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Selmer Alto Sax c.1931 (14xx2)

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Product Information

The serial no. of this Selmer Alto Saxophone puts it at 1931. It sits right on the cusp of some model changes in the Selmer production from the 'Large Bore' models of 1928-1931 to the 'Super Sax' models (of which a selection became known as 'Cigar Cutters' - not an official name) from 1931-1934.

The instrument we have here on sale has some features of the 'Large Bore' Saxophones but also some features of the 'Super Sax'. However, it is missing the 'Cigar Cutter' style octave mechanism and it also doesn't feature the SSS stamp on the 'Super Sax' models. As such we can't say it's a Super Sax or Cigar Cutter model.

In theory it should therefore be a late 'Large Bore' model which was the latter run of the Model 26 Saxophones. However, there is just one fly in the ointment of categorising this Saxophone - we've measured the bore at the top of the body where the neck is attached and it is NOT a large bore,  in fact it's just over 1mm smaller than a large bore of that era would be (Selmer state the Large Bore models were around 25.5mm at the top of the body where the neck is attached). Although that 1mm difference doesn't sound like much it is around 5% different - which is the amount Selmer increased it by originally to make the 'Large Bore' design different.

As such, we are of the opinion this is something of a crossover Saxophone. There were periods (especially early on) in Selmer manufacturing where (a) slightly different variants were made for different markets and (b) there were some slight hybrid instruments in the transition between models. It's not like they stopped one model on a Friday and started the new ones on a Monday. There were periods where they may have used previous keywork etc if they had available stock, on newer tube designs etc. 

After all of this conjecture, the most important is how it plays and the general condition. Playing quality is of course subjective but this feels pretty gorgeous to us, in line with how a good quality vintage Selmer should play from this era. A clean, sweet sound with projection and a certain quality that is quite different to a modern horn.

There are some signs of general use and wear as you'd expect and we've tried to show the Sax from various angles on the pictures but do get in touch if you have a specific query that you can't determine from the images. The question of if it has been re-lacquered is often asked on these horns. We don't see clear signs of a re-lacquer, however we know people have strong opinions on this and what clues they look for. 

To summarise, this is a Saxophone full of contradictions. However, what's not in doubt to us is the beauty of the sound which is so unique when compared to modern day instruments. This is a Saxophone that needs to be played, you need to feel it in your hands and fall in love with the sound. If you're interested we'd suggest coming in to see/try the instrument and or doing a 14 day trial if you can't come to the shop. Please contact us for more information on this if required.
  • Serial number dates to 1931
  • Fully checked and set-up in our workshop prior to sale
  • 6 month warranty
  • Supplied in hard case (functional)
  • Try on 14 day approval form the comfort of your home

Try this Instrument In Store

We have a variety of testing environments instore for customers to experience and enjoy. Our range of testing rooms are available to pre-book and we can even reserve stock in advance so if you're making a jouney to see us we can be prepared to make it a special experience for you.

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