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Saxophones vintage Vitos

crankshaftnorman5

New Member
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4
I am thinking of buying a pre Yamaha/ Vito tenor sax. I have a Beaugnier built French Vito alto and love it. I'm now looking to buy a Vito tenor of the same vintage. While trying to research the serial number (N114***) I could not find when or who made it. I found plenty of Beaugnier era serial numbers without the N prefix and the Tiwaneese era serial numbers but all I find on the N prefix is that it existed but nothing else. Does anyone have any info on these.
 

thomsax

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3,643
The prefix "N" was used on brands like "Conn", "Armstrong" and also some "Vitos". Bell keys on left side of the bell? A N114 XXX can be built in the late 70's. On thursday I'm going with a friend to look at/test play a Vito tenor based on a Yamaha YTS 21. Maybe this Vito has the prefix "N"?
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
544
Ignore the serial number. Don't get hung up on it. Instead, concentrate on the features of the saxophone e.g. design of the bell-brace, key-guards and left-hand pinky table. Try to answer the question: "Is it really a Yamaha, a Beaugnier, or something else besides?"

Yamaha-stencilled Vitos sell for less than a Yamaha-stamped Yamaha - and therefore they're a good buy. Any Yamaha-stencilled Vito is a good horn. They are clones of the YAS-23 and YTS-23 - and therefore not to be mocked. The Yamaha YTS-23 is a real giant-killer which can give pro-grade saxophones costing £2,500 a run for their money.

Beaugnier-stencilled Vitos are even better in terms of sound-quality, and I'd regard them as pro-grade horns. I own quite a few Beaugniers and have tried others. Frankly, I've never play-tested a Beaugnier I didn't want to take home with me. All Beaugniers are good and some are superb. I've got a real soft-spot for Beaugniers. They've got a distinctly French (dare I say Selmer-ish?) sound to them, but the key-work isn't nearly as good. However, you can buy them dirt cheap compared to what you'd pay for a Selmer Mk VI.
 
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DavidUK

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4,534
I've had a couple of Yamaha Vitos and one Beaugnier but it's not the one being referred to here. This was it...





I've often fancied a Special Perfect, as here: Beaugnier Special Perfect Alto Sax

Look out for that key guard shape, but I can't recall this one ever being labelled VITO.

The Yamahas are identical to the 21/23 models and play just as well, with the same modern ergonomics if not all the up to date key work.
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
544
I've had a couple of Yamaha Vitos and one Beaugnier but it's not the one being referred to here. This was it...




I've often fancied a Special Perfect, as here: Beaugnier Special Perfect Alto Sax

Look out for that key guard shape, but I can't recall this one ever being labelled VITO.

The Yamahas are identical to the 21/23 models and play just as well, with the same modern ergonomics if not all the up to date key work.
What you have there is a Vito "Model 37" alto, made by Eduard Beaugnier et Cie sometime during the late 1960s. They are very nice horns. I'd actually describe them as professional-grade. The key-action lets Model 37s down a bit when compared to a Selmer Mk VI. However, the big compensation is the gorgeous sound which has got "Made in Paris, France" written all over it.

I have a pair of Model 37s, plus a couple of the much rarer model 35s. I don't know how many Special Perfects I've got - but it's more probably 3 or 4. I've got a real soft spot for Beaugniers. I never played one I didn't like. All were good and some were excellent.
 
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DavidUK

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4,534
The Special Perfects are supposed to be "special" but do you rate them more than the 37, or 35?
 

Tomasz

Member
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544
The Special Perfects are supposed to be "special" but do you rate them more than the 37, or 35?
I don't think there's much in it, to be honest. I didn't notice any glaring differences between the 3 models. IMHO, each has their strengths and weaknesses compared to the other which kind of even themselves out and leave them 3 models on a par with each other:-
  • Model 37 (what you've got):- comparatively inexpensive, and therefore accessible to most buyers even if they're music students. Key action feels a tad sluggish compared to a Yamaha YAS-23 but oh, what a gorgeous sound you get. Tone preferences are personal, but I think it can reliably torpedo the Yamaha every time. Left-hand bell-keys don't suit everyone. Overall, a pro-grade horn in disguise - and even those who'd disagree with my opinion would call it an "upper intermediate grade" sax.
  • Model 35:- a comparatively rare beast compared to the Model 37. Fewer were made. Very different key-action and some extra fingering options. Absolutely a pro-grade instrument. Marketed as such right from the start. Better key action than a Model 37 but you get the same sound. Has superb intonation which matches or beats anything on the market even in 2018. The bad news? The key action is complex and tedious to adjust. No, I'm not kidding. It's truly is a royal pain to tweak it. Has left-hand bell-keys like a Model 37
  • Special Perfect:- largely the same sound as the Model 37 & 35. Maybe a bit darker and more centered. I believe the design pre-dates the 37 and 35. Oddly enough has a superior key-action to the Model 37 and friendlier ergonomics. Has right-hand bell-keys - if that's important to you. Feels quite "modern" under the fingertips. A professional-grade instrument, obviously.
All 3 are good. However, if I could only pick 1 out of the 3, it would probably be the Special Perfect, with the model 35 running a close second. Dont' forget that Beaugnier made other models e.g. the Duke, but I haven't got one of those and therefore can't comment:-

Beaugnier Duke Alto

Stephen Howard reviewed a Noblet Vito (Beaugnier) alto, and gave it a reserved thumbs-up. Some design elements of this Noblet Vito do remind me of a Special Perfect, though I'm not saying it's the same horn:-

Noblet Vito (Beaugnier)
 
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ellinas

Senior Member
Messages
883
Don't forget the 38s. I think they are the best of all.
There are also the 39s . I haven't touched on of those yet.

My 38 tenor looks like a Selmer BA (straight line toneholes) and sounds almost like an SBA. The ergonomics are really nice.

Here are my alto and tenor 38.
Beaugnier 38 Tenor & Alto
 

Tomasz

Member
Messages
544
Don't forget the 38s. I think they are the best of all.
There are also the 39s . I haven't touched on of those yet.

My 38 tenor looks like a Selmer BA (straight line toneholes) and sounds almost like an SBA. The ergonomics are really nice.

Here are my alto and tenor 38.
Beaugnier 38 Tenor & Alto
I've never played a Model 38, so I don't know. However, like I said in a previous post, I never played a Beaugnier that I didn't like. Come to think of it, I've never played a Beaugnier I thought was bad. All are good and some are excellent.
 

DavidUK

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Messages
4,534
I'd forgotten I'd had a 38 VITO alto too! Just spotted it amongst the list of horns that have passed through! Likewise, I can't recall a thing about it. Guess that means I found it average?
 

anagni

New Member
Messages
3
Hello,I've just purchase a Vito model 37 and was wondering what mouthpiece would work with this horn....I play for leisure and first time alto player. JKSX90R tenor. Can you give me any information on this horn? Thank you
Regards, Dominic
 

Ne0Wolf7

Member
Messages
549
Hello,I've just purchase a Vito model 37 and was wondering what mouthpiece would work with this horn....I play for leisure and first time alto player. JKSX90R tenor. Can you give me any information on this horn? Thank you
Regards, Dominic
A good, cheap, option is a yamaha 4C, which is about 30 dollars.
 

anagni

New Member
Messages
3
Thanks, any difference between one that has the 4c on and one that doesn't ?? What about vintage one made in France ??
 
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crankshaftnorman5

New Member
Messages
4
The prefix "N" was used on brands like "Conn", "Armstrong" and also some "Vitos". Bell keys on left side of the bell? A N114 XXX can be built in the late 70's. On thursday I'm going with a friend to look at/test play a Vito tenor based on a Yamaha YTS 21. Maybe this Vito has the prefix "N"?
Was it a Vito w/a N prefix? What I really want to know is were these horns with the N prefix serial numbers made by Beaugnier or someone else. It is definitely not a Yamaha stencil .
 
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crankshaftnorman5

New Member
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I did buy this tenor and it plays great. Just as good as my Martin. The only markings on it are the Vito name and the serial number. No country of origin. Sure would like to know who made it.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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5,624
I did buy this tenor and it plays great. Just as good as my Martin. The only markings on it are the Vito name and the serial number. No country of origin. Sure would like to know who made it.
If you post some pictures then someone may be able to tell what it is.
 
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