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Saxophones Sax4pax saxophones made from shell casings

saxyjt

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,106
Location
France
I agree, if anyone is worthy to continue that legacy, it is Karel.
I had never heard of them!

It's just using the name that I have a problem with. I can't tell why but it doesn't feel right. But then, if it's possible, someone had to do it. And if it's done well, that's best.

I missed the Sax4Pax website, going straight to the main site. So I missed the 193 reference... Now I have seen it. I still see it as a well designed marketing tool...

Play in peace!
 

Karel Belgium

New Member
Messages
18
Location
Belgium
Also, I failed to discover what makes YOU @Karel Belgium the depository of Adolf Sax brand/legacy other than being from Belgium (and the wrong side of Belgium if I dare).
Thanks for your remarks. I appreciate them and you still state them in a friendly way :) All too often people are real keyboard heroes and use strong language...till you meet them in person. That aside...

You are completely correct: there is a lot of hot air and marketing bs. I am probably not qualified and smart enough for that. Some people might remember a bit of my past. That might help to understand me a bit more. I'll try to be brief:

Always wanted to play sax, ever since I had an encounter with it at the age of 5. Loooong story short: at 27 I got myself a sax, learned to play it, few years later I have an accident, broke my back, would be in permanent paint for rest of my life. Wanted to put me on disability (but refused to accept that). Couldn't play sax anymore. Instead, I started messing around, taking my own sax apart. Loved it so much, so got me an old Conn New Wonder. That's when it really happened for me. When I opened the box, the typical smell of old brass hit me. It reminded me of the smell of my grandfather's ships-yard. Ever since I was 10, I spent all my days there. We used a lot of brass and bronze. That was when I decided to do something with saxophones.

I got the exclusive European distribution rights for an unknown Taiwanese saxophone brand. Big (and small) Western companies had their saxophones but of course hid the origin of their horns. I decided to bring them to the public. They had the worst brand name to bring sax on the Western market, but I decided that they deserved the credits for their work. When my grandfather made a ship, his name was put on the ship, as the builder, so it seemed natural to me to do that. Some people called me a fool to try and launch saxophones under such a brand name...but my hard work payed off. Together with a friend from the US, who became distributor for US, we managed to get it respected. It took a lot of work to get the quality to where it should be (and several trips to Taiwan).

BUT being honest and open often doesn't pay off. Competitors...and some people on saxforums decided they wanted a piece of the pie. Long story short: bribing the people in Taiwan, trying to get saxophones directly, etc... the Taiwanese factory backstabbed us and decided to ignore our exclusive dealerships. They even refused to send me a new order of saxophones. I was fulltime with the saxophones at that time. Suffered severe financial damage. Lawyers told me I could easily win, but it would take years. I decided to let it go. I learned a wise but costly lesson: be careful who to trust and don't be too open about how and what you do.

I had no income anymore but I knew I had to stick to my goal: do "something" with saxophones... Again, long story short: in 2012 I obtained the international right to the name Adolphe Sax (NOT 'Adolf' @saxyjt !!). Vision was simple (and complicated): start using parts made in Taiwan, doing assembly in Belgium, with high quality materials (cork, felt, pads, etc...). With the earned money, invest in setting up Belgian production. There hasn't been sax production in Belgium for decades, so it is a tricky thing, but hey: why make things easy :)

Of course, there has been plenty of jealousy, backstabbing and sabotage along the way. The climax was January 2015, when I ended up in a 2 month coma. Mexican flu, burning fever (and still working). Ended up in ER with dehydration, exhaustion and double pneumonia. 2 days in, 41° fever, my body functions shut down, had to be put on full life support and in medical induced coma. Cut me open 9 times, to try and save my lungs. Didn't work. Talked about lung transplant, but I wouldn't survive that because I was so weak (lost about 50 pounds/25kg in 7 weeks). Terminated treatment after 7 weeks. They went above and beyond to save me... Instead of taking "the exit", suddenly my body functions returned. I woke 1 week later. Had to learn to drink, eat, talk, walk. 2 medical world records. Would take up to 3 years to function more or less normal. Would still suffer, etc.. but I decided to quit rehabilitation in august, started working in a wheelchair in september and declared me totally healed on December 31th, 2015. I suffer nothing from what happened and still have my own lungs. But of course...it wasn't enough drama: when I was in a coma, several people tried to get their hands on my business, couldn't wait for me to die, etc... Even a "friend" that I worked with decided to backstab me, etc... But my beloved wife and some (really impressive) friends kept the fort. Lost a lot of money paying (huge) hospital bills, as I am the only guy doing all the work, sales dried up in that time. It's a miracle that the business didn't go bankrupt.

2016/2017 was all about starting over again. I met @Pete Thomas back in 2016, I think I just broke my leg, crashing my motorbike :cool:. Was I still in a wheelchair @Pete Thomas ? Anyway, I decided to go for it and launched my Dinant II series horn, a mix of vintage American, French and German elements. Ever since I am working (too) hard to pursue my goal.

The Sax4Pax project, as stated previously, was supposed to be launched in 2014, but "stuff happened" :). Just days before my initial deadline (November 11th, 2018) I had a breakthrough and could announce the launch of the project.

So @saxyjt, maybe above statement might "qualify" me - or not...that doesn't change anything for me. I am a Belgian. Does that qualify me? I don't think so. About being born the "wrong side" of Belgium: Adolphe was born in Dinant, French speaking part...but Belgium wasn't an official country back then :cool:. Napoleon got his ass kicked and the region was under Dutch rule. Adolphe lived in Dinant for about a month... Adolphe his father actually worked and lived in Ghent (Flanders) for about a year. Adolphe invented saxophone in 1841 in Brussels. Left to move to Paris in 1842/1843.

A "certain" French company took over the almost bankrupt business of Edouard Sax in 1929. Does that make them the legitimate heirs? A certain Belgian professor musicology published a paper, dramatically stating that only that specific French company could be the legitimate heir, not "that guy from Bruges/Flanders". All the drama aside: what happened in 1929 was all about business, not romance...but maybe I am not qualified to say anything about that. Who cares about opinions, facts matter more.

The reviews you'll (mainly) find on Facebook are real. I don't have deals of any kind with people to promote my horns and write "nice things" about Adolphe Sax & Cie. I was humbled to see a (great) young American saxophone player selling his King Super 20 Silver bell and neck (waaaaay to cheap) to get one of the Adolphe Sax 2.0 horns when I came to NY in 2012. It would be easy to get big names to play my horns, if I just give away some horns for free, but nope, don't want to do what others do. I have met great people in this adventure, meeting world famous players, etc... Never felt the need to do selfies or brag with "who I know". Though it is soooo cool to be able to meet, talk and have time with "the big guys (and girls)", these are not the things that qualify me. It was so cool to have @Pete Thomas walk into my shop in 2016. Another South African visitor who was there at the same time asked me who Pete was when he left. When I told who Pete was, he was like "Whaaat!!?? Was that PETE THOMAS from Cafesaxophone and SOTWF?!!" :banana:

Anyway, I could tell lots more, share my vision and passion, in the end it comes down to making a good horn and loving what you do. I do my utmost best to achieve my goals and be worthy of using this name. I have already paid a high price and easily put in 80h/week. If I would be in it for the money, I would not have done this. Doing what I do, the way I do it, costs a fortune, but you know what: not everything is about money...
 

saxyjt

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,106
Location
France
Owww boy...It ended up being a long reply :old: #sorrynotsorry
And a brilliant one!

So basically, you're a modern version of Adolphe* Sax with the survivor element in common. So let me wish you to keep on the healthy side of life for a long long time.

* Oops! I've been meeting too many Austrians lately...

Your story is amazing!

I share your passion for this instrument, although it caught me much later in life (at 49) and in different circumstances. But I love taking them apart and repairing them.

I'm not sure when I'll be in Brugge next, but when I am I'll make sure to pay you a visit. Knowing you're there will help me fight the resistance I have due to the touristic nature of the town.

And sorry if I sounded somewhat hostile. You obviously deserved a better treatment. Pax 4 Sax!
 

Wonko

Member
Messages
209
I'm not sure when I'll be in Brugge next, but when I am I'll make sure to pay you a visit. Knowing you're there will help me fight the resistance I have due to the touristic nature of the town.
Don't worry about the touristic nature, His shop is (just) outside the touristic part of town.
:cool:
 

saxyjt

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,106
Location
France
Don't worry about the touristic nature, His shop is (just) outside the touristic part of town.
:cool:
That's good! I may have to find a good excuse to go the other way, or book a hotel in that area. Oh dear, a sax shop! That's a change from Amsterdam...

I went to Brugge a while back as I lived in Den Haag and my girl friend visited me for a few days. We had a great time. Nice weather, can't remember that many tourists, great food and of course butts aches from riding on the pavements! Then I went back with my wife many years later and I couldn't recognize the place! Didn't enjoy it as much. I guess I had been spoiled the first time with food.

Of course my wife was disappointed she didn't meet with Colin Farrell!

 

brammelo

Member
Messages
34
Location
Ghent, Belgium
Karel... pet af. You just gave me the perfect motivational boost to keep on practicing. So that in a couple of years, I can say: now is the time to get myself a sax from Sint-Andries. Respect, dear sir.
 
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