Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
When counterfeiting currency, in order to be profitable, one must produce a LOT of it, sell it, and circulate it. A few bills can't justify the expense of production. I'm wondering just how many counterfeit saxophones have actually been confirmed? To make just a few wouldn't justify the expense of production.

Has anyone bought a counterfeit and actually had it confirmed that it was a counterfeit by an expert such as the manufacturer? If so,was the entire instrument an exact copy or was there just an engraving that was similar to the real thing? If it was more than that, what was it? Entire keying and body?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,240 Posts
I have absolutely no idea how many counterfeit saxophones are made. Heck, we don't even have reliable sales figures for the mainstream sax brands. BUT it's clear that production costs could be spread across legitimate lines as well as fakes. E.g., you own an instrument factory in China. You can make as many saxophones as you want under your own "Super Best" brand and sell them on eBay. If you'd like to explore a different market, you can easily make counterfeit Selmers, Yamahas, or Yanagisawas as well. All it will take is a different stamp on the bell and a badge on the octave key. You don't have to invest in a whole new production facility.

As to your second question, the typical counterfeit saxophone can be identified by anyone who is well-acquainted with the real brand. I've never seen a possible fake that was so well-made that it would have required an inspection by the real manufacturer to spot it.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,882 Posts
If you'd like to explore a different market, you can easily make counterfeit Selmers, Yamahas, or Yanagisawas as well. All it will take is a different stamp on the bell and a badge on the octave key. You don't have to invest in a whole new production facility.
This would seem to be the case with the obvious ones we see. Some oaf the dodgier factories putting on a cheap laser logo probably for a customer not selling it themselves. A real pro counterfeiter would put more into production and do a proper job, doing actual stamping the same as selmer. It would be costly but doable.


As to your second question, the typical counterfeit saxophone can be identified by anyone who is well-acquainted with the real brand. I've never seen a possible fake that was so well-made that it would have required an inspection by the real manufacturer to spot it.
How do you actually know you haven't seen any that are so good you didn't realise. I mean a well made exact replica. What would the real manufacturer be looking for? Could there be secret fingerprinting only visible with special machines? This is very doable.

But if there are better fakes out there than the ones we all point out on eBay and chuckle at - how would we know?

Mouthpieces are even easier to counterfeit, I vaguely remember Jeffery Powell getting quite cross about Guardala copies. But then DG sold his trademark to several different parties all at once and so different people actually claimed ownership.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,240 Posts
How do you actually know you haven't seen any that are so good you didn't realise. I mean a well made exact replica. What would the real manufacturer be looking for? Could there be secret fingerprinting only visible with special machines? This is very doable.
1. There's no evidence that "exact replicas" (i.e., a forgery so good that photos of it would fool all of us here on SOTW) of any name brand are being made anywhere, by anyone. That doesn't mean such a superb counterfeit would be technically impossible -- just that it's probably not worth the trouble and expense to try to build one. In horns, the counterfeit market aims more at less-sophisticated buyers because they are easier to fool.

2. The simplest verification tool would be the serial number. Presumably, the manufacturer has the complete list, at least for the last few decades of manufacturing. These can't be faked. An unassigned number couldn't be used. "Er, we haven't even reached #9,675,450 yet." An assigned number that didn't match the horn couldn't be used. "Sorry, but #876,xxx is a silver-plated Series III soprano, not a Reference 54 alto." A counterfeiter would have to be certain to match the number with a fake version of the horn perfectly, and even then the transaction would be high-risk. "Yes, #903,xxx is a Ref. 36 tenor, but our records show that the horn was sold to, and registered by, a gentleman in Kansas City just last year, so it's unlikely to be up for sale already in Indonesia."
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,882 Posts
1. There's no evidence that "exact replicas" (i.e., a forgery so good that photos of it would fool all of us here on SOTW) of any name brand are being made anywhere, by anyone. That doesn't mean such a superb counterfeit would be technically impossible -- just that it's probably not worth the trouble and expense to try to build one. In horns, the counterfeit market aims more at less-sophisticated buyers because they are easier to fool.
Yes, I think most would agree with that.

2. The simplest verification tool would be the serial number. Presumably, the manufacturer has the complete list,
I think you are probably right about that, if they have that database to hand it would be a great indicator.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,901 Posts
When counterfeiting currency, in order to be profitable, one must produce a LOT of it, sell it, and circulate it. A few bills can't justify the expense of production. I'm wondering just how many counterfeit saxophones have actually been confirmed? To make just a few wouldn't justify the expense of production.

Has anyone bought a counterfeit and actually had it confirmed that it was a counterfeit by an expert such as the manufacturer? If so,was the entire instrument an exact copy or was there just an engraving that was similar to the real thing? If it was more than that, what was it? Entire keying and body?
They're knocking mine off in China now. I saw pictures a few years ago but they didn't look that good. I stay away from anything Chinese, it's all poor quality. Phil Barone
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,791 Posts
Then there are the modern horns that copy the names of defunct vintage brands: your new Kings (which are neither Kings nor New Kings), new Kohlerts, and likely others too. As far as I can tell, they're mere simulacra that resemble the originals in name only.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,882 Posts
Then there are the modern horns that copy the names of defunct vintage brands: your new Kings (which are neither Kings nor New Kings), new Kohlerts, and likely others too. As far as I can tell, they're mere simulacra that resemble the originals in name only.
Good point, but these are just legal brands that aren't actually trying to say they are making the same horns. SML is another one. Conn Selmer, that's another one. Nothing to do with the vintage Conns of course.

We could also argue (and we do) that modern Selmer (Paris) horns resemble the vintage Selmer instruments in name only.

At least (I think) none of them are actually trying to say their modern horns are the same as the vintage ones.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,943 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
They're knocking mine off in China now. I saw pictures a few years ago but they didn't look that good. I stay away from anything Chinese, it's all poor quality. Phil Barone
I guess that imitation isn't always the sincerest form of flattery. It'd be interesting to buy one of the fakes bearing your (or anyone's) brand and then do a side-by side comparison. I think that you'd know your instrument well enough to be able to determine if one in question is a fake.

But what about the other brands? Has anyone acquired an authentic counterfeit (strange expression, I know) and done a side-by side comparison?

And i wonder who is doing this. Are they one-off re-badged Victory saxophones (remember them?) sold on Ebay? A Chinese saxophone is made for the western market, not for the Chinese market. The saxophone is not a popular instrument in China (At least, it isn't popular anywhere in China where I lived. The marching bands are drum and bugle bands, and it's rare to hear a saxophonist in a lounge bar outside of the large cities). Mao considered it an evil instrument. (As if the erhu isn't the worst).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,791 Posts
No, I guess not, Bloo Dog. Interesting reviews by member drlsax nonetheless.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
525 Posts
I speculate that if anyone could make a faithful reproduction of my old Selmers, regardless branding, and if they'd play and sound the same and even cost the same, I'd buy at least one. Who wouldn't want the actual same thing as a brand new 1957 Mark VI tenor? Of course it wouldn't be the exact same thing, and I gravitate toward old stuff in general, but you get my drift. How about a brand new 1955 Chevy Bel Air for the same as a new Camaro costs? I'd buy that.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top