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Saxophones Arta Guban tenor


Formerly saxgirl22
England, UK
hello, does anyone know much about these saxes? They look lovely and it was the first ever sax I played at school but I didn't have it all that long before I got my own. Aparently they are regarded as quite nice players? Is it worth a purchase or can anyone advise a guide price and info etc?
Many thanks :)
Hi. yes. I can tell you that my first ever sax was an "Arta Guban" tenor which I paid £ 170 second hand for approx for in about 1980.

As far as I know they were Czech copy's of Selmer Mk 6`s and if I can remember well enough it was a nice horn with no intonation Probs. One thing that I can remember is that unlike the Selmers and the Yamahas. the Guban had definitely no high F# key.

I used to brood on this a lot .

I actually traded the Horn in against the Conn 10m that I still own, sometime in the early to mid 80`s in a Music shop in Edinburgh called Simpsons. The weird thing is that I have seen it back up for sale on a few occasions since then. the most recently was last year in Mev Taylors in Edinburgh for about £400.

I would buy it again if money was not a Problem
Anyway, that sax got me my first audition and started off my Semi -Pro career. So I cannot fault the brand.:welldone
I've been wondering about these for a while. They come up for sale here quite often, and usually get a reasonable price. Once saw a very fancy case for one. Really sumptuous, crocodile, silk and well padded. The seller likened it to a coffin, it was so fancy.

The made in CZ/sold in Romania story seems about right. Could also have been sold in Hungary, some seem to come from there. I'll see if there's anything on some of the German sites.
From looking at a German and Russian site it seems to me that Romania seems right for Arta Guban. It appears that they were made in Timisoara which, as far as I know, has been the subject of territorial disputes between Romania and Hungary.The instrument at any rate seems named Arta Guban Timisoara, possibly to stress Romania's claim. It also seems that there is an Arta Guban shoe factory still in the area. I don't know who or what Arta Guban was.

Opinions about the saxophone vary from dreadful to very good. So, if you have good one, you should be able to get a lot pleasure from it. Their resale value doesn't seem all that high. In fact, you can get one for so little that the Chinese offerings seem almost expensive. If you have one for sale, please do not let me know.
Did some scratching. There's nothing definite that I could find, some speculation. What does seem to be the case is that as Beckmesser said, the firm was located in Timisoara, Romania. I found no posts to suggest that the manufacture was Romanian, which doens't mean that it wasn't, rather that it's more likely that these were stencils.

However, it seems that Arta Guban saxes are very similar to the Luxor saxes. Luxor wasn't a maker, but a reseller. Their saxes seem to have come from different makers, possibly some from Keilwerth, and from East Germany, possibly Czechoslovakia. This isn't so bad as you may think - befoe WWII, there was a large area sread over the German/Czech border that made excellent instruments. After the war the Czech interests were nationalised into what became amati and the Geman side into what became B&S. Designs in both cases were based on the pre-war models, mostly Kohlert/Keilwerth. Both these makers had an excellent reputation, both for sound and build quality.

However as pointed out above, the quality of Arta Guban seems to be variable.

They often come up on ebay in Germany and Austria - going for around 2-3 hundered euros in reasonable condition.
hi everyone, thanks for the replies on this sax! the reason I asked is because there is one for sale at the mo and I have decided to make an offer. Albeit not a high offer as I don't feel the sax warrants alot of dosh! It would be nice to get it and see how it plays. I may even like it!
thanks for the replies everyone :) My pc doesn't seem to be updating my pages correctly so I apologise if this is my second reply! I bought the sax the other day and picking it up from my depot on sat morning. The guy that sold it to me seemed really nice and said it has a good sound that is improved with a metal m/piece, so gonna stick my lawton on it and see what happens :)
Hi all i used to have silver tenor, by arta guban, it played fine, wished i hadn't sold it, i got £300 for it and it wasn't in fantastic condition. There is a guy called Dr Larry Ross at who has a couple with some sound samples. He asks good money, also if you check woodwinds & brass Startseit they have one for over 700 euros.
If you can get one for less than £300 they seem a good buy. If you check saxpics, the old kohlert has the same plastic guard and a few other similarities.
Hope this info, is useful. I was after one on ebay the other day, but it had gone, i left it too late, as usual.
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Hi there, Funny you mentioned Dr Larry Ross. I listened to the Silver arta Guban sound clips lastnight. There were 3 that I listened to. Nice sounding sax - bet you must be a bit gutted! I've been there with that feeling of regret.
Anyway - I picked it up today and gave it a blast with an ebonite m/piece first but have to say that metal is definately more complimentary to its sound. It makes it warmer and darker sounding whereas the ebonite makes it sound harsh and not as controlled!
It is a nice sax that I think I will keep for a good while and have some fun with but I find the keywork rather clumsy and it takes that much more effort to play - it's a sax you really have to work hard to play. It could do with some minor adjustments to make it perfect but it is an oddity of a sax and they don't come up often so I'm glad I got it! (It also reminds me of my old school music cupbord Guban that I borrowed and played in friday jazz club!)
Hi SG .

I hope you are pleased with your purchase. It would be nice to see a photo to see if your horn is the same as my old one.
Mine was the same as the photo on the Doctors site. I noticed the one on the german site had an additional Key between the F and E very similar to the Aux G# on the old Conn Tenors. I thought the keywork to be quite slick . But it was a long long time ago and I was probably more dexterious
OK, I am resuscitating this thread, mostly because it is the longest existing thread on Arta Guban, Timosaora, Romania.

And because I have just completed refurbishing a Tenor. Apparently the same model which the OP posted about 7 years ago.

Just wanna add some info for posterity sake. (Quick word of warning - it may get more detailed and tech-y here and there than most folks will be interested in, but I just wanted to offer up the whole enchilada).

After doing a complete teardown and overhaul, here are my observations:

1) a few other mentions of Arta Guban across the web intimate that these were shoddy, somewhat primitively engineered E. European 'steel curtain' endeavors.

Refurbishing one refutes this.

The horn metal is darn robust, to the degree where removing dents and leveling toneholes actually was a damn pain in the #ss. I am not certain if this is the result of the brass alloy or what, but the body, key and neck metal is anything but chincy.

Nicely detailed ferrules, with a 'fascia' motif. This also appears on the ring bordering the bell lip. Nice detail.

The posts and post feet all seem to have been of a single design, with the diamond-shaped escutcheons just cut to fit when they encountered a tonehole or key foot. But the posts are pretty precise, the threading is quite good. Same can be said for the guardfeet. The central guardfoot was mounted on the horn via a female receiver soldered on the tonehole (a detail seen in German and Amati horns off and on)

2) Just to correct Clivey's old comment above - these were in no way VI copies of some sort. This is rather a basic, vintage-engineering sorta horn, quite straightforward in keywork design and layout. In-line toneholes. Traditional pinky table, left-hinged; nicely placed rollers. No tab linking the G# touch to the B or C#. Spat touches shaped something like older JKs.

Cont'd next post.....
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2) cont'd -
Some interesting mechanism designs here and there; to me the most interesting being that the Low B and Bb key barrels, while seemingly having a single thru-rod, are actually attached to each other via two small rods with 'point screw' ends at the top and bottom of the B key (nerdy tech stuff, but I had never seen this detail before). A pretty good idea, actually (although it caused me on two separate occasions to tear my bench area apart - with the requisite cursing and yelling - looking for the long B/Bb thru-rod...only to recall there wasn't one :confused:)

The keywork lays under the fingers nicely. It is neither 'clunky'/ergonomically odd, like some old horns...nor is it super-responsive and quick, like some other vintage horns. It's not bad by any means. If one has played a number of vintage horns, this all feels quite familiar.
The side and palm keys are well placed, no odd rotations necessary to maneuver around there.

The only comments I would make are that a) the G# alt touch (located between lower stack F and E touches) is sorta squeezed in there, and I had to play with adjusting the touch height so my fingers would not graze the touch as I played E and F.
b) the pearls appear a tad undersized for the pearl cups...which is to say there is a visible 'seam' between the end of the pearl touch surface and the bordering metal cup. They don't feel strange under the fingers, however.
c) the keyheights of the bell keys are set by corking the lever arms of B and Bb barrels where those arms meet the back of the bell. The felts of the keyguard are secondary, and not really necessary, actually. A bit unusual; as most saxes have a foot off of the Bb barrel which regulates the height of the B/B touches and therefore the keycups. But nothing bad about it, just another curious tech-nerdy detail is all.

3) Before getting to the overall horn, gotta mention the NECK. Quite the original octave key design on this neck, fabricated out of heavy sheet metal with a soldered-on octave ring. And, instead of a typical two-fork key guide, these were equipped with some sort of center-post guide which went up through a hole in the middle of the octave key near the keycup end.

Wowzer. Have you ever...?


(sadly....the key saddle and octave key were so badly misshapen , and the post to the guide long missing, that rather than try to resuscitate 'em on this horn, I just went with a conventional saddle and key replacement.....)
4) and finally...ta-daaaaah....the whole horn.


Again, a well-built, robust fellow. A bit crude on the engraving...and I have seen other images online of Arta Luxor engravings which were finer than this one. I do not know if this means this was a later horn, or an earlier one. Interesting serial area (center guardfoot mount is my replacement as original was gone. Note also the original plexi clothesguard):


I will come back in a bit with comments on how she plays.....
OK, so here we go, Playtest impressions:

1) on the 'other' sax chat site, a poster I duly respect once noted that the intonation on these was quite poor. I am not certain what condition the horn was in in that instance, but here again my observations vastly differ.

The intonation up and down the registers is quite good, am talking a 10 cents or less variance on 80% of the notes, a few here and there slipping into a 15 cent variance. Basically, NO different whatsoever from what I have found with Conns, Bueschers, JK's, Kings, we can keep going. So the intonation is quite in-the-pocket.

2) an added bonus: she is mouthpiece friendly, unlike many a vintage Tenor. I used a variety of 'pieces...Meyer, Rubber Link, Brilhart Ebolin, Yama 4C, and lastly a Bari Esprit. The last one, a favorite budget model of mine which I actually put well in front of a 4C as far as sound and blowability....unfortunately oftentimes wreaks pure havoc on pre-1980's horns, so I never use it to test a horn I am finishing up; but in this instance it performed on this horn straight-and-true, as far as intonation goes.

3) Blowability: perfectly fine, good blowing response. Just a tad more resistance than, say, a vintage American horn such as a Martin, King, or Conn. The resistance isn't negligible, nor is it dramatic...if you get my drift.

3) Tone: quite nice, and actually here I would say that the few Youtube around don't quite do the sonic character of this model Tenor justice.

I compared her to two other vintage Tenors I currently have here: 1) an 40's Aristocrat and 2) an late 30's King Cleveland ...both with same-side bellkeys, FWIW. Both horns possessing a very nice, lush, full, vintage-y tone in their own right.

The Arta stood up to them, just fine. It is actually a bit wider-toned, possessing more spread, than the KIng or Boosh, which are more focused. More low-end overtones on the Arta...I would posit that if I had a vintage Conn here, it might be closer to that sorta sonic signature as Conns tend to blow a bit darker and wider than 'Crats or Cleves as well. Too bad I don't have a Conn or JK here for comparison now, as this baby is gonna get shipped out today.

I might in next few days add some other pics and commentary of various details /aspects as I think about it.

For the moment, this is the bulk of my assessment of this Arta Guban Luxor Solo.

A bit of an oddball, certainly...but a pleasant surprise, which in quality of build, tone, and performance is more than respectable and holds it own, really.
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