Saxophone/Old soprano saxophone

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Sax
Sax  
I have a silver soprano sax, which a friend gave me years ago.  It is labelled Hawkes and Son Denmark St Piccadilly Circus London.  the serial number is 104109 (Low Pitch.  It is in need of a good clean, but according to a friend who plays the sax a little, is playable (just).

I would like to know how old it is and whether it can be renovated and played with more modern instruments, or whether it should be made into a lamp stand as my friend suggested at the time!

Any information at all would be welcome.  Many thanks

Answer
Alice,

First a bit of history on the company. Hawkes and Son started in the mid to late 19th century. In the 1930's they merged with Boosey & Company to become The Boosey and Hawkes company. From the early 30's until sometime in the mid 1980's Boosey and Hawkes produced a wide range of musical instrument including brass, woodwinds, and strings. Today Boosey and Hawkes only produces sheet music and are one of the largest suppliers of printed music in the world.

This is a very old Soprano Sax. Based on the design I believe it was produced prior to 1910, however it could be much older being a 19th century instrument. Without seeing more pictures or being able to inspect it in person that is the best estimate I can give. The reason is the touch pieces look to be metal. Around 1910 just about every company switched to Mother of Peal.

The Serial number doesn't help me as the records for Hawks and Son seem to have been lost to time. After the merger with Boosey and Company, the Hawkes instruments were produced under the Boosey and Hawkes name and used the Boosey and Company serial number system. If there are records for this company I've yet to see them.

If this horn is stamped Low Pitch (LP) than you should be able to use it with modern ensembles. The only challenges I could see is saxophones from this period usually have a smaller bore than modern horns and may sound a bit "tinny". Also finding a mouthpiece that will work and play in tune may be difficult. If there was a period mouthpiece in the case you may find thats the only mouthpiece that will even be close to being in tune.

Should you turn it into a lamp?... I would say no. A horn from this period is going to be worth something to a collector. I doubt a serious player would want it but there are people who collect vintage instruments and sometimes play them with ensembles using "period correct" instruments.

Should you have it restored?.... Only if you plan to play it or keep it as a collectors piece. The cost of a repad would exceed it's resale value. If you don't plan to sell it the question is, is it worth it to you. If you plan to sale it, leave it as is and let the market decide its value.

I would love to see more photos of this instrument. If you could send them to me by E-mail that would be great. I'll have my E-mail at the bottom of this message. I would like to see some close ups of the touch pieces for both left and right hands, the left hand table for the pinky keys, the octave mechanism for the left thumb. There may be one or two keys there. The serial number and any information stamped on the horn including engraving and the case if its the original. Than I might be able to tell you a bit more.

my E-mail is charles@harrisbandinstruments.com

Thanks
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.

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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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