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Thread: Amati Kraslice

  1. #1
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    Default Amati Kraslice

    I recently worked on an unusual alto saxophone with the name AmatiKraslice engraved on the bell. It needed quite a bit of work, but it seemed to be pretty well made. It was quite heavy and had the bell key mechanisms of the old Bueschers and a LH pinky table shaped much like a Martin I believe.

    The reason I am posting this is when I play tested the sax, it knocked my socks off. A beautiful even scale from top to bottom, a nice warm rich tone, and excellent intonation throughout the range. Has anyone else ever heard of or played one of these saxes made in the Czech Republic?

    One more time, I was taught the lesson to "never judge a book . . ."

    This was obviously one of the earlier student models. I went to their website and they have several models above the equivalent of this one. I would really like to try one of their more professional models, if the student horns play that well.

    John

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    Oh, I can tell you a lot about Amati saxophones.

    First, Amati was a "nationalized" company that was made up of bits and pieces of other Czech (Markneukirchen) companies that were around pre-WWII. The fun part about that is that some Amatis used full bodies -- and sometimes keywork an/or model names, too -- from Kohlert, Julius Keilwerth models and probably other manufacturers.

    I think I've got some pictures:

    * Amati Toneking. There are pics of full-on Keilwerth models in here, as well as "Amati-assembled" horns with their own serial numbers.
    * An Amati "A880" Alto, which has a Kohlert serial number. If we go by when Amati was created (1945-1948), this would be one of the very first horns from Amati.
    * Amati Classic Super, which was also stenciled as the King Lemaire. This was student-quality and wholly made by Amati.

    There seems to have been at least one or two models after the Amati Toneking models and before the Classic Super, but I've not been able to get pics: I've just heard of them.

    Current Amati production is of instruments that have visual similarity to Yamaha horns, but aren't high quality. I bought one several years ago, because it came with a hard-shell formed case I wanted (good case + free sax). It looked like someone had gotten plans from a YTS-52 and translated the measurements off by a couple MM, so some keys had to sit on flanges and such. It reminded me of some of the complex keywork on a Leblanc horn, but without the quality.

    Amati also makes the Keilwerth EX models, IIRC.

    Their website's at http://www.amati.cz

    Yes, I'm the Artist Formerly Known as Saxpics.

    Check out my photoblog! Updated on September 7, 2014: Yanagisawa (a work in progress).

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    I worked on Amatis more than a few times, both saxophones and clarinets. I was never really impressed with them. Not great quality of mechanics. The stock mouthpiece was always awful for the ones I saw but maybe just a coincidence.

    Some local players, including professional players, have Amati saxophones and really like them. These are usually relatively older models. Some young students play realtively new Amati student models, both clarinets and saxophones. I always find problems with both old and new ones.

    Just yesterday I came back from Musikmesse and I tried the Amatis again (in addition to too many other things ). The ones I tried (bari, alto, tenor, sop clarinet, C clarinet, bass clarinet) didn't make me want to stay and try more. Pretty much all were pretty decent, felt fine, sounded ok (with the exception of the C clarinet which seemed to have severe intonation problems, like my Forte made by Amati, in fact they seemed exactly the same) but nothing exciting IMO.

    I also tried some of their flutes. I'm a beginner and can't really judge so much. I liked them less than other beginner flutes, though maybe it was leaking I don't know.

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    The workmanship on my Amati German clarinet borders on the "poor" quality region, particularly as far as fit and finish of the keywork is concerned. But, you gets what you pays for...

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