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Distinguished SOTW member, musician, technician &
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Discussion Starter #1
Hi

I browsed the Dolnet forum and searched but could only find much too specific information. Google mostly got me to posts on SOTW.

I'm looking for general information about Dolnet saxophones. When they started making them, are they still making them (if not, when did they stop). Where are/were they made? What models they have/had? Student models, pro models, or just pro? How good are they comparing other pro instruments? Etc.

I'm also looking for specific information about a Dolnet alto but I'm trying to get more details from the owner (serial number, age, model, so far they only know it's a Dolnet). Only thing I know so far is that it has a black finish. Does anyone know if Dolnet have/had several type of black finishes or it has to be a specific typle (nickel, lacuqer)?

Thank you!
 

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Hello Nitai,

you will find some info on saxpics, and that is all there is on Dolnets
Anyway:

Founded in 1880 they have been in business until the late seventies at Mantes- France
The best known models are Universal (student), Bel Air (in many forms and shape their most popular horn, even when not identified as such), Royal Jazz (special keys) goldplated (sometimes) and M70 (the last and weardest of them all many special keys and very off-set, to the left, bell)

Forget about the serial numbers! There's only aneddotical evidence and no reliable chart. The function of letters in the SN isn't clear and has been debated here. Never seen a Black one. Finish, Silverplate (most common), Nickel and Gold lacquer and gold plate.


The M70 is the most desirable model but a gold plate Royal Jazz is a beauty!


WATCH OUT FOR HIGH PITCHED HORNS!


I have had the misfortune to buy a HP alto they must have made HP horns at least in the fifties and selling them until the sixties. I have bought a 1 alto, 1 tenor and a Soprano. Baritones are very much more sought after than the rest.

They are undervalued horns and definetly worth buying. Heavy and sometimes a little crudely built (Some Bel Air are), have quirky intonation especially due to keys position. Resistive horn, not free blowing. I had them all for a while and then moved on (except the soprano which I bought to resell)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK thank you. Unfortunately, my next question will have to be.... is there a new Chinese (or other country) manufacturer who is making Dolnet saxophones now? Or a distributer ordering saxophones from China/Taiwan/anywhere who has the name Dolnet?

I ask because I was just told that this saxophone is completely new. This student actually took it out of the nylons when she received it (borrowing from the school).
 

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Not that I am aware of......mind you, there are lots of almost new looking Dolnets, especially the silverplate one, due to the sturdy construction and the silverplate being very good they are often times not worn-out anywere..but new.....never heard of it. The guards of most Dolnets (except the very very old ones) are very typical art-deco styled very distinctive. I doubt Chinese companies would go as far as to copy a not very successful horn in terms of sales, such as a Dolnet! Maybe someone would have acquired the brandname, but I seriously doubt it is a sound marketing strategy.
 

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Forum Contributor 2007-2012, Distinguished SOTW Te
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I have not heard of any new horns being produced with the Dolnet name- and if they are, they certainly aren't made by the Dolnet company we are referring to in this forum.

FWIW, I have seen some saxophone-shaped objects hailing from India that look similar to Dolnets with the squarish palm keys and angular sheet metal keyguards.

Either what you have is new to them (and maybe never opened! that would be cool) but not really new, or its not really a Dolnet.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks.

It's almost sure that this is a Chinese saxophone like many other Chinese saxophones. It has regular looking key guards without the sharp angles on them. Strange that we have them here since "real" Dolnet saxophones are pretty rare here (I've never even seen one) and no one that I know of even heard of them here (i.e. the Dolnet name won't really attract many people here in any way).
 

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would you mind providing some pictures (I know your are looking for a new camera :) ) I am very curious , any news about where this horn was bought?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Actually I did buy a new camera (would have it in about a week). Right after I ordered it my old one came back from the dead! But anyway it is so annoying to use that I'm glad I got the new one.

Back on topic, I don't have the instrument. It belongs to a beginner and she borrowed it from conservatorion. I can ask if she can take pictures and see what she can kind find out about it. I imagine it was bought in one of local stores that sell among others Chinese saxophones.
 

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It would be interesting to see, especially because it probably means that a Chinese company is using (lawfully or unlawfully) the Dolnet brandname.
They might have acquired the trade mark .
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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yes, give us evidence!
I doubt that it will resemble a real Dolnet. They (in the far east) wouldn't bother producing a big bore horn with huge bell and thick brass (and old ergos).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Update!

OK, here is an update.

I haven't heard from this student about her black new Dolnet, but today someone brought me a saxophone. It has one major problem but I checked all of it anyway and it is one of the worst instruments I've ever seen. I won't even begin to list the problems. It doesn't even have a company name on it anywhere. There is a serial number. Then I moved the case and suddenly noticed just on the case it says "Dolnet". So there you go, that's the new Dolnet.... :(
 

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so... if it had been in a Selmer case this would have made it a Selmer...
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I'm not sure if you are sarcastic about what I said or just about the saxophone. I didn't mean that this is the same company as the older Dolnets, if that's what you understood somehow. In theory you're right... but the case didn't say Selmer, it said Dolnet. If I need to clarify the sax is new and in the original case. Maybe Dolnet is just the name of the case but I don't think so. Maybe the same saxophone is named differently somewhere else, but someone, for some reason, patched the Dolnet name to this sax/case. I don't know if it was someone locally who "made up" the name or they decided it at the factory, but the fact that it was only on the case just sounds like another way to save even more money (i.e. sell the same sax under different names without any changes in the manufacturing)!

By the way, I tried playing it. I can't say the sound is horrible. It's not great. Intonation is pretty reasonable until A2. The octaves are pretty much in tune up to G#2 but A1 to A2 is an octave plus more than quarter tone, and the same for the Bb, B, etc. It is not a problem of the octave tube size or location either, since overblowing does the same.
 
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