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Saxophones 1940s or 50s Italian Sax

Mchums

New Member
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11
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Texas
I am new to forums, so I may need guidance. I inherited an alto sax from my in-laws. It came from their parents so is probably from the 40s or 50s. Only distinguishing markings are M 1856 and Made in Italy. Can someone tell me how to go about finding info about this instrument?
 

Jeanette

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Cheshire UK
Welcome to the café, just ask if you need help with anything.

Some pics of your sax might be useful

Jx
 

nigeld

Too many mouthpieces
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Bristol, UK
Welcome to the Café.

As @Jeanette says, pictures would help. In particular:
- general view of left hand side
- general view of right hand side
- bell-key cluster (group of 4 keys halfway down on the left)
- bell brace (thing that goes from the bell to the body), if it isn't clearly visible in the other pictures
- any text stamped on the instrument
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
Here are a few shots. Let me know if you want others. Thanks!
Welcome to the Café.

As @Jeanette says, pictures would help. In particular:
- general view of left hand side
- general view of right hand side
- bell-key cluster (group of 4 keys halfway down on the left)
- bell brace (thing that goes from the bell to the body), if it isn't clearly visible in the other pictures
- any text stamped on the instrument
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
Welcome to the Café.

As @Jeanette says, pictures would help. In particular:
- general view of left hand side
- general view of right hand side
- bell-key cluster (group of 4 keys halfway down on the left)
- bell brace (thing that goes from the bell to the body), if it isn't clearly visible in the other pictures
- any text stamped on the instrument

Hi Jeanette, I am having trouble posting the pictures. I am using an iPad and cannot create a new album or copy and paste. Any suggestions?
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
Welcome to the Café.

As @Jeanette says, pictures would help. In particular:
- general view of left hand side
- general view of right hand side
- bell-key cluster (group of 4 keys halfway down on the left)
- bell brace (thing that goes from the bell to the body), if it isn't clearly visible in the other pictures
- any text stamped on the instrument

Hope this works!

iCloud
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
564
Locality
Long Island
I can't help with what it is, but it sure is lovely looking
And I'm pretty sure you just need to make a certain number of posts before you can post imagaes
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
ALPHONSE RAMPONE

Red rollers, generally lithe proportions of body tube and bell, Conn Artist/Chu-takeoff pinky table, and the sorta quasi-Conn motif engraving definitely nails it as Alphonse.

Another member of the famous sax-making family who had his own small factory in Italy.

He did a lot of stencils...Getzen, USA was one of his biggest clients. Artcraft was another stencil name.

Oftentimes when you see a "no name engraved" one that was because they sent 'em out this way, with stencil name engraving to be added by the distibutor...
 
Last edited:

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
Market-value wise, not up to much. Alphonse horns are pretty obscure...an Alto in great shape can fetch perhaps $400-500usd, a Tenor maybe $500-600. As a horn in non-playing shape, maybe cut those values by 50% or more.

As players, pretty respectable. Traditional keywork and ergos along the lines of a lotta horns of that time (this would be 50's to early 70's - the older ones having wire keyguards, the later sheet metal) so quite navigable although nothing special.

Intonationally some find these a little 'flexible', possibly more than a player used to contemporary horns would prefer to deal with.

One of those brands where, given its family history, it would have more personal value than monetary. So perhaps worth keeping in the family. A potential horn to get started on, if in good tack-or just to have around for a musician to 'second' or noodle on occasionally. At a certain point a fulltime sax player or committed student would wanna upgrade to something else.

Decent horns, well-made. They sound beautiful..very classic smooth, dark Italian tone.
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
Market-value wise, not up to much. Alphonse horns are pretty obscure...an Alto in great shape can fetch perhaps $400-500usd, a Tenor maybe $500-600. As a horn in non-playing shape, maybe cut those values by 50% or more.

As players, pretty respectable. Traditional keywork and ergos along the lines of a lotta horns of that time (this would be 50's to early 70's - the older ones having wire keyguards, the later sheet metal) so quite navigable although nothing special.

Intonationally some find these a little 'flexible', possibly more than a player used to contemporary horns would prefer to deal with.

One of those brands where, given its family history, it would have more personal value than monetary. So perhaps worth keeping in the family. A potential horn to get started on, if in good tack-or just to have around for a musician to 'second' or noodle on occasionally. At a certain point a fulltime sax player or committed student would wanna upgrade to something else.

Decent horns, well-made. They sound beautiful..very classic smooth, dark Italian tone.
Thanks so much for this info. My 15 yr old is a bass and contra alto clarinet player and wants to learn sax for marching. This family sax will hopefully be decent for her to learn on before next marching season. It is in great shape and has been well cared for
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
Thanks so much for this info. My 15 yr old is a bass and contra alto clarinet player and wants to learn sax for marching. This family sax will hopefully be decent for her to learn on before next marching season. It is in great shape and has been well cared for
yes it looks to be in stellar aesthetic shape, which is awesome !

As your daughter is a reeds player, then, she should be able to determine whether the intonational flex on the horn will be an issue for her or not. It isn't for me, but I am used to blowing vintage horns from various countries of mfr.

If you literally just got it, and it hasn't been played in years, definitely worth a tech check up and probably some servicing if needed.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
The case is awesome too...

I tell ya'...'dem Italians...they DO luggage bigtime !!!!!

I always love the cases which come with vintage Italian horns !!!!
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
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St. Mary's
yes it looks to be in stellar aesthetic shape, which is awesome !
Yes, it looks like great, let's hope the mechanics and intonation are nice

The case is awesome too...
It's great, but really check those latches, that old suitcase type latch is notorious for not always latching. Should be Ok in that case as it obviously hasn't had a lot of use but I still always like to put a strap round those ... just in case. A 15 year old would be totally devastated when the horn comes tumbling out onto the quarry tiles.
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
Yes, it looks like great, let's hope the mechanics and intonation are nice


It's great, but really check those latches, that old suitcase type latch is notorious for not always latching. Should be Ok in that case as it obviously hasn't had a lot of use but I still always like to put a strap round those ... just in case. A 15 year old would be totally devastated when the horn comes tumbling out onto the quarry tiles.
It is really awesome to get so much helpful information. I really appreciate all of your help.
In another post I was told that this would be too difficult for my daughter to learn on. Since I know nothing, all I can offer up is that she has the breath control to play a low C Buffet Prestige bass clarinet and a Selmer contra alto clarinet. I don't know if this means anything on the alto sax, but would love your opinions.

The case latches, by the way, are very solid. If she can play this, I am thinking of getting a Gorilla Case for her and to keep the original "luggage" so that is stays in great shape. I did notice that it does not hold the sax very firmly anyway.

Cheers and thanks for all the comments.
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
It is really awesome to get so much helpful information. I really appreciate all of your help.
In another post I was told that this would be too difficult for my daughter to learn on. Since I know nothing, all I can offer up is that she has the breath control to play a low C Buffet Prestige bass clarinet and a Selmer contra alto clarinet. I don't know if this means anything on the alto sax, but would love your opinions.

The case latches, by the way, are very solid. If she can play this, I am thinking of getting a Gorilla Case for her and to keep the original "luggage" so that is stays in great shape. I did notice that it does not hold the sax very firmly anyway.

Cheers and thanks for all the comments.
The real important thing is: the horn has to be in decent playing shape. We know it's in good aesthetic shape. But if it has been in its case for a year or more, unplayed, then the likelihood is it needs some tech servicing.

No player can play well on a horn which has leaks or has gone out of adjustment. This is why a trip to a repair tech is necessary.

If you have to put, I dunno....$100-250 into repairs, it's still a worthy endeavor. If the estimate comes out higher than that, then possibly not a worthy investment.

If that does happen (a higher repair estimate), please Message me here. You are in TX, I am in NM. I have a soft spot for vintage Italians (horns and wom---....oh, nevermind :doh:) and I could possibly get yours into good tack for a reasonable sum, and even tweak the case to better hold the horn - although I always recommend folks trying their local tech(s) first.
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
ALPHONSE RAMPONE

Red rollers, generally lithe proportions of body tube and bell, Conn Artist/Chu-takeoff pinky table, and the sorta quasi-Conn motif engraving definitely nails it as Alphonse.

Another member of the famous sax-making family who had his own small factory in Italy.

He did a lot of stencils...Getzen, USA was one of his biggest clients. Artcraft was another stencil name.

Oftentimes when you see a "no name engraved" one that was because they sent 'em out this way, with stencil name engraving to be added by the distibutor...
I have some new information you might be interested in. I was speaking with my father-in-law and he remembers his father getting this saxophone as a gift from someone he did some work for. The person's name was Barcone. I wonder if this is Vincenzo Barcone?
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
2,468
Locality
New Mexico, US
It's good to know that sorta stuff, actually. Too bad there isn't anything written.

My apologies....being the philistine I am n' all.....but who is Vincenzo Barcone (?)
 

Mchums

New Member
Messages
11
Locality
Texas
It's good to know that sorta stuff, actually. Too bad there isn't anything written.

My apologies....being the philistine I am n' all.....but who is Vincenzo Barcone (?)
Barcone imported Italian instruments and then stenciled Barcone & Son on the instrument. There are still a few out there. My guess is that this instrument was given to my in-laws family as a gift before they had their name added. I read that Barcone imported a lot of instruments, including some made by Alfonso Rampone
 

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