Saxophone Forum


by kwepz
(3 posts)
7 months ago

Inherited a sax..learn to play

Last year I inherited a 1953 Selmer Alto Sax from my grandpa. I thought since we all have some time on our hands I might try to learn to make some noises on it. I need to get reeds though and I'm not sure which thickness to buy. Any suggestions on that and maybe a beginner book? Anything I should know about thst particular sax? Not sure the model. It has the bill of sale in the case though and it is number 43660.

Here is a pic of the sax. It originally came with a clarinet, but it was lost. The one in the pic is a replacement. Still has the case to go in the sax case which is neat though.

Thanks! 

Reply To Post [Report Abuse]

Report Abuse

Replies

  1. by mijderf
    (269 posts)

    7 months ago

    Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

    This is not the best angle to identify this horn.  Based on the year, and the engraving pattern around the bell keys (which is very hard to see since no zoom was used), I would guess that this might be a Selmer SBA.  Probably the best way of finding out is to use the saxophone photos available on this site.  (Go to "Saxophone Museum"  just beneath teh "Saxophone.org" title, and then click on the Selmer site and start looking at the photos).  Also, stating the serial number is perhaps the easiest way to tell.  It looks like a really good horn.
    Good luck in your investigation. 

    Reply To Post


    1. by kwepz
      (3 posts)

      7 months ago

      Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

      Oh no! The Rubank books! Back in the early 80’s, there was a kid who only dreamed of playing bass in a punk rock band. Instead, they got 2 years of clarinet lessons with Grandpa who had a very old school approach to teaching. He used the Rubank book and the kid was stubborn and fought it the whole way (still can not sightread even though I have tried to go back and learn). Lol. I guess they were very good books so I’ll give it a shot.

       

      Here are some close up shots. I think you are right about the model. This is not the one all the jazz guys hunt for correct? It has that really smooth, distinct sound.

       

      There were also four mouthpieces in the case. I can’t read the back on three of them and they seem generally the same. Should I choose one over the other?

       

      Thank for your help. I was going to take it in to be looked at then  CoronaVirus hit. 

      Reply To Post


      1. by mijderf
        (269 posts)

        7 months ago

        Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

        The SBA is a highly regarded Selmer model, and sell for not that much less than Mark VI's that are in similar condition.  The mouthpiece with cork on the shank is for a clarinet.  The 2nd and 4th pics looks to be perhaps the best mouthpieces in the group.

        And yeah, Rubank is perhaps your best starting point.

        Good luck! 

        Reply To Post


        1. by kwepz
          (3 posts)

          7 months ago

          Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

          Awesome. Thank you so much. One more question if I may....I was going to take it to the music store so they could take a look at the condition and see what it needed.  Once this is over I'll get there, but from what you could see in the pictures does look like it is in good shape? It's still shiny. I can see a few spots that looked rubbed. The attached picture shows the worse of it. None of the keys stick at all and the pads seem good.

          Even though my grandpa was one of the most fastidious people ever, he did not have any oil or cleaning supplies in the case. Is there something I should use to on the finish or cleaning supplies I need?

          thanks again for the info 

          Reply To Post


        2. by mijderf
          (269 posts)

          7 months ago

          Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

          It looks very good, but good looks does not make it play well.  If your sax sat idle for a long time, it may need to be cleaned and lubed.  And pads that are old can go bad even with minimal play time.  So what I am saying is that I can't tell if it is in good playing shape from photos.  An experienced tech will need to evaluate that.  
          All I can say is that if you are serious about learning to play, it is probably well worth the investment to have a tech get it into great playing shape.  If on the other hand, if you plan to sell it, then just have a tech look at it and fix any real problems.  The way the market works, if you are planning to sell, it is really not worth putting a lot of money into it, as you would not get that money back in the sale.

          Reply To Post


      2. by historicsaxwhisperer
        (543 posts)

        7 months ago

        Re: Inherited a sax..learn to play

        try a #2 reed or a med soft reed. Depending on the manufacturer. Either would be pretty soft for a seasoned player but good for a beginner. The horn is an alto.

        Start with a Rubank beginner book. That should get you started.

        It comes with a fingering chart.

        Welcome and good luck.

         

        Reply To Post