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Eugen Schuster

Eugen Schuster

Alto #1316 Company History Franz Köhler-made Example Eugen Schuster-made Saxes: Models & Finishes
Types of Silver Plating Eugen Schuster-made Saxes Majestic Aristocrat Tenor # 1725 Majestic Aristocrat Alto #929
Microtuners Additional Stamping Serial Numbers Theory On The Origin Of The Aristocrat Name
Gallery of Eugen Schuster Saxophones Sources    
Eugen Schuster, saxophone bell engraving, silver saxophone,
Eugen Schuster Majestic Aristocrat alto #1316 Source: SAXQUEST.COM on

I must admit I have long had a fascination with Eugen Schuster horns. Why? Don’t know. Might have been the green rollers on the very first Majestic Aristocrat alto I saw that Saxquest was selling more than a decade ago, that peaked my curiosity.

Eugen Schuster Majestic Aristocrat alto #1316 with original sales receipt from June27, 1945

This was Saxquest’s description of this really interesting instrument:

Very Rare 1940’s German Vintage Majestic Aristocrat Alto Sax, Serial Number 1316!!!


This is a very rare 1940’s vintage “Majestic” Aristocrat F.A. Eugen Schuster alto saxophone, serial number 1316. The saxophone includes the original 1945 dated purchase receipt from Leipzig Germany. It was most likely manufactured by Couf or Keilwerth {wrong} for F.A. Eugen Schuster, Markneukirchen (Sachsen). The receipt also indicates it was authorized by Frank Reynolds whom later went on to work for the Olds and Sons Company.


This is a very interesting saxophone and shares many similarities to American vintage horns of the same period like Buescher and C.G. Conn. The construction features a Conn like table key cluster, trill G#, left side bell keys, rolled tone holes, green key rollers and a very cool trill Eb.


The original silver plated body of the saxophone is in pristine physical condition. It shows no signs of ever receiving any major cosmetic damage in the past. The bell flare, bow and body tube are all in outstanding shape. It also includes the original neck in very good condition. The neck has never been pulled down or bent in the past. The pads on the saxophone appear to all be the original leather pads. This instrument is in fantastic condition but it will need a full pad job before it will be ready for serious playing.


Don’t miss a chance to snatch up this extremely unique and very special saxophone.

The horn features all the traits you would find in horns made in the German-speaking regions of Europe at the time, including:

  • Rolled tone holes;
  • C/D trill key;
  • G# trill key;
  • Fork Eb.

Since I didn’t need another alto, I passed on the chance. Over the years I kept my eye open for a tenor near me, but so far nothing has popped.

Eugen Schuster company history

Eugen Schuster, vintage advertisement, Majestic Aristocrat, tenor saxophone, Markneukirchen

In 1922, businessman Eugen Schuster, founded a company that was taken over the same year by an American, William Voit—not to be confused with the William Voit who made the bells for the first Akustik saxophones for the VEB Sächsische Musikinstrumentenfabrik Klingenthal—and Franz Fleischauer. After Fleischauer’s death in 1931, Voit ran the company by himself.

Prior to his involvement with Eugen Schuster, from 1905-1909, Voit worked for Carl Fischer, New York. Afterwards, until 1921, he operated his own trading company.

In the 1930s the Eugen Schuster company imported Buescher, USA instruments—in 1932 they are listed as a Buescher dealer—and after 1937, they made saxophones themselves. Prior to that they purchased them from F. Köhler. (See below)

Other Instruments were also offered as merchandise, either under the correct designation (Buescher, Henri Selmer), or under the name Majestic (purchased from manufacturers in the Musikwinkel).

The German saxophone historian, Günter Dullat, who is associated with the Musikinstrumenten-Museums Markneukirchen, writes in his book, Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, that Graslitz-based woodwind instrument makers Johann and Franz Kroha, moved to Markneukirchen in 1937. They were the ones who were responsible for the saxophone production at Eugen Schuster.1 

According to Dullat2, Franz Kroha headed up the saxophone workshop of Eugen Schuster after 1945. According to Uwe Ladig3, 1946 saw 11 people—including apprentices—working in Schuster’s saxophone production facility. The company built sopranos, altos, tenors, and baritones with rolled tone holes.4

In 1947, Voit leased his company to A. F. Reichel OHG (owner: Heinrich Nothofer) and left Germany. Then in the early 1950s, the company published the following short notice:

We are pleased to announce that there has been a new upturn in saxophone making in 1952 due to orders from the USA.5

Sadly, like all the private musical instrument manufacturing companies in the area, Eugen Schuster was nationalized —transferred into public ownership—and in 1953 incorporated into VEB B&S.

An early Majestic Aristocrat – likely made by Franz Köhler

If you compare the above alto to those of F. Köhler, you will notice how they look the same.

Eugen Schuster-made saxophones: Models & finishes

  Simple model Majestic Aristocrat
Finish Nickel plated or gold lacquered Silver plated Heavy silver plate
Alto Nr. 478 Nr. 465 Nr. 468
Tenor Nr. 479 Nr. 470 Nr. 472
Baritone   Nr. ?  

Silver plating

The following silver plating options were offered by Eugen Schuster6:

  1. Silver plate, semi matte
  2. Silver plate, sanded matte
  3. Heavy silver plate, 4Xs
  4. Keys, rings, engraving, etc. polished, brand name and bell gold plated

A few examples of Eugen Schuster-made saxophones

Majestic Aristocrat Tenor 1725

Majestic Aristocratic alto #929

Microtuners were not common place

Note the microtuner on alto #929 above. Not all altos had them. Alto #1316 shown at the very top of the page didn’t have one. Even altos with earlier serials such as #574 and #743 that I have seen, didn’t have them. So far I haven’t seen a microtuner on any tenors. 

Was the microtuner a feature the Eugen Schuster put on their up-model altos? I don’t know, since the models are all seemingly engraved with the same name: Majestic Aristocrat.

Bottom line: There are simply not enough of these horns around to have a proper sample size for me to be able to draw conclusions. Furthermore, it is unclear whether or not any of the original company records still exist.

Based on what I’m reading from German saxophone historians, it seems very little remains. At this point the history is mostly an oral one passed down by former employees, and by paperwork, such as the sales receipt found with alto #1316.

Additional stamping

Günter Dullat7 writes:

The names MAJESTIC PROFESSIONAL/MODEL 1930 as well as MAJESTIC [in a triangle shape]/ ARISTOCRAT / INTERNATIONAL / TRADE MARK REG / [with serial no.] can be found under the thumb rests of his instruments. 

Again, there are simply not enough of these instruments around for me to collect proper samples of the various finishes, engravings, or stampings. The only stamping I have been able to find is the latter, which looks like this:

Eugen Schuster saxophone, trade mark stamp, Majestic Aristocrat


Chasing down serial numbers and when a particular horn was made

According to Günter Dullat8, no original serial number charts exist. Additionally, the lack of original source material available at present makes it impossible to compile even a tentative list of serial numbers related to the dates of manufacturing.

Where did the name Aristocrat come from?

Günter Dullat poses an interesting theory9 about the Aristocrat name. He points out that in the 1920s Schuster was the General Agent for Buescher Band Instrument Company in the US. As an importer, they brought in saxophones, trombones, trumpets, etc. Herr Dullat postulates that perhaps Schuster acquired the rights to use the name Aristocrat for saxophones manufactured and sold under the company’s name post-1932.

To see more Eugen Schuster saxophone pix

I have put together a gallery of these rare horns in Bassic Sax Pix. I am always on the hunt for more, so if you have one you would like to contribute to the Eugen Schuster gallery, please, contact me. Thanks!


1 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 120.
2 Ibid
Saxofone: Ein Konpendium, 5th edition 2017, Uwe Ladwig, p. 149.
4 Here Uwe & Herr Dullat’s information differs slightly. According to Uwe the company built sopranos in addition to altos, tenors, and baritones. Günter Dullat does not note soprano production. He only lists alto, tenor, and baritones being produced by Eugen Schuster.
5 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 124.
6 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 123.

7 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 120.
8 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 124.

9 Faszination Saxophon: DerSaxophonbau Auf Deutschprachigem Gebiet, First edition 2016, Günter Dullat, p. 124.

Note: Unless expressly stated otherwise, the historical information for this page comes from the book: Saxophone: Ein Kompendium, by Uwe Ladwig. 5th edition 2017, pp. 149-150.

I would like to thank Uwe for so generously allowing me to use his research, and very much appreciate the trust he has shown by allowing me to do my own translation.

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