While characterized by a shiny bell, intricate key work, neck and an S-shaped curvature, the saxophone has undergone countless design changes and innovations since Adolf Sax invented it in 1846.
Over time, many manufacturers have developed their own take on the instrument, and some have proven to be important to the development of the instrument and the music that followed.
Sigurd Rascher, author of “Top Tones for the Saxophone,” and a young Sonny Rollins both played on these horns.
The most popular, mystical and sought after of all the vintage horns, the Selmer Mark VI has been played by many of the greats, including John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Wayne Shorter, Paul Desmond, Stanley Turrentine and countless others.
Selmer always has had a reputation for quality among woodwind players since Henri Selmer founded the company in 1885, and this horn certainly is no exception.
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In 1947 silver bells were added as an option on the horns and manufacturing remained consistent until 1965 when company was sold to.
As with many instrument models of all types, the early Super 20s (1950-1959) are the most desirable as the quality of materials and manufacturing degraded over time.
Arguably the best designed and most sought after of all the Martin horns, The Martin features an adjustable right-thumb hook, wire key covers, and soldered tone holes adding weight to the horn.
These instruments were used by Art Pepper, Louis Jordan and countless blues and R&B players. has a long and storied history dating back to 1916 when Henderson N.
Vintage Buescher horns are very similar to vintage Conns, Buescher was a former employee after all, and competed with Conn, Martin and King until the company was acquired by Selmer in 1963.
Although the brand essentially disappeared after its acquisition, these vintage horns are highly valued among saxophonists.
The Conn New Wonder, introduced in the 1920s, was the brand’s first model of note and was unofficially dubbed “the Chu Berry” after tenor saxophonist Leon ‘Chu’ Berry.