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J’Élle Stainer Traditional Low A Bass Saxophone

J’Élle Stainer Traditional Low A Bass Saxophone

The J’Élle Stainer Traditional low A bass is one of the company’s current production model bass saxophones, and can be found on their new website

J’Élle Stainer, traditional low A bass saxophone, South American saxophone, gold saxophone on black background,
Source: J’Élle Stainer website Used With Permission

Here are the spec as provided by J’Élle Stainer:

Model (Part) Number: JBSA


Traditional Low A
B♭Bass Saxophone

  • Handmade
  • Traditional design
  • Range from low A to high F#
  • Written Range: A3-F#6
  • Sounding: G1-E4
  • Ergonomic keywork
  • Brass body and bell
  • Lacquered & beautifully engraved
  • Plastic resin J’Elle Stainer mouthpiece
  • Brass ligature and cap
  • Playable with bass mouthpiece and reeds
  • J’Elle Stainer pads
  • Metal resonators
  • Adjustable peg and fixed floor rest
  • SaxRax stand (optional)
  • Special J’Elle Stainer flight case
  • Final setup in USA or Italy
  • Made in Brazil


Wider bore for a bigger and rounder sound.


Traditional Low A vis-à-vis the French Wrap low A.

If you compare this Traditional Low A bass sax, to the French Wrap low A, you can clearly see some key differences:

Low A Traditional Bass Sax French Wrap Low A Bass Sax
Bell is fatter Bell is thinner
Bell goes up to nearly the top of the upper bow Bell stops short of the upper bow
Low C# tone hole located in the bow Low C# tone hole located in the bell
The bell is all one piece The bell is in 2 pieces with a connecting ring at approx. the point where it flares
More gradual flare to the bell starting at the bow More conical bell shape from bow until the “bell” connecting ring

Since these are pretty small photos that J’Élle Stainer provided, it is hard to see the details clearly. However, even from these pixelated images it is clear that these horns are going to be—and quite likely play—like two very different animals. It would be very interesting to play them side by side to see how different they really are in tone, response, and playability. 

The French Wrap Low A reminds me of the Conn 11M baris. The difference of course is that Conn added the extra bell length just above the bow, but you get the idea. 

As I mentioned on the French Wrap Low A page, to me those horns look like Jinbao horns. I am guessing that part of the customization that J’Élle Stainer does on those horns is the bell extension to get it to low A. 

What’s up with a low A on bass saxophones?

I find the model name “Traditional” Low A pretty funny. Adolph Sax’s original horns were keyed from low B to high Eb. Given these horns are ranged from low A to high F#, there is almost nothing traditional about them. 

I am also not at all clear what the need for a low A is on a bass saxophone. On Eb instruments, an A = Concert C. But on Bb instruments, an A = Concert G. Having such an extended range on these already-heavy instruments doesn’t make sense given their key. That said, I am looking at it through the lens of the music I have played all my life. 

If indeed what I have heard is true from the importer of some of these horns into North America, and low saxophones are used in South American churches in place of organs, then extended ranges for bass, contras, and even subcontras likely does make sense. I just wouldn’t want to be the person having to drag the horn to and from rehearsal and performances.

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