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Emperor and "Selmer"

Pete, thanks, sorry, haven't had chance to look at this until now.

Super sleuthing. I agree almost completely with you, but a couple of points of difference:

Soybean's/my bow clamps - look the same to me, more as if the photo is distorting his

SDA/my C#/G#/B/Bb - don't quite look the same to me - the curved arm of the B key sits differently in relation to the Bb (closer to the roller on mine), and the taper of the B is different, as is the aspect ratio of the G# - i.e. copy, but not identical

SDA/my C/Eb - SDA looks narrower and the seems to have a narower gap between the arms to the finger touches. again copy in my eyes.

Low C (operated by C# key) - this is in a different position on the bow on the SDA to mine and soybean's, which are similar to the Emperor/DA and Mogar.

I'd guess, given that one model of the Evette's was identical to my Santoni and the 'Couesnon' that your guess about Buffet's involvement/request is pretty close to the mark. i.e. as close as we can get without someone in the know saying "This is what happened".

So you've pretty much established that Santoni (up until now, almost unknown in world sax circles) made quite a few saxes for people, including Buffet as well as under their own name. Really well done!

Now we need to find a serial number chart...
btw, I got a friend at work to check/correct the two Italian articles you posted, these based on revisions f the google xlate verions. Rather than moderate into better English I've left as is, cos the meaning's a little unclear in places:

First piece:

Alfredo Santoni worked since about 1950 for the company Giglio in Parè, which he founded with others. The Giglio was a "company formed by craftsmen Bulgheroni (even today still famous for the production of oboes), Santoni and Somaini. They began to adopt the mechanical equipment for the mass production of instruments at band level. Unable to find public demand for their products in the market they were forced to give up the company but kept pursuing their own activities "[from E.Raganato].

After the closure in 1975 of Giglio, Santoni was active in Parè (CO - or Como area of Italy) for the construction of reeds, single and double, and flutes rarely marked Giglio, more often Santoni and also Mogar, Buffet and more. The names were engraved with a stylus by a certain Tasso, operating for over 20 years until after 1976, who also worked for Orsi, Corso etc.. [notes by Somaini Pare '24.07.2001]. She continued also the production of own saxophones geared towards German market band.

It's not clear if the she in the last sentence refers to the company of person, Tasso is assumed to be a male. 'Ditta' is Italian for company or business and female, yet the sentence appears to mean the person Tasso. My reading is that the company Giglio or more likely Santoni (after Giglio ceased to be) continued to make saxes for the German market using the Giglio tooling and designs.

The second piece:

Cousin of the most famous Rampone [Alfredo? Later to join forces with Cazzani to form R&C], he took over the activities of SAIIIM. Skilled artisan produced excellent saxophones , perhaps the best ever produced in Italy. Various artists played A.Rampone instruments, including Rudy Wiedoft and Raymond McCollister. He closed the business in 1979 for lack of heirs. "[From E.Raganato]

[CIA95-1941NO-RamponeAlfonso] Alfonso Rampone Report for the year of the Chamber of Commerce of Novara from 09/04/1941 to "laboratory musical instruments." The company ceases 30/09/1979

I was alerted about this thread by Kevin. I have to say that there is a lot to read and I haven’t read everything.

I think that indeed the mysterious Santoni could be responsible for many a saxophone that are normally identified as a mishmash.

I don't know how precise is the information released by Raganato and how much of it is hearsay though.

Ill’ read through the thread :9 but I am sure that not much conclusive evidence will ever be sufficiently brought forward to clear all doubts.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
No worries.

"Conclusive" almost never happens when you're dealing with vintage instruments, particularly if the manufacturer you're talking about primarily produced horns for other folks.

I am happy about the info I found on the Mogar horns. That allowed me to fill in the missing link between the horns that looked more Malerne-ish and those that looked more Buffet-ish.

Here's two things to wonder about:
* First, the Olds Opera. Makes you wonder if it's actually from Santoni, not Buffet.
* Second, it makes you wonder if Santoni influenced Buffet in the design(s).

Regardless, the true test is in how the horn plays. From the small reviewage I've seen of these horns, they're not bad.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Oh. Sorry. Yes, I plan on converting this into my blog format and reposting. I want to get some of the pics straightened out, so it might take a bit.


Does look like there's an ES Master Model on eBay that looks sufficiently Buffet like to me, but there aren't that many good pictures. I can say that the bell-to-body brace has the "BC" logo and that the neck looks like it was lifted from the SDA. Looks like it's got the "longer" bow that's typical of the SDA.

There was a comment somewhere on SOTW about the Master Models (that look like Buffet SDAs) have an "inline" C# that looks more like a DA than an SDA (reference). Here's an SDA and here's a Master Model I can see the difference. That would lead to the question of whether or not the Master Model isn't just a Dynaction with a different bell-to-body brace -- or, of course, that it's an SDA with a bow and C# key from a Dynaction. Remember that there is precedent for something like that: the SML Standard models.

(EDIT: I found another SOTW thread. Looks like the SDA keywork is interchangeable with the Master Model, except for the C# key -- and the bow, of course.)

In any event, because the ES Master Models that look like SDAs (making that abundantly clear) are stamped "Made in France" and have the "BC" bell-to-body brace, I'm fairly sure they're made by Buffet. These just don't look like Malernes. I also have only seen a small amount of horns that are stamped something like "Made in France" but were actually made somewhere else. Also, considering that some ES horns are stamped "Made in West[ern] Germany" or "Made in Italy," I don't see why Buffet would single out some horns and stamp 'em with a different country of origin.


There's a Master Model soprano here. I've mentioned before that sopranos are always a bit difficult to determine manufacturer of origin because they tend to be so different from altos and tenors. However, I can say it's not a Dorfler & Jurka. Helen says that D&J didn't make baritones or sopranos.

If I feel sufficiently motivated, I'll see if I can find some pics of SDA and DA sopranos.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Extremely compressed Santoni history:

Alfredo Santoni, Fabio Somaini and Luigi Bulgheroni were the principals in the Ditta Giglio ("Lily Company") in the city of Parè, in the province of Como, in the Lombardy region of Italy (you can get a brief on the area at http://en.db-city.com). The company was founded between 1947, closed in 1974 and passed into receivership in 1976.

Bulgheroni's portion of the business was passed on to his sons, Giacomo and Sergio, and they formed F.lli Bulgheroni S.n.c in 1974. A company in Fabio Somaini's name still exists, but it's essentially an instrument repair shop. It does look like the Santoni nameplate survived the 1976 receivership and/or Santoni or one of his family continued with some woodwind manufacture for a few years, but data on this is a tad sketchy.

Ditta Giglio started with only three workers in 1947 and increased to 70 in the 1970s. At that time, they were producing 1200 instruments per month, primarily because they were one of the few companies to have automated equipment that could make woodwind instruments, as opposed to 100% handmade.

Most of the Ditta Giglio production was for Mogar, Evette-Schaeffer (Buffet), Boosey & Hawkes and others, rather than under the Santoni or Ditta Giglio name.
Well, it's what I plan on putting in my blog. I've got all the references and other linkies, too.

Verifying the dates was somewhat easy when I got it through my thick skull that Luigi Bulgheroni was actually one of the founders of Ditta Giglio.

I've also gotta ask: who wouldn't want a horn made by Fabio? :p
that's against debating rules - introducing new material in the summing up... lol

'founded between 1947' ? Guess you meant 'in 1947' or 'between 1947 and 1950, more info needed'

I didn't get the joke about Fabio...


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
"Founded in 1947." Per the Bulgheroni website.

Me said:
Verifying the dates was somewhat easy when I got it through my thick skull that Luigi Bulgheroni was actually one of the founders of Ditta Giglio.
Bulgheroni has a "history" section on their website. It's one of those, "The primary source says X. That trumps any other secondary source, unless you've got good data to contradict the primary source."

Here's Fabio. I first heard of him when I worked for Harlequin (the "romance" book line), but he's been in a billion other things, including a current US commercial. He's supposed to be "big" in Germany, like David Hasslehoff.

Somewhat lame joke, but it amused me. That's important.


Actually, this mostly isn't new info. It's from one of those Italian quotes I posted a bit ago. I did discover that Mr. Somaini's first name was "Fabio" by trying to find a music repair shop in Como, as suggested in one of those Italian quotes, and put together the puzzle pieces.

As I said, I will have references and linkies when I'm finished.
Good start Pete. Reads well. Suggest adding that the S on the neck is on the octave key, not the neck proper.

I'll post a shot of my octave key, it's an oval surrounded by dots. Not an S.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Comparison pics in a table: http://thesax.info/buffet-santoni.html. It's still a first draft and I need to fix links and add a couple columns.

Kev, you obviously still have the horn if you can take more pics. First, if you could, please take a couple pics to fill in the blanks on the above webpage in addition to the neck -- the "logo" pic would be kewl because there wasn't one for the "Couesnon" -- and also, tell us a bit about how the horn plays. The owner of that "Couesnon" seemed to like his. Have you played an actual Dynaction or SDA? Any comparison notes?

(My opinion of my Dynaction alto was that it was easily the equal of a Mark VI, but with a much lighter feel -- which I wouldn't have liked on bari -- and a bit darker, a bit more diffuse tone -- which I would have liked on bari. Some intonation problems on, IIRC, the G# and Eb.)
Yes I still have it. I'll do some more shots. Give me a couple of days, it's rather hectic here.

Plays well, but I can't really compare it to much. Keys are well positioned. It has the wonderful bottom end that the SOTW guy liked so much. Higher notes are nice, without getting thin or nasal. Not as much of a roarer as the Conns, but not too thin/orchestral. Sings is how I'd describe it. Intonation is good, but needs a little work. To my ear it sounds better than a MkVI - heresy, but it's a lot less harsh and fuller, with just as much power. Really needs a much better and more experienced player than me to test it out. (Anyone reading in the Munich area?)

Where I'd fault it is that some of the keys (say from low C down) are a little too flexible, so getting them to seal can be hit and miss. The LH table is a bit heavy to operate. Some play in the rods, not sure if this is just old age or poor setup, I tend towards old age.

One thing's for sure - you'd have to put a lot of money on the table to get me to part with it. It was my first sax and still is my favouurite, even if the Kohlert comes a close second.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Another one of the DA copies for sale. This one's stenciled "Signum."

I find it interesting that all of the DA and SDA copies I've seen from Santoni have been Bb tenors. Admittedly, I haven't seen a lot, but still ....


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Here's what that Italian website has to say about Alfonso Rampone, which was also mentioned in connection with all these horns:

Cugino dei più noti Rampone, rilevò l’attività della SAIIIM. Artigiano abilissimo produsse saxofoni di eccellente fattura, forse i migliori mai prodotti in Italia.
Google Translate renders this as:

"Cousin of the best known Rampone, took over the business of SAIIIM. Skilled craftsman produced saxophones of excellent, perhaps the best ever produced in Italy."

Well, attached is a picture of a SAIIIM bari. It's from http://www.centrofiatiepercussioni.it.

I actually did find some more information.

S.A.I.I.I.M. Castelnuovo Scrivia (1925-1932), (Società Anonima Istrumenti Musicali) Fondata nel 1925 da ex operai della Rampone, fra cui Mario Gilardi e dopo Alfonso Rampone e Aldo De Bernardi, e attiva fino al 1934, quando l’assemblea degli azionisti decise di metterla in liquidazione. Fu nel 1937 dichiarata fallita e il fallimento revocato nel 1938. Alfonso, uno dei liquidatori della ditta, compra parte dei macchinari per iniziare una produzione di soli saxofoni marchiati con il suo nome. La ditta produsse strumenti a fiato in legno e poi anche in ottone. (Francesco Carreras)
From http://www.saxforum.it/forum/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=24428. I bolded the acronym. It essentially means, "Musical Instruments, Inc." I also think that the 1925 date is off by several years, unless there was more than one company called SAIIIM in Quarna, Italy. That's a pretty old baritone design in my attached pic for a 1920s-30s horn. Of course, this could be a "starter" horn with the A. Sax design, as was popular in France and Czechoslovakia up until and during WWII ....


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