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Saxophones my 1930s Orsi alto

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
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1,988
Well! 1930s 'ministeriale' is good, makes it an early model Trevor James Alphasax!
pre-1920s is even better.
Would a misteriale horn have some sort of indication of what it was?
"Usually" they do not....

I get your question, like maybe somewhere it would have been stamped with the civic body/band it was used for...the way some old American horns are engraved or stamped "USMC" (Marines) or "NYC Board of Ed" and the like.

I quote "usually" only because I have only held two ever in my hands (clearly different factories having made 'em) and seen maybe photos of a half-dozen others....none of which I can recall having any such signifying marks.

Yours is a toss-up, in my eyes. It COULD be older than 1920's...or it could be an early Ministeriale ....
 

Guto

New Member
Account Closed
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28
Dave, if you haven't found this yet, here is an interesting article on vintage Orsi saxes:

It looks like your was from this line they call "Normal Sax", in contrast to the full featured "Professional Sax" model.
 
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Adrian63

Senior Member
Messages
2,174
@Guto : respectfully I beg to differ : George ( Jaye ) is pretty much correct .Its an interesting old horn but of any use to a player of substance ? No....anyhow I've things to do...
Have a good day folks
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,988
Dave, if you haven't found this yet, here is an interesting article on vintage Orsi saxes:

It looks like your was from this line they call "Normal Sax", in contrast to the full featured "Professional Sax" model.

I understand the nature of your reply to this thread - basically, telling Dave that regardless of the limited keywork, it IS a horn which he can work up and play and enjoy.

I don't disagree with that...and if you cared to re-read my comments never did I say otherwise (as folks who know me know, I am usually in the "don't let market value govern whether you wanna invest in repair of a horn or not").

In @DaveT's case, in the least he received a horn in good physical shape...and although it will fall short of being an everyday usable player, probably (which was an initial goal of his, stated in a thread which was active before you arrived here); and end up having very little market value....

....if his goal is to start cutting his teeth on some sax repair (which he also stated IS a goal of his)...it'll serve well as that....and one can add to it...he will be the owner of an interesting horn, historically speaking.
 
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DaveT

Member
Messages
39
Dave, if you haven't found this yet, here is an interesting article on vintage Orsi saxes:

It looks like your was from this line they call "Normal Sax", in contrast to the full featured "Professional Sax" model.

I had a good look around the interweb before I bought it, there isn't much. I had seen those pictures but didn't understand the significance. Now I do!
For £200 I have a very shiny sax that works apart from one very sticky key.
It is not a professional model and lacks some keys, well, I'm a beginner so that's fine.
Perhaps later a £7k solid silver Yanagisawa AWO37 alto will be in my future - at least I won't fall off it!
 

JayeNM

Formerly JayePDX
Messages
1,988
Not to belabor a point....but there is the 'Bis key'....then there is the Bis key.

(I am only replying here for posterity sake...not to 'pick on you', I hope you realize. More that your comment of when the bis key appears in a particular lesson book is implying it isn't all that 'necessary'. So for the sake of future readers here, I wanna clarify this).

@DaveT...quick summarization:

Bb on a conventional horn has 3 fingerings, and more or less, people use those 3 fingerings all the time.
Bb side key (right hand)
Bb bis touch (left hand)
Bb lower stack finger 1 or 2 (combo left hand - right hand)
The sax has been like this since 1900.

From past threads over the years I have read on the subject, as far as player usage...it more or less breaks down to about 33% of the time on each fingering...sometimes folks may go to 40-40-20 or something like this . Others may favor one significantly.....65-25-10, etc... occasionally folks report not using one of the 3 more than maybe 10-15% of the time.

So, it provides very common fingerings, commonly used all the time.

So...back to difference between Bis and Bis Key:

There are old horns which have the entire key assembly present.....most very old horns do, actually. This is the key (and tonehole) which links the Bb key cup to the lower stack F# key arm, allowing one to play the Bb note by using the right-hand first or second finger in addition to Left hand 1.
Technically speaking, in better parlance it is the "Bb stack Key assembly"...although commonly used nomenclature is often "Bis Key assembly".

So, on some old, old horns the key assembly is present, but the "Bis Key Touch" is not present. The old Conn-Made Cavalier-branded saxes...these were their 'third shelf' instruments from the 20's-early 30's...were like this.
The Bb BIs Key Assembly and tonehole were there, but the keycup simply did not have a pearl touch (therefore there was no way to activate the key with the left hand).

So these old horns had only 2 fingerings for Bb...the side key right hand, and the lower stack combo left-right hand; not great...but, well...better than one.
This is actually an easy thing to modernize on those old horns...a tech needs to simply silver-solder on a small lil' pearl touch to the keycup.
(That Bis key touch was 'invented'/added in 1887, I believe. The Bis Key assembly already existed.)

(You may not quite understand all this in words, particularly since you don't really play...yet, but that is the best semantics I can use).

YOUR horn ...is absent the Bis Key assembly and tonehole entirely. (which is why I suspect Ministeriale as opposed to 'just really old keywork'; since as I noted before, the assembly was already commonly present - even an old, old Conn from 1895 has the bis/Bb key assembly)

This means:

There is no key nor tonehole present on your horn. So there is no linkage to the F# arm of the lower stack.
Which = no lower stack fingering available the way there is on a conventional horn or even a Conn Cavalier.

So, your horn can only play Bb by using its side key fingering.
So as opposed to 3 common fingerings for Bb, your horn has only one.

This, combined with no Low Bb and no alt/palm F#....results in the sorta sax which, while playable certainly...isn't a horn which players and teachers are going to consider very useful.

Again, not trying to be a wet blanket. Just stating some history on these given that this example has happened to pop up in this circumstance. As I already said, you don't find many of these around, and this one seems to be the oldest one I have ever seen....so it's certainly interesting.
 
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DaveT

Member
Messages
39
No offence taken: it is all interesting info I never knew.
It explains the low price for a nice shiny sax. Other altos are available should I feel the need.
 

DaveT

Member
Messages
39
I could probably send some (needing work ... obvs!) your way for about the same price as the Orsi (and Cafe cut) ... should you feel the need!

Thanks for that but it will be awhile. My Selmer Model 22 soprano is my main sax for learning on. The alto is for occasional use.
 
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