Selmer Pennsylvania Special Baritone (1935)

The Story

Boz the Sax of Maestro Music commented on our review of the Selmer Pennsylvania Special alto, questioning the date of his instrument. As always we are very happy to include new reviews here and, although we have already covered a similar instrument from Kate, there are enough differences to make this interesting.
In this case he reports ‘It came into my music shop in 2 parts – the body, then most of the pads, which had fallen out in the sellers loft!’ So it’s a tribute to his fixing skills that it looks so good in the photos.

The Instrument

This is the fourth Pennsylvania Special we’ve looked at. Its clear now that ‘Made in Czechoslovakia’ on the bell indicates Kohlert as the maker, as with the other Pennsylvania specials on this site. Boz reports that it only goes down to the low Bb (i.e. no low A) and lacks a F# key at the top, which is similar to Kate’s version. What makes it different are the multiple pearl tops to left hand pinky keys, which are similar to those on the alto version we reviewed. The difference in these details don’t look as if they were date related – the extra pearls are missing from the tenor version we reviewed (1938), but included on Boz’s bari (1935) and the alto (1938). It also seems strange that Boz’s instrument is bare brass – a lesser finish usually than silver-plating. Boz reports ‘looking hard at the sax, I don’t think it ever was silver plated, there is still some lacquer left in places on the brass. It has one or two dings in the body, but nothing serious enough to effect the sound’.

The Player

In common with most baritones, it’s easy to blow sharp in the upper register and staying in tune requires some skill at anything above a G. Altissimo is not possible on this sax – yet – with the new pads were on, the bottom-end sounds fantastic –  a really fat sound. The keys fall easily to hand, although one or two rods have become slightly misshapen over the years’.


  • Make – Selmer (Kohlert)
  • Model – Pennsylvania Special
  • Serial Number – 257,XXX
  • Date of Manufacture – 1935
  • Place of Manufacture – Czech Republic
  • Finish – Brass
  • Weight – 12lb 2oz
  • Sound – Full, round
  • Ease of Blowing – Easy
  • Ease of Fingering – Good balanced keywork

Please contact us if you also have a Pennsylvania Special – especially if it’s a soprano or bass. It would be great to get a complete set reviewed here.

6 Responses

  1. I have just purchased a Pennsylvia special bari, how do i post the info on here.Rog

  2. Rog
    Fantastic – send some pictures and/or a phone number to if you want to be the 4th!
    Best – Martin

  3. I think I have a pennsylvania special tenor. Im not sure, but it looks very similar to the pictures above. Can you advise me?

  4. I have just bought a Pennsylvania special baritone sax ,lovely instrument

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