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Balanced Actions were made under occupation so weren't about to be shipped out to export markets during the war. On my BA tenor 29XXX (1941) the bell is nevertheless under stamped with Selmer US details. Why would that have been done? Does anybody know the back story?

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The bell of your BA is stamped exactly the same as mine...just about 300 serial numbers different.

You should contact Selmer historian Doug Pipher and ask him for the history of your Sax. There was an accidental duplication of serial numbers at about this time and I would say that it is very likely that your Sax is among the duplicates (mine is). I would love to find and buy the lacquered brass duplicate of my silver BA.

Not all of the duplicates are the same size meaning that 29XXX might have been made as an Alto originally, then the duplicate was made as a Tenor...but in my case both with my 29XXX number happened to be Tenor Saxes.

Doug is a member of SOTW or I can send you contact information via PM if you like.

PS: The silver plating on your horn looks like it has very little wear. Mine looked like that when I bought it in 1980 but now has some wear through at touch points.
 

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Thanks for the suggestion Tharuff; I'll contact Doug Pipher and report back.

But that's different from your point about duplicate serials, which is super interesting. I guess no surprise when the world has been turned upside down.

My body tube serial is different to the one on the bell, which I gather there are all sorts of theories about. The guy I bought my BA from in France reckons the body tube serial relates to stock that was used by Selmer from the Adolphe Sax workshop they had bought in around 1929/30. No idea whether that's right or wrong. Serial number of my body tube is 18xxx.

Yes little wear, and none on the touch points. As per the other thread you participated in on the long/ short bell issue; good intonation with in-tune bell notes.
 

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I am not sure that that is what you think it is.

That stamp says that there Selmer (different logo the one of Selmer USA ) were the sole agents in the US, but has nothing to do with occupation.

The US never occupied France , if nothing else liberated it for the German occupation ( Germany was occupied by the allies), after the war France was a free country with his own government which took over after the country was liberated by the allies (and the French troops which had managed to reach England)
 

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PS: Below is the Selmer USA logo during the timeframe that your Sax was made. This logo is not stamped on your bell (or on mine either).

PPS: You are very fortunate if your Sax has good intonation for the bell notes...mine does not.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
PS: Below is the Selmer USA logo during the timeframe that your Sax was made. This logo is not stamped on your bell (or on mine either).

PPS: You are very fortunate if your Sax has good intonation for the bell notes...mine does not.
Thanks Tharruff, So the Selmer US style logo was put on all horns made in Paris and during the German occupation irrespective of whether they were destined for the US market? Presume there were no exports to the US from France in 1941 but maybe that will all have stopped in early 1942 when US troops joined in the European theatre?

True, I am lucky on intonation but spent at least an hour with the horn in situ before buying it, armed with a tuner! That's when I was able to compare the bell tone hole placements with a '45 BA that the seller owned. Intonation is not slotted of course like say a Ref 36 but it's quite good and the bell notes are bang on perfect.
 

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I mean an instrument that’s tunes more or less perfectly the moment you pick it up without a need to adjust embouchure here and here. Tuning therefore feels naturally stable and remains stable notwithstanding the player when making small adjustments.


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My 1938 BA tenor has the same stamping. Maybe the bell keys are a little off but the way the sax seems to speak faster than my Mark VI out weighs them be a little sharp. It’s fun to have something different than the Mark VI I’ve had forever.
I don’t do a lot of honking on low Bs and B flats so I’m ok if they’re not perfectly in tune.
 

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Maybe the bell keys are a little off but the way the sax seems to speak faster than my Mark VI out weighs them be a little sharp.
Great that you love the voice of it so much. And there's something incredibly comfy about the design of the BA. Voice + really good ergonomics counts for a lot! I sold my perfectly tuned Leblanc Rationale that was super accurate along with a Ref 36 that tuned just as well in order to stump up for my BA. In the case of the Leblanc I wasn't so comfortable with the feel under the fingers and the Ref 36 was very good but I prefer the voice of the BA.


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Under normal circumstances, the production process at Selmer Paris took several months. The simplest answer to your question would be that the bell stamp (which was applied very early in the production process) was most likely applied before the German forces occupied Mantes, France ... but the completion of the instrument and its sale would have occurred after the occupation. This would imply that your saxophone was originally intended to be shipped to the US, but the occupation prevented this and it was eventually sold wherever possible. In fact, your saxophone was shipped in May 1941 to a store by the name of Vercruysse, located in Lille, France.


Balanced Actions were made under occupation so weren't about to be shipped out to export markets during the war. On my BA tenor 29XXX (1941) the bell is nevertheless under stamped with Selmer US details. Why would that have been done? Does anybody know the back story?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Great, thanks very much Doug for the explanation - makes perfect sense. The person I bought the sax from last month lived in Lille, and I travelled there from London to play test it at his house and to buy it.

So the instrument never left the same city since first shipped there in 1941! Amazing.

Guto, looks like the place, no longer in business as you say, although Lille is blessed with no fewer than 3 woodwind specialist shops these days, so the tradition endures.
 

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Interesting.... my BA does not have the USA Selmer stamp or any engraving at all.

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Which is what I thought originally when posting the thread. De facto the USA under-stamp would only have been put on the bell for those instruments destined for export to the USA. There was a different understamp for the UK at the time. Doug's explanation that my BA was started before occupation but finished after and therefore not exported as originally intended but sold to a shop in Northern France makes great sense and we think the horn never left the area it was first delivered to in '41.
 

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Lester, according to the Selmer Paris archives, your saxophone does not have an Elkhart stamp because it was originally a European-market instrument. It shipped in March 1940 to a store in Paris by the name of Frichet.

Interesting.... my BA does not have the USA Selmer stamp or any engraving at all.
 

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Lester, according to the Selmer Paris archives, your saxophone does not have an Elkhart stamp because it was originally a European-market instrument. It shipped in March 1940 to a store in Paris by the name of Frichet.
Wow, thanks for the info Doug. I wasn't expecting that at all. That would make it two months before Germany invaded, must have been some interesting times in France.

I really love these old horns, it's like a connection into the daily lives of my grand parents generation. Ordinary people going to work in the Selmer factory, probably concerned about the possibility of war - some high school kid wanting a saxophone looking in a shop window; listening to 78s of the American Jazz Greats.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I really love these old horns, it's like a connection into the daily lives of my grand parents generation.
Nice thought Lester, and so in the same way connects me to my late father, who had visited the Cotton Club in 1936 aged 17 and who joined up in 1938 before demobbing in '45, some time after having landed in France as part of the Allied forces (as a British navy officer and part of the team who designed the Mulberry harbours that were deployed for the invasion of Normandy in '44).
 

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Lester, according to the Selmer Paris archives, your saxophone does not have an Elkhart stamp because it was originally a European-market instrument. It shipped in March 1940 to a store in Paris by the name of Frichet.
This may be a stupid question, but were horns with the Selmer USA/Elkhart stamp always destined for the US market? My 40xxx SBA has that stamp, but I suppose it could have been imported back to Europe at some point. It does, however, have the high F# and I seem to remember reading somewhere that this option was more common on saxes intended for the European market?

/Saxray
 

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Discussion Starter #20
My 1938 BA tenor has the same stamping. Maybe the bell keys are a little off but the way the sax seems to speak faster than my Mark VI out weighs them be a little sharp. It’s fun to have something different than the Mark VI I’ve had forever.
I don’t do a lot of honking on low Bs and B flats so I’m ok if they’re not perfectly in tune.
By the way have you tried setting the key heights high? Surprised how high they go for BA to speak as well as it can, and for tuning to be excellent in bell keys. Maybe I'm just lucky with mine but maybe worth a try? Let me know if you want posted pics of my pad settings.


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