Saxophone Forum

by AlexWilder
(2 posts)
4 years ago

1931 York Alto Saxophone

I work for a music store and a family brought in a York alto saxophone with the serial number of 105121.  According to Horn-u-Copia (, that puts it near 1931.  However, I am hearing a variety of information based on the stenciling of it.  I have heard Conn and Buescher.  What is the REAL information on the model of this brand?  I really can't find anything solid.  

It looks to have had a lot of soldering work done around the tone holes, pad work done within the last 2 years, but has a lot of regulations issues (bent mechanisms, etc.)  

It's pretty ugly, and there is some red rot inside of the bell that is starting to affect one of the bell keys.   

I have never seen a sax that has a two-piece bell.  It has a very definite seam right before the bell opens.  

I am concerned about the tuning.  This is supposed to be for a high-schooler, and I would be heartbroken if they decide to fix it and the instrument runs sharp or something.  It is an older horn, with bell keys on both sides of the bell.  

My biggest concern, though is that whomever sold it to her told her it was an intermediate horn.  What is the best way to tell?  I know generally how to tell with modern horns, but with the strange key structure, I have no idea where to start.  

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  1. by historicsaxwhisperer
    (510 posts)

    4 years ago

    Re: 1931 York Alto Saxophone

    I would recommend they look somewhere else and pick another horn.

    Grand Rapids Musical Instrument Company became York EARLY. Their saxophones were primitive at best. They had soldered on tone holes or even complete strips of tone holes soldered onto a body in one complete strip.

    Not a tool for a starting musician to become frustrated with.

    They would be much better off with a beat up 100 dollar bundy.

    Good Luck

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    1. by AlexWilder
      (2 posts)

      4 years ago

      Re: 1931 York Alto Saxophone

      Thank you so much for responding so quickly, I really appreciate it!  

      I'm just going to try to find something a little better for her.  She is a high schooler who is playing soprano and wants to switch to alto.  I will get her figured out.  

      Thanks again! 

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