Saxophone/true sound

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Question
altosax 15939
altosax 15939  

sax 15939
sax 15939  
dear mr harris. sending 2 more pics. thanks.

Answer
Inger,

Ok, I now know exactly what you have. I had to do some digging but once I saw the pictures everything became clear. This is a "Keilwerth / Kohlert / Amati" stencil. I know that sounds confusing and thats why I had to take some time on this. This horn is based on the Keilwerth Tone King model, but there are some differences.

Right after WWII, the Keilwerth company had a factory in what became Czechoslovakia, However the primary plant was in West Germany. This caused some serious problems from a political situation. The Czech plant was nationalized into the communist system and began producing musical instruments under the name "Amati" as the name Amati/Kerschlise was a large violin guild in that area with a history going back hundreds of years.

As their tooling was all set up they continued to produce exactly the same model they were making prior to WWII. The problem was so was Keilwerth in Germany. So you had two different companies making pretty much the same product. This would be like GM having a plant in Canada and Canada comes in takes it over and changes the name plate on everything. Same car as what is being produced in the states, different name.

Now lets add one more ingredient to the mix... The Kohlert company was buying unfinished  instruments from both companies. They had factories in the same area as Keilwerth and Amati. So it didn't matter to them which factory it came from. Then they would modify it and add their own little touches. Some of these horns then got "stenciled" to other companies and their name was stamped on them. This is why yours says "True Sound" Someone here in the U.S. wanted a U.S. sounding name name stamped on that horn.

Over time the Amati company had to comply to the regulations from the communist government and their products begin to suffer considerably. Every now and then someone will bring me a horn to fix that says Amati, made in Czechoslovakia and the quality is just dreadful. I will not work on these instruments. Fortunately they survived and are still in business, their products have gotten much better and they are experiencing a resurgence in Europe. They still struggle a bit to get recognized in the U.S.   

The Keilwerth company has always made a great product. They are considered one of the "big 4" in the sax world. The other 3 are Selmer Paris, Yamaha, and Yanagaswai. The difficult thing about Keilwerth is they have been sold numerous times since WWII and there has been many changes each time. The products have not always been the most consistent from an evolutionary point they way other companies are. It just seems like someone had a great idea and it was implemented. Then someone else would want a different design with a completely different concept. Yes it's confusing. However all of Keilwerth's horns were and still are considered to be some of the best in the world at the time they were produced.

I don't know if the horn you have was made in Germany or Czechoslovakia, but I do know it has the Kohlert pearlized touch pieces on the pinky and palm keys. Not many companies did that at the time that horn was made. I only know of one that does that now.

The horn should be a great playing horn. At the time it was produced, it would have been one of the top pro horns on the market. And this one looks great with all the extra pearls on it.

As far as value thats going to be difficult. Stencil horns just don't sell for as much as those with the original manufacture on them. For someone that is a player you might get a good offer of a few hundred up to maybe a thousand, but thats going to be stretching it. If it was an authentic Keilwerth it would easily sell for over $1000.

However there is one thing in the picture that intrigues me. The mouthpiece on this horn is an Otto Link, Super Tone Master. These mouthpieces sell new for over $200 but the vintage ones can sell for much more. The resolution in the pictures makes it impossible for me to tell which model you have. We recently sold a 1960's vintage Otto Link for $900. If you would like to send me some pictures of just the mouthpiece, I can tell you what you have there and if it's one of the valuable ones.

I hope this helps.

Charles Harris  

Saxophone

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Charles Harris

Expertise

questions regarding equipment, performance, repairs, lessons, etc. Almost all saxophone related questions.

Experience

I am a professional member of N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instruments Repair Technicians). I have been repairing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments since 1993. I perform in several professional groups covering genres form classical, jazz, and rock.

Organizations
N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians

Education/Credentials
St. Petersburg Junior College (AA) University of South Florida.

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