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For years now I have been gathering information about the "blue label" B&S horns to see if I can track their changes. I have gathered all the information together in the attached Excel chart.

This research has already busted at least 1 great myth about the horns that the company simply called "B&S": There were no "gold label" horns.

B&S used a blue enamel paint on their bell to body brace. Those horns that are being touted on eBay as the "superior gold label" horns are simply regular B&S saxophones that have had the blue enamel paint removed. (Yes, I have to update the B&S page on my website.) :bluewink:

Comments and thoughts on the attached Excel chart greatly welcome!

For those of you who have these blue label horns, I would greatly appreciate more input! No need to provide the full serial # of your horn, just the first couple digits of the # is fine. Thanks!

View attachment 214944

My goal in starting this chart years ago was to see if B&S underwent anywhere near the evolution that their Weltklang cousins did. What I've seen to date, is that their evolutionary track was not upwards. Yes their were changes, but in some cases there seems to be no rhyme or reason to when these changes appeared.
 

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I dont know much about blue label but the modern horns are fantastic.
 

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Helen,
I see in my records that I sell B&S tenor s/n 10629 in 2004 or 2005. This is the latest tenor
Unfortunatelly I can not find the photos
 

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I dont know much about blue label but the modern horns are fantastic.
Yup they are.... And seriously undervalued. I loved my Medusa bari, but after years of not playing it, I just sold it last weekend. I figured it should to go to a home where it would not only be loved, but also played like any great horn should be.
 

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… I loved my Medusa bari, but after years of not playing it, I just sold it last weekend. I figured it should to go to a home where it would not only be loved, but also played like any great horn should be.
So which bari are you keeping to play?
 

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So which bari are you keeping to play?
You mean which ones, right? :mrgreen:

My Mark VI, Committee III, and my nearly minty HP Buffet from 1886.

As far far as low A horns goes, I have a SeaWind bari that I got as a replacement for the Medusa. I used it this summer for the 2nd musical I did--Hunchback--and at it performed flawlessly. I loved its 100% dead-on intonation, its tone that I could shape into whatever I needed (from raunchy R&B bari to bassoonesque), evenness of tone, and the ergos.

The company is local, and I am playing their prototype at present--the same horn I play-tested nearly 4 years ago before the baris went into production. I'm not sure right now if I'll keep it, or go with a production horn.

That said, I already miss my Medusa... :(

I haven't had a chance to upload the HDR pics I took to Pete & my new photo gallery. I shot these just before I sold the horn. If you'd like to see them, you can find them here in this article about the sax.
 

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I think @milandro bought and sold many blue label B&S horns, would be a good idea to check with him to get even more data in your overview.
 

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I've owned two silver plated Blue Label tenors, both great horns. The first (can't recall the SN) was all original down to the pads and played great and subtoned like a beast! I almost had to try not to subtone! The second had rougher pads and I had it overhauled by John Frazier with Roo pads, Teflon, the works. It was also a beast and I sold it only because I decided I needed to limit myself to one horn of each flavor and I kept my 2001 tenor which has the same great B&S core and better ergos. Both horns were acquired from a seller in Eastern Europe. Serial number on the horn I sold earlier this year is 6125. Here are some pics of that horn:

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Hi Helen,

I also have a blue label tenor back to East Germany time and will provide the information you need. Let me know what extra you would need.

Matt
 

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I think @milandro bought and sold many blue label B&S horns, would be a good idea to check with him to get even more data in your overview.
Not quite “ many” :) (a few more Weltklangs but they were not blue labels), I bought and sold 3 proper B&S blue label . 1 baritone was already present in Helen’s databank I believe, she has my pictures on her site. I haven’t kept SN.

1 tenor was recently sold to a friend of João Molina in Portugal. I didn’t keep track of that SN either. I have always thought that the B&S chart was the same as Weltklangs. I have to say that despite the fact that you can occasionally find them in the Nl there is very limited appeal for sales abroad.

The last tenor took a really long time to sell despite it being in incredibly pristine state and sold way below of the price that I thought it may have fetched.
 

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Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I have recently come across some information that might help Helen with her research.

Please note, none of this is my original research but extracts from the Markneukirchen forum , and I have attempted to give credit to the sources I used. The main reason I am quoting things here is because the Forum I was looking at is on German (with some Italian), so I am translating it as I go along. All the information presented here is from a public forum, so I have not asked permission from the people posting (Hope that is acceptable). The Notes below reference the first post in the thread, you would need to read the whole thread to get at the post (or part thereof) that I provide in my translation

Background: I was bidding on a Tenor B&S Blue Label which the seller claimed was from the 1940's (when B&S was only formed in 1953:evil:)

To determine the actual age, I posted a request on the MuseumMarkneukirchen forum, and as usual they provided excellent service and answered the same day providing not one, but TWO dates for it.
That B & S Tenor with the serial number 4481 was apparently finished in October 1977. However, if it is the reworked model, then it would be younger, and delivered in September 1991. (see Note 1 ). After providing photos of the left and right sides, they were able to confirm that it was the older model, and so from 1977

Now, this was the first I had heard of a 'Ueberarbeitete Model', so I delved in a bit deeper reading hundreds of threads, still using the Forum for a source.

I tound a post in Italian which translates to "His saxophone was built after the revision of the 1985/1986 model", and "The Silvio B&S tenor saxophone with serial number 35xx was produced in October 1989". (see note 2)

Next, an interesting post which mentions they have seen that there are two revisions of the 'Blue Label', and asking how to identify between them. He was answered by Dr. Enrico Weller, referring him to the book "Fascination Saxophones" on p. 253f. (see note 3)

While Helen says on her excellent web site that the Blue Labels come from the mid 60's, apparently the earliest one found in the archives is from November 1970, with a serial number of 1029, leading the moderators of the Forum to suggest that the the serial numbers started from 1000, and they were first produced in 1970, or late 1969. The same thread suggests that the B&S saxes maybe coincided with the move of the factory from Markneukirchen to Klingental, and also mentions a Tenor with the serial number 1014 (see note 4)

Regarding the numbering, it appears that the serial numbers were reset after the 1985/1986 revision. Uwe Ladwig posts "In this year a new numbering begins at 001100" (see note 5). This explains why it is possible for for a Blue Label serial number to be either pre 1985/1986 or after.
Later Uwe Ladwig posts "In 1985, the number 1001 and 1067, respectively, were renumbered for Altos and Tenören, along with revised models. (maybe that translated badly, he meant the Altos were renumbered starting from 1001, and the Tenors from 1067) (see note 8)

When talking about a Tenor , Uwe Ladwig mentions "If it's equipped with high F#: Type 3246, otherwise 3245." (see note 6)
Dr Weller also mentions this, "It must already be the "revised" model no. 3246" (see note 7)

Now, without a copy of Fascination Saxophone book mentioned above, I cannot be sure how the team at the Museum are able to determine which model is which, but
all the ones I have seen photos of where the date was suggested prior to 1985 had fixed (soldered) thumb rests.
In addition, I notice something from Helen's table that she posted in the first thread, All saxophone with an adjustable thumb rest also have a upright rectangular chromatic f# key shape

Can this be a way to tell the difference?

I leave it to Helen (or whoever else wants to) to check these facts, maybe speak with the team at the Museum

Unfortunately I lost the bid on the Tenor I wanted, but had a very interesting time trying to find out more about this '1940' blue label

mfG
Dave

note 1) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3758
Note 2 http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3755&p=14379&hilit=Blue+Label#p14367
Note 3) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3707&p=14143&hilit=Blue+Label#p14143
Note 4) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3493&p=13081&hilit=Blue+Label#p13081
Note 5) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2859&p=11912&hilit=Blue+Label#p11912
Note 6) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2933&hilit=Blue+Label#p11187
Note 7) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3725
Note 8) http://www.museum-markneukirchen.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3545&p=13402&hilit=1985#p13402
 

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Hello,

Yes, a very interesting forum if one wants to know anything about the VEB, B&S or Weltklang (with stencils) saxophones. Also quite a lot of knowledge about other German makers. The team there are very helpful, as are several forum members who chip in with advice.
Unfortunately for english speaking saxophonists, most of the info is in German, however there are threads in other languages which the team have answered

Unfortunately the link to order the book does not work (returns 404 not found)
I have posted on the forum if there is any other way to order it

mfG
Dave
 

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Not quite “ many” :) (a few more Weltklangs but they were not blue labels), I bought and sold 3 proper B&S blue label . 1 baritone was already present in Helen’s databank I believe, she has my pictures on her site. I haven’t kept SN.

1 tenor was recently sold to a friend of João Molina in Portugal. I didn’t keep track of that SN either. I have always thought that the B&S chart was the same as Weltklangs. I have to say that despite the fact that you can occasionally find them in the Nl there is very limited appeal for sales abroad.

The last tenor took a really long time to sell despite it being in incredibly pristine state and sold way below of the price that I thought it may have fetched.
I have now another Blue Label

It is for sale, you will find it in the for sale section

https://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?369216-F-S-B-amp-S-Blue-label-tenor.

 

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Discussion Starter #16
Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I have recently come across some information that might help Helen with her research.

<snip>
Hello megwenda! No need to apologize. I am sorry that I did not see the thread's rise from the dead until 6 months later. I had been MIA from all sax discussion boards for nearly a year due to some family stuff that was going on.

In any event, I am so grateful to you for doing all this research since I was just about to post an updated serial # listing for the B&S horns. Now with the help of you and some others in the thread, I will just have retool it a bit before uploading the updated version.

You make mention of a few things that I want to address, so I'll do that in a separate post or 2 below.

Thank you again for your efforts on this. I do so much appreciate it.
 

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Hello,

Yes, a very interesting forum if one wants to know anything about the VEB, B&S or Weltklang (with stencils) saxophones. Also quite a lot of knowledge about other German makers. The team there are very helpful, as are several forum members who chip in with advice.
Unfortunately for english speaking saxophonists, most of the info is in German, however there are threads in other languages which the team have answered

Unfortunately the link to order the book does not work (returns 404 not found)
I have posted on the forum if there is any other way to order it

mfG
Dave
I just checked the book ordering link, it worked fine, you likely just hit a snag that day. Here is the direct link to the Museum's Online Shop.

I do have the book. I ordered it just over a year ago from the museum. It is a fascinating--pardon the pun--:bluewink: look at the saxophones from the area. It is in German & English, and the colour photos are stunning. Anyone interested in German saxophones from that era really should order this beautiful book. It is equally at home in my reference shelf, as it is on my coffee table.
 

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Hello megwenda! No need to apologize.
Indeed, Threads are made to be kept, used and revived anytime, they are there at great cost for a purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Sorry to resurrect this thread, but I have recently come across some information that might help Helen with her research.

Please note, none of this is my original research but extracts from the Markneukirchen forum , and I have attempted to give credit to the sources I used. The main reason I am quoting things here is because the Forum I was looking at is on German (with some Italian), so I am translating it as I go along. All the information presented here is from a public forum, so I have not asked permission from the people posting (Hope that is acceptable). The Notes below reference the first post in the thread, you would need to read the whole thread to get at the post (or part thereof) that I provide in my translation
I'm sure they don't mind your quoting them. :mrgreen:

I must admit, reading through all of this this morning made my head explode... :bluewink: That was A LOT of information. I'm going to try and address the salient points you mention below.


Now, this was the first I had heard of a 'Ueberarbeitete Model', so I delved in a bit deeper reading hundreds of threads, still using the Forum for a source.
I had not heard of an Modellüberarbeitung either--although that makes complete sense. This would explain A LOT.

Unfortunately I have tried in vain to obtain an old B&S brochure like I have for Weltklang and the post-reunification B&S horns, JK, Hohner, et al. I have asked, pleaded, & begged. I do believe someone here on the forum has one, but to date no one has offered me so much as a PDF copy. I really don't understand why people are unwilling to share this knowledge, but instead choose to keep it for themselves. Sigh...

Next, an interesting post which mentions they have seen that there are two revisions of the 'Blue Label', and asking how to identify between them. He was answered by Dr. Enrico Weller, referring him to the book

"Fascination Saxophones" on p. 253f. (see note 3)
I read that post, but I didn't see reference to 2 revisions. Maybe I misread it? As far as Dr. Weller's answer in the the book goes, it's short on details. The numbers in (xx) represent footnotes, which I'm not sure this forum supports.

Here is the quote from the book that is referenced in the museum's forum:

I will not give a detailed overview of the models and serial numbers of the saxophones made by VEB B&S here, but refer interested readers instead to the concise summary of this topic given by Uwe Ladwig. (212) The models are modified in 1985 when the receive new bells and bows. (213) These instruments are given new serial numbers: the B&S alto saxophone series began with the number 1001 and the B&S tenor saxophones began with 1067. This is why several serial numbers appear twice. In the transitional period before the new models became standard, the instruments still in stock were revised and sold parallel to the newly-numbered models. For this reason, the old serial numbers were continued up to no. 10839 (alto) and no. 9973 (tenor).

212. U. Ladwig, 4th Edition 2016, p. 157
213. [I am going to summarize as well as quote this lengthy footnote] The Demusa Report describes the 1987 development work as follows: "The core of the work was to optimize the sound parameters such as pitch, response and intonation and to improve the fingering and playing techniques." They altered the alto and tenor's bell measurements, inner bell diameter, and angle of bend. Tone hole positions and diameters were changed as well to guarantee "first-class intonation". The resonance behaviour was improved by a new type of connecting bend between the main tube and the bell. The fingerings were changed to improve a player's ability to play difficult passages with ease. The range of all the tenors and altos was increased to high F#. "Moreover, various measures were taken which further improved the functional reliability of the instruments."

Fascination Saxophone p. 253-4.


While Helen says on her excellent web site that the Blue Labels come from the mid 60's, apparently the earliest one found in the archives is from November 1970, with a serial number of 1029, leading the moderators of the Forum to suggest that the the serial numbers started from 1000, and they were first produced in 1970, or late 1969.
The main source of my data was Uwe--specifically Uwe's first or second edition of his book. He has continued his research and the book is now in its fourth edition. It makes complete sense that more information is available, and that dates, numbers, etc are going to be different. I've know for sometime that I should update my B&S stuff, but I didn't know so much new stuff had turned up since I first researched it. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!


Now, without a copy of Fascination Saxophone book mentioned above, I cannot be sure how the team at the Museum are able to determine which model is which, but
all the ones I have seen photos of where the date was suggested prior to 1985 had fixed (soldered) thumb rests.
In addition, I notice something from Helen's table that she posted in the first thread, All saxophone with an adjustable thumb rest also have a upright rectangular chromatic f# key shape

Can this be a way to tell the difference?

I leave it to Helen (or whoever else wants to) to check these facts, maybe speak with the team at the Museum
I am just updating the chart and will upload a new copy in the next couple of days.

I will need to do some analysis before I'd want to say what characteristics the museum team looks for, but something I've noticed is low C# key guards that correspond with pant guards on the left side.

Another thing I've noticed is the shape of the bell to bow brace fastening on the bell. On the [presumably] newer horns it is shaped similar to those we see on Selmers--compared to the horizontal diamond shape we see on [presumably] older altos and tenors.

If you want to be overwhelmed with B&S horns, take a look at my gallery. Pete Hales & I have combined our stuff together and you can find our B&S "blue label" galleries here. (Just a note, I have a lot more that I haven't uploaded yet. Pete has done much more of the heavy lifting with the gallery, while I have been writing articles. Thanks Pete!)
 

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Thank-you both for your continued diligence in researching B&S! I was curious before, and now that I found one, am even more interested in their production history.
 
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