Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a York Master Alto sax on Ebay I purchased it mostly for historical reasons as I am a Grand Rapids Michigan native who only recently discovered G.R. had a history in band instrument manufacturing when I discovered an old York branded stencil (Looks a lot like a Conn Wonder) in our shops old horn graveyard. There is little on the web (Or this forum) regarding York. I am hoping you (The experts) can help me determine if it is a stencil or was in fact manufactured by York.

Please see the link below for a brief video of the sax.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ptz_eDRWoTk

I think it may be a Conn stencil because: It has may attributes similar to Conn Tranny like: 1. Similar table key layout. 2. Double socket tenon (But not underslung like the 6m). 3.Bell key guards look like some Tranny’s I have seen on the web. 4. Left hand palm keys have long levers like the 6m
I think it may NOT be a Conn because: 1. The right hand palm keys do not look like any Conn or Buescher I have owned or worked on. 2. There are rollers on the octave assembly that look like nothing I have seen elsewhere. 3. It has a big guard on the bow that does not look like a Conn (But a bit like my 39 new Aristocrat). The neck hook is beefy unlike the Conn ring.
I could not get good still images under indoor lighting so I had to resort to Video. If you need a specific image to better surmise just what this horn is, Let me know (Brass is tough to photograph I found out). The horn needs a repad and has lost many of its adjustment corks so I could only really evaluate the tone of C#. When I get her rebuilt I will post sound clips to help in the investigation but she already sound more like a Conn than a Buescher. It has soldered tone holes which are not rolled or beveled if that helps. Serial number is 130XXX which would put it as post WWII according to http://www.horn-u-copia.net/Docs/York db.html Thanks for any information you can provide! Thank you and Happy Holidays!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,679 Posts
I'd say it's European...like Amati, Keilwerth, Kohlert?
Sax-ony, what say you?
Pretty unusual that's for sure
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,127 Posts
I used to live outside of Grand Rapids, so I've gathered a few York instruments for the enjoyment of it as well. Unfortunately for all of us York owners, information regarding the brand is very hard to come by.

Dating these can be a pain, and nailing down if it's a model that was made in house or not is equally hard to do. Some of the earlier alto's are a known product of York, and are easily distinguished by having a completely ribbed construction (tone holes included!). When it comes to the alto you have...it's a little harder to say.

In terms of date...using a serial number list in reference to brasswinds for woodwinds is questionable with quite a few brands. But in the case of York, the numbers might be comparable for both since I have a York Master 'Feather Touch' trumpet that dates to '53 according to that list (and I would be inclined to think your sax is from the 50's as well).

Determining who made it is another story. It definitely has some unique features...and some that in my eyes were meant to mimick other brands, but aren't exact copies of those parts.

A few bits show a resemblence to a Buescher (but without a doubt, aren't Buescher parts) such as the bell to body brace, and the teardrop neckstrap ring that's impersonating a 400.

The double socket neck isn't a Conn...it's actually inversed as to which half is attached to the neck and body tube. The bands at the body/bow and bow/bell joints are also Conn-esq, but look just like what my 20's York alto has (another close, but not quite copy).

I would lean towards saying it was made by York...but I don't have a way to conclusively prove that right now.

Hopefully there's someone else out there with one of these that has some solid info regarding them.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,208 Posts
I compared the photos with brands on saxpics. Not a Buescher, Martin, King or Conn. Probably not from Europe so I say York made, possibly Holton.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for your thoughts gentlemen. I took the horn to the shop today in hopes to preform some small triage fixes to get the axe playable. My usual approach when I get a new (old) horn is to get it playable with as little work as possible to asses the tone and develop a game plan on further renovation... This one was a mess....Bumper and adjustment corks missing or falling off, pads leaking all over, damage to the tone holes which require post rebounding prior to tonehole leveling, bent posts and rods etc....then their was the mold issue....So, I tore her down and did a cleaning/chem flush of the body and hit the keys with a green rouge polish... In the process, I uncovered a few more clues.

The RH E palm key has the ser# engraved like I have seen on several Bueschers. The pivot screws look like a non-lock adjustment set screw Conn pivot on steriods (1/32 longer than a conn but the same thread pitch). There is a cast on the back side of the octave lever to hold the bumper cork. I have never worked on a Boosey Hawkes as DVDberg suggested it may be. Are these caricteristics of that brand? It will take a full post adjustment/keyfit then repad to bring her back in to shape. Although I will most likely do it anyway seeing I am committed this far, sonicly (Not resale wise....I know it will have little resale value even restored) will it be worth the effort of a full restore? Thanks again for your input.
Matt
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,385 Posts
I'd suggest the B&H idea is a red herring. It strikes me as unlikely in any case that a US outfit with access to a number of US manufacturers would prefer to get a sax made in Europe with all the extra expense that would involve. Given that it doesn't have the features of any standard stencil, surely the most logical conclusion is that it was indeed made by York?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,810 Posts
Mmmmmmm.......But York subcontracted R. Malerne for some time (I have had a few of these)...so your theory of the unlikelihood of them going across the ocean is not correct.

This is a heck of an amalgamation of sax here !!!! It has qualities of German, French, and American horns...and then some just downright bizarre details I have never even seen before.

As far as provenance mysteries...this is a good one.

Default answer would be it was made by York...but I wouldn't even conclude that until I looked at dozens of other Yorks with similar detailing.....

IMHO...any old and unusual sax is worthy of a restore.....:bluewink:
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,208 Posts
I have found a few saxes that seem to be made up of parts from other makers. SOme of the York sopranos (curved) appear to be Buescher bodies and necks with their own keywork and different tone holes (spats holding the entire sections) so it is always possible that the horn in question was made from parts sourced from other companies. It is still that way with flutes. Risers are shared by many companies as are keywork parts, etc. I remember when I was with Gemeinhardt that we made split E sections for Armstrong. Even though makers compete, they help each other out when one company can sell parts and make extra money. York was never a big player in the sax business. There good years were in the early 1900s making cornets and baritones along with the old dreaded Eb mellophones.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2016
Joined
·
18,810 Posts
I stand corrected ... and humbled!
No need...only a twisted mo'fo such as myself would intentionally look for Malerne-made Yorks (it's not like you trip over 'em everytime you turn around ).

Xax...yeah, it sure does. I was just waitin' to view the pinky table and octave mech....so I could triumphantly proclaim it to be an early Malerne....but this particular horn foiled me .....big-time !!!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,385 Posts
No need...only a twisted mo'fo such as myself would intentionally look for Malerne-made Yorks (it's not like you trip over 'em everytime you turn around ).
Yeah, but I should have remembered the Pierret-made Olds models, the Yamaha- and Beaugnier-made Vitos ...

... etc, etc ...
 

·
Researcher, Teacher and Horn Revitalizer, Forum Co
Joined
·
3,510 Posts
I researched York a long time ago because it was in Michigan too. Unfortunately the one person Gary Ferree who knew alot about it is no longer with us (RIP) but his dad is and probably knows alot about York since they are local to them (Ferrees is in Battle Creek). You may want to contact Ferrees at ferreestools.com

but i don't have any info from my research, at least not handy other than "Apparently some of the Martin brothers worked for York in Battle Creek, Michigan USA. After which they struck out on their own in 1904 and founded "The Martin Band Instrument Company"

There used to be some subpage of a website out there with York information but that was well over 10 years ago when i did some research ... good luck hunting.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks again for your help sussing out this mystery. My colleague at work who has been a tech for 20+ years is equally puzzled but still unwilling to definitively say it was manufactured by York as any he has seen have been obvious stencils. His opinion of the horn is that York took various attributes of the other manufacturers of the era and either changed them for the sake of improvement or to avoid patent infringements. he did come upon an interesting clue researching the issue on the internet. He found a sales listing for a York masterbuilt whose serial number is on 2 digit of from mine!. I have attached the pictures from the listing. Note how the neck Albeit installed backward....is nickle plated. I first assumed the neck on my horn was a replacement. Now I have evidence to the contrary. I hope the images help in the positive I.D. of this horn.

PS: I am humbled by the cumulative york 3.jpg york 4.jpg york 2.jpg york 1.jpg knowledge of the users of this forum...thanks again!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
41,139 Posts
Mmmmmmm.......But York subcontracted R. Malerne for some time (I have had a few of these)...so your theory of the unlikelihood of them going across the ocean is not correct.


I would agree this looks very much like a Malerne.......but of course some Alfonso Rampone horns were made to look like Malernes too and some borrowed heavily from Conn, but the bell to body brace is wrong for A.Rampone but that detail might have been altered.........
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Technician.
Joined
·
3,251 Posts
I think Malerne too, but I don't recall seeing a double socket neck on one. I've seen those on a Cousenon which did have a nickel neck too.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top