Evette and Schaeffer Baritone (1915)

The Story

I bought this in 1982 from a second hand shop in Walton Street, Oxford. I was a student at the time, living in Welligton Square and studying Classics. I didn’t have much money, but had to buy it – making it the third saxophone I ever acquired. It came without a case, so I made one for it.

The Instrument

I’ve not been able to find much to confirm what this really is. Its low serial number suggests it could be a very early horn from the beginning of the 20th century, although it could equally well be a cheap model made at a later date. I was very surprised to see an Evette and Schaeffer alto for sale in a pawn broker in Texas this year, but that was definitely a cheap modernish (say 1960s) horn – very different from this instrument.

It is a ‘low C’ instrument (which suggests it was made after 1914 according to saxpics), silver plated with very limited key work. Unfortunately one of the bottom key rings fell off and got lost and one of the surviving ones has been added clumsily later – so it is currently unplayable. The engraving on the bell is marked ‘Evette & Shaeffer 18 & 20. Passage Du Grand Cer Paris 1246’. It also has the numbers ’43 8 1′, although these look part of a larger lost inscription. You can see that a leather strap takes the place of one of the key guards as well.

The Player

I can’t tell you much about the playing of this instrument, as I haven’t blown it for many years. It did once work and I recorded part of a solo on the Flex’s single ‘I Hate Jazz’. I remember it is relatively easy to blow, has a good loud sound and surprisingly easy fingering for the few keys it has. It also has the advantage of weighing a lot less than a modern baritone. A video clip of this will have to wait until I can restore it properly.

Saxifications

  • Make – Evette and Schaeffer
  • Model – Baritone
  • Serial Number – 1246
  • Date of Manufacture – 1915
  • Place of Manufacture – Passage du Grand Cer, Paris, France
  • Finish – Silver plate
  • Weight – 10lb 3oz
  • Sound – Loud and clear
  • Ease of Blowing – Easy and open
  • Ease of Fingering – unbalanced and limited due to very basic keywork

More about Evette and Schaeffer saxophones can be found currently on the Web from an excellent article on saxpics.

Do you own a Evette and Schaeffer? Can you help me identify whether this is an early horn or not? Please let me know by commenting on this post.

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