Selmer Pennsylvania Special Baritone (1937)

The Story

Kate plays this Selmer Pennsylvania baritone saxophone in the Earley Music Centre Big Band, having just moved back from the front row alto section. Ours is a rehearsal band which plays occasional concerts to friends and family, having an annual outing to the Victoria Embankment Gardens in Westminster, London. We play a good variety of big band music from swing to blues to pop and jazz. Our conductor is Tom Benellick who famously played bugle on the Beatles Sgt Pepper band.

The Instrument

This is the third Pennsylvania Special we’ve looked at, including alto and tenor versions. We noted before that these were stencils made for Selmer by a number of different European manufacturers. Quite surprisingly for what is now the strongest saxophone brand, there’s a lot of variation in the quality of our small sample. It was not made by Keilwerth – at least it does not bear the tell-tale ‘Best in the World … Made in Germany’ marks I find on the Crestone or alto mentioned above. Kate’s baritone was probably made by Kohlert, although possibly made by either Amati or Karl Meyer if we follow the information on saxontheweb. At the bottom end it goes down to Bb – rather than A found on most modern instruments.

The Player

Having briefly played the instrument I was impressed with its lightness in comparison with the Selmer Mark VI – much better for holding it up for long periods. Kate’s baritone is a good instrument – plays easily with good balance in the keywork, albeit without the facility of the Mark VI. It has a full round sound.


  • Make – Selmer (Kohlert)
  • Model – Pennsylvania Special
  • Serial Number – 27X,XXX
    Date of Manufacture – 1937
  • Place of Manufacture – Czech Republic
  • Finish –Silver palted
  • Weight – 12lb 2oz
  • Sound – Full, round
  • Ease of Blowing – Easy
  • Ease of Fingering – Good balanced keywork

For another review of a similar baritone, read our post. Do you play a Pennsylvania Special? We’re very interested in reviewing your saxophone here – especially if you have a soprano, C Melody or other stencil versions on the instruments already featured here.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: