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Saxophone/Holton Elkhorn Bari Sax


I have a Frank Holton Elkhorn Baritone Saxophone.  SN: 14523.  The letter's LP are below the SN.  There are flowers engraved on the bell with the inscription Made By Frank Holton & Co. Elkhorn W/S.  When I picked up a fingering chart I noticed that my sax does not have all the keys indicated. Is there a fingering chart for the Holton Bari sax and where can I get one?  Also, I've read that Holton saxes are "infamous" but I've been able to find out why? This sax is in good working order, I play it all the time.  The people in the band I play in love the sound the horn has.  So, what's the deal with "infamous" association the horn seems to have.


Sorry I didn't get back to you as quickly as I wanted to. I've just had a very busy week and a ton of repairs.  

First just about any fingering chart should work with that saxophone. The keys that are likely missing are the front high F key. It's possible as this is a baritone it's only pitched to high E or Eb. This was not uncommon for saxophones from this era. I would really need to see some photos to know for sure. However the sax you have should follow the standard 6 hole system and those fingerings should match any fingering chart.

Holton has been in the brass instrument business for well over 100 years. To this day they make some of the best french horns on the market. Maynard Ferguson was well known for playing a trumpet that was designed just for him by Holton. This was known as the Holton MF model and one of the best selling trumpets on the market in the 1970's and 80's However the Holton saxophone was an interesting speed bump in their history. I guess the best way to say it is "Just because you could, doesn't mean you should." My best guess as to why Holton made saxophones was because they were trying to cash in on the sax craze of the early 20th century. The horns they made were for the most part difficult to play. They had some extra keys other brands didn't and some horns were missing keys (like yours). The intonation was spotty and overall just not as well made and couldn't compete with the other brands big name brands like  Conn, Buescher, Selmer, Martin, and King. The only model that was of any real interest and has any collectible value was the Rudy Wiedoeft model. Holton claimed they designed specifically for Rudy Wiedoeft who was a popular saxophone player in the early jazz and vaudeville era. He mostly played the C-melody saxophone, and there is some doubt if Mr. Wiedoeft ever had any input into the design of that model or if he ever played one of them. From what I can tell Holton discontinued saxophone production in the 1920's or early 30's and focused strictly on brass (Trumpets, French Horns, Trombones, etc.)

The reasons Holton saxophones are "infamous" are many. As mentioned before their extra extra and missing keys, the intonation is spotty and the horns just didn't play very well... There is little resale value on the Holton saxophones, except the occasional Rudy Wiedoeft model that may show up.

I'm sorry for the bad news, but if you would like to send me some photos, I would love to take a look at them.

Charles Harris  


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Charles Harris


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


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.

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

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

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