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Keilwerth in Graslitz 1925-1939

Keilwerth in Graslitz 1925-1939

Graslitz Logos Exceptions Pre-1939 Models King Tenor 1612 King Tenor 7334  Modell 3 Lord Tenor 3130 New King Alto 8287
Toneking Alto 8472 Modell 2 Toneking Alto 11802 Modell L Toneking Solo Alto #? Features & Finishes  Finish Chart Finish & Features Chart Modell V
German Love Complexities Sources 1939 -1946 Graslitz-made Keilwerth saxophones Keilwerth Serial No. Chart Keilwerth Saxophone Model Genealogy Chart    


To keep things simple, I’ve broken down the Graslitz-made Keilwerth saxophones into two sections: Those made prior to circa 1939, and those after. This page deals with the pre circa 1939 saxophones.

It was in 1939 that Julius Keilwerth released their Die vier Könige – The four Kings catalogue, which introduced their redesigned models. For a quick and dirty ID of the horn in question, look at the bell keys. If they are on the right, it was made after JK’s redesign of the saxophones. If the saxophone in question has split or left-sided bell keys*, then it is a pre-redesign horn. 

NB. *Not to be confused with the first Nauheim-made Keilwerth saxophones that also had left-sided bell keys. Therefore, you have to check the serial number, logo, and other features—such as presence of rolled tone holes—to determine that you’re dealing with a Graslitz-made Keilwerth, and not a Nauheim-made one.

Julius Keilwerth Graslitz Logos & Modell Stamping

Very early on Julius began using a trade-marked logo that would make his horns distinguishable from those of others. A triangle containing the initials JK G was stamped on the back of most horns. Most had additional stamping that read: THE BEST OF WORLD, or THE BEST IN THE WORLD, as well as the words Trade Mark.

Regardless of  what was stamped, the location was always the same: on the rear of the body tube, between the serial number and Modell name.

vintage saxophone, Keilwerth saxophone, Modell Solist, Julius Keilwerth company trade mark, Graslitz, silver sax,
Source: norbertsumut on

According to Günter Dullat, the trademarked logo was used until 1938/39.1 (At which point it was changed to reflect the company’s location in Nauheim, West Germany.)

Horns destined for the export market had an additional stamping of: MADE IN CZECHOSLOVIAKIA.

Mignon alto saxophone, vintage alto sax, Julius Keilwerth, MADE IN CZECHOSLOVIAKIA stamp,
Mignon alto #10942 from circa 1938. Source: cherokeejen209 on

Of course there are exceptions

Early Graslitz-made Keilwerth Models (pre-1939)

I have not come across any print materials from the Julius Keilwerth company that describe their very early horns. From what I have been able to glean from the materials I have found to date, and from my own research, I have found the following models—not to be confused with Modell, which are described in the chart below.  (Note that this list does NOT include stencil names.)

  • King
  • Lord*
  • The New King
  • Toneking
  • Toneking Solo

* I have not found any information on the Lord model in any searching of online or hardcopy materials. The only evidence I have seen of their existence are the photos that I have. To date the I have seen 2 different Lord tenor saxophones. What are they? Who knows. It is likely that we will never know.

King Tenor #1612 
  • Very old-time example of a Keilwerth saxophone.
  • Pre-Keilwerth Trademark logo.
  • No drawn & rolled tone holes.
  • But it does have a microtuner and a front F key.
  • It is circa 1931.
King Tenor # 7334 Modell 3
  • Textbook example of a Modell 3
  • Doesn’t have a front F (not all did)
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • Microtuner
  • MOP key touches
Lord Tenor #3130
  • Not a stencil, since it has the Keilwerth name front and centre on the bell
  • Lacking front F
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • MOP key touches
  • Rollers
  • Split bell keys 
  • Its microtuner is consistent with what we see on King tenors with similar serials, like #3227.
  • Even the engraving on the two models looks the same
  • Overall very similar (the same?) as the King Modell 3 of the time
The New King Alto #8287 
  • This is one of the very few Graslitz-made horns with left-sided bell keys
  • Left-sided bell keys are associated more with the earliest Nauheim-made saxophones
  • The neck brace is scalloped, and not what we are used to seeing on JK horns
  • The bow guard is also scalloped, and again not we tend to see on JK horns. 
  • Both the neck and bow guards are shaped like those we see in some Max Keilwerth and American saxophones.
  • No microtuner
  • Crescent-shaped right palm keys
  • Front F key
  • G# triller
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • It is hard to tell from the photos, but it is possible it might have an articulated G# key. 
  • This might be a transitional horn as the company was moving towards its new, right-sided bell key models described below in the 1939 catalogue.
Toneking Alto #8472 Modell 2
  • Front F key
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • Microtuner
  • MOP key touches
  • G# trill key
  • Stronger neck guard 
  • Stronger bow guard
  • Split bell keys
Toneking Alto #11802 Modell L 
  • No rollers
  • No MOP
  • Range: Bb1 – F3 
  • 3 palm keys R & L
  • Hard to tell, but it appears to have a bis Bb (?)
  • Nail file G#
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • Split bell keys
Toneking Solo Alto #? Modell Soloist
  • Split bell keys
  • Microtuner
  • Front F key
  • Fork Eb
  • Extra MOP key touches on all keys for a total 26 visible in these photos
  • MOP rollers
  • C/D triller
  • G# triller
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • Stronger bow & neck guards

Features & Finishes of the earliest Julius Keilwerth saxophones

The earliest JK horns had split bell keys, and when factoring in finish options, in total, were available in +/- 100 different versions! Finish options ranged from bare brass with no engraving, to multiple dips in gold plate with full pearl treatment.

There are galleries galore on our Bassic Sax Pix site. I encourage you to check them out to see what these horns looked like in more detail. I have just chosen a few saxophones in these pages to give you a bit of an overview of how the Julius Keilwerth Grasliz saxophones evolved over time,

To makes things easier to understand, I have put together a couple of charts for pre-1940s Keilwerth saxophones. The first covers the finishes that were available.

NB: Please note these are not official finish designations. I made them up by combining what Günter Dullat used, along with Uwe Ladwig’s descriptions. I did this in order to make things easier to keep track of, so there wouldn’t be two separate finish designations for Graslitz-era JK horns to try and remember.

Finish Chart


OBrassPolished Brass
INickelNickel plated with gold plated inner bell
IISilver 1Semi-matte silver plate with gold plated inner bell
IIISilver 2Sanded matte silver plated body with burnished silver plated keys and gold plated inner bell
IVSilver 3Sanded matte silver plated body, with burnished gold plated keys and inner bell
VGold 1Sanded matte gold plated body, with burnished gold plated keys and innter bell
VIGold 2Burnished gold plate over the entire instrument

This second chart is an overview of the models that the Keilwerth company was making, as well as their features and finishes.

Keilwerth saxophones: Finish options & Features of Modells pre-1940

Modell VModell LModell 4Modell 3Modell 2Modell 1Modell Soloist
*Simplest Model
*No MOP or rollers
*Limited range
*Does not exist in official literature that I have seen.
*Officially the Simplest Model
*No MOP or rollers
*Simple Model
*With MOP & roller
*Some with front F
*Drawn & rolled tone holes
*MOP key touches
(American Model)
*Like Modell 3 with extra features
* G# triller
*Stronger neck guard
*gold wash bell
*Like Modell II, with added features
*MOP rollers
*Fork Eb
*Pant guard
*Like Modell 1 but with additional MOP key touches inlaid
SopranoO, I, IIO, I, II*No front F
*No rolled holes
*No microtuner
*No front F
*No Clothes guard
*No front F
*No Clothes guard
TenorO, I, IIO, I, IIO, I, II, IIIO, I, II, IIIO, I, II, III, IV, V, VIO, I, II, III, IV, V, VI
BaritoneO, I, IIO, I, II*No front F
*No rolled holes
*No microtuner
*No microtuner
*No clothes guard
*No clothes guard
Bass*No clothes guard
*No clothes guard
O, I, II, III,
**It should be noted that not every sax (soprano, alto, tenor, bari, or bass) had all the features listed for each model—or for that matter, was available in each model. For example, sopranos didn’t have a front F key, and bass saxophones were only available in either Modell I or Modell Soloist versions. An empty box means a voice of horn was not available in a particular Modell. Or, in the case of the Modell V, I simply don't have enough data points.

The Mysterious Modell V Alto #141XX

The Modell V is not described in the literature anywhere, yet it clearly does exist. What is it? I don’t know. I have heard a few theories about it, but I can’t say for certainty what it really is. Therefore, I also can’t state with certainty what voices of horns, or finishes were available. I am also wondering if they had a model name like King, Toneking, etc. 

I have only added to the above pre-1940s Modell chart, the data points I have personally seen for the Modell V. 

NB: Bo has promised me new photos of the horn below. As soon as I get them, the ones below will be replaced.

  • Range: B1 – F3
  • Drawn & rolled tone holes
  • Left-sided low B key
  • No rollers
  • No MOP
  • No front F
  • No bis Bb
  • 3 palm keys R & L
  • Nail file G#

Germans love their complexities

To make things a bit more confusing, as you likely noticed above, Keilwerth continued to assign their saxophones the model (Modell) designations as well as a model name (King, Toneking, etc). In other words, you could have a Toneking model alto, but it could be a Modell III like alto #3480 is, or a Modell II, such as #4759 is. Or maybe even something like whatever  #3078 is. (Although it is not stamped with Modell designation, I am guesstimating it is a IV.)

This information was sourced from numerous hardcopy books, music journals, and and other verifiable sources. As usual, I want to thank Uwe Ladwig 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.

Primary sources include:

Saxofone: Ein Kompendium, Uwe Ladwig. 5th Edition. 2017

Faszination Saxophon: Der Saxophonbau Auf Deutschsprachigem Gebiet, Günter Dullat. First Edition. 2016

 1 Faszination Saxophon: Der Saxophonbau Auf Deutschsprachigem Gebiet, Günter Dullat. First Edition. 2016. p. 159.


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