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DEG “Classic” Sax-Shaped Trumpet

DEG “Classic” Sax-Shaped Trumpet

DEG "Classic" Sax-Shaped Trumpet, vintage, 1980s, Getzen

Source: basie03 on

Even amongst trumpet players there is some confusion about the DEG/Getzen connection. This is what the current Getzen website says about the history of these two separate companies:

What is the relationship of DEG to Getzen?

DEG was founded by Donald Getzen, shortly after he left the Getzen Company in 1965. At that time, a business relationship between DEG and Allied Music began. Allied Music, owned and operated by Bob Getzen, produced several different instruments including bugles and trumpets under the DEG name for many years. This relationship ended shortly before the Getzen Company was purchased back by the Getzen family in the late 1990’s. Due to the closeness of the two companies, it is a common misconception that DEG instruments are the same as Getzen instruments. This is not the case. Product and management wise, the two companies were and are very separate and different.

Source: Getzen’s FAQ page

Unfortunately there is very little information about DEG available, and I was unable to find a listing of their previously-produced instruments. That said, I was able to locate enough information to determine that in the 1980s, DEG decided to produce some saxophone-shaped trumpets. Unlike the Jazzophons and Normaphons of the 1920s, which tended to have longer bodies and necks, as well as bells that pointed out towards the audience, these DEG “Classic” sax-shaped trumpets appear to be more compact. Besides being regular Bb trumpets in saxophone-shaped bodies, their bells point more upwards.

This is likely why some players did not like these horns that much, and noted the following issues with them:

  1. The angle of the leadpipe combined with the position of the left hand on the valve cluster holding the horn made it difficult to control pressure against the mouthpiece;
  2. The bell points too much towards the player’s face, making it too loud to play in a group setting where the player has to produce moderate to loud volume while trying to listen to his fellow players.


In October 2013, a DEG “Classic” sax-shaped trumpet appeared on eBay. It attracted the attention of a lot of people. Was it a sax player who won it? Was it a trumpet player? Perhaps it was just a collector of weird and wonderful horns. Regardless of who won the auction, after 61 bids, the winner paid $875 for the privilege of imagining themselves to be a saxophonist, in trumpet player’s clothing.

Here are the rest of the photos of this DEG “Classic” sax-shaped trumpet…

Source: basie03 on 

Apparently the 1980s was a big decade for the resurgence of saxophone-shaped trumpets. Besides the DEG “Classic”, the Julius Keilwerth Company also produced their Toneking 3000. Why the 1980s? Whatever the reason, the fad didn’t last long. We know that JK didn’t make more than 100 of the Toneking 3000s, and there is no evidence that DEG manufactured many of these saxophone-shaped “Classic” models either.


Besides the sources quoted above, the article was written with the help of the following resources:

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