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Saxophones Hawkes & Son Excelsior Sonorous

confusedhere

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Kuranda queensland australia
I have inherited a saxophone in what appears to be its original wooden fitted case. I want to give this to my grand daughter who has recently taken up the Clarinet, but expressed an interest in the Saxophone. I would like to tell her what this instrument is, but do not have a clue. I would also need to know whether its worth the investment of being looked at by a restorer. It claims itself to be "Exselsior Sonorsos, Class A Hawkes and Son Denman Street Piccadilly Circus London 49264 manufactured for D Davis and Co Ltd Sydney" It seems to be Nickel or Silver plated in colour. I would include photos if I knew how.
 

Pete Thomas

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I've moved this to the saxophone section of the forum and changed the title to give you more chance of some good answers. Also it's probably Sonorous, not Sonorsos (not being pedantic, this will also help with searches and hence better info)

The biggest issue with this may be that it is high pitch, ie not in tune with modern instruments. This would render it useless for your grand daughter to play. Sadly.

Unless it is in good condition, any servicing and repairs may well cost more than the value of the instrument.

But we would need more info about anything else stamped and especially pictures.
 
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Stephen Howard

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As Pete says, the biggest problem with the Excelsior is that it was built at a time when Concert A was set at a slightly higher pitch than it is today (440hz). What that means is if you play a note on the Excelsior and someone plays the exact same note on a modern horn - you'll be very out of tune.
Another big problem with the Excelsior is that it has soldered-on toneholes - and given the age of the horn it's more than likely that the solder has started to break down. It can be fixed, but it's an expensive job.
So all in all I'd say that the horn isn't really worth the trouble.
 

PigSquealer

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@confusedhere if you are using an iPad or such this is how you post a picture. One, two, three. If you have a picture on file choose the photo library then select the picture.
1670275841678.png
Somewhere adjacent to the serial number. This is usually found below the thumb hook on back. You may find the letters L. P. For low pitch or H. P. For high pitch. Another way to discover if the instrument is high pitch or low pitch is by measuring. LP being longer HP shorter.
1670276184961.png
 

PigSquealer

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I’ve never seen that before. Always something to learn. Thanks !
 

confusedhere

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Kuranda queensland australia
I am particularly interested in its age, if anyone can tell that from the serial number. Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I am in Cairns, Nth Queensland, Australia. Thanks again.
 

stitch

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I think most Excelsiors were high pitch, unfortunately. Looking at the photos, I'm wondering if it's a C-melody in a tenor case. Can you stand it upright (without neck) and tell us how tall it stands?
As to date, Hawkes merged with Boosey in 1930, and the XX Century model was in production by the later 1920s. The Excelsior preceded the XXC, but may(?) also have been produced concurrently.
 

Pete Thomas

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That is sharp sign not flat, although I’m not quite sure what the symbol below it is. Probably P for pitch I suspect.

However the # is not good news sadly.
 
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Colin the Bear

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I don't think I've ever seen a hp Mel C before. Does that make it a museum/collectors piece?
 

stitch

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I don't think I've ever seen a hp Mel C before
I have a H&S XXC one, bought without sufficient info (ie the seller "couldn't find" a # or ♭ on it, despite my instruction as to where to look); fortunately reasonably cheap. Thing is, if you stand it next to a LP C-mel, there's hardly a difference in height; you really have to check the tonehole positions to establish the pitch - and even then, there's not a huge difference.
The mouthpiece might be the most desirable thing about this sax.

Update: serial number dates it between 1922 and 1925.
 
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nigeld

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A high-pitch C-melody makes no sense, since I thought the point of a C-mel was that you could play melodies along with Aunty Mabel at the piano. Did military bands have C-mel saxophones in them?
 

stitch

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A high-pitch C-melody makes no sense, since I thought the point of a C-mel was that you could play melodies along with Aunty Mabel at the piano
Agreed. But were pianos tuned "high pitch" at that time? Being string instruments (sort of), presumably they could be tuned at whichever pitch was predominant.
 
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