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Fake 19th Century Saxophones
Q.  I hope the attached picture will open for you. I’ve done my best with the pic of my sax in photo shop. It’s one of the Adolph Sax appearing, Indian knock offs … I think the same as the one on your site! Here’s hoping, Dave …

A. Unfortunately, I have to agree with you. That knock off is probably from the same source as ours. You have my sympathy. Happy decorating … :)
Additional Comments
The Chinese & Indian people are quite talented metal artists, as documented by the prolific flow of decorative brass items that make it to our shores from these regions. These very clever people are quite adept a copying things, and when these copies involve working mechanics the process is called ‘reverse engineering’. The result can look quite good, however much of the real engineering and craftsmanship that creates the unique qualities of a precision piece of equipment is lost in the process. This is especially true of musical instruments like the saxophone, where 100s of precision dies and dozens of skilled craftsmen are required to make a single high quality instrument (please see our article on the Yanagisawa plant in Tokyo). We’re all too familiar with the deluge of Mark VI copies that flows from The Far East — the so called ‘disposable saxophone’, but there is another class of classic sax design copying that has been going on in India and China for a long, long time. So long, in fact, that the design is that of the later Adolph Sax instruments: 1) no bis Bb; 2) keywork low B to high F; 3) double octave keys; 4) G# tone hole located on back of instrument; 5) side Bb tone hole located in line in upper stack. No doubt these were copied rom an example of the real thing that somehow found it way to The Far East perhaps a hundred years ago. Below is a listing we carried for some time in our for sale section before we realized it was one of these horrendous, nearly worthless copies. Most of these are bare brass, but we’ve seen them show up on eBay in nickel plate finish, and even some where the keywork has been modernized a bit. They always look faintly like an engorged alto clarinet, so take your clue should you see something of this general look with no name and no serial number.    

Antique E b Alto Saxophone       … probably late 19th Century French … 
beware: knockoff from India — virtually worthless — avoid these — write if you have questions …
Always wanted an Adolphe Sax piece for the saxophone collection, but couldn’t justify the price? This is an authentic contemporary model with very good cosmetics. It appears someone put it back into ‘looking’ condition without intending to make it a player. These don’t play very well even in perfect shape, and are High Pitch anyway, so no big waste. A determined individual could probably make it play, though it is quite interesting just to study and show off to fellow saxophiles. The design is very close to the later A. Sax altos: 1) no bis Bb; 2) keywork low B to high F; 3) double octave keys; 4) G# tone hole located on back of instrument; 5) side Bb tone hole located in line in upper stack. 

Please click here to go to a page featuring our Adolphe Sax alto for comparison.

Definitely looks handmade, meaning a one-off creation where the parts from another built by the same craftsman may not interchange. No engraving at all — not even a serial number. Neck is bent down somewhat & some of the keys could be better aligned. Otherwise, no apparent damage. This brave old Centurion wears a beautiful aged bare brass patina. Makes an impressive display piece just as it is.  Sorry, no case or mouthpiece. We will double box for safe shipment.

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