When the opportunity came up to buy this closet horn in spring 2010, I jumped at the chance. I had been shopping for a J. Keilwerth, The New King or Toneking, and was actually in the process of picking one out through Gerard Keilwerth’s store in Germany. However, before I made up my mind which one of his fine, restored, vintage tenors to buy, this beautiful President tenor found me through Vancouver’s craigslist.
The Hohner President is also a Keilwerth, however not a Julius Keilwerth horn. The President was designed by Max Keilwerth, Julius’ brother, while he worked for Hohner Musikinstrumente, in Trossingen, Germany. Since buying the horn I have done extensive research on Hohner President saxophones, and have the most comprehensive English language site on the brand anywhere on the ‘Net.
My particular Hohner President tenor is from 1961. The woman I bought it from owned it since new, and only played it for a couple of years in high school. (It must have been new old stock, since she is only a few years older than I am.) After grade 12 the horn was put in the closet, and not played again. It came with all its original accessories including: the mouthpiece, ligature, & cap, neck strap, end plug, pull-through cleaning swab, and case. All but 1 of the pads are the original, no reso ones. They have virtually no imprints on them. This truly is a closet horn.
I took the horn to my tech to get it adjusted, and to my surprise Dave had a Hohner President that was a parts horn. He had inherited it when he bought his shop. The horn had been in an accident and the body tube was bent and crushed. He offered me the neck off his parts horn if it worked. Because the necks are numbered on the President, I didn’t know what would happen. Both he and I were surprised by the result.
The Hohner is the by far and away the darkest saxophone I own. By dark I am referring to a lot of core sound, and very few overtone present. (Check this page of my site to read more about dark/bright tone, and what people generally mean when they use these terms.) With the neck of Dave’s donor horn (the one in the lower right in the photo above), the sound of my President suddenly became brighter—it had more overtones present. The sax sounded like completely different horn!
- Made by Hohner Musikinstrumente in (West) Germany
- Designed by Max Keilwerth (Julius & Richard Keilwerth’s brother)
- Horn serial #: 104XX
- Extra neck serial #: 111XX
- Finish: Lacquer with nickel plated keys
- Year of manufacturing: 1961
- Hohner Presidents had true double socket necks
- This horn has a high F# key. However, unlike other saxophones, it is not located in a position where it would be operated by the right ring or little finger. It is instead located in-line with the left palm keys.
- Also has a high D/D# trill key
Here are some photos of the original mouthpiece, ligature, and cap that came with my President tenor. This is an extremely dark sounding mouthpiece. I would go so far as to call it stuffy. Or perhaps it just doesn’t like my choice of reeds?