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Discussion Starter · #41 · (Edited)
Looks like a Martin. All the details fit.
It's close, but not quite the same. I compared with some pics of a Martin Handcraft tenor on ebay, as well as info from Cybersax website.

http://www.cybersax.com/QA/Q&A_Stencil_Saxophones.html
http://cgi.ebay.com/Martin-Handcraf...9792448QQihZ005QQcategoryZ16234QQcmdZViewItem

My Holton's soldered tone holes are not beveled. Neck tenon on my Holton tightens from left hand, vice from the right as Martins are said to do. F-F# trill keys are different (Martin is teeter-totter, Holton has lever rotating on perpindicular plane to length of sax.) LH palm keys are different (Martin F3 key curves around E flat tone hole, mine doesn't). RH pinky key spatulas are shaped differently. Bell braces are different too. Mine "Y's" out along width of bell, Martin looks in pictures like it goes up bell.

update: Found a pic of a Handcraft with the non teeter totter trill key (the Brass HC tenor on Saxpics). I couldn't see serial numbers, but the brass tenor looked older than the other (silver) examples. Also with the HCs--some have protruding supports on the bow, some don't. My Holton does not (it is "Conn-like"). Still lots of differences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #42 ·
As to the front F key: Holtons after approximately #18000 have them, placing this addition to around 1924. They, along with King and Conn, had this feature in the 20s. As Rascher's altissimo fingerings came into use, other companies added this feature in the early 1930s. Holton used the spatula type front F vs. Conn and King who used the pearl finger key. Keilworth and Selmer used this the spatula key off and on to the present. If you are a clarinettist, you realise the advantage of the spatula, as in the middle A key. The side of the finger can reach it quickly, without a direct finger placement on a key, as in the Conn design. Other than that odd low C breather key, which was used only for about five years, all those odd Holton features are very useful. For you concert players, that C to D trill key makes the very last phrase of Wiedoeft's "Saxophobia" relatively easy. Try that very rapid move from G# to mid C to mid D numerous times. It is extremely difficult with any other horn except the Holton. I'll call Frank Holton on the Psychic Hotline for more information.
It must have been optional. Rudy's have the front F, and I've seen many tenors and altos from mid 20XXX serial number range that have it, but my 39XXX does not. Mine doesn't have the extra keys down by RH palm keys either. I saw a 26XXX tenor in NYC yesterday that had all of these. It also had the larger G# on the LH spatula vice the pearl button. An earlier horn, featuring what I would consider more modern and desirable features.

Another couple of variables between this fairly short year range was the LH palm keys, and the octave key thumb actuator.

Some horns have a round tear-drop octave key thumb actuator. Mine however has a ridge on it, with a crescent out of the bottom to match the contour of the thumb rest below. ( I think the teardrop key would be more comfortable).

The LH palm keys on my horn have long skinny "buttons" on the end, and the keys are very low. The 26XXX horn I saw yesterday also had much higher (farther out from sax) levers, with much rounder "buttons" on the end

These changes don't seem to have any rhyme or reason. In every case, I would have preferred the version on the earlier horn I looked at. Don't get me wrong, I still dig my horn, but the random and seemingly regressive changes baffle me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #43 ·
Well, some updates on my Holton tenor, detailed earlier in this thread.

(quick recap: approx 1928 Holton Elkhorn silver tenor, with gold wash bell, recently given top notch overhaul and set up).

First off, the sax is not as touchy concerning mouthpieces as I would have thought. I haven't tried any screamer pieces like Bergs or Dukoffs yet, but I started out conservatively on a new HR link 6*. It works great. I tried a Rico Graphtonite A5 and Metalite M5 too. I also bought a WWBW labelled Vandoren Blue Java MS (whatever MS works out to). Lastly, I just bought a Metal Link STM 8 from SOTWer Chitownjazz that SOTWer EZ had reworked for him and opened to a .113 tip. (I highly recommend Chitownjazz for any transactions too!)

The HR link worked terrifically, with a lush low end. The Rico Graphtonite was similar, but just not quite as refined--certainly OK given the price though. The WWBW blue piece simply didn't want to work for me--maybe just not my style (?) Stuffy and squeaky. The Metalite made the top end of the horn really come alive, with still a decent bottom end--and LOUD. Lots of fun with that one.

But. . .the refaced STM link brought the horn to life in a way that really startled me. WOW. Power, low end, high end, clarity, super response and a really precise feel. This is the first piece I've ever owned that's been worked on by a refacer, so maybe that has a lot to do with this, but still--WOW.
(all mouthpieces used with Rico Royal 2.5s).

The horn: The low end that this thing gets is very impressive. Lush. Full. Beautiful. Effortless. I'd really like to compare it with a Martin, given comments about Martins. Like I said in an earlier post, this Holton is really heavily built. I compare it often with my other tenor--a King 615. The Holton seems to have a much deeper and more complex sound, if that makes any sense (and I like the King). Downsides: C3, C#3, and the palm keys can play flat. A and B below them can get a little "reedy", but both the Metalite and the STM experience much less of a problem with the flatness. The STM does away with the reediness of high A and B too. Ergos: Old, like the time frame would suggest, but quick and quiet following the pro set up. RH thumb hook is comfortable, and neckstrap hook position is good too. The octave key is a little uncomfortable--I wish it were the teardrop-shaped one many other Holtons have--it is crescent-shaped around the thumb rest, with a horizontal ridge on it as well. The LH pinky key cluster, with pearl G# takes geting used too as well, but I'd bet it works as well as any others of the era. Level of effort is good, just a little awkward angle of the entire cluster, and of course the pearl key requires precision.

I have a lot of fun with this horn. I would really like to see a comparison with other horns of the era--unfortunately, I don't have any others from that time. I (obviously) think this horn is underrated. Fixing up a Holton isn't going to give you any sort of an investment, but against any of the others of the era, I think this could be surprisingly pleasing.
 

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Hello-- I have been playing mid to late 1920s Holtons professionally for 40 years. Mine are all in excellent condition. I have a Rudy C Melody, C soprano, Rudy Bb soprano (currently at Jand J woodwinds for re-plating), and I had a baritone. I have found the ergonomics among the best of the per-war horns, the intonation to be excellent, the plating and assembly excellent, and they are heavy, with thick tone hole edges. I have never tried a tenor, and the baritone was replaced by a "Chu Berry" Conn, which had more punch vs. the mellower Holton. The C soprano is surprisingly in tune, and all the horns, except the aforementioned baritone, play much like a Conn. However: the Holton bore is larger, enabling more volume, and the alto and C Melody produce a noticeably brighter tone than the Conn, so they can fit into a more modern sound with an aggressive mouthpiece. I think the reason Holton saxophones received a bad rap (contrary to their brass instruments) is as follows: I have re-built and sold many Holton C Melodys. I have noticed, in the serial #s below 10,000, which dates them to the teens and early 20s, a definite problem with some horns in intonation. Furthermore, I have seen in these thin plating, which wears in places no other horn wear, such as around the edges of the keys. My guess is, when these horns were polished a few times, the plating was so thin it wore off easily. By the mid 20s, these defects disappear, as my 1924 C soprano is flawless in finish and is as good as one could expect in intonation, even up to high F. The Holtons were early in supplying a front F key, around 1925, their sopranos went to high F, which was rare in other makes, and that funny key at the right hand near side C/Bb is a very useful C to D, D to Eb, and C# to D. Try those on any other horn with lightning speed. I have seen Holton prices climbing, perhaps due to fans like myself blabbing about them. Tha Rudy Wiedoeft models are the most interesting, due to their cute little (effective?) low C breather key and the sliding mouthpiece attachment. Another Holton "plus" was that their cases were made at the plant and not by an outside supplyer. They are very plush and are custom fit for Holtons. Some other makes will not fit a Holton case. Did you ever notice how much movement is allowed for in some 1920s cases. This factor allows the horn to sustain damage in a hard drop. The Holtons are very snug and well-padded. I have seen photos of Holtons from the late
1930s which have rolled tone holes, and probably sound much like a 10M, which is my tenor choice. Love those Holtons.
 

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I don't know THAT much about saxes.... but I know good tone when I hear it. My guitarist is an insufferable PRICK about tone, and he has a NICE vintage Martin and listens to a LOT of jazz... the first time he heard me play my vintage (1920s) Holton tenor, he asked me what kind of horn I was playing... he said it had GREAT tone... and my double bassist ASSURES me that this guy NEVER gives compliments on tone! He complimented my tone TWICE that night... and everyone who's heard this horn does the same... including my wife... this tenor looks BEAT and has almost NO shine left to it... just a gnarly patina that makes it look like it wouldn't even be playable... but the biggest, most complex, rich, dark tone imaginable. This horn came from an old (almost 90 years old) man in Del Mar who played in big bands back in that era and this was his mainstay... I lucked into it for 50 bucks, including the case and a vintage Brilhart Personaline MPC... it's patinaed as hell but the pads are good and the action is like butter... I've played other, far more expensive horns that don't feel half as good and don't have the RIGHT to be in the same room as this stinky old eyesore when it comes to TONE and that vintage jazz sound... I pray to GOD I can dig up an alto from that era...
 

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I am getting some Holton altos ready to sell (all gold plated) and one is a Rudy that I don't have time to repad. Even with the old pads (sealing well) this thing roars! I have a Mark VI, Conns, Martins, Bueschers and this one is as good or better. I decided to sell two and keep one, whichever doesn't sell.
 

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but the biggest, most complex, rich, dark tone imaginable. This horn came from an old (almost 90 years old) man in Del Mar who played in big bands back in that era and this was his mainstay... I lucked into it for 50 bucks, including the case and a vintage Brilhart Personaline MPC…
It sounds like you got an amazing bargain on a great sax. If you get a chance, post the serial number and description in the Serial number registry next door; http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=70892
 

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I bought a Rudy model tenor on Ebay several weeks ago. It was VERY misrepresented, as the following flaws were not mentioned: G# trill key missing, plating on keys flaking (usually due to moist storage), and the Eb palm key had a huge solder mess. These flaws were NOT visible in the photos and this was from an instrument dealer who had a 100% rating. Now that I've blown off steam, all except the plating, which I will send to J and J Woodwinds, is professionally fixed (by me). I have played a Conn 10M tenor, which has been cared for by its previous owner and myself. It plays flawlessly and the huge fat sound is amazing. I compared both horns, using a 1941 Link Master Tone #3 mouthpiece with a #3 1/2 V-16 Van Doren reed. Here are the results: The octave key register on the Holton is brighter and easier to play, including some altissimo vs. the Conn on which altissimo is virtually impossible with my conservative set-up. The notes on the bottom, below F, are silky and can be whispered on the Conn like no other horn, whereas the Holton has a beautifully colored tone, but is not quite as soft. The bore on the Holton is a few thousanths inch smaller, which would give it these characteristics. The ergonomics of both horns are excellent, with a slight plus to the Conn for a bar type G# touch. The Holton is every bit a Conn Chu Berry model, with an extra brightness in the top end, exactly as I found the Rudy alto. I have never played a non-Rudy Holton alto or tenor, but I have re-built many C melodys and find them the best, along with the Martins, especially the front F models, so I would assume all later 1920s Holtons have this advantage of brightness over the Conns.I will keep the Holton and put the Conn on Ebay, as visually the Holton will be stunning when finished and it gives an over-all balance in both octaves. I play classic jazz from 20s to be-bop, so the mellower, older horns fit my needs. I would love to find out why Holton saxophones have been dissed so much, mainly by people who never owned one. I can't understand how a few so-so models in the late teens-early 20s could have caused such a bad rap. Most players would think I'm nuts to trade a 10M for a Holton. I would love to try one of the late 30s Holton tenors with the rolled tone holes and cool-looking coat guard on the bell. They are as scarce as the Rudy tenors.
 

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I bought a Rudy model tenor on Ebay several weeks ago. It was VERY misrepresented, as the following flaws were not mentioned…
Aww, too bad. I hate when that happens. It sounds like you've got the "issues" nicely under control though. Did you have an extra G# trill-key laying around?

I would love to find out why Holton saxophones have been dissed so much, mainly by people who never owned one. I can't understand how a few so-so models in the late teens-early 20s could have caused such a bad rap.
Either those early horns or possibly the 1960s student models (?) are the source of the bad reputation. But hey, that's what we're trying to change here, right?
 

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I just bought a nice looking 30s Holton alto with a serial number starting wiht an R. What is it? Not here yet....
 

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I just bought a nice looking 30s Holton alto with a serial number starting with an R. What is it? Not here yet....
I've never heard of a letter being used. All sorts of ideas floated into my head like, R=registered, R=regular, R=Rudy or R=rolled tone-holes. Who knows? Please give us the scoop when she arrives.
 

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Could it be a Revelation model?
No Revelation, no Holton.

This one was the preceding model of the "20A" deriving from "The Elkhart made by Buescher"*. Those were usually sold as Stencils in the beginning thirties. A bit confusing are the joint rings which were used by Buescher in the teenth before changing production from soldered to drawn toneholes (ca.1918-20). They look indeed similiar to the joint rings Holton designed for his Revelation and R.Wiedoeft-models (mainly in the twenties).

*some call them second line horns, but they were professionally made and in no way "student horns" (Rev. Ol' bear, Cybersax)

I personally like their smooth and rich sound coming out of them e.g. with a Yanagisawa mpc silverplated brass, open tip (8-9, soft reed).

Congratulations to this interesting find!:)

Felix
 

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I don't see where this horn says Holton on it at all. It's a Holton case, for sure - but the "made in Elkhart" above the bow/bell joint to me argues against it being even a Holton stencil. Beats my pair of jacks what it is, but it's a fine looking artifact. Let us know when you have it in hand.

Dave
 

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I assumed it was a WM or MW that we discussed before but I think it may have some relation to the "old" Elkhart brand. The tone holes would rule out IBIco. too. For that money I could take a chance as I really need the Holton case for another horn! The finish looks petty nice too.
 

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Some pics of the Big H:





Great pictures!

This Tenor is unique and in this combination of attributes and features probably very rare. I would like to add it to the Holton model list (thread: serial number registation). Why do you call it the 'Big H'? As this model was probaly built for a very short time this could be some sort of reference dating the Holton serial numbers. Would you please tell us the complete number, is it written in an arc? Is there added a "T" or a "Bb"? Does it say "Low Pitch" or "LP" or other?

Thank you

Felix
 

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Discussion Starter · #57 ·
Felix,
I just call it the "Big H" because it is just my big Holton (I'm originally a Clarinet and Alto sax player). I am quite proud of the horn as well. One interesting thing--I was comparing the soldered tone holes (non beveled unlike Martin) to my Conn 10M, and I think the Holton's tone holes have a larger flat surface area than the Conn. If the roll is good for pad longevity (or whatever else) with the Conns, then the Holton should get the same effect and then some.

Anyway, the serial number is: 39448, written in a big arc, with a little Bb centered right above. Nothing about low pitch noted on the sax--just sn and key.
 

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Thank you for the info, geauxsax:).

Your Tenor is the New Revelation or Revelation II, built ca. 1930. Explanations to classification and year of manufacture follow.

Felix
 

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I find it odd that your tenor does not have the alternate high F fingering. Perhaps this model was a lower-priced horn. Another year or so later, Holton got away from alternate side bell keys and put them both on the left side, as was first done on the Wiedoeft models of 1928. Your model also has a gold inner bell, which was new for 1930 on the non-Rudy models, as with rare exceptions, Holton was the only US maker to not feature a gold bell in the 1920s. Instead they used a highly polished silver bell. I agree that the metal thickness on the Holtons makes not only for a big solid sound, but also seals the pads very well. I recently overhauled a Conn C Melody and was surprised at the thinness of the metal, so perhaps the rolled edge tone hole had to added to get a firm seal. Most Conn stencils do not have rolled tone holes and the seal is so narrow, it looks like it could cut the pad in a few years. Bsesides, the celebrated Conn C Melody sounds "tubby" and does not have the projection and brightness of the Holton. I just sold a Holton C melody on Ebay and using Freree's maximum size resonator pads, it sounded fantastic. I almost kept it, but why have two C melodys? The lucky buyer $300) got the best sounding C I have ever played (along with my Rudy).
 

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I just sold a Holton C melody on Ebay and using Freree's maximum size resonator pads, it sounded fantastic.
How did I miss that one? My Holton C-mel needs pads desperately. I should have just bought yours. Does Freree make a specific set for C melody?
 
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