Sax on the Web - Forum Archive / SML (Strasser-Marigaux) / SML company

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Harri R.
Jan 4th 4:33 AM
Any background information on Strasser-Marigaux as a reed instrument manufacturer
for Joseph Jaeger
Jan 23rd 3:13 AM
Joseph posted on Jan. 22, '99 in "Saxophone makes":

I own a SML tenor, 13XXX. I believe that it was made in the early 1950's. This is based on the style of the original case and Fred's article. I am very interested in learning more about this company, because I think this horn is incredible. As my wife is french, we travel to France (and Paris) often. I intend to try to visit the SML company, which I believe is still in business making classical instruments other than saxophones. I intend to try to talk to some of the people there. I understand that actual records with production dates may not be "available" but there must be some interesting information that some of the employees have. Maybe I can take someone out to lunch.

What would be helpful for me is what questions should I ask? If anyone has any questions or observations about their instrument, I will try to get additional information for them.
Personally, My interest is with the metal processing that they used during the production of these horns, because I believe that this is what makes them special. Ideally, I would like to find someone, who once worked there. Probably now retired. I won't have a lot of time. But I will be back next year as well.
In the meantime Vive La France.

for Alex
Jan 23rd 3:24 AM
Alex posted on Jan 23' 99 in "Saxophone makes":

You mention that you can date your alto to the early 50's based in part on the style of its case. I'm very interested in any information you can share about case styles and production dates since I have the original case with one of my tenors. Can you help?
Bob Jan 24th 9:26 AM
I believe SML still makes very fine oboes and english horns. I have the address here somewhere. I'm very interested in learning how old my alto is. Fred Cicceti visited Paris, and didn't have much luck getting a serial number list. If you have better luck, please let me know!
Alex Jan 24th 5:39 PM
If you do manage to get to talk to someone who worked in the SML factory, it would be interesting to know whether SML used a heavier weight of brass in making their instruments. This would be a real long shot, but I wonder whether they used a special brass alloy. That would be very difficult to learn, I think, but very worthwhile.

Please post before you make your next trip to Paris. Perhaps we can all work together to formulate a list of questions or areas of inquiry.

I'm excited about the possibilities!
Joseph Jaeger
User ID: 0150524
Jan 27th 11:48 AM
Response to Alex, (1/23) Regarding the case: The case is a dark blue vinyl-like-material over wood with an imitation allegator-vinyl material around each side. Its difficult to describe, without a picture. But the salesman said that this particular vinyl material wasn't started until the early 50's. Another item: the case has a padded strap inside which holds the bell of the horn. This strap, unfortunately, has worn away the lacquer at this location. Another indication that this horn and case have been together a long
Regarding Paris: We're not leaving until June 10th. I intend to write my brother-in-law, Joel before then to do a little research prior to my arrival. More later on this.
As to the metal: I believe that all instrument manufacturers buy their metal, as stock, from foundaries (spell?). And then form and bend it by there own tools. Now this stock brass, has to be ordered with a detailed "specification" as to the percentages of metals and the weight or density. This to me, besides the lacquer or plating, is the most important aspect of a saxophone. And I think, we as players of these instruments should be aware of this. I'm sorry this is so long. Let me know if this is difficult to post, and if shorter responses are benefical for a thread.
Tim R Wright Jan 31st 12:58 AM
am looking for info on Lemaire clarinets. I believe Lemaire is the L in SML.
Harri Rautiainen
User ID: 2205324
Jan 31st 5:22 AM
keep posting while you are on the roll. I do not think that the maximum length of a message has been reached yet. I appreciate your insight in this.

I have all reasons to believe that my SML tenor case is original. There is some pad-work inside to replace wear and tear. The inside is padded with soft cloth. The case has black vinyl-like-material over wood.
Harri Rautiainen
User ID: 0101764
Jan 31st 5:56 AM
re: <I>Lemaire clarinet</I>

Lemaire joined Strasser and Marigaux to form SML. He died later, but the "L" was stuck in the company acronym.
Did same Lemaire make clarinets? Maybe before joining SML? Altavista could not shed any light on this question. Jan 31st 6:34 PM
Can you tell me where can I find an SML dealer in CANADA or is there a WEB page for dealer address.

Harri Rautiainen
User ID: 0366544
Feb 3rd 11:58 PM

without deeper knowledge of the Canadian markets I do believe that there are no SML saxophone dealers around. SML ceased saxophone making in sixties.
SML is still making double reed instruments. However, no web presence last time I checked.
User ID: 1314254
Feb 8th 10:30 PM
I also have what I believe to be the original case with my alto. It is a rather large black or dark blue case with blue imitation aligator skin around either end. It also holds a flute in the lid and with a special case(which I believe is still made) it can hold a clarinet. The names Strasser Marigaux LeMaire are all engraved on the bell of my gold metal model did this change with the company changes or is this on all models and years.
Joseph Jaeger
User ID: 0150524
Feb 9th 12:25 PM
My 8xxx tenor does not have the name "Gold Medal" engraved on the bell. Everything else is exactly as described above. I am wondering if mine is a "standard model", or just an early model which was made prior to SML starting the Gold Medal line. My tenor has the 22 (or so), features that Fred mentioned in his webb site, so I am hoping it's not a standard.
Brian: your case, and mine as well, is called a "Tri pack" designed to hold a flute and clarinet, as well as the saxophone. Because the description of your case is identical to mine, I now am sure that these are the original cases. Why, because the possibility of two separate previous owners,(the owner or your alto, and the owner of my tenor), both purchasing identical new or second cases, sometime after their original purchase is too remote to be possible.
Alex Feb 9th 7:55 PM
My 16XXX tenor has "Standard" engraved on its bell. It has doesn't have the "22 features." My 14XXX tenor doesn't have either "Standard" or "Gold Medal" engraved on its bell, but it does have the "22 features." It looks as though the model names must have been introduced between the 14XXX and 16XXX series.

I have the original case with my Standard tenor. It's a tan vinylized fabric embossed with a "leather grain" and glued over wood. The end corners are covered with leather. The interior is red plush. No tri-pack, but two "clamps" attached to the inside lid stabilize the upper body of the horn inside the case. On the outside lid is the brass, oval SML badge.

Joseph Jaeger
User ID: 0150524
Feb 11th 2:57 PM
Brian posted on Feb.8th under players, models & experiences, that he has a 9xxx alto with the "Gold Metal" (Gold Medal) name on it. So it's possible that this classification was started earlier for the altos and later for the tenors (?).
User ID: 1314254
Feb 21st 3:27 AM

I am sorry for the missunderstanding. My sax does not have the Gold Medal name on it, I just recognized the model from the 22 features.
Joseph Jaeger
User ID: 1021194
Feb 26th 10:43 AM
Last night I stopped by at 4 winds and talked to J Clark. He told me that during the 1950's a second company, in addition to King, was importing SML's as a stencil. The name of the company is "Reynolds" and this name appears on the bell of these saxophones. Jay has seen two of these. He said they are very rare. Reynolds is a company that is no longer in business. I have never heard of this name. Jay said the company was based in Texas.
User ID: 0366544
Feb 26th 11:44 AM
I bought a King Marigaux tenor saxophone about 5 years ago from a second hand shop, and up until finding this page, I knew nothing about it. The only markings on it are "King Marigaux, Paris, France", surrounded by reasonably elaborate engraving all over the bell, along with the serial number 25911. It appears to have most of the 22 features of the SML saxophone, and is far better than any Selmer I've played! The case that came with it is wooden with a light tan coloured leather appearance vinyl, although I'm not sure if this is the original case.

Any information would be greatly appreciated!
Bill Feb 26th 1:32 PM
Elizabeth: Does your K-M tenor have rolled tone holes?

Also, could you tell us which Selmer models you tried against it? What do you like better about the K-M & didn't like about the Selmers? How do they compre for comfort, action, sound?


Joseph Jaeger
User ID: 1021194
Feb 26th 2:04 PM
Elizabeth, stay with this tread and I'm sure you'll learn a lot about your King Marigaux. In addition to Fred Cietti's article, website: there is an interesting article about the SML company on the web site: This article concerns itself mostly with oboes, but does have some references to their saxophone production as well. The article was written in 1982, and at that time they were still making saxophones at a rate of 400 a year. (Harri, this revises your post of Feb. 3rd). Monsieur Rilba explains that they discontinued their production of saxophones to specialize in their oboe making and due to economic competition from Japan(Yamaha). The SML instruments were largely hand made, drawing on very experienced artisans, with an average age of 60 years old. What I have learned elsewhere is that the serial numbers do not go much higher than S/N 25,000, spanning a production period of 1936 to 1982. This makes your tenor one of the latest ones made, probably in the late 70's early 80's. Monsieur Rilba mentions that his silver and nickle come from France. It's unfortunate that he does not mention the stock brass that the company was using at the time. But because he mentions that the raw material was only 25% of the total cost of production, (75% being labor),one could speculate that they were trying to buy the best. (I'm trying to support the notion that Selmer, Buffet and SML were closely related to each other in the artisans working and in their material composition.) The hypothesis is that these companies were competing with, each other and trying to equal each other in most ways.
Question: The neck on my SML tenor is stamped with the matching serial number found on the body of the horn. I wonder if the later SML's have their matching s/n on the neck also.
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