Dearman ‘New Super’ Alto (1959)

The Story

I bought this for from my excellent saxophone doer-upper in 2006. He knows that my collection spans all types of saxophone and was right that I’d go for the art deco look and feel of this one. I know Dallas Arbiter as a UK importer of guitars in the 1970s and it’s nice to have an example of the company’s earlier activities with brass instruments.

The Instrument

FInished in silver-plate, this was ‘stenciled’ for Dearman, which was a UK company owned by Dallas.  It is market ‘Foreign’ on the bell – something typical of post-imperial Britain in the late 1940s or early 1950s perhaps.

It’s a modern instrument (all lower tone holes are on the right of the instrument). It has  a ‘nail file’ G# key and rolled tone-holes – like earlier Conn’s. It is certainly a European stencil, although not (in my opinion) by Keilwerth, who would always stamp their saxophones with the JK mark (even on the Selmer Pensylvannia Special stencils). I haven’t been able to find out which company made this stencil, although other owner suggest Amati ADLER or even Huller. Dallas were more famous as an outlet for Grafton saxophones of course.

The Player

It has a solid, although not heavy, feel about it and plays relatively well in both octaves. The saxophone came with a metal Selmer mouthpiece with a self-locking metal ligature (see picture). I’ll demonstrate the sound in my video from the saxachronic chamber.

I haven’t played this much since acquiring it, as it lacks the sophistication of my first line horns. However it would be great for big band work – just not really a screamer.

Saxifications

  • Make – Dearman (stencil)
  • Model – New Super alto
  • Serial Number – 8,891
  • Date of Manufacture – 1950s
  • Place of Manufacture – Czechoslovakia or Germany
  • Finish – Silver-plate
  • Weight – 5lb 3oz
  • Sound – Light and breezy
  • Ease of Blowing – Clear and chunky
  • Ease of Fingering – Well balanced, interesting flat left pinky keys

There’s a great article on Saxontheweb if you want to know more.

Do you own a Dearman? Do you play it out. Please let me know your thoughts by commenting on this post.

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6 Responses

  1. I’m currently working on restoring a New Super Dearman alto with ‘Foreign’ on the bell. It appears to be silver plated. The serial number is 6394. Is there anywhere I could find out the history or even approximate age of it? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Phil.

    By the way, in your description above you mentioned that the lower tone holes (presumably Bb, C# and B) are on the right of the instrument. Is that the player’s right? Because on this one B and Bb are on the player’s left.

  2. Phil
    Many thanks for your comment. I can’t add much to the research I’ve included on my post. Dallas was the force behind the plastic Grafton, which were made in the 1940s, famously played by Charlie Parker and made in the UK and I know Dallas Arbiter as a strong guitar brand in the 1970s. It sounds as if yours is like mine, but as a flapper (bottom keys on both sides) and with a lower serial number is almost certainly earlier. It could be 1940s perhaps. I believe ‘Foreign’ indicates European manufacture. I know mine isn’t a Keilwerth, but am no expert in Eastern block saxophones. My best advice would be to try and find some Adlers, Hullers and Amatis to look at and see if any of them resemble yours. Please let me know what you find out. I’d also be very interested in featuring your horn here if you have some pictures.
    Best
    Martin (Martin_Hingley@yahoo.co.uk)

  3. Just came across this post…3 years late! Anyway, I picked up a Dearman alto in Nottingham in 1969 when I was playing at Nottingham Palais. The horn cost £5. The bandleader, Eddie Gray, heard me messing with it in the band room and immediately started using me on alto ( I was playing tenor.} I used the Dearman on and off during the ’70’s in back-up touring bands. Great horn and in great demand from “borrowers”. Still got it. Serial #10993.

  4. I have a New super Dearman. I’m amazed how cheap people have been buyting them for! for my money they are a fantastic horn with good ergonomics and an excellent tone. Traded in a Conn naked lady for it and never looked back.

  5. I have a treasured Dearman Tenor Saxophone. It has the Betterton Street address on it. I have done a bit of research and did find out that the shop at that address closed in about 1934 and was there from 1929. I think it was made in Paris (but I dont have it with me right now). I would love to share some photos. My partner also has one which we believe dates around 1940s His is a president and has a much bigger bell than mine. His was owned I believe by a sax player who played with Shawaddywaddy! Not sure if he used it on stage Mine is very dainty. Would love to hear any more info it anybody has any.

  6. I’ve just bought a tenor New supper Dearman. The label on the case looks exactly like yours and left hand pinkie keys are also the same. Serial number 10975. Plays really nice. Would you know anything about it’s age?

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