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Discussion Starter #1
I've just taken delivery of a c1928 Rudy W model Holton C-sop. Its keyed up to high F and has the extra trill keys typical of these Holtons of this era. Thing is, a friend told me his high F Rudy model would go to high F# just by pressing the extra RH trill key...and he is correct! mine does too!...has anyone else noticed this feature on these C-sops?...I wonder if there are any other useful unusual fingerings on this horn...it really is the ultimate C-sop (its actually quite heavy, with all the extra keys!)

Anyway, I'm very happy indeed about this discovery...I always thought I'd be struck to high Eb with C-sop.
 

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I've just taken delivery of a c1928 Rudy W model Holton C-sop. Its keyed up to high F...
:mrgreen: not green with envy, honest [rolleyes] (not much...)

Think Bruce has a Holton soprano, may even be a 'C'

:lick:
 

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Discussion Starter #3
It was a good deal...there are still some of these around in the US. I think Bruce has had a few Holton C sops? I'd be interested to hear about his experiences with them. One thing I can say is that it came with the original metal-faced mouthpiece and the tuning and intonation are excellent.
 

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Holton C sops are rare in any model, but they are usually keyed to F. I say "keyed" because E and F are not well voiced and do not sound readily. At least not on my York-stenciled Holton, which has its original (non-Holton, all rubber) mouthpiece.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
The top end on this one speaks fine, fairly easily, well probably nearly as well as my Buescher TT Bb sop from the same period. Maybe the original mouthpiece makes the difference?

There is an interesting combination of older-style keywork and new keywork, and then the extra keywork you get with these Holtons. The octave mechanism is the type you might find on an American sop from around 1921 or so (the two pads one above the other, facing away, rather than the later kind with the rocker).

I've been experimenting and it also has a forked low Eb fingering in addition to the normal one. The extra trill keys appear to be a RH G# key and a C#-D or C-D trill.
 

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I had 2 of the Holtons in C and they were keyed up to F but mine were not the Rudy model and didn't have the extra keys. I can't remember if they had the front F or not. These were better than my Bueschers and much better than the Conns. I sold them as I ended up with 2 Martins in C and they were by far the best in tune. I use a Yamaha 4C or 3C mouthpiece on these and feel they have the best (or least bad) intonation. I sold one of the Martins yesterday and right now have only one C soprano, a silver Martin with gold plated keys.
I have a custom vintage style case for a C soprano if anyone needs one. Actually a standard modern case for a 2-neck Bb soprano fits a C body quite well.
 

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That gold key silver-plate finish is more common on C melodies and C sopranos than on any other type of sax. Even altos don't turn up too often. It must have been the flashy collegiate option, the sax equivalent of a raccoon coat.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sounds like I may have got a real bargian then if its a pretty rare horn? The Rudy model has the front F.

Good to know about the modern case fitting the C-sops, I have another C-sop without a case so I'll try that. It is curious how the C-mels are more often two-tone. I have a Buescher C-Mel (1920) that has a siver body and gold (brass?) keys. I guess having the extra keys on these Holtons must be a rare addition to these C-sops then. I think I got really lucky with this one. Tuning is very good, particualy at the top end (which is where it can tend to go horribly wrong with the smaller saxophones), but I'm not sure if I prefer the sound of my Buescher C-sop; it is a bit fatter and richer. The Holton is very precise and Saxophone-like (If you know what I mean), it seems to be a no-nonsense horn. Maybe sometimes its nice to have a bit of nonsense too? maybe for Jazz anyway?
 

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The Holtons I had were all silver and the gold keys are in the Martin.
Yet another case option is to get a BB one-piece soprano case that has the extra room in it, fit a C soprano in the open area and you can carry the Bb & C.
 

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The extra trill keys appear to be a RH G# key and a C#-D or C-D trill.
Yes, you are correct. These were called "Master Keys" by Holton.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can see those keys being really useful. I guess they were patented by Holton, so other manufacturers never took them up? I wonder sometimes why modern saxes don't have more extra keywork on them to get over many of the physical keywork limitations of the instrument (I mean if you compate the keywork to the way a Boem clarinet works, the clarinet is so much easier to use, alowing RH and LH options over the break for example, things like that). I have an early sax (c1910) that has in addition RH C# and low B keys...and its so simple you wouldn't believe it - just a couple of keys of metal on the rods, and the RH needs to be able to hold all three keys down with 2 fingers...I've seen these keys on a c1912 Buffet as well, maybe they experimented with them at this time and then dropped them, I just wonder why...

I've thought of taking one of those modern Bb cases Bruce and adding a C-sop or nino to it...may still do it...its a very good idea, there is so much space in some of them!
 

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I used on of the ebay ones from China.
Also, my Mark VI (euro) has the RH G# like the Holtons. You only need to depress the lever for G# rather than first pressing the LH lever. I had a Hohner alto in 1962 that had the C# trill like the Holtons.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
extended keywork seems to be unpopular with most saxophone manufacturers, even the top name ones who make very expensive horns...do players really not like it or want any extra keys?...I know there have been various 'experiments' but nothing (apart from the Holtons) has remained in production for very long...the 'low A' Mkvi alto for example...even Adolph Sax himself made a prototype alto to high G! (it used four seperate octave keys!!!!) that is now in the Van Oostrom collection.

Why not a sax from low A to high G as normal? its not unreasnable? It is still an inconvieniently short range in comparison with a flute or clarinet...why not a sax with a range of low A to high A? is it possible? (maybe I should start a new thread with this in?)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
@Paulwl, I've just been experimenting at the top end of the Holton C-sop and have discovered something you may find useful for yours?...if I open the high E key higher than just a little then it won't sound on its own easily, unless I do a run up to it and then it will (obviously with experience this could probably be imporved as that is an embrochure thing) but It will sound on its own easily if I open it just a crack or so...same with the high F...and thats just after 5 mins playing, so it will probably get better after it (and I) warms up a little...try it with yours and see if is the same...the thought occurs that it will be possible to put a piece of cork under the RH high E key touch to limit how high the cup opens...just a thought...might make it easy every time?
 

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It is common to have most saxes set up where the front F only opens the palm F slightly. Seems to work better...
 

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I have a Rudy Bb soprano fully restored by J and J Woodwinds. (Great job!) I have never heard of a Rudy C soprano, nor is it in any Rudy or Holton catalog I have seen. To be a Rudy, it will say "Rudy Wiedoeft Model" on the bell. Furthermore, only the Rudys have an extra low C breather key and a front F key. I am unaware of any other soprano from the 20s with a front F key. That extra key on the side is on all Holtons 1920 to 1931 and is good for high C toD, high C# to D, High D to Eb. I can easily get my Bb soprano up to high F, but the little C soprano (non-Rudy) is a strain. Those Holton soprano metal/resin mouthpieces are great, as they bring an old horn to life better than any hard rubber from the 20s. Oddly, my Goldbeck metal soprano MP sounds rather weak on the Holtons and is at home on my Conn Wonder (1913) curved soprano. Are you sure your C soprano says "Rudy etc." on it?? If it does, it is very rare and would have been made in the era od Rudy C Melodys, which were mostly 1925-27. I have seen a few C melodys from 1928. What is the serial #??
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The bell of this C-sop is engraved "Rudy Wiedoeft Model", in a seperate banner to the left of the Frank Holton engraving. It has the low C breather pad and the front spatula high F key. Serial is 289xx which I think makes it c1928, and which as far as I have read on this forum is the year the Rudy models were introduced? I have a friend who also has an identical horn to this one - mentioned in the OP. Sounds like they must be pretty rare then?

The mouthpiece it came with is the original, in hardrubber and metal interior/facing, I agree they are good, this one has an incredibly small lay/opening however. It still plays very well, perfectly in tune. Very smooth classical sound, almost flute-like at times. and its expecially good in the top register. My only real gripe with it is the LH pinky table which is pretty much the worst I have had to deal with (and I collect vintage and antique saxes), the G# is not easy nor is the C# in partiular...but other than that it is quite an animal.

I wonder if Holton ever made a sopranino?
 

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@Paulwl, I've just been experimenting at the top end of the Holton C-sop and have discovered something you may find useful for yours?
I'll try that. Thanks.
BTW, it looks like my York really IS a York - too many differences from Holtons or Martins.
It's #88xxx, identical to this #89xxx currently at eBay.
 

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My York C is 84xxx and of totally different construction from the 88-89xxx examples.
It is keyed to F but has the tone holes and post holders are on a plate which is then fixed to the body.
I believe this was common of early York saxes. Some of the keywork appears to be the same but the
G# and octave mechanism is very different.The original mouthpiece shown is the same.
Anyway, my York easily plays F# with the usual cross-fingering with good pitch. Its weakness is around
middle B C and C# - the horn has to be in tune within itself. Like many other older sopranos tolerance is zero!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
@Paulwl that York you linked to looks like a CG Conn stencil horn to me. I have a York Bb curved soprano (SN 705xx) which is of totally different construction and is identical to the one for sale at Vintagesax.com currently (pics). Lonniesax is correct in that the true York horns (rather than the York stencils) have spats on the bell key holes and all of the other key holes are actually on a large seperate plate (or ribb) that is then soldered onto the horn, it looks quite odd when you look at it. My York also has black rollers and the usual thumb hook rather than the white rollers and the loop thumb hook of the one you linked to. I should add that my York sop has the most amazing sound.
 
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