MJH Kessels - Tilbourg, Netherlands
MJH Kessels - Tilbourg, Netherlands
Translated and transliterated from http://www.the-saxophone.com:

Kessels was founded in 1896 in Tilburg, The Netherlands. Kessels made award-winning brass instruments, woodwind instruments, percussion, pianos and so on.

Mathieu Kessels died in 1932 and his sons continued the factory until 1939. One of Mathieu's sons continued producing brass instruments and the other son became the manager of publishing company. In 1956 the factory was demolished.

Kind regards,
Eveline Passier
Erfgoed Depot Riel
Melchior DeVries
Melchior DeVries
Horn Details Seller's Blurb Make Martin Price/Date $3500 / 2016 Model Handcraft Master
"Typewriter" Finish Gold Plate Pitch Eb Alto Keyed Range Low Bb to altissimo F Serial 97478 Bell Keys Split Year 1930 Tone Holes Soldered; straight Source Link GetASax.com Octave Key Over


For sale as of May 10, 2016! Go buy it!

The Martin Typewriter is the quintessential aesthete’s saxophone. It has a unified design concept that makes it a harmonious whole like no other horn. Every key touch is a circular pearl, and there are many other little design elements to that combine to make this a striking piece. This rare example is in near mint condition with virtually no wear at all and nearly 100% original gold plate intact. It has gorgeous and extensive special engraving on the bell including a little portrait of a cabin with mountains and a lake!

Besides being rare and fabulous, this horn also has a fresh high-end overhaul and it plays amazingly well, with a sweet, lush, thick, lyrical tone that is unique to Martin saxophones. This would be the perfect alto for any kind of lyrical alto playing – big band, ballads, section playing, or even wind band. The typewriter style keywork makes it slower to get around, so this is not a main alto for a pro player who practices 4 hours a day, because then the ergonomic quirks would become troublesome, but for most kinds of players, it’s just a lot of fun.

Whether you’re a player or collector, this is a very special horn, and it should make someone very happy!

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From the 2518 ebay ad:
Rare innovative Dutch TopTone TT25 Pro Vintage saxophone with titanium self-levelling pads and matt finish. Very few of these unique epic-sounding instruments exist on the market nowadays.

TopTone saxes play with a beautiful tone. Players report that their unique patented titanium self-levelling pads minimise squeak and warm the internal reverberations. More about structure, action and sound later.

It appears that the Top Tone Sax inventor, Rienk Smeding, was ahead of his time: nowadays only his valves, but not his saxophones, persist in production. See US patent 6265649 - Wind instrument. Rienk Smeding is regarded by some as a true genius: one of the few lateral thinking technology innovators of the saxophone, which has undergone only incremental change since its creation. There is online speculation as to why the saxophone business closed: margins too low, a lack of profit-focus due to too broad a diversity of models, inventor restlessness, intellectual property disputes, a conservative saxophone market, they all crop up in the debate. In any case, the number of existing saxophones out here is limited.

This particular sax is regarded as the top of the range, with its titanium self-leveling valves and matt coating. But it is not being properly appreciated right now. It has barely been used, perhaps for 20-30 hours in total. My family bought it ages ago as part of a musical instrument buying binge. Today it seems a waste to leave it almost untouched, but they have all developed interests in other instruments. So I have had had it serviced in Manchester by saxophone expert, John Clark, who relished playing it as well. It is ready for a more appreciative and active musical home.

Toptone Saxofoon - stamped with Serial Number 2518. Includes padded case, as shown.

Two paraphrased comments on TopTone now follow, from Reinders and Borges. Both are loosely translated from the Dutch, then paraphrased by me.

1 Reijnders 1996. He praises the TopTone valves as having 'perfect seal' yet 'full, brilliant timbre', making the saxophone talk of a 'light, smooth yet direct touch' and a 'uniform register change'. He deplores what he says is conservatism in the music industry, for not fully appreciating them.

2 Bertis Borgers 1998.
Toptone pads are suspended loosely, so they can tilt slightly, a new way to close the holes. The contact surface of the pad with the edge of the sound hole is made of soft rubber. The rest of the surface is largely a hard resonance plate.

When playing, people notice the uniform action of the Toptone sax. All the valves are said to close easily and with equal pressure. So your fingers quickly get used to the fact that only minimal effort is required to get a sound hole closed. The sound of closing holes is also much less, with an unusual evenness in the finger action, which allows for rapid, yet very, precise noodles and trills.

While it is as seriously loud as any saxophone can be, the TopTone's timbre is generally regarded as subtly softer. Depending on your experience the upper harmonics are either: "muffled and dim" or "mellow and less shrill". Those who have noodled on it say that it offers a different form of edginess.

So the Toptone sax not only has a uniform action, but also sounds balanced. Arguably this downside is that it might loses a bit of the specific squeaky edginess of certain notes, that wicked saxophonic fierceness, penetration and brillance has become now more rounded, warm and, crucially, controllable.