I was interested by this statement in a recent saxontheweb topic. As you may know, a while back, Jim Schmidt was working on a revolutionary new ‘Contralto’ – in C – saxophone with a totally different fingering system, and, certainly for the Contralto, a completely new bore design. Subsequently Jim stopped development and production of the C/Contralto – I don’t know if any C’s were ever actually sold – to concentrate on the Bb/Tenor version. Now it seems that Garret L Hypes, of Las Vegas based Saxophone.com is taking the venture a step further. Here’s the statement –
I (Saxophone.com) have just started a collaboration with saxophone inventor Jim Schmidt and our Taiwanese business associates on his new chromatic fingered saxophone (http://users.gotsky.com/jimschmidt/default.html). This is the first real change in saxophone fingering since the Boehm fingering system patent (1847). Jim is just now finishing up marking the tone hole locations on three custom Schmidt spec body tubes manufactured and shipped to him from our Houli contracted factory. Two of these tubes will actually be finished saxophones and the third will be a tone hole guide for future production. We are also adapting his stainless steel rod, and cup technology as well as his gold dust impregnated Mylar film pads on standard Boehm system saxophones. The new saxophone will be named “AVATAR by Jim Schmidt” and will be mainly marketed in Asia. I have video of our first meeting at his workshop and I will also try my best to update the progress on Saxophone.com and Twitter (Saxophonedotcom) —Garrett
Interesting times – here’s a video showing Jim demonstrating an original hand built (prototype ?) sax to Steve Goodson and Ron Carter. Is this the C or the Bb ? Possibly an unfortunate coincidence that the main investor has the surname of “Hypes…”, but it’ll be interesting to see how much it will have changed as a mass-produced product.