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New to Woodwinds.

#1
I am primarily a brass player, but recently decided to expand to other instruments, I first purchased a French horn and am progressing nicely. Back in 1983 I went to a junk shop in Washington State and found a saxophone hanging from the wall from a shoestring. I recently had new pads and corks put on it. I have finally gotten sound out of it. Hoping to find out some information about this horn, it is made by a couple of unknowns from the Czech Republic region of Plzen.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#7
I can't even get the photos to expands. What's up with that?
The source pics are that small.

Curtis, we have a bunch of folks that can help with more info, but we can't help you if we can't see your pics.
 

TrueTone

Clarinet, Sax, Oboe, History
#11
Ok, forgive me, it has rolled tone holes, what does that tell me? I am a newbie.
Basically, when the company making the Sax is drawing the tone holes out from the body, they make a lip which they roll back around the edge of the tone hole.
Doesn't really say much other than they took the effort to do so, as some people think they have a positive effect on pad life, whether they do or not I can't answer.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
#12
OK, so my first thought is that it has a lot of the features of a Max Keilwerth-made horn. But I'd have to see a shot of the back. Can you post a photo of the rear of the sax. Preferably also of the left side. For the rear view shot, the details I need involve the lower 1/2 of the horn. I'm looking for the area around the right thumb rest. I'm wondering what the markings are there. There is likely a serial #, but if it's a Max Keilwerth horn, there will be something else as well. It should be stamped Pure Tone Trade Mark and have a bell. Also,

Also, the left side of the horn will help us figure out more about it too. Thanks. This size of photo is great, it allows us to see details.
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#13
+1 on let's get the serial number. Germanic saxophones from around the time this one was made are a bit difficult to tell apart. The serial number gives quite a bit of insight. And, as Helen mentioned, if there's a stamp like "Pure Tone" or "The Best in the World" or something else, that can help. (We do have a guide on what pictures to take. Upthrust: lots and if you can't see details, we can't see details.)

My guess: Kohlert. Hinges on the serial number, though.
 
#14
Ok so here goes, I only found one identifying mark on the instrument and it wasn't on the back by the right thumb rest. I have been reading the article on this site about stenciling, and beginning to think that might be the case. Anyway, the markings were located at the top where the neck connects, really hard to read, but as you will see, the best I can make out it looks like HM 984. IMG_20160205_182629304.jpg I took pictures like asked and here are more views. IMG_20160205_182711902.jpg IMG_20160205_182715884.jpg IMG_20160205_182727096.jpg IMG_20160205_182741714.jpg IMG_20160205_182750630.jpg IMG_20160205_182754625.jpg IMG_20160205_182805883.jpg IMG_20160205_182857602.jpg IMG_20160205_182927670.jpg
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
#15
Well, without the Pure Tone Trademark notice it doesn't appear to be a Max Keilwerth horn. Although Pete, just as an aside, it does have an octave lever shaped like that of the Hohner President.

Rule out Julius Keilwerth since it does not have the JK Best in the World logo, and what are we left with? Kohlert? I don't know, I'm not getting that vibe from it, but you know their really old horns better than I do. There are no FX or GH Hüller characteristics, so they're out.

I'm wondering if it isn't one of those obscure brands that was built through "heimarbeit", with parts from other suppliers. Just throwing that out there, since we know that was going on in Germany ATT.

Edit:

BTW, I just looked up my Max Keilwerth horns, and check out this C.A. Wunderlich Alto 2101.

It is an early horn that he built, and it shares numerous features with this horn--including the shape of the octave lever, bell to body support brace, chromatic F# key, etc.

We know Max worked at home--heimarbeit--when he worked for FX Hüller, so perhaps this is one of early horns before he started the Pure Tone Trade Mark label. Just a theory...

I've also got other low # MK's in my gallery. They seem to line up in features as well. I'm thinking my first gut feeling was perhaps correct.
 
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pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#16
Well, without the Pure Tone Trademark notice it doesn't appear to be a Max Keilwerth horn. Although Pete, just as an aside, it does have an octave lever shaped like that of the Hohner President.

Rule out Julius Keilwerth since it does not have the JK Best in the World logo, and what are we left with? Kohlert? I don't know, I'm not getting that vibe from it, but you know their really old horns better than I do. There are no FX or GH Hüller characteristics, so they're out.

I'm wondering if it isn't one of those obscure brands that was built through "heimarbeit", with parts from other suppliers. Just throwing that out there, since we know that was going on in Germany ATT.

Edit:

BTW, I just looked up my Max Keilwerth horns, and check out this C.A. Wunderlich Alto 2101.

It is an early horn that he built, and it shares numerous features with this horn--including the shape of the octave lever, bell to body support brace, chromatic F# key, etc.

We know Max worked at home--heimarbeit--when he worked for FX Hüller, so perhaps this is one of early horns before he started the Pure Tone Trade Mark label. Just a theory...

I've also got other low # MK's in my gallery. They seem to line up in features as well. I'm thinking my first gut feeling was perhaps correct.
Well, the lack of a serial number, G#/C#/B/Bb cluster, and the bell-to-body brace definitely rule out Kohlert. I was thinking perhaps Oscar Adler, but I don't know if they ever produced split-bell-key horns.

I kinda like the Max Keilwerth idea. OP's horn is also similar to another one of the M Keilwerth horns on your website, this P. Wolf Musikhaus stencil. The engraving is also almost identical, too (of course, we know that there was one engraver that engraved a LOT of horns in a very similar style, so determination from just the engraving isn't a good idea). The only real holdout I have is that the octave key mechanism looks fairly dissimilar. The Oscar Adler horns on your website, Helen, are also a bit dissimilar, too, so I don't have a better guess.
 
#17
So, Pete and Helen, That being said, I have a very unusual horn. Not interested in selling, maybe cause I am an antique buff, any guess about when it may have been made?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#18
Well, not terribly unusual. There were dozens of Germanic manufacturers that made saxophones and a lot of them made very similar-looking horns -- and those horns are generally variations on the Conn (a US manufacturer) New Wonder horns. The problem that we have is just determining the specific manufacturer, although I think Helen's answer of "Max Keilwerth" probably correct.

Anyhow, based on the horn's feature set, I'd say not later than mid-1920s. If you want me to be really specific, I'd say probably 1920-1924.

Note that the age doesn't translate into "high value." If the horn was in perfect condition, I doubt it'd sell for more than $500 on eBay, based on the average price of perfect condition Conn New Wonders averaging just a touch more -- and taking off some extra $ for the lack of a front altissimo F key. There are just too many horns out there from that era that are as good as or better than yours and have higher brand recognition. And you can sometimes get a really good horn for $500 that has more modern features.

It's rare for Germanic horns, but there is the possibility that the horn is high pitch, too. That's an intonation standard. Bottom line is that high pitch instruments cannot play in tune with modern instruments and you can't convert high pitch woodwinds to modern pitch, so their value can drop close to $0. The only way you can tell is either the horn is stamped "high pitch," some variation of "H" or "HP," or "A=457." You want "low pitch," which, again, could be stamped, but it's "A=440" or "A=880." You said you couldn't find any markings other than what you mention above, so the only way I could determine if the horn is high or low pitch would be with a digital tuner, but the horn would have to be in playing condition.

There is the possibility that the mouthpiece is more valuable than the horn, too.

In any case, if you're interested in just having a horn you can kick around with, it might be a good idea to take it in to a shop and have a tech do a once-over. It's not an ideal horn to learn on, but it's definitely better than nothing. You could be lucky and all that needs to be done is replace a pad or two and it'll work perfectly.
 
#20
I have a 1970-Bach Mercedes II Cornet, my first instrument, A 1960-Buesher Super Aristocrate Trumpet, and a 1940-C.G. Conn French Horn, and a 1920-1924 Max Kielwerth high pitch alto saxophone.
 
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