Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 32 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I recently picked up an sx90 for my daughter and it's just an awesome horn. I'm now looking to get a tenor for me ;). I've done a bit of reading on this, primarily through this forum. I'm familiar with the going prices for ~105k and up serial numbers for both sx90/sx90r. Some reports say the older "Made in West Germany" horns are better. (Obviously, to each his own.) Does anyone with experience playing both think it's worth holding out for an old one? Also, what kind of premium would be have to be paid for a similar condition West German ~95k serial number tenor, if one can even be found?

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
7,356 Posts
They are all really good.

The newer ones that are made of Nickel Silver are really really good. I liked them better than the earlier sx90(r)'s.

I don't think you can really go wrong with any of them. Their quality control is excellent as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
As we know all SX90s are made in Germany. I had several Keilwerths made in '58,' 64, '86,' 94 and 2001 and they were all great. In my opinion the older ones were just a bit more smooth/gentle than the late 80s and 90s which are just balls to the wall and the 2001 was kind of in between the others. That's how I felt anyway. Good luck!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Thanks for the replies. So...one question I need to figure out: is the price on the older "West Germany" saxes significantly different from the "Made in Germany" saxes? I'm not in a huge hurry, but I also don't want to wait for something I can't afford. Know what I mean?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,847 Posts
I really don’t think that SX90R were stamped with West Germany.

They would have been stamped Made in Germany as all the Keilwerth that I have are, even much older ones than the series SX90R are not stamped West Germany they are ALL stamped as Made in Germany.

All SX90R are made by Keilwerth in Nauheim which has been firmly in West Germany, near Frankfurt.. for as long as Germany exists.:twisted:

By the way, which “ reports" are that you are quoting?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
155 Posts
Just as an fyi, my 87 Keilwerth SX has made in West Germany stamped on it. I just bought it from a fellow SOTW member.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
milandro,
Well, for a period of time the SX90/SX90R were initially stamped West Germany. Obviously not after West Germany.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
38,847 Posts
If that is so it is but my Toneking Special and Toneking are both stamped Made In Germany and at THAT time there were two Germanies
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Keilwerth has not been a company on its own since 1989, and they were owned by several holdings since then. Until 2006/7, the horns were produced in Nauheim. They ran out of money, and production was moved to Markneuenkirchen in former eastern Germany where wages are lower. They lost all their old staff, and that is believed to make a difference. The corresponding serial number is 124xxx. Before that, I was told they could not not invest in their machinery anymore. The eventually warped toneholes (see the Stephen Howard site) may have to do with that.
I have a 120xxx SX90R Tenor, the toneholes are good, and it plays great. I have A/B played to several saxes, among which are SA80, some Mark VI and VI, 82ZII, T901, 991 and WO1, Mauriat, Buescher 157 and THC400, Martin Committee I and III and several more. The was one single Mark VI and one single MarkVII which I found similarly attractive, the Bueschers and Martins had sth on their own, but all the others: nope.
So I do not think that "Germany" or "West Germany" are important. I would look for a serial not higher than 124xxx and check the toneholes, and if it blows right just go for it, best horn I ever had.

Best, TSax80
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
Tsax, I would appreciate if you can backup your post with some evidence/articles etc. That would be cool. Would love to know more about it, with more details. I tend to disagree with the statement that lower wages equal lower quality horns. I feel that's a bit of a simplistic and preconceived idea. I didn't own horns in that serial range, but I tried briefly a tenor from 2010 that was quite great. So back to the OP, I wouldn't avoid later JKs by any means...:)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
To further fuel the (probably sonically insignificant) flames, is the issue of the rolled tone holes. Apparently, on an older thread, the West Germany <99500 serial numbers have traditionally rolled tone holes while newer ones have brazed rings... Let's get this party started!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Hi everybody, to backup my post I can only refer to German sources, lots of info from the German forum, a saxophonist colleague from near Nauheim who knew the factory staff in person, and from three saxdocs, and for instance:
- https://saxwelt.de/index.php/geschichte/keilwerth
- the tone hole issue: http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Tenor/Keilwerth_sx90r_tenor.htm
- interview with Gerhard Keilwerth: https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/gerhard-keilwerth and https://saxwelt.de/index.php/2011-06-15-17-45-11/interviews/g-j-keilwerth


They moved production as the wages in former Eastern Germany are lower than in Nauheim (former Western Germany), where Julius Keilwerth restarted after WWII. There is no reason to say that quality is lower because wages are lower, but they lost almost all their old staff = craftsmen expertise from Nauheim, and regardless of wages the saxdocs here say that this played a role. Anyhow, the SX90R design to my knowledge was not changed, and if they regained the good old Nauheim quality, they may very well be super horns again. I´d love to hear that, as someday when I win in lottery or so I´ll be up for a Shadow.
The toneholes in the SX90R series were never rolled, but always had brazed rings. Just check the toneholes are even and not warped, there are some lemons around, also from Nauheim/former Western Germany. To avoid that issue, go for the SX90, as the warp - due to Stephen Howard - was caused by the brazing. Or be lucky as I was and get a SX90R with good toneholes.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,938 Posts
To further fuel the (probably sonically insignificant) flames, is the issue of the rolled tone holes. Apparently, on an older thread, the West Germany <99500 serial numbers have traditionally rolled tone holes while newer ones have brazed rings... Let's get this party started!
That party has been done for some time...

Bottom line: Rolled tone holes are equally good however they are done. Warped tone holes - rolled or not - are bad. Straight tone holes are good (again, if not warped).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
422 Posts
Hi everybody, to backup my post I can only refer to German sources, lots of info from the German forum, a saxophonist colleague from near Nauheim who knew the factory staff in person, and from three saxdocs, and for instance:
- https://saxwelt.de/index.php/geschichte/keilwerth
- the tone hole issue: http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/Reviews/Saxes/Tenor/Keilwerth_sx90r_tenor.htm
- interview with Gerhard Keilwerth: https://www.namm.org/library/oral-history/gerhard-keilwerth and https://saxwelt.de/index.php/2011-06-15-17-45-11/interviews/g-j-keilwerth


They moved production as the wages in former Eastern Germany are lower than in Nauheim (former Western Germany), where Julius Keilwerth restarted after WWII. There is no reason to say that quality is lower because wages are lower, but they lost almost all their old staff = craftsmen expertise from Nauheim, and regardless of wages the saxdocs here say that this played a role. Anyhow, the SX90R design to my knowledge was not changed, and if they regained the good old Nauheim quality, they may very well be super horns again. I´d love to hear that, as someday when I win in lottery or so I´ll be up for a Shadow.
The toneholes in the SX90R series were never rolled, but always had brazed rings. Just check the toneholes are even and not warped, there are some lemons around, also from Nauheim/former Western Germany. To avoid that issue, go for the SX90, as the warp - due to Stephen Howard - was caused by the brazing. Or be lucky as I was and get a SX90R with good toneholes.
Thanks for the links Tsax, I appreciate the effort. I anticipated the the lower quality statement is a presumption passed by word of mouth. The actual horn is the same, almost half of the stuff still worked there as stated in the article etc. So back to the OP - modern SX90s are just that, the relevant aspect being the setup and I believe that's true with any saxophone, but it's fun to speculate:)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
109 Posts
Yep, it´s a lot about word of mouth, what experiences other people had, what the saxdocs and dealers tell you, and so on. But how else do you want to get info? For me, it was indeed reading the German forum and SOTW that raised the idea "Keilwerth might be what I am looking for".
Best is to be a saxdoc yourself (I`m not) or to have a saxdoc or dealer you trust (I do) and with such support go for the horn that you like most. I testplay every horn I can get hands on and so far, the SX90R has been my favourite. Good luck for the OP to find his horn!
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
45 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
i still remember seeing/drooling over the sx90r in the wwbw catalogs from high school. always wanted to try one, but around here it was yamaha and selmer and my teacher in college had a yanagisawa sop. then in college i heard jaco and knew i wanted to be a bassist. fast forward 23 years of not picking up a sax and daughter needs a horn, i look online and find a great deal on an sx90 alto. i knew it! these are great horns. so now i’m thinking a tenor for me cause it’s just so fun to play. i didn’t think i missed it, but i guess i was wrong. and keilweth history is a freakin rabbit hole.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
195 Posts
I have Peter Ponzol's personal Keilwerth SX90r, purchased from him several years ago after it was advertised on this site. It is 95,6xx, has rolled tone holes, and is stamped West Germany. It's a wonderful horn, but I am favoring my Selmer Series III for the classical work I do.
 
1 - 20 of 32 Posts
Top