Towards the end of 2018, I published the first of what will be a number of really important pages on my website. Bassic Sax has long been known as the go-to site for hard-to-find brands like Hammerschmidt, Hohner, Oscar Adler, et al. When I hit the publish button on the first of my Herb Couf pages, I was extremely pleased that I was able to bring together a great deal of information and illustrate it so beautifully.
Finally Herb Couf owners—or would-be owners of these fine Keilwerth-made saxophones—finally had a place where they could get complete and accurate information about their horns. (Not just mere speculation and rumour like I was faced with just a few months earlier when I was searching for info on the bari I was going to buy from PM Woodwind.)
Upcoming Herb Couf page on the Superba I & II
However, as informative as my current H. Couf page is—covering everything from the brand’s history; models; a serial number chart; as well as 36 other topics—it isn’t nearly complete. Since December I have been working on gathering data on Herb Couf saxophones and inputting that data into Excel spread sheets. I’m tracking which models/voices of horns had what features, and when exactly those features changed.
The end result be another page that compares soprano through bari Superba I & II horns. It tracks the changes that these 8 models of horns went through over their nearly 20 year production period. That page, like all the pages on my site, will be richly illustrated with examples of these lovely horns built especially for Herb Couf, by the Julius Keilwerth Company in Germany.
Is this ambitious? Yes. Is it a ton of work? Absolutely. Am I crazy? No comment. 😛
I had planned to have this new Herb Couf page published in February, but the big band I play in provided the soundtrack to a musical set in the 1940s. I also look after that band’s website and social media accounts, so I was slammed in 2019 until the show wrapped. Since then I’ve been playing catch-up, and am finally starting to be able to think about doing original research again.
But what about the Royalist?
Herb Couf didn’t just sell pro horns. Their student line was called Royalist, and the early ones at least, were also made by JK in Germany. However, at some point this changed, and the Royalists were made in the US by Armstrong.
I freely admit that I have not researched the Royalists at all. I haven’t even researched the Royalists made by JK. Will I in the future? Maybe. Quite frankly however, I have very little interest in student level horns from any era. So with a ton of research on other brands that I have started and not yet finished, I don’t see myself undertaking research on the Royalists anytime soon.
Would you like to contribute to the research?
If you are the owner of a Herb Couf Superba I or II soprano, alto, tenor, or bari sax—any bass owners out there at all?—I would really appreciate it if you contacted me. I am gathering all kinds of information on these horns.
If you fire off an email to me I can tell you what I’m looking for. What it comes down to is sending me about 10-12 photos of your sax that include particular areas where the horns’ designs changed over their production run. I will also need a partial serial #. (The first 2 digits are fine.)