Re: HELP: Know the brand "Ludwig Standard" ??
This is actually a very cool saxophone from a local historical perspective. But sadly, its not worth a whole lot. Its most likely a Conn or Buescher stencil from the 1920's.
Let me start by giving you a bit of history about Ludwig in St. Louis. Since I'm from St. Louis and I'm a saxophone historian, I can speak with a bit of authority on the subject. Established in 1876 by Alex Ludwig, Ludwig Music House started out slowly, but became a huge deal in St. Louis for band & orchestra instruments after the turn of the century. They were located in north St. Louis city at 514 Walnut just west and south of the famous Eads Bridge (the first bridge to span the Mississippi River).
By the 1910's they were the place to go in St. Louis. All of the Vaudeville musicians knew of the place and it began to obtain a national presence. Alex and his wife, both great musicians in their own right, retired shortly after the St. Louis World's Fair of 1904 and the business was sold to Charles Grohe, who was a business partner with Alex. This turned out to be a very good move for the company as Grohe was extremely well respected in the St. Louis musical scene and was one of those kind of guys who "everyone liked". The business blossomed under his leadership and road the wave of the "jazz age" into the early 1920's. At this time they were stencilling saxophones from both Conn and Buescher. This continued thru the 1940's at which time the J. F. Hunleth Music Store (established in 1901) located in downtown St. Louis began to compete in a big way for the local band and orchestral musician.
Your saxophone was most likely produced in the 1920's or 1930' when Ludwig was at its height for saxophone and other band instrument distribution. The word "standard", in reference to band instruments, at that time, generally meant a lower price option. For example the Martin Standard was introduced as a lower price point saxophone to the Martin Imperial in 1934. Ludwig used the word standard to imply that this was a company instrument targeted for the amateur player or the musician on a budget. They also carried Conn and Buescher so this instrument would have filled a slightly lower price point gap for them. If you could post a few photos here that would be most interesting.
In 1939 Ludwig Music House began to introduce pianos which its existing company (Ludwig Aeolian Piano Superstore) is now known for exclusively. The intorduction of pianos was probably a long over-due venture initiated as a way of diversifying in response to Hunleth Music Store taking over as the hub for band & orchestral instruments in St. Louis at that time. The introduction of piano sales was accopanied by the opening of a second store at Grand and Gravois, which is actually located about about a mile south of my house and on they way between my house and my shop (Saxquest - about a mile east on Cherokee Street). In the 1940's Grand and Gravois was a high traffic location and the largest bus and transfer point in St. Louis. It would have been an exciting time to live in the city of St. Louis!!!
In 1970, Ludwig Music House absorbed the Aeolian Company of Missouri and changed its name to Ludwig Aeolian. They moved to their current location in Earth City Missouri in 1989 and again changed names to the Ludwig Aeolian Piano Superstore in 2006. You would never know of the early history if you walked into the store today. The store is a mega piano store with colored pianos displayed in glass windows visible from Interstate 70 as you drive by. Today, the store looks as modern as ever and has nothing to do with band instruments. But, none-the-less, this is the history of your saxophone. ENJOY!!!