Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 20 of 38 Posts

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been juggling some of my horns lately because of money issues... Sold my soprano and traded my bari for another bari plus cash.
Now I have a great new King Tempo bari and it's got me interested in Keilwerth as an option for replacing my soprano.
Just curious what differences there are between the older Keilwerths and the new ones. Early Toneking vs late Toneking or Couf and modern SX 90. Mostly interested in differences re tone and intonation. I've been playing on old Conns and Bueschers so old fashioned mechanism doesn't bother me at all.

I loved my Bueschers so that's still definitely a consideration, but I wouldn't mind trying a Keilwerth as well. Sonically, aside from a dark sound, I really liked the resonant, singing quality of the Buescher, that was not oboe like at all. Keilwerth seemed the closest to those vintage American horns in their tenor and bari models, curious if the same is true for soprano.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
126 Posts
I have found the JK sopranos to absolutely have the same signature qualities as the other horns in the family. I have a JK SX 90 II (two necks) from the late 90's in nickel silver. Deep, resonant, dark sound. When I started taking it on gigs, people would comment on the sound - and the same holds true still today. It is not that light, thin, flimsy tone and feel
characteristic of so many other brand horns. Fat mid register. Intonation is extremely good. Playing colleague of mine bought a black nickel one around the same time. He did some symphony work with it and was telling us on a gig how some of the symphony players even made comment about the rich tone on the solo spots - Ravel I think. When that happens about a saxophone player, there's something to it! To my knowledge, only the Liebman model is being made at current. While a solid horn and popular, it is a bit different. The SX90 models pop up periodically on the used sites. Also, the Buffet soprano from the late 80's was made by Keilwerth - the one with the high G key, and those are some real primo horns IMHO.
 

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Saw that Couf... Would love to get it but it's way, waaaaay out of my budget.
There are a couple of 1970s Tonekings around the Netherlands I think I could talk down to around 400 or 500. And even then I still need to scrounge up some more money.

Have you compared these Coufs to Tonekings of a similar era? I thought they were the same body if not mostly the same in general.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 20
Joined
·
4,842 Posts
I loved the SX90II I had, but just never could voice the palm keys consistently. I know it was mostly me, but I've heard others say the same thing. I've wanted to try to one-piece model and see if helped any, but after I sold mine ($1850 for like new black nickel), the prices all shot up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Saw that Couf... Would love to get it but it's way, waaaaay out of my budget.
There are a couple of 1970s Tonekings around the Netherlands I think I could talk down to around 400 or 500. And even then I still need to scrounge up some more money.

Have you compared these Coufs to Tonekings of a similar era? I thought they were the same body if not mostly the same in general.
Did you buy the Toneking that was on ebay in the Netherlands just now?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
there's quite a few it seems. one also unsold in the UK. This Dutch one seems to have the more vintage style palm keys - closer into the body. It's not obvious how the models relate to each other. It's interesting that the prices are high on the Coufs (probably because of Joe's recommendations and Liebman's use of one), and yet the Keilwerths remain a bargain. Shhhh :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
it's all about internet rep. if someone Google's Couf they get a bunch of references to famous players and "this is a great sax". Google the Keilwerths and you don't get much - quite a lot of it's in German, of course, plus you get a fair few negative references from the "student sax" years. That NL model that just went for €600 looked like a student model to me, but it's hard to tell in crappy auction photos for sure.
 

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, that's why I started this post... Trying to figure out what difference there is. The internet seems to say the Toneking should be the same as the Couf but the Toneking definitely has some inferior mechanism. ie those palm keys. However, if it's the same body and therefor same sound, response, intonation, I'm fine with slightly lesser mechanism.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
405 Posts
Actually it seems like not all Tonekings are not created equal, is the answer, but rather there's a range of instruments bearing that name.

Check this thread if you haven't already: http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?166886-Grover-Washington-Jr-s-Couf-Soprano

You'll see the Superba ii lacks the high palm key and generally has older keywork. That would equate to being a student model. You can get a quick assessment by looking for a photo of the palm keys: are they Selmer style, standing out far from the body of the horn?

I'm guessing you've read this as well: http://www.saxpics.com/Keilwerth/newking.htm

Either way, if you're not too bothered about keywork you can definitely pick up a horn for under €500.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
I just found a Keilwerth SX90 (one piece) soprano from 1996 for an affordable price in my area. I had an amazing Yamaha 62R years ago but they are hard to find right now.. ;) Does anybody know something about those 90s Keilwerths?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
42,156 Posts
yes, great horns.

Heavier and bigger than the Yamaha, mechanically rather sophisticated with lots of regulations ( and not easy to regulate unless you know what you are doing).

Certainly worth in excess of €1500 to 2000 , if you like the Keilwerth vibe and like the way it feels in your hands go for it. Sometimes they go " cheap" because people are obsessed with a different sound concept for " classical music"


 

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
1,313 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I'd also guess it'd be a great instrument. I recently got a Peter Ponzol model soprano and a Toneking Exclusive tenor. Both are excellent horns. I would not hesitate recommending them.
 

·
Registered
Soprano: 1983 Keilwerth Toneking Schenklaars stencil
Joined
·
936 Posts
This thread and linked threads in 2016 got me considering Keilwerth sopranos and stencils like Couf. In 2017, I contacted Peter Ponzol about a Peter Ponzol model soprano that had been available on eBay for some time. He told me, except for custom orders, "all Ponzol model sopranos were SX90s except my [his] model was in copper and had adjustable palm keys." This was the one-piece SX90 made from around 1987-1992 or so.

He also said, "I was never a fan of sopranos with a detachable neck. The part of the body that is cut is where the octave break is and these horns are never easy to play octaves. That goes for all sopranos with a detachable neck." He suggested that I look for an SX90 of one-piece design, which also included a few Coufs and Conns from 1987. He had just designed the ProOne for Antigua and suggested that I look at it too, however Antigua seemed to be having distribution problems at that time, and I could never find one to try.

I remembered that Joe Giardullo was playing a Couf Superba 1, and that got me looking at earlier models including Tonekings. I started trying to piece together a history of sorts, so I could tell what I was looking at. Here are brief highlights of major changes.

I haven't looked before 1965, and these are sopranos only, which do not sync with alto and tenor timelines. Serial numbers are the first number used in that year, not necessarily sopranos. Keilwerth serial numbers are pretty consistent. Introduction dates are first years in which I can find an example.
  • 1966 54751 Keilwerth transitioned from New King to Toneking soprano, which looked much like a Selmer MkVI, front bell tone holes but no arm extending from the B pad cups to the C# to secure it. The lever for the low C# rod can be clearly seen extending from the pinkie table. Inline palm key tone holes, palm keys mounted sharing two rods. Keyed to F.
  • 1972 69301 Keilwerth made the King Tempo, identical to Toneking.
  • 1976 75901 Keilwerth made H. Couf Superba 2, identical to Toneking, except for black key touch on G#/Ab key.
  • 1979 80251 Keilwerth redesigned Toneking, same bore, but independent palm keys opening side tone holes. Lever for C# rod hidden under pinkie table. Still keyed to High F.
  • Redesign included H. Couf now named Superba 1, Keyed to High F#. White pearl key touch on G#/Ab key. Metal thumb rest soldered to the body like all prior models.
  • 1980. 81701 Keilwerth made first Armstrong sopranos.
  • 1982 84601 Keilwerth added two posts which lifted a black plastic thumb rest off the body of the sax and was held in place with a screw into the center of each post. No other known changes.
  • 1983 86051 Keilwerth made Conn DJH Modified to same specifications as Couf Superba 1.
  • 1987 91426 Keilwerth made a major revision and introduced SX90 design and used it on all stencils. Moved lower-two bell tone holes to left side and changed the pinkie table. All models were keyed to High F and had a Front F key. Thought to have made changes to the bore.
  • 1988 92286 Keilwerth ended contracts for all stencils. Mid-year began to use a metal thumb rest retained by a single screw as most saxes use today. Introduced the Peter Ponzol Model. Keilwerth also started making Buffet Expression during this model.
  • 1995 102501 Keilwerth redesigned SX90 and introduced SX90-II soprano with a detachable neck. This was a major redesign, bore, tone holes, key work, sound concept, etc. New pinkie table and moved C# tone hole to left side.
If you have a soprano matching a description with an earlier or later serial number, please PM me. After finding a soprano, I quit updating this information, but recent questions from others seeking saxes, have recently prompted me to continue to update it.

One commonly asked question, it appears that Grover Washington, Jr. played a custom ordered black lacquered Couf Superba 2 from sometime in the mid-1970s until he updated it with a custom ordered black lacquered SX90 manufactured in late 1992.

I think the timbre of the Toneking-based sopranos remained the same. But, based on a very limited sample, it sounds to me that the SX90-based sopranos sound a little brighter. The difficulty is finding recordings where the sax models recorded are certain.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RGos and Serafino
1 - 20 of 38 Posts
Top