sure to include: the left thumb rest & octave mechanism; the serial #; the bell engraving; the left palm keys; left pinkie cluster; low C mechanism/right side of the bow; a picture of some of the open tone holes; and a side view of the neck.

      With those photos I’m pretty sure I should be able to ID your saxophone.

  5. Another Vito to identify. This one is a France horn and, I suspect by the bell key guard design to be a beaugnier. However, I have never seen this keywork design…looks and feels very much like a old Selmer balanced action. Good news is that it actually plays very well

  6. Good day, John here. I have an older Richmond saxophone Model# A2220.
    It would be gr8 to get any info on it.
    Thank you for your time.

  7. I have a Wolfram tenor sax does anyone have any info about this horn? The sax is in near mint condition. Thanks

  8. Brandi Leah Welsh

    I came across this saxophone, its a music House Lemmars, serial #: 2-1830, Cinncinati Oh. I don’t no anything about saxophones. Is this a good quality brand and without me having the neck or case for it what is a guesstimation of what it’s worth?

    • Hi Brandi.

      I’m going to need a lot more to go on than that one photo. I can tell you a number of things already though:

      1. It is a stencil saxophone.
      2. If it really doesn’t have a neck (as opposed to a mouthpiece—the thing you attach to the neck and blow through) it is worthless
      3. I can’t even begin to give you a price, since I don’t know who made it.
      4. Check out this page on my website. It will explain how I can help you best. It also has photos of a sax neck on it, so you can figure out if you’re really missing the neck, or if it’s the mouthpiece that this horn is missing.

  9. Charlie Carmody

    I believe I have an older Henri Lavelle that I purchased some time ago, I believe it to be a tenor. I do not play, but I love the mechanics of these instruments, hence my passion. I was debating on whether to clean and polish the instrument (which I love to do) but of course there is a camp that would take me out to the post, tie my hands, cover my head with cloth, and fire a few rounds. Anyway, the reason for this query is that while looking the instrument over, I realized the bell keys “g” I think, are located on the left side of the bell. Can anyone tell me why this is? Is this instrument for a left handed player? All the best, and thanks for your time and consideration, Charlie. Sax # A9457 from Ebay.

    • There is nothing wrong with cleaning, but try to avoid to add soap or oil to the leather pads and do not use water for screws and axis or they could rust.
      Use some ball bearing fat to grease the axis, most people use thin oil, but this will evaporate in a few years.
      Polishing should be as light as possible to avoid removing metal, which will change the sound of the instrument. Removing lacquer is accepted by most people.
      Left hand bell keys are from an older saxophone design and play the same as saxophones with right hand bell keys.
      The two last bell keys should produce sounding A and A-flat tones when closed.
      There is also a page on these saxophones from 2009:

      http://bassic-sax.info/blog/?p=8175

    • Hello Charlie, I have a French Dolnet Universal Paris tenor sax, made in 1953, and its bell keys are on the left side. I was told by the technician at Twigg Music (wind instruments specialists) that Dolnet produces two models then: The A model and the B.
      Mine would be a B model with keys on the left side of the bell. Maybe other brands
      offered this. But I don’t see the reason of it!

      • I have a Dolnet bari with right side bell keys. They have an additional roller linkage to the key touches to get them over to the right side, and this adds both complexity and mechanical resistance, as well as being something else that can drift out of adjustment. It is apparent that the key touches are originally for left side bell keys, and that putting them on the right is a redesign. This might be why they continued to offer them on the left, although I think they had ceased to do it by the time my instrument was produced (circa 1963).

  10. My friend has an old tenor sax with American Captain engraved on bell. Does anyone have any info. about this horns history? Also says Made In USA.

    • Hi Ted. Sorry it’s taken me a while to reply to you. I’ve been quite sick and I’m just now catching up.

      I would be happy to try and help ID the horn, but would have to see some photos of it before I can make an intelligent comment.

      You can send photos to: bassic.sax.ca@gmail.com

  11. I am an owner of a Vintage Selmer tenor sax. I would like to know the value of it. It was made in Paris France around 1899 by Everett & Schaffer. Serial No. 20533. 18 & 20 Passage LP. It’s in great condition. Thank you for any help.

  12. Hi. Does anyone know anything about a sax brand called Montana? I have a tenor sax that was purchased used in 1970 with the word Montana and a picture on the bell and a serial number 28921 on the neck.

    I have some pictures but can’t upload them for some reason. I could email them.

    I would love to know more about this sax like where it was made and how old it is. I can’t find any reference to Montana as a manufacturer online.

    Thanks.

    • Hi Phil.

      Well I can tell you it’s a stencil. You’d have to email the pictures to me at: bassic.sax.ca@gmail.com

      I could then do some research for you to see if I could find out anything about your sax.

      • Hi. Did you find out any more about the Montana tenor? I’ve had one for a number of years and would be interested to know more about it. Mine has a serial number of 28913.

  13. Howdy. I responded to Helen’s e-mail. Kohlert Modell 1929 stencil. I have a virtually identical horn in my gallery at http://thesax.info/piwigo/index.php?/category/2296. Helen has a similar one in her gallery at http://bassic-sax.info/4images/details.php?image_id=7899. Better example might be http://bassic-sax.info/4images/categories.php?cat_id=1334.

    The main problem is that too few folks are taking pics of both sides of their horns!

    Kohlert had a G# cluster like that for a very, very brief time.

  14. What brand saxophone
    Tell me what brand of saxophone. I have a suspicion that this “Buescher”. Serial number 223888. Maybe you know what is that model of saxophone. Give the answer by email. Photo here: http://s1268.photobucket.com/user/Werle_R/profile/

    • Nope, I don’t believe that it is a Buescher. But I have seen key shapes like this before. I will have to do some research on what it might be. Pete, any ideas?

  15. jesús osuna castillo

    hola tengo un sax soprano king lion que parece ser que es de 1915 . si crees que sea interesante te puedo enviar algunas fotos del mismo.
    por otro lado me gustaria ver las fotos de tu colección ya que no pude verla en este link, espero me la puedas mostrar. saludos desde ciudad victoria ttamaulipas , méxico

  16. Hi, i’ve a klingson at home. i’m from argentina.
    my email is federicosolemases@hotmail.com i can’t fin your e’mail to send all photos.
    greetings

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