Saxophone Forum

by TorontoJohnny
(3 posts)
5 years ago

Selmer Model 26

Hi everyone, I decided to join and share a story with everyone since I've been lurking and researching here.

My father who passed away in the mid 80's was a professional Saxist who mainly played tenor (and clarinet as-well in a symphonic orchestra.)

Unfortunately my mother sold his Tenor and Alto, along with other woodwinds to pay for his cancer treatment; save for one instrument, a Selmer alto which he had been restoring and using as a back up instrument before his lungs burnt out. The background of the instrument is unknown, though it may have belonged to my grandfather who was also a woodwind player.

Through the many years that have passed this instrument remained in my posession (even moving with me from Europe to Canada in 89.) It wasn't until this last week that for some reason my interest peaked once again into the Saxophone (I play guitar but would like to move on.) Having priced out many student instruments, I decided to pull out the horn and inspect it, and look into Selmer history.

It is my plan now to restore the instrument as best I can, I'm sure it leaks like a sieve as the pads are extremely old (last replaced in the 80's I assume.) The keys feel surprisingly responsive though I will replace the springs. I see this as an opportunity to learn more about the instrument, I've worked on guitars before but this is a whole other beast and I've always been fascinated by woodwinds and brass.

Somehow this thing isn't covered in rust, and I see no dents anywhere, the neck however is in nasty shape and could be replaced, and as you can see from the pics I still have one of his mouthpieces (it's as heavy as a boat anchor.) It's no wonder there are so many pre-war Selmers still kicking around, they're amazingly well built.

Here are some pics, I've thought about starting a blog to keep track of the progress.
I've included a pic of my father with his tenor which I believe was also a Selmer. Though it's impossible to know at this point I remember the hetching and logo on the horn even from a very young age (it stuck with me) when I used to hang out on stage while the band played.

The Model 26 (#11188) I believe was manufactured in 1929 according to the Selmer site. Any help pointing me to repair sites or online stores selling parts would be much appreciated. FYI my mother did at one point look into a luthier in the early 90's, she was told it wasn't worth the money as the labor cost would be too high; and thus, here we are.

Yes, I am still looking around for a student sax.

PS. Take care of your horns, they will outlive you.

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  1. by historicsaxwhisperer
    (644 posts)

    5 years ago

    Re: Selmer Model 26

    That is a wonderful old horn and a wonderful old otto link mouthpiece also, I believe.

    If you are wanting to do the work yourself, go to ferrees tools in Michigan.

    You can google it find their site. They will have everything from pads to felt to cork.

    The neck just needs some minor work. The neck is not something you can replace easily.

    BTW saxes are easy to refurbish BADLY.

    You should consider some assistance. At least watch some youtube projects.

    I can take a saxophone apart in the dark, but I'd never try a brake job on my Toyota.

    Stick with what you know my friend.

    Good Luck!

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    1. by TorontoJohnny
      (3 posts)

      5 years ago

      Re: Selmer Model 26

      Thanks for the reply,

      I'm definately doing my research and not just diving in. This is going to be a long term project and I would expect it to take quite some time. I've only started my research and building a pricing sheet.

      I am still very surprised that it isn't in worse shape, as I said the keys are surprisingly responsive save for a few spots but these pads are a whole other bag. Luckily there are't any dents that I can see, but I need to take a light to the inside of the instrument.

      I may complete part of the work and then visit a luthier for some advice to see how much further it can be taken, I wont be taking any mallets to the body any time soon :)

      I do wish the tenor was still around, but what can you do.
      BTW. The mouthpiece is incredibly heavy, the inside needs some cleaning, etc. 

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      1. by GFC
        (842 posts)

        5 years ago

        Re: Selmer Model 26

        Your second picture shows a forked Eb mechanism on the lower D key that marks it as a Modele 28, also more consistent with the production date.  That oddball D-Eb mechanism consists of the D key with a donut hole in the middle and a top key that is lifted off the donut hole when the right middle finger is raised.  It is not a highly regarded feature of the Modele 28 and you would have a serious job in front of you getting the Eb mechanism properly adjusted and in good working order after you have installed the pads.  My cursory search on the web suggests that there are no pad sets made for the Modele 28 and that weird donut setup is probably the reason.  You would need to order a set based on key cup measurements (procedures can be found online) an in all probability the donut pad would have to be custom made.  

        What's wrong with the springs?  Replacing needle springs is not a beginner project and if the new springs are not installed properly it can result in serious damage.  

        The neck looks pretty good from here.  Fixing damaged necks definitly comes under the advanced repair heading - inadvertently changing the design of the neck through improperly done repair is a serious mis-step.  

        I personally find the old short-shank Otto Link mouthpiece more exciting than the horn.  From what I can tell it has a smooth top, whidh would peg it as a pre-WWII Four**** or Master Link piece.  Check yours against the examples in the Museum section of this site to be sure.

        It looks like Daddy-o is playing something other than a Selmer in the picture.  Selmer went with ring-style bell braces at the same time they switched to right side bell keys.  The key table also pivots in the same direction as the older ones and is connected to the bell keys through a pivot linkage, unlike the one-piece keys on the Selmers.  It also appears to have a microtuner (that collar-like thing in front of the mouthpiece) on the neck.  An old Keilwerth, perhaps?

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        1. by TorontoJohnny
          (3 posts)

          5 years ago

          Re: Selmer Model 26

          This is exactly why I joined the board :)

           I'll have to research the pads more closely as I was ready to eventually order a set for the Modele 26 (some research showed the pads were also a match between the 26 and 28, though I will keep digging.) I did find find a source that has pads that can be ordered by size.

          After having a closer look throughout it appears the needle springs are fine (which is somewhat surprising to me, it's possible my father had replaced them.) There are definately some timing issues which can be sorted out. You do have me worried about the D-Eb mechanism however.

          The octave key needed some adjustment, beyond that it was a simple adjustment of the spring and as it sits now it feels very solid and moves smoothly. Also, it appeasrs my father had the mechanism soldered at some point.

          I am taking the instrument to a luthier this weekend to get a trained eye on it (all my luthier experience comes from the guitar world.) Perhaps get an idea of what I'm heading into. If anything new pads, and most definately a deep clean (there's a whole lot of build up.)

          OTTO LINK:

          I'm still researching our Museum section here but I will post a few pics for you of the mouthpiece tomorrow as you seem pretty interested.  It appears to be an Otto Link, though which I'm not quite sure yet. It's heavy as a boat anchor and has some degradation inside as expected, but I don't see why it couldn't be brought back to life.

          THANK YOU for your help thus far!  

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