This was made by Julius Keilwerth in Germany in 1957. I bought this from Tony at Maggini Supplies around 2001. It was at the beginning of my quest to acquire all historic and unusually saxophones. As usual I made a trip to our local reservoir on a Sunday morning to pick the instrument up from the ack of Tony’s car.
The Instrument Although Crestone is officially a stencil sax, it has identical features to the Keilwerth branded saxes (rolled tone holes, for instance). This example has a stainless steel keyguard on the right hand side. These were interchangeable with clear Lucite ones. There is a Lucite guard on the left hand side. The instrument has silver keys on a gold lacquered body. The bottom keys are on the left, as with most modern saxophones
According to saxpics Julius Keilwerth became the largest saxophone manufacturer in Germany before the second world war with around 150 workers. It managed to survive the Nazi regime which considered the saxophone a ‘Western menace’, although I’ve never seen one engraved with Nazi regalia as reported
The company was nationalised in 1948, with the Czech workshops in Graslitz being taken over by the Amati collective Richard Keilwerth worked with Amati until 1949 and Max, until 1951.
Amati saxophones built after the war and into the 50’s retained the name Toneking (see below), which Julius Keilwerth had originally used as the name of his top professional-model horns.
Julius Keilwerth fled to Nauheim, Germany in 1947 and moved into a new, larger facility. This company was handed over in 1962 to Julius’ son, Josef Keilwerth, and was then sold in 1989 to the French company Buffet (from the group of firms formerly owned by Boosey & Hawkes). The instrument division of the Boosey & Hawkes company was then sold to the Musicgroup company in 2003. Unfortunately Keilwerth has now stopped German production, ending the splendid history of this important quality European manufacturer.
The horn comes in an excellent Lifton case – see Kirtley Music for more.
This is a good semi-professional horn It lacks the finesse of a Selmer or Conn, but holds the intonation well in both octaves The fingering is reasonably well-balanced, although it’s a bit ‘clicky’. The tone is strong, but not as loud as it might be. I put this down to the relatively thin metal it’s made of: although the story of Charlie Parker’s blind test and selection of the plastic Grafton among other mainline brass instruments teaches us that the material a saxophone is made of makes little difference to the tone – either that or the fact that Grafton had marvellous marketing!
- Make – Keilwerth (Crestone stencil)
- Model – Toneking
- Serial Number – 30026
- Date of Manufacture – 1957
- Place of Manufacture – Nauheim, Germany
- Finish – Gold lacquer body with silver keys and keyguard
- Weight – 4lbs 13 oz
- Sound – Light and clear
- Ease of Blowing – Wide and easy
- Ease of Fingering – Reasonably well balanced, but with slightly ‘clinky’ keys
More about Keilwerth saxophones can be found currently on the Web from saxpics and Wikipedia.
Do you own a Keilwerth? Have you ever seen one with Nazi insignia? Please let me know by commenting on this post.