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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #1
Leblanc´s attempt to produce a "normal sax"?

I did notify the seller of this item:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/Leblanc-Sys...e=STRK:MEBIDX:IT&_trksid=p2060353.m1438.l2649

...that this sax is to my big surprise NOT a Leblanc System alto - it has neither the key couplings, nor a low Eb-Trill key or a high F# key (non essential for the Raitonale-System fingerings but normally on each of these horns). The seller of this sax has refused a discussion of this item being not the item advertised so it is still a misleading auction as a buyer of this item will have indeed "only" normal fingerings and no High F#. However, it will still be a fine horn. But since "normal Leblanc " altos don´t even sell for 1200 US when they have the special fingerings it stands to reason that this is a special sale...

The Sax has obviously not the regular Rationale fingering system - it is missing the Eb trill key (the smaller key below D) and I do not see any key linkage couplings for the right hand, which are normally always on the horns to allow the special fingerings: pressing any key on the right key lowers the tone fingered on the left hand. What the sax is also missing (and was normally on nearly all the models I have seen except some really early ones) is the High F# key placed below the side palm keys of the left hand. This one is actually quite helpful also for alternative fingerings in the upper register.

The key design has changed over the years - and the way how the adjustments where solved mechanically but the essential features for the player remained the same. I doubt this one offers these features which makes these horns so famous. A horn lacking these features is something else, but not the regular Leblanc System Series 100. I attach pictures of my "normal" Leblanc, Serial number 434 (with a Yani-neck) and two from the auction.

Since it is from the the Leblanc museum I assume it was a (weird) special order item from someone wanting a LEBLANC sax without the key couplings. I have found the System quite great to play on BUT it does limit the options for alternative fingerings, microtones, multiphonics etc. and I can see maybe an owner of a regular Leblanc wanting one for a comparison?

Any thoughts on this?
 

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Premium Member
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Discussion Starter #2
Re: Leblanc´s attempt to produce a "normal sax"?

The seller of this fine Leblanc instrument got back to me and confirmed that the saxophone is what I assumed, NOT a System Saxophone.
It is then similar to the other VITO models (produced by Leblanc) but with more "clunky" keywork. I find for example the later Lebalnc models 38 and 39 (Duke, Duke special etc.) much more elegant in keywork, similar to a Selmer Balanced action saxophone. However, the ebay auction was not changed and is misleading (just for the record when it comes to selling practices on ebay).

So it stands to reason that Leblanc had someone (possibly owning already a Leblanc 100 model) asking for a simplified verison without all the mechanical tricks.
In this case it is a shame Leblanc didn´t improve their keywork as well. As much as I enjoy the special fingerings on Leblanc altos since 20 years now I never really got used to the heavy feel of the horns under the hands, but that might be my problem - but I have heard that complaint more often and it could be one good reason why theses saxophones never reached the mainstream market.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Re: Leblanc´s attempt to produce a "normal sax"?

Actually the Vito models were produced by Beaugnier, just as the Leblanc System horns. Interesting observations about multiphonics etc. I find that the System key work actually gives me more options for those, not less. I have found some sounds I could never do on a 'normal' horn.
The alto for auction is indeed strange, retaining a few key features but mostly it's just a regular alto. Quite a low serial. I believe they did special orders, so maybe this is one?
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015
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Re: Leblanc´s attempt to produce a "normal sax"?

My understanding of the Leblanc system is that you can lower any of the upper stack notes by half a step by pressing any of the lower stack three finger keys, not counting the pinkie keys.

The F# was not present on a few of the earlier versions and the extra rods to the low Bb and B are for more accurately setting their open height.
 
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