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Saxophones B&M Champion Saprano Sax - Are they any good and what are they worth?

rob

New Member
Messages
14
I recently meet someone who has B&M Champion Saprano Sax made in GDR.

He was given it many years ago, but did not learn to play. Now he is interested in selling it.

I have it currently and he will leave it with me to try out, but I haven't played it yet as I do't have a mouthpiece or a reed for a saprano.

Looks and feels like it will play, but just wondering if anyone has an opinion on these horns and assuming it is in playing shape, what it might be worth?

I have a Tenor and an Alto, just interested in this as an intro to the saprano.

Thanks
Rob
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I think you mean B&S, not B&M. Info on the company is a little sketchy, but it basically grew out of the nationalised pre WWII german instrument manufacturers based in Markneukirchen. The earlier horns were a continuation of/rehash of the pre war designs, which isn't a bad thing - pre war the German and Czech saxes were pretty good. Especially Keilwerth and Kohlert.

Champion was a brand of FX Huller - and appears to have been subsumed into Amati, the nationalised Czech maker. B&S only came into being in 1991 - previously the company was the VEB concern - based in Markneukirchen, while Amati were in Kraslice (or Graslitz in German).

What are the markings on the sax? Any serial number? Does it say DDR or GDR or Czechoslovakia/CSR? Any idea of age?

Why do you say B&M (assumed B&S) - is it on the horn, or guess work by the current wner?

It's probably an OK horn, anyway.

Make sure it's playable - a repad could cost more than the horn's really worth. Here in good condition, playable, it'd probably go in the 3-400 euro range on ebay. Probably less in the UK. Get a decent technician to give it a once over and assess it for repairs before negotiating a price, and factor these into the equation.

THis might help for FX Huller : http://bassic-sax.ca/version5/vintage-saxes/european-made-saxes/f-x-huller
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,910
Hi Rob, back in the dim and distant days of the early seventies i was learning to play a B&M Champion trumpet, as i remember they just made student quality instruments, mainly trumpets, cornets, bone's and sax's.

One thing i can remember was the price, my Dad paid £75 for it new from a music shop in Leicester (cant remember which one though) quite a bit of money back then!

Cant think of origin but would guess they were made in China, probably equivalent to something like a Jupiter today.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,355
It seems that B&M Champion saxes were made in eastern europe by B&S in East Germany (aka the German Democratic Republic or GDR) or possibly Amati in Czechoslovakia probably in the 1970's. It's possible that the company who imported them had some batches made by B&S and some made by Amati
A lot of eastern european saxes were made under a variety of names - Weltklang, Lafleur, Sonora, Berg Larsen, Karl Meyer, Dearman, Trafford, Corton etc
In my experience the Amati instruments from Czechoslovakia are better than the East German "made in GDR" ones, but quality varies and some people love their old B&S instruments
The B&M probably stands for Barnes & Mullins - http://www.bandm.co.uk/ a UK musical instrument distributor who sold a lot of diffrerent instruments under their own brand name.
While not highly regarded at the time, there is growing interest in B&S saxes and they're certainly solidly built
there's a B&M soprano pictured here - http://saxophonewoodwind.net/vintage-old-bm-champion-saxophone-alto-soprano
which looks like a B&S Weltklang
the mechanism on these things is a bit "agricultural" by today's standards and the intonation might be somewhat wayward, but they usually sound ok
These sopranos go for about £200 in the UK, depending on condition
If the pads are ok and it blows down to low Bb and plays reasonably in tune, then it may be worth buying, but if there's serious work needs doing on it to make it playable, then the repair costs are likely to be more than the value of the instrument
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,680
I had one of these at school about thirty years ago. Made in Eastern Europe, not very well (China didn't really make saxes in those days), sounder more or less OK. Not worth much. I think you'd be very lucky to get near £200 for one. A little while ago I bought a batch of unbranded Chinese sopranos, which I sold on for £125 each, new. They all played way better than a 1970s Eastern European student sax. That sort of phenomenon has set the market for European student saxes at a pretty low level. You an even buy a new sop from a shop, with a warranty (as opposed to buying from a dodgy eBay trader like me:w00t:) for just over two hundred quid.
 

rob

New Member
Messages
14
What an amazing amount of useful information from all respondants.

I know a repair guy that will take a look. It seems the value is somewhere around $300 Canadian.

It definitely is a B&M and definetly says made in GDR. Serial number shows cleary, but I don't have the horn with me at the moment.

I am away on holiday for a week, but if people are interested, I can post some pitures when I get back.

Once again, I am truly impressed with amount of information provided.

Thanks
Rob
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
To the best of my knowledge, post WWII there was only the one maker in the GDR, although the firm went through a few name changes. (Was VEB for a long time). From what you and the others have said, it looks like they made the B&Ms as well. Good to learn.
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
My first sax was a B&M tenor that cost me £85 in a Banbury music shop. Not knowing any better I thought it was OK, but once I had played a respectable brand, I ditched it asap. I think it might have been the result of the GDR agricultural machinery industry attempting a bit of diversification - it was built like a tractor, and sounded like one as well.......
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,798
I've owned and played several Weltklang and B&S saxes. Not bad for the money. Of course todays saxes are far better. I bought a new B&S tenor with high F# in 79-80 for 2200 s e k. A new Yamaha YTS 61 was 4700 s e k, LaFluer (Amati) tenor wo high F# was 2300 s e k, Selmer Bundy tenor wo high F# 3100 s e k, Yanagisawa tenor 3500 s e k .... . The B&S was something like the BW is today! A good sax that most players could afford.

With new and better pads, felts and corks and a proper setup the B&S saxes played really good. The DDR was not known for good quality control.

It's funny to see a 30 years old and used B&S that they are asking 10000 s e k for! And a new PRC tenor for 3500:-! A mixed up world!

Thomas
 
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