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Modern & Historical / Charles Chedeville CC1 Alto MPC and Theo Wanne Ambika Soprano MPC
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I am thinking of starting a website on Dolnet saxophones - no kidding, just a simple collection of pictures and a few details on the history of these saxes that I appreciate a lot. To start this project I would like to get your input - hidden or fanatic DOLNET fans and players. Why don´t we feel like other proud sax owners of MARK VIs, Buescher TH&Cs etc. - let´s enjoy sharing our joy of playing these fine saxes and researching more on their history.

Since there has been always some mixed quotes about Dolnets and their weaknesses I would like to turn things a bit around and have one thread where every ENTHUSIASTIC Dolnet player and collector is able to post his favourite pictures and details about the Dolnet history and his instrument.

I have played and recorded lots of different saxophones during the last ten years but always return since two years now to DOLNETS and I would like to state that these are wonderful saxophones, exceptionally designed and built with sound qualities and response equally or superior to any other professional french saxophone of the 50s and 60s.

I start the thread with four pictures of my gold plated ROYAL JAZZ Alto saxophone. Its serial number is around 55xxx. The finish is quite interesting, gold on silver plate plus a thin layer of clear laquer to protect the plating. It is a very heavy horn but plays very well.

... I am looking forward to many of your pictures and reponses ... All the very best wishes to to everyone, Uwe.
 

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Dolnets rock. Period. Clear, powerful, projection. Tremendous low end. I've got an alto and tenor. Get one if you can. Best kept secret out there. And prices undoubtedly will be going up as folks discover these French horns made in small numbers. Aside from the Mk VI, the only French horn I've played with real balls. (and I'm typically a Conn Chu guy.....)
 

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Uwe, wish I had some pics to offer, but I haven't had much luck finding a Dolnet that hasn't been abused. abadcliche had nickel-plated one for sale here a few weeks back ..... nicest I've seen. I want to get a plated tenor before everyone finds out what they're missing.
 

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Modern & Historical / Charles Chedeville CC1 Alto MPC and Theo Wanne Ambika Soprano MPC
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dolnet tenors and altos for sale in the netherlands

Hi,
apparently Dolnets were mostly sold in europe, so you still find some cheap ones in germany, netherlands and france. Please check out this link to a private second hand side in the netherlands http://www.marktplaats.nl
Just enter DOLNET in the "ZOEK" (search) field - there are a couple of Dolnets regularly for sale, I assume nickel/silver plated tenor for at this point 275 EURO. Most dutch people speak excellent english but I am happy to assist with german if that would be of any help, more detailed pictures would be great.

Best, Uwe.
 

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In my collection of horns, I have a lovely Dolnet Bel Aire Tenor that I think is a fantastic horn. If it is good enough for Don Byas, it's good enough for us! These horns remind me of a slightly more centered 10M tone wise.

Speaking of Abadcliche's Dolnet, I really wish I had bought that before the one I purchased, due to it's fine cosmetic condition, and the fact that he recently tuned it up for sale.
 

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I don't know whether Dolnets came in two versions (A440 or A442). I think it's unlikely, but pretty much an irrelevance anyway.

I'd be very surprised if you can't move the mouthpiece the small amount needed to adjust the tuning by less than 8 cents without throwing the horn out. And that 8 cents is more than the difference between A440 and A442.

Rhys

Proud owner of a Dolnet Bel Air tenor.
 

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Someone posted on SOTW not long back about having received a Dolnet that sounded great but turned out to be a high-pitch instrument (A=457 Hz).

I would really like to know if Dolnet made horns tuned to more than one pitch standard. I'm sorta skeptical, but perhaps some really old (<1920s) Dolnets were high-pitch?

Belairs would ALL be a modern-standard horn, no?
 

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This is the Dolnet appreciation thread, but part of appreciating something is developing an understanding of its nuances. I say this because I once played a Dolnet tenor that I think was high pitch because I had to put my mouthpiece all the way on the end of the cork to make it work, and even then the tuning was sharp. I put it next to my other horns and it looked like a slightly smaller horn. I'm not trying to be negative, just spreading a word of caution.

Now I am borrowing a Dolnet bari and the intonation is fine with the mouthpiece up in the middle of the cork. It's not as exact as on my Buffet or B&S, but it is certainly adequate. I can really appreciate the big tone on this bari, and I agree it is kinda like a Conn 10m but a little more centered.
 

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Appreciating the mystique here .....

If Dolnet did produce Belairs (for example) to more than one pitch standard, sure would be nice to have some sort of ID on the horn for that (like the L or Low Pitch that you see on so many vintage Murikan horns....). I would like to believe people didn't intentionally import high-pitch horns into North America....

I've played two Belair tenors (always everything with my metal Link, so think "open chamber"). One, set up, was spot on, no need to pull the mpc out to the edge.... The other, an ebay special with warped toneholes (from poorly repaired dent) and aging pads, was "all over the place," ...... 5 cents flat here, 10 cents sharp there, 15 cents sharp up high, etc. Not consisently high, but say, adjust mpc position for sharps in the lower half of the second register and suddenly it's too flat elsewhere. Could be the poor setup condition, could be the way the thing came out the factory, just dunno.

Having said that, I love the Dolnet sound. As others have described it, and I'd agree, it seems to be a real blend of that French ring and American FAT.
 

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Modern & Historical / Charles Chedeville CC1 Alto MPC and Theo Wanne Ambika Soprano MPC
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Parabolic/Hexa...Bore???

Hi to all, glad we get into details. I gree with wind.miller. I have owned and resold Dolnet Altos of different ages and models until I found the current one. ALL of them where difficult to handle intonation wise compared to the saxes I played before - Buffet SDA etc. BUT, when listening to recorded tracks with these saxes I knew, I had found the sound that I liked best.

Obviously, the sound is essentially created by each players embochoure, his mouthpiece, reed then for the last small percentage by the instrument. However, I have found that an instrument can absolutely inspire your playing and support your sound concept or NOT - each player still sounds the same on a sax that is not "supportive" - but he won´t be inspired to the same degree. This is the reason why I found the DOLNETs being inspiring and supportive for me, I played KINGS, CONNs and Bueschers before and liked also very much vintage Buffets.

Back to the intonation issue: I have never come across a HP Dolnet but they migh have surely built some, at least some in the 30s or so. Please check out this ebay link for example: http://cgi.ebay.de/Alt-Saxophon-Sax...ryZ84585QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
This model has a very similar engraving as early Buffet Saxophones (20s, 30s) and it says DLP (LP for "Low Pitch") - this should be the time where they produced DHP instruments as well.

Again with intonation: Since I use vintage Selmer or PILLINGER mouthpieces, I have no problems with my Dolnet. I did play for five years a ZINNER NY model which didn´t really work well, but played great on my King Super 20.

I have once heard that the early Dolnets have the same bore as early Bueschers, can someone comment on that?

Many thanks for your comments so far. I have reserved a webspace @ www.dolnet-saxophones.net where I will start posting stuff during the next weeks. Please do send me your pictures (email) and any related knowledge on the history and building/design/manufacturing issues. I have been in touch with Laurie Pimplett and hope to get some writings and pictures from him.

Best wishes , Uwe.
 

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I had a Royal Jazz alto which was great. Really solid, heavy sax - silver plate in excellent condition. Rock solid lower register, even when coming down an octave - no wavering at all. The only problem was that it was so different from all my other saxes that it needed a big change in technique which would not have fitted with how I played Buescher, Selmer, Martin Conn ... So it went - but a great shame that I had to let it go.
 

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Uwe Steinmetz said:
I have once heard that the early Dolnets have the same bore as early Bueschers, can someone comment on that?


Best wishes , Uwe.

Uwe: thanks for the initiative of this thread and the website. I may be able to contribute a few pics from my silver alto Royal Jazz.
The Dolnets are definitely big bore instruments -- whereas exactly the same as Buescher I can't tell.
Just look at the altos that need two key cups for low E and the huge bell (bigger than SMLs).

Since it is an appreciation thread... on the negative side I'd say yes I found an intonation problem in one of the 3 Dolnets I've ever touched (a Bel Air tenor). Low C was desperately sharp. Everything else was fine. Also test played another Bel Air tenor which apparently had no intonation issues whatsoever. My Royal Jazz alto had no intonation issues either but I found that its tone colour was too different in the low end, very velvety whereas the rest (including a powerful high end) was much more focused. The ergos were a bit of a problem for my small hands (in particular the hi E key), too.

But on the positive side, they are great sounding horns, solidly built, and a great value for money (for the moment).
 

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Uwe,

Please forgive the poor Americans and our severely underdeveloped language skills, however I have to ask:

Although my Father's family is second generation from Germany (Berlin, as a matter of fact), my German linguistics skills are sorely lacking. Since you are fluent in English, and many members of this site are as well, is it possible that you might make your wonderful site available in English as well (the whole thing I mean, I see parts of it are already), now or in the future?

Cheers.
 

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Modern & Historical / Charles Chedeville CC1 Alto MPC and Theo Wanne Ambika Soprano MPC
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Website in english

Hi Mike,

many thanks for your reply. Yes, I was actually planning to post everything first in english - and write german translations later. I guess, thats the best way to reach out to a broader community of musicians, eventually, a french translation would be nice. I will start posting in the mid of february.

All the very best from Berlin, Uwe.
 

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Hello, i'm french saxplayer found of dolnet saxs,very glad to meet that tread about Dolnet sax here because in my own country saxplayer don't appreciate thoses saxs wich are really great ones! I'm owning myself a sylvered soprano from the 70 and two altos, a silver laqued "euphonium" from 1942 similar to this one: http://cgi.ebay.de/Alt-Saxophon-Saxo...QQcmdZViewItem and a "bel air" from the 50 gold laquered in exceptionnal state, like new!....(that one is for sale, look at the thead in market place).
I ll read all your contribution with a great pleasure and hope I can help too!
the idea of creating a dolnet dedicate website is a great idea, hope it will be released soon!!!

Also forive my bad english!!!!!!!
 

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Hi to you all,

Good that I found this thread on SOTW! Yesterday I bought a Dolnet in Holland (where I live), not the 275 euro Dolnet that Uwe mentiononed, but another one that I found on www.marktplaats.nl (which was a bit more expensive :( ). It's a nickel plated tenor. The serial number is 3765C, (a Series II?), so I guess it's rather old. According to Saxpics.com it's manufactured between 1940-50, but it already has the diamond shaped bell brace.
I hesitated for a while, since it's hardly in a playable condition: the pads are in a pretty bad shape and it has a number of leaks, especially in the lower register. Apart from that the strap ring is almost broken, and there is a dent in the bell/bow: one side of the C key guard at the bottom depressed the body a bit and it was resoldered. The C tone hole also seems to be a bit deformed, it's not level (although the pad seems to fit more or less, so I think it was repadded after that damage). And there is some wear in the keywork, although this might all be repairable.

But still: I liked the sound of this horn. It actually sounds quite modern and bright, I think. And the cosmetics are OK as well, apart from that dent and the resoldering. Most of the nickel plating is still there. It came with a vintage case, although I don't know if it's original. I don't think I already saw any pictures of a Dolnet case yet.
The intonation seemed to be OK, although it is a bit hard to judge, because of the leaks.

Of course I'll now have to decide what to do with it. I think I will show it to a tech and ask if it is possible to first make it playable without investing a lot of money. Then I could decide if it's worth to have it overhauled.

Anyways, I'm curious how it will sound & play if it's in a better condition!

Uwe, if you wish I could send you some pictures of it for your future website.
 

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Dolnet tenor

To all,
I am the one who bought the dolnet from abadcliche,the first time i saw the Picture of this horn i was stunned,but the price was a little high so i would just go back and stare at the Pic,,then as luck would have it, it came back and at a price i could afford so i went for it.It was mailed to me today so it should be here from new york in 7-10 days.
Matt was a great guy to do business with,i called and spoke to him a couple times and we talked about mouthpieces for this horn and he said medium/large chamber pieces are best.
Can anyone here share some experience on what M/P they have played and what worked well...i have settled on a JJ DV & JJ DV NY for my Ref 54 tenor after afew years of trial and error so i would like to get some suggestions from members here.

Thanks and here is a pic...
 
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