Pierret was a saxophone-only manufacturer located outside of Paris, France. They were in operation from 1906 until approximately 1972. Although not as wildly popular or nearly well known as Selmer, Pierret had a reputation for making fine saxophones. Even now in the vintage saxophone community they have some very loyal followers, and quite dedicated players.
Besides making their own lines of instruments, Pierret also made stencil saxophones for Santy Runyon, Paul Buescher, Olds, as well as others.
Only In Canada You Say? Pity…
One name that you see somewhat regularly—especially here in Canada—is C. Jeuffroy. C. Jeuffroy was a trade name from Noblet-Thibouville.1 French saxophonist, Manuel Garcin, who was writing the history of some of the lesser known French saxophone manufacturers, responded to a question that I posted about my C. Jeuffroy alto saxophone (shown above). This is what he said:
I have see only 2 others Pierret like yours:
One Concerto Model C. Jeuffroy, micro tuner etc. with the serial 6851.
Another Virtuor Model without the C. Jeuffroy label with a SN 4783.
I don’t think that your sax could be considered as a stencil as there is the Pierret label on it. C. Jeuffroy is only the name of the front store.
Some of these sax (Pierret) have been used by the “La garde républicaine” which is a sign a good quality and by numerous “fanfares” in France….
There are lot of models of Pierret which are named from “Modèle 1” to “Modèle 7” and after appears Super Artist series (modèle in the French word of model). From Modèle 3 appears the label “Nil Melior deposée” => Patent name
Some Pierret models are relatively basic others are more elaborated as one modele 7 including extra trill keys, Conn style microtuner etc… a Chu berry tardive inspiration.
For some old French saxophonists Pierret was during 50 to 70 a very good brand but not all the sax of the series was good.
Pierret have product a lot of stencil horn for French market (like Paul Beuscher) but more for North American market (like Olds)….
I have search and finally find that the patent of the neck octave key of your sax was deposed to the French patent service in March 1929. So, your sax is probably post 1929 => 30’….
About the same sax as yours, I saw it on Ebay 2,5 year ago and the seller was… in Canada B.C ! Strange ?!!!….Perhaps someone have try importation for a Canadian music store in BC and have bought some of these horns at the C. Jeuffroy store in Paris.
Over the years I’ve had a number of people contact me about their Pierret saxophones, many of which have been either identical or nearly identical to mine. A great many of these saxophones have been located in Canada. It makes one wonder if there wasn’t an importer here at one time or another, bringing C. Jeuffroy engraved Pierret saxophones into the country.
Models, Models, & Even More Models
Vintage saxophone historian, Pete Hales, had done a fair amount of research into the Pierret brand when he still owned the Vintage Saxophone Gallery. He speculated that the order of their house models & more common stencils were as follows:
- Unlabelled or stamped Corps Embouti: probably to about 1920;
- Modele 1-7: probably discontinued in early to mid-1920s and possibly all produced concurrently (4, 5, 5S, 6, 7)
- Vibrator: probably introduced in early to mid-1920s;
- Virtuor: neck design patented in 1929;
- Concerto with Virtuor: probably mid to late 1930s;
- Super 8: late 1930s;
- Probable WW II Hiatus;
- Oxford & Santy Runyon stencils: probably from around 1945 to 1948 or so;
- Super Artiste: probably produced alongside the Artiste for awhile post 1953, since that was when the patent was issued;
- Artiste Competition & Olds stencils;
- Parisian Ambassador: probably from about 1963 on-wards.
In addition to the models that Pete Hales has identified above, to date I have further identified the following models/submodels:
- Modele D’Artistes;
- Modele Competition;
- Tilleman La Haye;
- Nil Mélior Modéle Standard
- Modele 42;
- Super Artiste 47;
- Super Artiste 48;
- As well as some late models
As well as the following stencils:
- Ambassador (for Olds);
- Constellation (for Robert Martin Macon);
- JR Lafleur & Son;
- R Medalist (for F.A. Reynolds);
- René Dumont;
Looking For Pierret Pics? I’ve Got’em By The Hundreds For You To Peruse
Pete and I have created a Pierret Gallery where all the different models that I have found to date are displayed. If you have a Pierret that you would like to contribute to gallery, please get in touch with me. Thanks!
Serial Number Theory By Pete Hales
Unfortunately no one has been able to conclusively crack the mystery that is the serial number system of Pierret saxophones. Pete has theorized that until the Oxford model was introduced, the serial numbers were sequential for each model rather than for the brand. So if you were looking at Vibrator #1285, it was the 1285th Vibrator made, rather than the 1285th Pierret made. This is what Pete says about later models of Pierret saxes though:
…the serial numberage may have changed to the traditional form in the late 1940’s—i.e. post WWII—when the Oxford was introduced, but starting with serial number 1. In other words, I can accept that there were approximately 50,000 Oxford and Artiste horns produced, especially when factoring in the various versions of each and the large amount of stencils of each, especially considering I’ve seen Super Artiste and Oxford horns with very low serial numberage.
If One Model Is Good, Then Two Is Better
Another thing that Pierret did, that was rather unusual, was have 2 different lines of saxophones going at the same time. (Although Selmer has taken a page from this play book over the past few years as well, but in Selmer’s case they have a lot more than 2 different models of some voices of sax.) Pierret had one line would be a plain version—what they called Standard—while the other would have more features such as a front F key, additional trill keys, and/or a microtuner. These two different lines are nicely illustrated in this 1952 Hagstrom catalogue. Here the Super Artiste, and the Standard model of both alto and tenor saxophones, are being advertised together.
Source: hagstrom.org.uk Used with permission
If you notice the prices of the saxophones in this vintage Hagstrom catalogue, there was not a significant difference between the Super Artiste and the Standard model. Not what one would expect, say between a student and a pro model. To my knowledge, Pierret did not make student model saxophones, although they did build different quality of instruments when requested. For example, when F.E. Olds & Sons contracted Pierret to build the Parisian model of saxophone, it was of a higher quality than the Parisian Ambassador.
According to repair tech and saxophone dealer Kim Slava:
…the Parisian Ambassador was somewhat simplified, (e.g. lighter gauge brass was used for the body, posts instead of strong brackets in places, plastic buttons instead of mother of pearl)…
Notice how Olds describes their Pierret-made Parisian Ambassador in the following ad from 1963. It certainly had its fair share of features, and wasn’t built to be a shove it in the closet and forget about it horn.
Source: ANTIQUE~GRAPHIQUE on eBay.com
If you’d like to read more about the Pierret company history, including the variety of patents that Pierret acquired, I suggest you check out the Pierret History Page, on the Vintage Saxophone Gallery. All of Pete’s research is included there.
¹ Pierret History page of The Vintage Saxophone Gallery