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Saxophones B&S Tenor Sax origin

Grant Melton

Grant Melton

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Jeanette suggested I try here.....

Hi all I'm new here !
I've been playing Sax for 2 months and recently bought a B&S Sonora Tenor sax. I was playing an Alto.

My question is I can't seem to find much about this German made sax. It's not got a blue label. It does have a serial number #67442 There is no engraving on it either. Is there anywhere that you check serial numbers for these all help would be appreciated.

Grant
IMG 1907
 
Grant Melton

Grant Melton

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My heart just sank !
 
thomsax

thomsax

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My heart just sank !

Why? I like these old saxes. Many B&S made saxes from the mid or late 70's are still playing. Not bad for a horn that cost you 1800 s e k. A Yamaha 21 tenor was c 3100 s e k back then. Today you buy good saxes made in Asia. But I'm not so shure if they are still playing after 40+ years of playing. The first Chinese saxes I played (Lark, Swallow .... ) were terrible. So a Weltklang was extravaganza compared to Lark or Swallow. They were playable. I have a whole room full of impossible saxes. Weltklang, Amati, Bundy II, Conn, King 615, Armstrong, Dörfler und Jörka .....
 
Stephen Howard

Stephen Howard

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However there is a engraving which says B&S Sonora didn't see it before are these one of the same ?

I think if your horn looks anything like the Weltklang I reviewed (same bell stay, same detachable pillars etc.) then yes, they're one and the same.
 
Stephen Howard

Stephen Howard

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Why? I like these old saxes. Many B&S made saxes from the mid or late 70's are still playing. Not bad for a horn that cost you 1800 s e k. A Yamaha 21 tenor was c 3100 s e k back then. Today you buy good saxes made in Asia. But I'm not so shure if they are still playing after 40+ years of playing. The first Chinese saxes I played (Lark, Swallow .... ) were terrible. So a Weltklang was extravaganza compared to Lark or Swallow. They were playable. I have a whole room full of impossible saxes. Weltklang, Amati, Bundy II, Conn, King 615, Armstrong, Dörfler und Jörka .....

Many of Adolphe's original saxes are still playing.
This is unfortunate if you subscribe to the 'cheap horns will fall apart after five minutes' theory - because those original saxes are appallingly built. Even the worst of the Chinese horns stand as paragons of engineering against them....and yet 100+ years later they're still chugging away.

The first of the Asian horns appeared around the late 1960s, and were quite commonplace in the '70s. This would make them around 50 years old. They're still turning up on my workbench.
There's no mystical voodoo involved in building horns, it's all down to plain old dull and boring engineering.
 
Colin the Bear

Colin the Bear

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Weltklangs equate to a good old tractor. They haven't got the refinement of a modern tractor or the nimbleness of a classic sports car. However they get the job done with a sense of purpose and prodigious sound and in a no nonsense sort of way. I'm quite impressed with them, in a sort of trabant/reliant economy, punk, anti establishment, rage against the machine, way. Big sound for little money. I dread having to play anything at all technical on mine. More meccano than swiss watch ;)
 
thomsax

thomsax

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Many of Adolphe's original saxes are still playing.
This is unfortunate if you subscribe to the 'cheap horns will fall apart after five minutes' theory - because those original saxes are appallingly built. Even the worst of the Chinese horns stand as paragons of engineering against them....and yet 100+ years later they're still chugging away.

The first of the Asian horns appeared around the late 1960s, and were quite commonplace in the '70s. This would make them around 50 years old. They're still turning up on my workbench.
There's no mystical voodoo involved in building horns, it's all down to plain old dull and boring engineering.

I worked in a music shop back in the 70's and sold Lark and Swallow saxes. Lots of problems with early PRC saxes. Believe me. Yes, to built a saxophone is "down to plain old dull and boring engineering". They way a sax is put together is also important (materials and skilled workers) and of course quality control before heading the market. One other thing that's important; ownership and management. The guys who did the "Mexico" saxes were good workers. They did what they were told to do. It helps up if the owners are from (sax)manufactoring world?
 
Stephen Howard

Stephen Howard

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Sure thing, the early Chinese horns were terrible, but the early Taiwanese ones were significantly better. Still not great by the standards of the later Jupiters (et al) but a huge improvement over the Parrots etc. and the East German/Czech horns that dominated the student market back then.
Here's the thing though - I still see early Chinese horns come in, and they're still working (sort of). It's not that they fall apart or magically disintegrate that renders them fit for the scrapyard, it's more that the economics of repairing them deals the fatal blow.
Early Jupiters are still worth fixing (just about, these days) - and will probably remain so until the Chinese manage to nail some sort of build quality consistency with their Ultra Cheap horns.

As for the Mexiconns - they simply weren't good enough to stand up to the competition (Jupiter and Trevor James). But if you have a good one (or one that's been extensively reworked) there's absolutely no reason why it won't hold together for at least 100 years. Just like any other horn.
 
thomsax

thomsax

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Still not great by the standards of the later Jupiters (et al) but a huge improvement over the Parrots etc. and the East German/Czech horns that dominated the student market back then.
I saw , played/blew and sold the first Jupiter sax in 1982. A modern construction (key design) with clear laquered body and nickelplated keys . Compared to B&S "Blue Label" (also a modern construction; tone holes offset, ribbed body construction and more compact key clusters) the Jupiter was easier to play. Jupiter had also better pads (softer) and better corks (not compressed). Soundwise the Jupiter was more what a sound should sound like in the 80's. IMO "bright " and "focused". And every detail on a Juptier were available at the agent. The early Jupiter are still in use. And so are B&S "Blue Label. An old Jupiter use to go for 3000-4000 s e k while a "Blue Label" use to go for 6000.7000 s e k. The price difference has nothing to do about the saxes. It's more about the impact of internet!

As for the Mexiconns - they simply weren't good enough to stand up to the competition (Jupiter and Trevor James).
I think the late UMI saxes, that were built in Nogales AZ, were not bad.
 

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