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I have an Orpheum Deluxe alto, stamped 'Made in Italy'. It has a very low (11XX) serial number stamped in TWO places -- just below the thumb rest, and on the underside of the G# key. This small bore sax has a beautiful dry, focused sound. I've been told that the sax is a Rampone & Cazzani stencil. It certainly LOOKS like an R&S. I've just compared it to an R&S FISM Super on eBay. The lower keys, guards, posts and other details are absolutely identical. Here are my questions. If the Orpheum is merely a stencil, why would it have the serial number stamped on the key as well as the body? Isn't this double identification the mark of a higher quality instrument? Also, I have not been able to locate a serial number list for the sax. Anyone have an idea when it was made?
 

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A picture is worth a thousand words. Post a photo and I and a few other members will be able to give you a definitive answer pretty quickly.

What I can tell you is this: Rampone-made horns are very hard to ID age using serial # alone. This is why visuals are important. You can also e-mail them with a pic, and they can give you a 'yes' or 'no' and an age at least to the decade.

But now I'm really curious....
 

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Hmmmm...I would say "yes". Here's an R & C, engraved Rampone & Cazzani....which I rehabbed a while back.

The body matches, the keyguards match. Most of the keywork matches. What throws me off is your pinky table...because that's a Malerne-esque pinky table, not the typical old R & C one, which was more angular like mine. However....we do know that there was a lotta cross-breeding between Malerne and the old Italian manufacturers. You see Malerne keys appear on Grassis, and you see the opposite....R & C style keywork appearing on Malerne bodies. So why not Malerne keys on R & C bodies ?

I think it's reasonable to say you are correct. I wondered perhaps if it might have been an Alphonse Rampone...but I don't believe so...because Alphonse used his own style pinky table and lyre holders which were pretty unique.

So I would say, 80% certainty it was made by R & C.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
JayeSF. Thanks so much for your time and effort. Sure is a sweet sounding horn. My Tech guy winced when I took it to him, mumbling that Italians were only known for their race cars and sculptors. Well, I'm a sculptor so I guess I picked the right sax.
 

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Yes, well..if he took 10 minutes to play it he would have changed his tune. That's the greatest attribute of the vintage Italian horns...just that sweet, lyrical tone. Almost like singing, really.

That silverplate I did came out really nice. It was a total rehab, it had been hanging in a bar for several decades. I was damn happy when I got enough keys repadded and on to play it and hear its sound. Alphonse made some good ones, too...particularly Getzen stencils....

Enjoy yours.
 

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I am a total newbie so forgive me if my questions are not real sensible ones....
I purchased a used Sax (Stenciled: Orpheum Deluxe Serial 4712 Made in Italy) and was told that is might be a hundred years old.... In my layman's view it is a pretty nice horn and I am trying to learn to play for my own satisfaction.
I am sure it needs something but am not sure what.
I took it to a music shop and was told it is not worth the time, effort, or money to overhaul it but I am not yet convinced of that.
I found this thread and it made me want to know more.
I can post some photos too, once I figure out how to upload them.
Any comments, anyone?
 

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Here are some photos of the Opheum Deluxe 4712 Made in Italy

Please let me know what you think.
This is , almost certainly, a R&C stencil ( probably early '60) the most recognizable feature are the guards and the rather special thumbrest.

One thing I am not sure (but I have seen this before, it may have been the same horn) is the bell to body brace.

R&C of that Generation (and stencils) seen to have a bell to body brace slightly different, this one in your possession may have lost a vertical bar in the middle of the oval.

There are similarities to Santoni made Malerne shown by these Orpheum saxophones. Probably both companies sourced parts from other companies.

I would get in touch with Claudio Zolla at R&C and ask

 

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Yes, well..if he took 10 minutes to play it he would have changed his tune. That's the greatest attribute of the vintage Italian horns...just that sweet, lyrical tone. Almost like singing, really.

That silverplate I did came out really nice. It was a total rehab, it had been hanging in a bar for several decades. I was damn happy when I got enough keys repadded and on to play it and hear its sound. Alphonse made some good ones, too...particularly Getzen stencils....

Enjoy yours.
I have always been curious on which of the vintage Italian made horns are any good as they can be found cheap? Give me your top 5 that have vintage ergos?
 

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I have always been curious on which of the vintage Italian made horns are any good as they can be found cheap? Give me your top 5 that have vintage ergos?
MOST vintage Italian horns were actually 'good', from the yardstick of tone, build, and intonation.

Some were a bit wonky. The intonation on Orsis for example, could be a bit too 'flexy', you have to work more on many Orsis I have found. NOT terrible by any means, but not as dialed-in as some of their Italian brethren....

If you want my Top 5....hmmmm....

Grassi would be #1, asterisked by the suggestion that you need to look for the ones which do not have the very early, Malerne-esque pinky table.
Grassi appears to have started production by making their bodies and necks in-house, then using the 'generic' sorta keywork which appears on many, many other European stencils of the day. But then they started producing their own keywork, or finding a better source. That is when the got really good. Grassi "Jade" models exhibit that keywork, and anything from those on forward is a very good horn.

Rampone & Cazzani stencils, 1970's - these are REALLY hard to identify, but they are identifiable. Modern keywork very Selmer-esque, thumbhook has a plastic 'wing' extension which Milandro mentioned. These are damn good horns, they are very VI-esque. (The Orpheum Deluxe, posted a bit above by BigRigTom - PRE-DATES the model I am talking about probably by a decade give or take....IF you took BigToms horn, gave it a Selmer-esque pinky table, and changed the odd bellbrace to a simple round wire one...you would have a snapshot of the model of horn I am talking about here).

Borgani Sopranos, pre-1990's. Very nice Sopranos, often stencil-named. Somehow their 'good-ness' never quite translated as well into their Altos and Tenors, which were OK...but for those voices I'd rather have a Conn Director or King Cleve or Holton Collegiate, which have about the same price point.

Then probably Santoni-made stencils. These are solid horns, Santoni subcontracted for Buffet.
The Evettes of the 70's, as well as some Olds of the 70's, were Santoni-made. The Lily bellbrace is the recognizable detail.
This is a player's horn. I actually have STOPPED buying and refurbing these, simply because regardless of the fact that they are quite respectable horns which sell for very, very low prices (even refurbed)....people just don't know anything about them, and they get ZERO respect on the market. The infuriating reality is....people just don't 'want' to own an 'obscure' make horn, regardless of whether it's a good one or not.
Thus - these are simply not worth my effort to refurb....those always come out a 'loss' on my end.
But for a player who doesn't care about any of that, they just want a cheap, good horn, these are that....

OK that's 4.
 

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MOST vintage Italian horns were actually 'good', from the yardstick of tone, build, and intonation.

Some were a bit wonky. The intonation on Orsis for example, could be a bit too 'flexy', you have to work more on many Orsis I have found. NOT terrible by any means, but not as dialed-in as some of their Italian brethren....

If you want my Top 5....hmmmm....

Grassi would be #1, asterisked by the suggestion that you need to look for the ones which do not have the very early, Malerne-esque pinky table.
Grassi appears to have started production by making their bodies and necks in-house, then using the 'generic' sorta keywork which appears on many, many other European stencils of the day. But then they started producing their own keywork, or finding a better source. That is when the got really good. Grassi "Jade" models exhibit that keywork, and anything from those on forward is a very good horn.

Rampone & Cazzani stencils, 1970's - these are REALLY hard to identify, but they are identifiable. Modern keywork very Selmer-esque, thumbhook has a plastic 'wing' extension which Milandro mentioned. These are damn good horns, they are very VI-esque. (The Orpheum Deluxe, posted a bit above by BigRigTom - PRE-DATES the model I am talking about probably by a decade give or take....IF you took BigToms horn, gave it a Selmer-esque pinky table, and changed the odd bellbrace to a simple round wire one...you would have a snapshot of the model of horn I am talking about here).

Borgani Sopranos, pre-1990's. Very nice Sopranos, often stencil-named. Somehow their 'good-ness' never quite translated as well into their Altos and Tenors, which were OK...but for those voices I'd rather have a Conn Director or King Cleve or Holton Collegiate, which have about the same price point.

Then probably Santoni-made stencils. These are solid horns, Santoni subcontracted for Buffet.
The Evettes of the 70's, as well as some Olds of the 70's, were Santoni-made. The Lily bellbrace is the recognizable detail.
This is a player's horn. I actually have STOPPED buying and refurbing these, simply because regardless of the fact that they are quite respectable horns which sell for very, very low prices (even refurbed)....people just don't know anything about them, and they get ZERO respect on the market. The infuriating reality is....people just don't 'want' to own an 'obscure' make horn, regardless of whether it's a good one or not.
Thus - these are simply not worth my effort to refurb....those always come out a 'loss' on my end.
But for a player who doesn't care about any of that, they just want a cheap, good horn, these are that....

OK that's 4.
Wow thanks for all the detail. Now you make me wonder about the top two on your list compared to their US made competition that come in close to price. I am a big Zephyr fan but haven't played the Cleveland. For example, how does a Zephyr match up to a Grassi Jade or R&C? Build wise are they on a lower shelf?
 

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Wow thanks for all the detail. Now you make me wonder about the top two on your list compared to their US made competition that come in close to price. I am a big Zephyr fan but haven't played the Cleveland. For example, how does a Zephyr match up to a Grassi Jade or R&C? Build wise are they on a lower shelf?
Well, unlike JayeLID, I'm not really equipped to analyze or judge build quality. But if you have any specific things you want me to compare, I have here a Jade Grassi tenor which was my main horn for some years, and a very late Zephyr bari which has recently taken the place of "main horn". It's hard to compare as they are different voices. Although bigger sax, the Zephyr action is faster and lighter. Grassi feels solidly built, but is more clunky and slower of the two. Not many people have tried the Grassi, but all that did, were kinda positively surprised and complimented the sound of it. My King is a late "cheapened" version with very little embellishments, but still has brazed on toneholes etc. The Grassi has more upper shelf look (they were pretty shamelessly copying design cues from Selmer...).
 

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One word of caution of the Grassi being a Selmer lookalike.

It really only looks like that from afar. The G mimics the S and the roud bell to body brace are really the only things in common.

Mechanics are completely different ( certainly in the case of a “ jade rollers” or standard model ) and what never changed was the octave mechanism.
 

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Well, unlike JayeLID, I'm not really equipped to analyze or judge build quality. But if you have any specific things you want me to compare, I have here a Jade Grassi tenor which was my main horn for some years, and a very late Zephyr bari which has recently taken the place of "main horn". It's hard to compare as they are different voices. Although bigger sax, the Zephyr action is faster and lighter. Grassi feels solidly built, but is more clunky and slower of the two. Not many people have tried the Grassi, but all that did, were kinda positively surprised and complimented the sound of it. My King is a late "cheapened" version with very little embellishments, but still has brazed on toneholes etc. The Grassi has more upper shelf look (they were pretty shamelessly copying design cues from Selmer...).
I appreciate the offer. It's more just a curious thing as I see these Italian made horns for sale for so cheap. I'm not really sure what got cheapened on the later Zephyr. I have heard that before. Interesting that you find your Bari Zeph faster than your Jade tenor.
 

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I am a total newbie so forgive me if my questions are not real sensible ones....
In my layman's view it is a pretty nice horn and I am trying to learn to play for my own satisfaction.
I am sure it needs something but am not sure what.
I took it to a music shop and was told it is not worth the time, effort, or money to overhaul it but I am not yet convinced of that.
I found this thread and it made me want to know more.
Any comments, anyone?
Ok I'll throw my hat in.
No such thing as a bad question. I've lost count how many bad ones I've asked. You're in good company.

So, you like the instrument and would like to learn for your own enjoyment pleasure. Good !
You're sure it needs some thing but don't know what. You've come to the right place. Good question.
You took it to a music shop to get answers. They told you it was not worth repairing. Probably pointed you to a new shiny one hanging on the wall. "Worth it" is hotly contested around here. If the store had a young technician or does not do the services in house they may not desire that type of work. Not worth it to who ? If you bought the horn and want to repair it to sell. You will most likely likely not regroup your investment. Not worth it. If this needs a complete re-pad you're probably looking around $400 to $600. Combine that with your original investment. Say $900 total. Now if you played one hour a day for 300 days of one year. That's $3 per day. I say yes worth it. Still many many ready to play instruments available for under $700.
So is this a good beginner horn ? Ask and read other members comments. I have no clue.

Where are you located? Could be another tech in your region to have review your needs.

Could be you just need a clean, oil and adjustment. This service typically includes A couple To four new pads. Cleaning and oiling all the moving parts. And finally making sure all the leather pads seal properly and the regulation allows the saxophone to play in tune.

Are you mechanically inclined?
Here is a good site to learn terms and Maintenance needs. http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/index.htm
 

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lots and lots of people come to the forum asking for validation of their motivations to rescue a horn found somewhere.

I think the shop advised based on objective criteria. How much would this cost and how much is it worth it at the end of the line.

Unless one has a special reason to be attached to this particular horn , which changes everything. If OP can do the work it won’t break the bank.
 

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Ok I'll throw my hat in.
No such thing as a bad question. I've lost count how many bad ones I've asked. You're in good company.

So, you like the instrument and would like to learn for your own enjoyment pleasure. Good !
You're sure it needs some thing but don't know what. You've come to the right place. Good question.
You took it to a music shop to get answers. They told you it was not worth repairing. Probably pointed you to a new shiny one hanging on the wall. "Worth it" is hotly contested around here. If the store had a young technician or does not do the services in house they may not desire that type of work. Not worth it to who ? If you bought the horn and want to repair it to sell. You will most likely likely not regroup your investment. Not worth it. If this needs a complete re-pad you're probably looking around $400 to $600. Combine that with your original investment. Say $900 total. Now if you played one hour a day for 300 days of one year. That's $3 per day. I say yes worth it. Still many many ready to play instruments available for under $700.
So is this a good beginner horn ? Ask and read other members comments. I have no clue.

Where are you located? Could be another tech in your region to have review your needs.

Could be you just need a clean, oil and adjustment. This service typically includes A couple To four new pads. Cleaning and oiling all the moving parts. And finally making sure all the leather pads seal properly and the regulation allows the saxophone to play in tune.

Are you mechanically inclined?
Here is a good site to learn terms and Maintenance needs. http://www.shwoodwind.co.uk/index.htm
This sounds like a really thoughtful and considerate answer and I truly appreciate the insight. I will keep fiddling with it and seeking council and see where it leads me. Regardless, I am enjoying the ride. :)
 
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