Intriguing picture – 1870 Saxophone band

1870 Saxophone band

At first I wanted to say “Nah…”, but some of the saxophones only go to low B – spot the two C-mels ! The lady alto & C-Mel players look to be real musicians, judging by the pose.

Possibly the attire is a little pre-1870, no slings ?

Oh well, it’s a nice picture until more feedback from the new owners of the Aquilasax C Sax filters through, for discusion . Is it an 1870 Band ?

Click on the picture (or here) for a bigger version.

This entry was posted in C Saxophones, Eb/Bb saxes, Humour & Techie. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Intriguing picture – 1870 Saxophone band

  1. ukebert says:

    What a wonderful picture, all bewigged and besaxed. Wonder what they would have been like to hear…

  2. al says:

    Yes, great isn’t it – my instant reaction was “retro…”, but then I saw the C-mels and the couple of ‘low-B’ horns (altho’ not on the bass and baritone). Guess we’ll never know.

    I’m totally impressed – I decided to search on Google (UK naturally…) for “1870 Saxophone Band”, and the little search-bots have found this blog entry already – first place !!

    Next search result was Don Mack’s website – hmmm…. I found the picture on the internet, ebay sale I think, I guess Don had the same idea – scroll down his page, his says “English…”

    Nothing much else, the search goes on, except that I found this amazing Saxgourmet article, detailing Sax’s life – detailed reading indeed !

    Aaaahhh -the plot thickens – according to this article on Saxophone History, (quote) “1881 – Sax extends his original patent and lengthens bell to include low Bb and A. He also extends the range upward to F# and G, with the use of a fourth octave key“.

    Fourth octave key ????? What did the third one do ? Nice picture of his original bass tho’ – was that one in C ?

    The bass and bari in the blog picture look to be going to Bb, but allegedly that was not available in 1870..?

  3. Lewis Pelham says:

    Clear evidence that the saxophone was around in 1760.:-) Perhaps there was some mechanical device built into the hooped skirts as a substitute for a sling.

  4. Lewis Pelham says:

    With regard to “fourth octave key”, I would suggest that the writer meant Palm Key to accommodate either the high F# or G. High G…give it unto me.

  5. ukebert says:

    Eppelsheim’s saxes have 4 ‘octave’ keys, three automatic and one altissimo.

  6. Lewis Pelham says:

    Not having four thumbs on my left hand, I hope that I never encounter an “Eppelsheim Sax (whatever that is).
    It occurs to me that with your knowledge (however sourced) of these esoteric antiquities you should be setting your sights higher than “folk”; Morris Dancing perhaps. 🙂

  7. al says:

    Lewis – click on this link to view (and hear) the Eppelsheim Tubax ! There is a clip of Randy Emerick playing Stardust, I can almost see him hooking his foot around the microphone stand, to stop it slowly vibrating away from him. Obviously played from memory, as the vibrating eyeballs would make reading the music impossible !

    Only four octave keys ? My two Yamaha wind-synths (now sadly sold) had at least six octave keys – the memory fades, but I think it was four-up and two-down, to give it a seven octave range. And all in-line, mannic !

    Why two ? Complicated electronics are prone to crashing at the wrong moment – I can relatively easily fix springs and pads, but rely on just one piece of electronic kit ? Never. I could make a better ‘Fender fretless’ sound than the bass player, and with the ability to lip, I could bend my notes further too ! Bit limited playing chords tho… Although I did pop into a London music shop one lunch hour, and play several improvised choruses of “Oh I do like to be beside the seaside” on the Church Organ sound setting.

    Confused a lot of people, but one of the salesmen (obviously a musician) very intelligently remarked that it was wierd to hear an organ sound, but with saxophone-style phrasing… Very perceptive.

    As I remarked on Wade’s forum, it was also an “electronically transpose to any key” instrument. With a transposing keyboard player, as long as we both transposed the same amount, we could stay on the same key and fingerings, but move the pitch all over the place. Brrrrr. But useful for vocalists who always asked that annoying question “Can we go up /down a bit..?”

    Anyway, back to 1870, where there probably wouldn’t have been anywhere to plug a Wind Synth into…

  8. Lewis Pelham says:

    Amazing, makes one wonder why all bands/orchestras do not all play wind synths purporting to be whatever the instrumentalist usually played.
    Just love the comment about vibrating eyeballs :-))

  9. al says:

    Lewis – with wind synths, either the sound is a pure electronic simulation, or just a ‘snapshot’ acoustic sample of one sound (and then extended to all notes) – so the subtle nuances that change within each note (or short range) cannot be present without a great degree of complexity.

    Sure, you can control dynamics, and bend notes, but that’s about it – relatively uniform sound.

    And, because it’s an electronic device, there is always a slight midi delay – you have to play slightly ahead of the note. Just like digital camera’s annoying slight lag behind the action.

    Nice if you haven’t got the instrument, or you really do like to use synthesised sound – but no replacement for the real thing. And, like me, you constantly search for ‘the’ sound – there isn’t a Metallite or an RPC mouthpiece available 😦 No contest. I used to enjoy playing ‘electronic flugel’ and sounds that I couldn’t get on my instruments. Great for complementing saxes, but not to replace, despite what the marketing men say.

    AND, you’re then into dragging an amp, speakers and a mini-rack of other effects along to gigs ! But great for silent practise, and does play in stereo ! Like these reeds ! Interesting site, very down to earth .

  10. Lewis Pelham says:

    You have convinced me Alan to stick with the tenor…I can well imagine what you said to be the case.
    Stereoreeds…where do you find all that stuff?
    A pal of mine, a tenor player, has an effect known as an “Octivator” or some such name, to make his tenor into a horn section…absolutely dreadful; and he uses it far to much.

  11. al says:

    Lewis – yes, an Octivider, as in ‘Octave Divider’. I’ve got one in the garage (best place for it…). Use it with a mic or a pickup and it adds an octave below the note you’re playing. Plus other (often seemingly random) frequencies along with that octave. I sax Wilton Felder (Jazz Crusaders) use one on-stage at the Hammersmith Odeon back in the 70’s (?). It was at the time when sax players were trying to ‘expand’ their sound, a short-lived era.

    Now just used by retro guitarists, and annoying Westcountry tenor players 🙂 who are stuck in a time warp, and use it as a psuedo-baritone sax playing along with them. ‘Get a life’, I say…

  12. Lewis Pelham says:

    Alan…Thanks for the clip of the Bass (Contrabass?). It made me feel so contented with my lot…just the fact that I do not have one!

  13. ukebert says:

    Not to mention the varitone…

    Eppelsheim has three automatic ones, and one manual that ‘selects’ the others automatically. He makes very high saxes (soprillo), and very low saxes (subcontrabass, including one in C!)

    The one you heard was an Eb contrabass. Go on to or or something similar to hear more…

  14. al says:

    Owen – I’m having trouble getting my modest IQ past the “and one manual that ‘selects’ the others automatically” comment. 😦

    Do I understand that, if the manual one is depressed, then, depending on which fingers are down (or up), the other three just respond accordingly ?

  15. ukebert says:

    I believe so, yes 🙂 So you don’t have to press the octave key to use the altissimo.

    Though that may be wrong.

  16. al says:

    Don’t do that ! I can’t handle lightning fast responses at my age…… 🙂

  17. ukebert says:

    Was it lightning? I just happened to check at that instant…

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