Weltklang Baritone Saxophones

baritone saxophone, low A bari, Weltklang baritone saxophones, silver plated, vintage, East German

Weltklang low A bari sax, Serial # 3836. Source: vsvs2002 on eBay.com

Which Keilwerth brother was involved with Weltklang baritone saxophones?

Depending on which Internet site you land on, or which saxophone forum thread you happen to come across, the Internet is rife with all kinds of rumours about which, if any, Keilwerth brother, was involved in the manufacturing of the Weltklang’s baritones.

I’ve had someone from Australia contact me and tell me that his sax tech told him that it was Max. It was not Max Keilwerth.

Saxpics notes that Richard Keilwerth stencilled some baritones for Weltklang. Nope, it wasn’t Richard either. As a matter of fact, Richard never made any saxophones of his own at all. He only bought stencils from his brother Julius.

baritone saxophone, low A bari, Weltklang bartione saxophones, silver plated, vintage, East German

Weltklang low A bari sax, serial # 5000. Source: silver-sax on eBay.com

If you said Julius, you were indeed correct.

It was, in fact, Julius Keilwerth who ordered some baritone saxophones from B&S in the early 1980s, and how they came about doing it is actually quite interesting. I hope you enjoy this bit of European saxophone history. It is Uwe Ladwig’s and my hope that it will clear up some misconceptions and misleading Internet rumours on some saxophone forums…

In the early 1980s, the Julius Keilwerth company received a large order for baritone saxophones from Schenkelaars in Holland. These horns were destined for North Africa. However, JK didn’t have the manufacturing capacity to produce all the saxophones themselves. Therefore they awarded a subcontract to B&S for approximately 300 low A baritone saxophones.

These baris did not carry the Julius Keilwerth name, but rather were generic baritones from B&S that had no engraving. They only had cosmetic changes such as key guards from Julius Keilwerth.

Through the course of this cooperative venture, quite a bit a know-how flowed from JK to B&S, and subsequent baritones from B&S benefited.

Any circulated references that Weltklang baritone saxophones were built by Keilwerth are wrong.

As a matter of fact, in an interview, the late Gerhard Keilwerth clarifies it even further:

Richard Keilwerth hat Baritonsaxophone betreffend nicht mit der Firma B&S zusammen gearbeitet und Julius Keilwerth baute nie B&S Baritonsaxophone.

Source: saxwelt.de

Helen translate says…

Richard Keilwerth has not worked together with the B&S company regarding baritone saxophones, and Julius Keilwerth has never built B&S baritones.

What? Are you sure you’re not just making this stuff up?

Yup, I’m sure. The information that I provided comes from two sources. The first is from the research materials that Uwe Ladwig used to write his article for Sonic: Sax and Brass. The second is from the German saxophone site Saxwelt.

On their Gerhard Keilwerth interview page, Saxwelt not only provides Gerhard Keilwerth’s reply to their question about the Weltklang baritone saxophones, it also provides Uwe Ladwig’s original text about these horns from the German music journal, Sonic.

I would encourage all of you who can read German, to check out the article for yourselves. Feel free to confirm my translation. 😉

The information about Weltklang baritone saxophones and their relationship to JK, is also contained on page 148 of Uwe’s outstanding book: Saxofone: Ein Kompendium, which is available from Uwe directly. (Yes, it is in German.)

If you’d like to check out the evolution of Weltklang baritone saxophones, you can find a pretty good pictorial representation on Bassic Sax Pix. SOTW has a great illustrated thread with even more varieties of Weltklang baris pictured. It is definitely work a look too.

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