Saxophone Forum


by Happydays
(4 posts)
2 years ago

PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

Hi, I have a Pan-American soprano sax and I would like to know what the following info means and what its value might be. It has original pearls and pearl rollers. It needs new pads but is in good condition otherwise.

 

PATD.SEPT.14 1915

1153489

S

35XXX

H

Thanks

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  1. by Saxquest
    (320 posts)

    2 years ago

    Re: PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

    Can you post a few photos? Most Pan-American stencil saxophones are Conn or Buescher made. The 1153489 number is a patent number that dates to Sept 14, 1915, I think for drawing saxophone tone holes. The horn its self probably dates to the mid 1920's. The S stands for soprano. The 35xxx is the serial number. Unfortuantely, there is no serial number chharts for dating stencil saxophones. The H stands for High Pitch (L would be low pitch). Sadly, high pitch saxophones are not very compatible with modern tuning.


    Cheers,
         Mark Overton
         www.saxquest.com       

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    1. by Happydays
      (4 posts)

      2 years ago

      Re: PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

      Here are two pics. Do you need a particular part close up?

       

      Any idea on what it is worth?

      Thanks

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    2. by Happydays
      (4 posts)

      2 years ago

      Re: PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

      Hi Mark,

       

      Do you know any further info? What is the pitch difference between the low and high and why they made them with different pitch?

       

      Thanks Angela

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      1. by Saxquest
        (320 posts)

        2 years ago

        Re: PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

        Hi Angela-

             Thanks for posting photos. Your sax is a CG Conn stencil. This means that it was manufactured in the Conn factory in Elkhart, IN most likely in the 1920's-early 1930's.

             High pitch saxophones are typically A=457HZ. Low pitch saxophones are typically between A=436HZ to A=440HZ. The difference between these tuning standards is nearly half a step. To understand this difference you need to harken back to high school physics where you learned that sound is energy transmitted through air as pressure oscillations. Since sound behaves like a wave, we can measure it by how often the wave repeats, otherwise known as its frequency (measured in Hertz, which is the same thing as cpi or cycles per second). Today, the universal standard for music is A=440HZ, which means the wave cycles 440 times per second. The higher the pitch the more cycles per second, the lower the pitch, the fewer.

        Although we take A=440HZ for granted today, this wasn't always the case. In fact, there was no standard before 1859 when the French adopted A=435HZ. Fortunately, Adolphe Sax had his work shop set up in Paris and didn't really ramp up saxophone production until the mid 1850's so most early saxophones are A=435HZ. Even so, orchestras in other areas of Europe and throughout the rest of the world remained unstandardized. Saxophone manufactures recognized this and accomodated the situation by making instruments in both high and low pitch. To raise the pitch center of a saxophone you shorten the tube and to lower the pitch center you lengthen the tube. Although low pitch was definitely more common, it wasn't until 1939 that an international conference finally established that A above middle C be tuned to 440Hz, now known as concert pitch. But just to keep it interesting, orchestras today will still vary between A=440HZ and A=443HZ. 

        Cheers,
             Mark Overton
             www.saxquest.com

         

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        1. by Happydays
          (4 posts)

          2 years ago

          Re: PAN-AMERICAN SOPRANO SAX

          Hi Mark,

           

          I already understood A = 440HZ and the physics. But thanks for the history lesson. I did not realise that concert pitch was not always a standard. Reading this I can understand why they agreed on a standard, it must have been difficult at times. 

          I'll be restoring this instrument over the next couple of months and am looking forward to hearing how it sounds.

          Do you have any idea of what it my be worth?

           

          Thanks

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