Keilwerth Sax

Keilwerth    [ Back to Top]

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192: 0-800
1947 20,000
1953 23,000
1958 28,000
1960 38,000 New King Tenor – acrylic key guard
1962 43,000
1964 49,000
1966 55,000
1971 69,000 2nd Generation 62xx Couf Tenor with seesaw F# ad high F# combo
1978 79,000 earlier Couf tenor example
later Couf alto Black Nickel example
later Couf alto lacquer example
1986 91,000 84xxx Armstrong Heritage Tenor w/3 point key guards
Couf Sopranos
Couf Superba II tenorFor a short period Conn imported a horn with the designation “Conn DJH”. Conn DJH horns were an improvement over the Couf design while Coufs were still being produced. It had a Selmer type octave key, Tilting Bb left hand table keys and a few other minor improvements.
After 1989 Ponzol redesigned the Keilwerth Tenor horns and had a line of his own tenors.  These models had true Rolled Tone Holes, removeable bow/body ring and improved intonation, 3 point key guards.
1993 99,100 Around 100,000 Keilwerth went away from true Rolled Tone Holes and started using Tone Hole Rings which are soldered on regular tone holes.
1998 109,000

Keilwerth Stencils:

Couf Superba 1 & 2 (see information below) (Armstrong) Royalist, Royalist I Heritage (Armstrong) Conn DJH Buffet Edgeware Marco Vincent Albert (1960’s) Martelle Winsall Bundy Special (1960’s) King Tempo Champion Calvert Deluxe

Mr. Herbert Couf, President of W.T. Armstrong group during the 1970s and 1980s had the Couf Superbas and Royalist/Armstrong/heritage line of saxophones all from Keilwerth. Some of which were sold as a competing model. Royalist II and many Armstrong (like the model 3200) saxes were strictly a student line made in Elkhart as a Reverse-engineered Keilwerth Royalist to reduce the cost. Mr. Couf also owned Royal Music Store in Royal Oak, Michigan until 1989. I believe he now owns a home on a local Golf Course.

Also, the engineering group for Mr. Couf made improvements on the Keilwerth design.  Gary Ferree (of Ferree tools, RIP) was instrumental in improving the RH alt F# key.  It was the seesaw type and he redesigned it to the side type.  This also allowed the altissimmo F# keytouch to be redesigned.

Amati, Dörfler & Jörka copied Keilwerths (1949 to 1968, then purchased by Keilwerth) and B&S

The earlier Keilwerth, alto, soprano and tenor all had metal thumbrests. Late model sopranos and altos had plastic thumbrests. The plastic thumbrest had a 2 point connection. This prevented breaking which apparently was a problem on Selmer horns at that time.

Superba 1s  (see below for a better description and pictures)
– have Rolled Tone Holes throughout the range of saxes, except for the Soprano.
– has an elegant, soldered, bell brace
– full bell & bow engraving
– lyre holder part of mouthpipe socket clamp mechanism (except soprano)
– neck upper octave key made from thick square brass rod
– Bow soldered directly to bow via an expanded section. Bow soldered directly to body via an expanded section.
No rings were used to combine the sections.
– early superba 1s do not have a high F# key. mid-early Superba 1s have a high F# key.
– early and mid-early superba 1 & 2s have a RH see-saw type F# key. later Superba 1 & 2s have a levered F# key.
– All post to body construction (no ribs)
– Early saxes had a removeable metal thumbrest. Late model sopranos and altos had plastic thumbrests. The plastic thumbrest had a 2 point connection. This prevented breaking which apparently was a problem on Selmer horns at that time.

Superba 2s
– have straight tone holes throughout the range of saxes plus the Superba 1 soprano.
– single rod bell brace
– bell engraving
– lyre holder soldered on separately below the mouthpipe socket sleeve
– neck upper octave key made from round brass wire
– Bow soldered directly to bow via and expanded section. Bow soldered directly to body via an expanded section.
No rings were used to combine the sections.
– early and mid-early superba 1 & 2s have a RH see-saw type F# key. later Superba 1 & 2s have a levered F# key.
– all post to body construction (no ribs)
– all thumbrests were metal and soldered in a permanent position on the body.

Superba 1s, it is said, have a more mellow and lush sound than Superba 2s due to the RTH vs non-RTH. This apparently keeps the stacks stiffer and parts of the body resonates less.
The Superba 2s supposedly have a more cutting sound similiar to Selmers of the time.
Both horns had oversized concave pearls that are very comfortable.
Non articulating low Bb keywork, but very fast and functional mechanisms.

For a few years the Superbas were available in black lacquer.  The engraving was done after the lacquer which provided a stunning visual affect of being able to see the engraving from a distance. This models had metal thumbrests and were probably late 70’s models.

Both Superba 1 & 2s were considered Pro models.

H&A Selmer imported an early version of this horn before it became a Couf. These were H&A Selmer Bundy Special horns. Visually identifiable by the RTH (Rolled Tone Holes) and 2 point Bow & Bell Guards with mostly plastic pant leg guards.

H.Genet Roxy Jubilee Voss Rene Dumont

Keilwerth family relatives: Max Keilwerth and Richard Keilwerth (Graslitz) made saxes under the names: Weltklang (baritones only) Senator Hohner


Conn DJH horns were Couf Superba Is and 2s. Rebadged, available in silver plate or lacquer.

Available in the late 1980s before Conn was sold to UMI

Keilwerth EX model line – the EX line can be a very good horn, all depending which model you purchase – the eaarlier ones being made in Germany.

Model Made in
EX90 Germany
EX90 II Germany
EX90 III Czech Republic
ST 90 I Germany
ST 90 II and III Czech Republic
ST 90 IV Taiwan (Jupiter)

Thought I would update this 2/2012 a bit as it is dated and jumbled

Early Couf Alto – no high F#, seesaw alt RH F# and a see through plastic pant guard- SN56462

Early sopranos had the “inline” mk VI type palm keys. click on picture for full page

The G# key originally was black plastic, later to be a pearl.  The RH side F# originally was rectangularish metal, later to be a round pearl.

The mk VI style palm keys later were changed to more conventional palm keys.

The Superba Is & IIs originally had the same amount of engraving.  The only difference between the early ones was the II had a fixed thumbrest versus an adjustable metal thumbrest and engraved “II” instead of “I”.  The models would later add a high F# usually as a longer lever above the side F#.

Later on the Superba Is had a little more engraving and a twin point raised plastic thumbrest (improved from the adjustable metal thumbrest) versus the still fixed metal thumbrest of the IIs.  Other than that most features followed each other.

Couf Sopranos had no rolled toneholes.  The early ones may not of had neckstrap rings.  The Superba 1 neckstrap rings were a very thick loop, a tad too much for Heiman straps.

BELOW: you can see the selmer stylish thumbrest (very late modification), the plastic 2 point raised thumbrest.  Also the lyre holder is on the backside versus other locations such as on the front above the bell keys.

BELOW: mk VI palm keys, black G# / rectangular side F# & fixed thumbrest (superba 2) (click on pics for full page)







Altos & Tenors
Superba 1s had rolled toneholes, whereas the IIs had standard straight toneholes.  Adjustable vs non-adjustable thumbrest (later 1s had the raised twin point plastic thumbrest.  1s had more engraving too.  Body to Bell brace on the 1s was two different sized circles,  IIs had a single wavy rod.  Also 1s had more engravings.  Neck octave mechanism on 1s was square rod whereas the 2s was round rod.  Also the neck receiver on the 1s was nicer as it included the lyre holder, with the 2s the lyre holder was lower than the neck receiver itself.Really Early Superba’s did not have a high F#, and the “side” F# was a straight key.  Later a high F# was added with the key touch for thus just above the touch for the straight key.  later the side F# was actually repositioned to the backside of the horn (like all other horns today), and the touches shapes were changed.  The design of this key change was done by Gary Ferree (rip) who at the time worked for Mr. Couf (rip) in the Detroit Engineering “company” of WT Armstrong.  They also were instrumental in the reverse engineering of the Royalist II which was based on the Royalist but totally made in the US in Elkhart (lower price point for students) as the Royalist & Royalist I still had high price points for students

Spare production was rolled to the “Armstrong Heritage” brand.  These could be a mix of 1s or 2s or 2s features with RTH .. ie, spare production and parts.


[ Superba 2 ]  [ Heritage Tenor mix ]

Below is a Superba 2 tenor.  Notice

ENGRAVING:  the “minimal” engravings compared to a Superba 1.  The S1 has it onto the Bell.
NECK: The wire octave mechanism versus the Superba 1s square wire.
TONEHOLES: No Rolled Tone Holds (RTH)
All other features are the same and vary dependent upon the vintage

Heritage Tenor


NECK: Superba 1 type neck
ENGRAVING: Superba 2 type engraving – ie, it does not go low on the bell nor the bow.
KEY GUARDS: Selmer Style bell key guards
BELL BRACE: Notice the Bell brace.  Not the double loops of a Superba 1 and not the simple wavy rod of a Superba 2, it’s a wavy cut out sheet.
OTHER: the thumbrest is a double raised point Superba 1 type.

BELOW: A really hard to find 65024 model which has an alternate F# trill, and the high F# is up on the post, with a see-saw alternate F#.  Fixed thumbrest.

BELOW: Early model with the plastic G# touch

Superba 1 Tenors:

NECK:  square rod (from a flat sheet actually) octave mechanism
THUMBREST: From adjustable metal to double point plastic
NECKSTRAP RING: always really thick, reverse tear drop shape
BELL BRACE:  bell brace made from 2 loops design



BELOW: Notice the Side F# and high F# touches

NOTICE The extended engraving down through the bow


Another generation of Superba 1


Superba 1 alto


BELOW and early generation of an alto, notice the “H Couf” stampe on the bell key guard


Below: A Black nickel Couf alto Superba 1



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Yamaha    [ Back to Top]

Model 61 – available in soprano, alto and tenor

Model 62 – improved intonation over the Model 61.  available in soprano, alto and tenor.

YTS-62 (original purple silk screen model)

Model 62R soprano  – rare curved neck model of the popular YSS-62

Model 855 alto – original top pro model alto

Model 875 sop, alto, tenor – top of the line french brass horns

Model 875EX – alto.  Most current production alto.

Model 62 II

Model 82Z – vintage engineering.  Special alloy body, 2 halfs of the bell are soldered together.

There are numerous other models including the designations 275, 52, 475, 21 & 23

Vito (Leblanc USA) also had their line of Yamaha alto and tenor line instruments based on the 23.  These are identified by the “Made in Japan” or simply “Japan” stamp near the serial number.