pre-1900 J Gras Saxophone
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Oct 08, 2018 8:08 am ]
Post subject:  pre-1900 J Gras Saxophone

A reader asked me to look at a VERY early J. Gras saxophone on ebay

My reply:
On Aug 12, 2018, at 10:36 PM, "" <> wrote:

It's a beautiful instrument. Turns out J Gras made musical instruments starting in the late 1800s and the company kept going into the mid-1900s. Here's a nearly incoherent account of the company history. If you don't read French, it will sort of translate for you. ... lille.html

The hard part is knowing when exactly it was built. It is definitely very old, certainly before 1921, possibly, as old as 1870. But I'm going to guess it was built between 1890 and 1900. And that's VERY important.

Before 1900, all saxes were built to play in a higher pitch than is commonly used today. 19th-century saxophones CAN NOT be played in tune with today's musical instruments. For that reason, almost all saxes made after the transition have the words "Low Pitch" engraved or punched into the horn underneath the right thumb rest.

If the horn is "high pitch," which is to say "bookshelf decoration" there will be nothing there unless it's the serial number. If it is "Low Pitch" it might be playable for you once it's repadded, etc.

If you want to have something really sharp to stand on a coffee table, this might be worth $150 or so.

You COULD ask the seller if it is a "low pitch" horn, but chances are he will tell you he doesn't know or that he doesn't know what that means. I notice that the seller does not accept returns. I'm thinking he's "dumb like a fox."

I learned something from this, so thanks for getting in touch.
- Paul

------The Reader Replied--------------------

Wow, thank you very much. That’s a great help. I appreciate you taking the time and searching for me. I found a few of the same pieces of info, but you found a bit more to help me make a more informed decision to NOT buy it.

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