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

User ID: 7998213
May 5th 9:01 PM
I am new to SML saxophones, and I was wondering a couple things. I've heard the earlier horns (I guess the "Standards") are darker, but the later ones (the "Gold Medals?") have rolled tone holes and other features that are nice. I'm interested in a dark-sounding horn, and I love the old French saxophone sound. I had a cigar-cutter alto once that was pretty much a piece of junk, but the sound was great. How much does the price of SMLs vary? Also, I was wondering what it means (if anything) if the rods are nickel-plated. I know this often means the horn is a student model. Is this true of SMLs? Or maybe their student models are considered great horns (like Aristocrats)? What can I expect to bay for these beasts in good condition? I'm looking for a tenor. Thanks for any information.
User ID: 0247944
May 6th 10:10 AM
I also have the impression that the earlier models are darker. Earlier models have rolled tone holes except for a few early "Standards". Most early horns are not labelled either "Standard" or "Gold Medal" -- just "SML" -- and are pro models. <<What can I expect to pay>> There's a tenor on ebay which will answer that question.
Jenseman May 6th 10:24 AM
Hi Josh,

the SML Gold Medal Models with nickel plated keywork are the same instruments as the lacquered or plated ones. I have two Gold Medal Tenors and one has the nickel plated keywork. They both play fantastic with a dark sound. The finish is just a matter of taste.
You can except two pay $ 2.000,- or even more at a dealer (take a look at and
Oh, I nearly forgot that one of my Tenors is on ebay with the item # 321430030.
User ID: 1174374
May 11th 3:23 AM
i have a question about the neck of my SML tenor, 10,2xx. it seems to have been made as a casting, rather than having been formed from sheet. is this a recognized way of manufacturing necks? i'm hoping that someone with connections to the work-force at at the old factory can tell us about this or any other unusual manufacturing technique that the sorcerers at the old factory used. thanks.
User ID: 0415304
Jun 4th 2:43 PM
I am overhauling a silverplated SML alto #102xx.
It is one of those with all the 22 special features described by Fred Cicetti, but with no model insigna (standard or gold medal).
The neck of this horn is quite definitely made in traditional manufactoring. I asked my repairman your question, and he doesn't know of any brand with casted necks, bells or tubes.
If it looks like having been cast, he says, this probably might be due to a bad replating job.
User ID: 9077913
Jun 11th 11:31 AM
With the right mpc are SML tenors good for R&B type music? I like the Mark VI/Dukoff sound but I don't want to shell out 4 grand.
User ID: 8228423
Jun 13th 11:54 PM
This message board has been an excellent education. Thanks to all. I have a SML that was purchased by my Grandfather, serial #9887. Brushed gold with flower patterned engraving. Condition next to excellent. The case is dark blue alligator/blue interior. Can anyone recommend something to help preserve the working mechinisms of the case as well as a preservative for the case itself?
User ID: 9481773
Jun 16th 2:51 AM
Beautiful silver alto on ebay number 359662825
Paul C.
User ID: 8464923
Aug 19th 3:01 PM
Nickel plated keywork is more popular in Europe. In the movie Round Midnight, Dexter Gordon's Selmer Mk VI tenor has a lacquerd body and nickel plated keys.

Once upon a time there was no lacquering. Saxes were raw brass (the cheapest), silver plated (pro models), or gold plated (an extra cost feature). When lacquering first began to be used, the lacquer would burn easily if you tried to "burn in " pads. So, pro saxes, if lacquerd, had nickel keys. And this was spread to all of the lines form student to pro.

Now, with modern lacquers, they are more heat resistant. I have actually made some minor soldering repairs without burning the lacquer! Nowadays nickel keys are associated with student instruments. But this is not necessarily the case.