Saxophone/YORK Alto Saxophone

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Question
York Engraving
York Engraving  
I have found a YORK alto sax I'm looking at purchasing. It has a 4 digit serial number and from charts I've found, it dates to 1900. It'll be bought from someone who knows nothing about saxophones, so asking the seller isn't any help. Seller can't even tell me if it plays or not. It has a few scuffs and scratches, no dents.. It's almost perfect.  There's no info on the sax other than the serial number and "YORK". Would York be student, intermediate, or professional? I can't find much information on the internet either. I'd like to know anything and everything to expect.. Help?

Answer
Torrie,

Thank you for asking your question about the York Saxophone that you are considering to purchase. I believe that you have found one that is absolutely from the York company that made instruments in Grand Rapids Michigan which began back in 1897 as "York and Sons" and closed down in 1971 as "York". There were a variety of model names to include "Artist", "International", "Superba", "Master", "National", "75", "Senator", "Bicentennial Series 76", "Feather Touch Master", "Custom", "Grand Rapids Michigan USA", "USA", "Hallmark", "Baronet", "ACME", "Airflow", "Super Custom", "Vogue" and many more.

I have repaired a couple of these and found them to have a very robust and dark tone. One of them was a full repad/restore which really brought the horn back to life. i would not consider it to be a very versatile instrument nor would i consider it to be of a professional quality.

I do have a serial number chart to share with you that may give you some support as to when it was manufactured.

YEAR    SERIAL NUMBER
1897   1
1898   300
1899   800
1900   1800
1901   3300
1902   4800
1903   6800
1904   8800
1905   10800
1906   13300
1907   15800
1908   18300
1909    21000
1910   24000
1911   27000
1912   30000
1913   34000
1914   38000
1915   42000
1916   45000
1917   48000
1918   51000
1919   54000
1920   57500
1921   61500
1922   65500
1923   69500
1924   74000
1925   78500
1926   83000
1927   87000
1928   91000
1929   95000
1930   100000
1931   103500
1932   107000
1933   110000
1934   113000
1935   115000
1936   117000
1937   119000
1938   120500
1939   122000
1940   123500
1941   125000
1942   128000
1943   ??????
1944   ??????
1945   131000
1946   135000
1947   139000
1948   144000
1949   150000
1950   158000
1951   167000
1952   175000
1953   182000
1954   189000
1955   195000
1956   200000
1957   205000
1958   211000
1959   217000
1960   223000
1961   229000
1962   235000
1963   241000
1964   246000
1965   251000
1966   256000
1967   261000
1968   265000
1969   269000
1970   272000
1971   275000

Should you purchase this instrument, please note that the value will be in how well it plays and not in the name York. If it were one of mine, I would keep it in perfect playing condition.

I hope this information helps you as your consider the purchase of the York Alto Saxophone.

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Gwen Shroyer

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I am interested in networking with other saxophone players of all levels of experience and answering questions about varied techniques and methods of training, specific brands and models made, mouthpieces, reeds, and various other questions about performance.

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I have been playing sax since 1977 where as a student of the clarinet I wanted to play the instrument of my Jazz heroes. I studied under Berklee College of Music renowned Jazz theorist Andrew Jaffe and I have a degree in Music Business from Berklee. I have traveled and performed in several countries mostly in Europe and North America. As an instructor, I have taught students from beginning through college/professional performance ability. I previously owned The Horn Doctor, a band instrument repair shop. Since 1998, I have been playing alto and tenor sax with the Dexter Thomas Band which is an 11-piece horn-band playing hits from the 60's, 70's and 80's. I play saxophone in the worship and praise band at my local church as well.

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Berklee College of Music, Boston Massachusetts - Bachelors Degree, Music Business/Management Tomlinson College, Cleveland Tennessee - Associates Degree, Music Education/Mass Communications

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