Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 16 of 16 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Late Radio / Dorsey Horns - an ongoing study

I am gathering information on Late Radio / Dorsey saxophones for a publication planned in the fall of 2017. Anyone with one of these horns who would be willing to help would be greatly appreciated. I am looking to gather information on any Selmer saxophone with left-hand bell keys and a serial number later that 20,500 as well as information on any Balanced Action horn within the production batches listed below.
Posts #2 and #3 below will be regularly updated to reflect progress.

Specifically, I am looking for the following information.
1) Photos of the saxophone, including overall front and back, a close-up of the octave mechanism and a closeup of the entire bell stamp.
2) Serial number information including any of the following as they appear. Serial number on the bell, serial number on the back of the body (often partially covered up by the low Eb guard post, body number (under the low D key)

Below is a list of production batches which should help to outline the transition from the Radio Improved to the Balanced Action, as well as production batches in which Late Radio / Dorsey horns have been observed.

For the purpose of initial identification, the following two classifications are used:
1) Late Radio - any left bell-key horn produced after the introduction of the Balanced Action model, which has the words "Radio Improved" stamped on the bell.
2) Dorsey - any left bell-key horn produced after the introduction of the Balanced Action model, which does NOT have the words "Radio Improved" stamped on the bell.

All comments below are a work in progress and will be updated as more information comes to light.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Alto Late Radio / Dorsey observations

20,63x: Latest observed Radio Improved (prior to Balanced Action Introduction) - June 1935
20,66x: Earliest observed Balanced Action - June 1935

Batch 1 - Late Radio Altos
20,8xx: Batch of 31 Altos of which 4 observed horns are Radio Improved
(no observations of Balanced Action Altos in this batch)
Production Timeline: Apr 1936 - Feb 1937

Batch 2 - Late Radio Altos
24,1xx: Batch of 27 Altos of which 3 observed horns are Radio Improved
(no observations of Balanced Action Altos in this batch)
Production Timeline: Apr - May 1937

Batch 3 - Dorsey Altos
25,xxx: Two observed examples. One has Dorsey-style B/Bb keyguards and the other has Radio Improved-Style keyguards.
Production Timeline: Dec 1938

Batch 4 - Dorsey Altos
27,4xx: Three observed examples
Production Timeline: Dec 1938 - Feb 1939

Batch 5 - Dorsey Altos
27,9xx: Two observed examples
Production Timeline: Apr - May 1939

Batch 6 - Dorsey Altos
28,52x - 28,67x: Sixteen observed examples
Production Timeline: Jun - Dec 1939

Batch 7 - Dorsey Altos
28,68x: One observed example
Production Timeline: Oct 1941
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Tenor Late Radio / Dorsey observations

20,55x: Latest observed Radio Improved (prior to Balanced Action Introduction) - April 1935
20,75x: Earliest observed Balanced Action - June 1935

Batch 1 - Late Radio Tenors
22,1xx: Batch of 75 Tenors of which 1 observed horn is a Radio Improved and 5 observed horns are Balanced Action.
Production Timeline: Mar 1936

Batch 2 - Late Radio Tenors
23,1xx-23,2xx: Batch of 59 Tenors of which 1 observed horn is a Radio Improved and 3 observed horns are Balanced Action.
Production Timeline: Aug 1936

Batch 3 - Late Radio Tenors
23,5xx - 23,600: Batch of 70 Tenors of which 2 observed horns are Radio Improved and 2 observed horns are Balanced Action.
Production Timeline: Dec 1936 - Jan 1937

Batch 4 - Late Radio Tenors
24,1xx: Batch of 28 Tenors of which 2 observed horns are Radio Improved
(no observations of Balanced Action Tenors in this batch)
Production Timeline: Apr 1937

Batch 5 - Late Radio Tenors
24,4xx: Batch of 50 Tenors of which 2 observed horns are Radio Improved and 2 observed horns are Balanced Action.
Production Timeline: May 1937

Batch 6 - Dorsey Tenors
28,5xx: Batch of 56 Tenors of which 1 observed horn is a Dorsey and 5 observed horns are Balanced Action.
Production Timeline: Jun 1939

Batch 7 - Dorsey Tenors
24,6xx: Batch of 35 Tenors of which 2 observed horn are Dorsey
(no observations of Balanced Action Tenors in this batch)
Production Timeline: Dec 1939

Updated: Jan 1, 2017
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,337 Posts
Fwiw, I used to own a R.I. tenor listed in your first batch. Serial is 22,112.

Didn't know at the time how rare and interesting these were, or I wouldn't have sold it.

Lacquer, in very nice condition, but that was many decades ago.

I'd guess it was a U.S. bound horn. I traded a Mark VI for it with a horn shop in Chicago...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Hi John,
No, I hadn't seen that one yet.
Thanks for pointing it out !!

It looks like a regular Late RI to me as well ... except that the left pinky cluster includes the UK-market extended Bb key on a US-market horn.

Some online websites suggest that all late RI horns should be considered as Dorseys. I disagree.
I use a very simple dividing line between the Late Radios and the Dorseys ... if the bell says "Radio Improved" ... the horn is a Late Radio, not a Dorsey.

The body number of this sax will determine whether the body was built at the end of the Radio Improved Era or the early Balanced Action era.
I can see part of the number, but plan to contact the seller in hopes of getting the full number.

This sax is from a serial number range I wasn't expecting for Late Radios ... I have updated post #3 above to reflect this.

Another point which should be raised is ... is there any difference between a Radio Improved body and a Balanced Action body tube?
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Hi John,
No, I hadn't seen that one yet.
Thanks for pointing it out !!

It looks like a regular Late RI to me as well ... except that the left pinky cluster includes the UK-market extended Bb key on a US-market horn.

Some online websites suggest that all late RI horns should be considered as Dorseys. I disagree.
I use a very simple dividing line between the Late Radios and the Dorseys ... if the bell says "Radio Improved" ... the horn is a Late Radio, not a Dorsey.

The body number of this sax will determine whether the body was built at the end of the Radio Improved Era or the early Balanced Action era.
I can see part of the number, but plan to contact the seller in hopes of getting the full number.

This sax is from a serial number range I wasn't expecting for Late Radios ... I have updated post #3 above to reflect this.

Another point which should be raised is ... is there any difference between a Radio Improved body and a Balanced Action body tube?
Thanks Douglas! Pretty much my thoughts as well. I noticed that pinky cluster as well. It was the only thing that looked "unique" to me. Yes, I also noticed the body tube # is partially visible. Would be curious to know if the seller gets back to you on that! Regarding that body tube......good question. Not being all that knowledgeable about early BA body tubes, did the early BA tubes have the tone holes in-line like Super/RI's? When did the RH tone holes move, with SBA's?
On a different note, have you had a chance to dig through the paperwork you've accumulated on RI/BT clarinets? I own multiples of both and would love to ask you some questions regarding serial and body numbers as well as letters on the back/underside of keys!

Best...
John
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,766 Posts
I always thought that the Dorsey type horns looked like a RI but had stamped key guards. The horn in the ebay link was obviously finished during the BA era. It has a #23k serial number and Elkhart type engraving. I can't help but wonder if this horn was made as a RI a few years before it was completed.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
4,684 Posts
Regarding that body tube......good question. Not being all that knowledgeable about early BA body tubes, did the early BA tubes have the tone holes in-line like Super/RI's? When did the RH tone holes move, with SBA's?
Yeah, that's one of the salient features of the SBA; the offset RH toneholes.
Everything pre-SBA is inline toneholes .

I always thought that the Dorsey type horns looked like a RI but had stamped key guards. The horn in the ebay link was obviously finished during the BA era. It has a #23k serial number and Elkhart type engraving. I can't help but wonder if this horn was made as a RI a few years before it was completed.
Yeah, to me true Dorsey models would have the stamped guards.

I saw an old AD maybe in the Sax Journal in the early 90's with Jerry Bergonzi playing his Dorsey tenor.
It had stamped guards and the G-sharp key was a rectangular bar instead of a round pearl like this --



Saxquest has a Dorsey alto right now . Ser.No. 28599

http://www.saxquest.com/product/vie...ion-dorsey-model-alto-sax-serial-28599-P10170
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
166 Posts
With regards to the question of whether there are major differences between the Radio Improved and Balanced Action bodies, below is is a link to a video by Matt Stohrer comparing two altos. It would be interesting to compare the sound of the three models: Radio Improved, BA, and Dorsey.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8pp_g-uh_XE&rdm=2cwbjlyh&client=mv-google
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
And interesting to do it for both Alto and Tenor.
I'd throw in the Cigar Cutter and the Late Radio Improved just for fun too.


With regards to the question of whether there are major differences between the Radio Improved and Balanced Action bodies, below is is a link to a video by Matt Stohrer comparing two altos. It would be interesting to compare the sound of the three models: Radio Improved, BA, and Dorsey.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8pp_g-uh_XE&rdm=2cwbjlyh&client=mv-google
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
716 Posts
Discussion Starter #15

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,814 Posts
Yes, this one is a very interesting Dorsey. The seller claims it is gold-plated, but it looks like Permgold to me.
I've already had several people ask me about this horn ... otherwise I'd consider bidding on it myself.
It will be interesting to see what it goes for.
As always, thanks for your input, Douglas! Permgold? A gold-like lacquer? Sorry, haven't heard that term before. How common was it? $6k USD is simply waaaaay out of my ballpark. I'd personally be shocked if it sells at that price. Then again, you never know!

John
 
1 - 16 of 16 Posts
Top