Saxophone/C Melody Sax


QUESTION: I purchased a C Melody saxophone, serial # 22051.  Case says Buescher, Sax itself has scribing on it Kohler & Chase Professional American, San Francisco, CA,  Low Pitch. Can you tell me what year it was made, possibly the worth?

ANSWER: Hello Lorraine,  Your Kohler & Chase sax is a stencil sax. That is a saxophone made by a major manufacturer but will have a different name on it. Music stores, schools and other businesses would order a number of saxophones from a major saxophone maker and have their name put on instead of the company that made them. A major manufacturer could also create separate brand names to compete in certain markets or may have purchased a smaller company and kept the name. Whatever the reason, for the most part these stencil horns were built with many of the features and quality of their parent company. The major saxophone companies that made stencils were Conn, Buescher, Martin. Selmer, Holton and York. Some of these companies were purchased in time and became stencils themselves.  You will notice that the Wurlitzer stencil was, at one time or another, made by more than one manufacturer. 3 different companies made you sax, Conn, Buescher and Martin, but we don't know which one unless you look at the features up close. Things like the key guards, left pinkie cluster,  the side keys, the bell to body brace and lastly the style of tone holes. In order to appraise the value of your highly collectible sax you need to take it to a NAPBIRT certified repair technician. It could be worth $125 or it could be worth $875,but most C melodys sell for $399. Remember that the true value is in the tone of this hand made sax from another century. This sax is from the mid 1920's. I would take some better photos, or call USA HORN on the phone for an appraisal. One mans treasure is another mans trash, so if your selling this fine sax, you need to find people who will appreciate it true value as a player. The bad news is that C Melody saxophones are not that desirable now days because they are obsolete. Alto, Tenor and Baritone saxophones are worth top dollar.  The Letter L stands for Low pitch, that's A=440 and is good, that's the modern pitch standard.  Get on the Internet, go to sax and compare your sax with photos of Conn's, Martin's and Buescher saxophones in order to determine the true origin of your excellent sax! Get it fixed up, and play this sax. If you sell it you'll never find another one! Old saxophones are becoming more rare, and the value is going up, however concerning C-Melody's the value has stayed the same for the last 30 years.  If you have the original mouthpiece that's great. C melody mouthpieces are hard to find. GOOD LUCK!
Grant Koeller  

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Body Bracing
Body Bracing  
QUESTION: So, the fact that my case says Buescher, do you believe Buescher made the sax?  I have attached a couple of pictures, one of the keys which I found odd.  There are no pearl inlays on the keys.  It's just beveled for the fingers.  I also attached a picture of the bracing from the bell to the body of the sax as you said it would help possibly tell the value.

I have no intention of selling this rare piece.  I am just trying to learn as much as possible about this unique horn.  It is in very good condition, although I do not have the original mouthpiece.  I bought a Runyon mouthpiece which has a resignator inside it and can use tenor sax reeds on it.  

Your insight on this sax is greatly appreciated.  Thank you very much for your help.

Hello Lorraine, After studying the photos, I believe your C melody sax was made by the Martin company. Fantastic!!!!It's from late 1910's-early 1920's before they used mother of pearl for the keys...the body to bell brace, is exactly like my old Martin wurlitzer stencil c melody sax. This sax is a gem!!I hope you have a c melody mouthpiece. Good luck!
Grant Koeller


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Grant R. Koeller


I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.


Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.

USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,

Saxophone On the Web; Anchorage Daily News; All Experts; Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;

North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986 Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984, Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980 Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997) Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993

Awards and Honors
Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008; Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist; McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979; US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980; John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska; USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters; USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

Past/Present Clients
Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's

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