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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #1
My apologies if a variation of this question has been asked before, but the answers I saw line up with my knowledge. That said, I'm not sure about this specific horn.

I'm looking at buying a low A Superba II bari serial # 61XXX. Now the JK chart says it should have been built in 1968. I don't know enough about Coufs ATT, so I didn't think the Superba IIs were already available so far back.

Can anyone confirm this for me. Yes, the horn is stamped, Made In Germany, so it is indeed a JK-made bari.

Any input most greatly appreciated.

PS: I am probably so brain dead that I have overlooked the obvious. If I have, my bad, and I appreciate someone setting me straight.
 

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I've seen conflicting charts for the Keilwerths in this ear. That year is not right, the Superba was not around in the 60's. I bought mine in 1983 and they were offered as a new brand at the time and I'd never heard of them before then.
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #6
Is there "Superba" engraved on the horn? I had a JK in that serial range but it was a "Special" which I'm sure you know it's the same and these were made in the '60s. If you have time, I'd love to see some pics.
Yup, it is engraved: H. Couf Superba II

Back: Made in Germany 61XXX
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Saxpics' s# list for Keilwerth indicates 55K-69K corresponds with 1966-1969.
There is a much better serial # chart for JK than the one on Saxpics. (I link to it on the JK page on my website BTW.) The chart can be found on the German saxophone forum Saxwelt's website.

Pete Hales, the fellow who created SaxPics about 20 years ago, hasn't owned it in many, many years. The new owners don't care about it, and haven't updated it since they broke it by trying to make it look prettier--and database driven--shortly after they bought it.

Pete is a friend of mine He and I work together on a number of projects, and our websites are roommates on a server. Pete will be the first person to tell you that much of the info on SaxPix is dated, and to check other sources as well these days. Between his new site, and mine, we have done a lot of work in updating the materials on his original site. Yes, especially the the pics. :bluewink:
 

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Researcher, Teacher and Horn Revitalizer, Forum Co
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I've seen conflicting charts for the Keilwerths in this ear. That year is not right, the Superba was not around in the 60's. I bought mine in 1983 and they were offered as a new brand at the time and I'd never heard of them before then.
They are an older brand than the place that sold one to you back then. That's probably the year that they started selling them.

My old music store, Royal Music in Royal Oak, Michigan, which was Mr. Couf's store, had them much, much earlier than 1983.

For example, if you research Grover Washington Jr in the 1970s, look at old videos, and album covers, etc you'll see him use Couf horns clearly into the 1970s. He preferred a Selmer alto, but Couf soprano and tenors.

here's my SN chart. It's in blog format now and I haven't bothered making it look good.
https://www.woodwindforum.com/clarinetperfection/keilwerth-sax/

Mr. Couf and Gary Ferree (one of his engineers at the time) helped evolve the JK keywork from the 1960s old style keywork to more modern-ish keywork. The above webpage, who's links don't work right now (oops), actually show(ed) some of those changes.

I would think about 1969 for Helen's Low A bari.
I've always wanted to get Couf Low A Bari, but the weight doesn't do good things to my back no matter what I do nowadays. I've only played low A bari once, back in 1982 which was a Superba I supplied by Mr Couf, for the state honor's band. He was a great guy always wanting to help the budding musician.

FYI, there was a Bundy Special which was a Couf designed instrument, which evolved into the Superbas. Well, that one model actually devolved into the student version Couf horns Royalist and Royalist I. Royalist II was an Elkhart, IN model.
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you so much Steve for chiming in. I had no idea you had such in-depth knowledge about the H. Couf horns. I'll be sending on an email to you in the next while. I'd like to get your input on some stuff.

In the meantime, I'll be getting the horn on Friday. Fingers crossed for its safe arrival on the West Coast. (I hate shipping horns, and have it done only as a last resort.)
 

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There is a much better serial # chart for JK than the one on Saxpics. (I link to it on the JK page on my website BTW.) The chart can be found on the German saxophone forum Saxwelt's website.

Pete Hales, the fellow who created SaxPics about 20 years ago, hasn't owned it in many, many years. The new owners don't care about it, and haven't updated it since they broke it by trying to make it look prettier--and database driven--shortly after they bought it.

Pete is a friend of mine He and I work together on a number of projects, and our websites are roommates on a server. Pete will be the first person to tell you that much of the info on SaxPix is dated, and to check other sources as well these days. Between his new site, and mine, we have done a lot of work in updating the materials on his original site. Yes, especially the the pics. :bluewink:
Pete's # chart is exactly the same as SaxPics' chart. :bluewink:
 

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They are an older brand than the place that sold one to you back then. That's probably the year that they started selling them.

My old music store, Royal Music in Royal Oak, Michigan, which was Mr. Couf's store, had them much, much earlier than 1983.

For example, if you research Grover Washington Jr in the 1970s, look at old videos, and album covers, etc you'll see him use Couf horns clearly into the 1970s. He preferred a Selmer alto, but Couf soprano and tenors.

here's my SN chart. It's in blog format now and I haven't bothered making it look good.
https://www.woodwindforum.com/clarinetperfection/keilwerth-sax/

Mr. Couf and Gary Ferree (one of his engineers at the time) helped evolve the JK keywork from the 1960s old style keywork to more modern-ish keywork. The above webpage, who's links don't work right now (oops), actually show(ed) some of those changes.

I would think about 1969 for Helen's Low A bari.
I've always wanted to get Couf Low A Bari, but the weight doesn't do good things to my back no matter what I do nowadays. I've only played low A bari once, back in 1982 which was a Superba I supplied by Mr Couf, for the state honor's band. He was a great guy always wanting to help the budding musician.

FYI, there was a Bundy Special which was a Couf designed instrument, which evolved into the Superbas. Well, that one model actually devolved into the student version Couf horns Royalist and Royalist I. Royalist II was an Elkhart, IN model.
Interesting, thanks Steve.
 

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SOTW Interviews/Editor, Distinguished SOTW Member,
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Not quite on topic, but the earliest Couf Superba II tenor sax I've seen had serial number 65xxx, which is to say they weren't available before then. Also, there was a recent discussion about dates serial numbers for the Superba 1 tenor in the Sticky at the top of this section.
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #13
Pete's # chart is exactly the same as SaxPics' chart. :bluewink:
I'm not sure what you're comparing Pete's old Saxpics chart to. The chart on my site is up-to-date. I link to it. If Pete's chart is still out on his the sax.info, then it's likely b/c we are updating nearly 500K pages of materials between the 2 of us, and don't have admin support. Yah, we're bound to be a bit slow :bluewink:
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #14
Not quite on topic, but the earliest Couf Superba II tenor sax I've seen had serial number 65xxx, which is to say they weren't available before then. Also, there was a recent discussion about dates serial numbers for the Superba 1 tenor in the Sticky at the top of this section.
Thanks Neil. Interesting.

The more I research the Couf horns, the more I realize the less is known about them. Like why were some engraved with Arabic #'s to designate Superba 1 or 2, while others had Roman I and II? Was it 2 different engravers, since it really wasn't tied to serial #'s? Was it something else entirely?

That's just one small example of a question that has popped up. That are a boatload more.
 

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SOTW Interviews/Editor, Distinguished SOTW Member,
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Very sorry, but huge typo on my part! Meant to say "...which isn't to say they weren't available before then." I have been repeatedly informed that when they find the gene for proof reading, they'll make sure I'm first in line! Earlier serial numbers definitely have been been reported.

On the old saxpics site, Pete had written: "It's my feeling that the Superba I and II were essentially custom-order horns and you could get just about any feature you wanted on them, hence the low A bass, black lacquer, custom engraving, etc." I remember seeing other posts to this effect. Could this be a factor re the engraving with Roman for some, Arabic for others?

I once had an interview lined up with Herb Couf, but unfortunately he took ill and passed away. His legacy will continue to resonate for years to come.
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #16
I got the horn on Friday. It is a monster player. Yes, it got bumped around a bit in transit, but the BAM case I got to ship it in no doubt helped keep the bumps to minor adjustment issues only.

I will get around to taking a set of photos in the coming weeks, but in the meantime, here is the first snapshot of the horn on the West Coast. I have an appointment with my tech next Friday to get it all properly adjusted. If at all possible, I would like to use it for a jazz festival on November 17. Not sure I'll have all the horn's idiosyncrasies figured out by then, but I'll give it a go for the first time at our rehearsal on Tuesday night.

A big shout out to Paul Maslin from PM Woodwinds. Although we've corresponded lots over the years, this is the first time I've ever bought a horn from him. I highly recommend Paul if you're looking for a sax. I know I will most definitely be contacting him the next time I am in the market for a horn.

View attachment 219378
 

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Beautiful black nickel and gold finish Helen!! I almost bought a gold lacquered Bundy Special a while back. I have a really nice SX90 low A bari now. Keilwerth makes the best baris I believe but I guess it’s purely subjective like everything else. Off topic Helen, the feature you have on the silver Accent stenciled BS Medusa alto...I couldn’t believe my eyes that I’ve owned that very same horn for 2 years without knowing you featured pictures of it! What prompted me to look at it was a thread you, not too long ago posted on the B&S section. Amazing coincidence...
 

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Distinguished Member and Bass Sax Extraordinaire
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Discussion Starter #20
Superb(a) horn and very beautiful furniture!!
Yes, the horn is lovely. I can't take credit for the furniture. I am in the Washington State visiting my friends. I had the horn sent here to avoid dealing with border shipping hassles (brokerage fees, opening of the package by Customs, etc). I'll just bring it across myself and pay the taxes when I go home tomorrow.

That horn is beautiful. All the best for your first rehearsals and gigs!
Thanks! It will be a fine addition to my bari family. From what I can tell, I suspect that my Martin Committee III and Selmer Mark VI--both killer players, which each have their own uses--are going to be side-lined for a while. ;)

Beautiful black nickel and gold finish Helen!! I almost bought a gold lacquered Bundy Special a while back. I have a really nice SX90 low A bari now. Keilwerth makes the best baris I believe but I guess it’s purely subjective like everything else. Off topic Helen, the feature you have on the silver Accent stenciled BS Medusa alto...I couldn’t believe my eyes that I’ve owned that very same horn for 2 years without knowing you featured pictures of it! What prompted me to look at it was a thread you, not too long ago posted on the B&S section. Amazing coincidence...
Hey there Lambros. Funny coincidence. The saxophone world is a small one. I find that out more and more, the longer I have my website. What did you think of the Accent? What kind of alto do you use now?

I really loved my Medusa bari, and when I sold it last month I did so quite reluctantly. I didn't like being without a low A horn. That said, that particular low A horn was not appropriate for the kind of music I needed it for these days.

Truth be known, I really went out on a limb when I bought this H. Couf bari. I own a couple of Tonekings from 1957, and I love them. However, I had never played a JK bari before. I had read so many positive reviews from people who do love theirs, and when I listened to the sound sample that Paul sent me of the horn that is now mine, I thought: I think this has the potential to work really well for me.

Because I haven't been home, and my friends have dogs and parrots, I have not done a large amount of playing, and the playing I have done has been rather restrained. (And locked in a small bedroom on the backside of the house. ;) ). On those few occasions when I did push the Couf to its limits, I could tell that it might well be able to go head to head with the electric guitars like my Medusa did. But unlike my Medusa, the Couf has a softer, gentler side that I can use in pit orchestra work--which is the reason I needed a low A bari to begin with.
 
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