J Grass Saxophone on eBay???
Page 1 of 1

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:07 am ]
Post subject:  J Grass Saxophone on eBay???

A reader writes:

ny idea on what a J Gras Soprano Sax is? It says Brevette SGDC on it also

Thanks for getting in touch.

Is it possible that your sax says I.M. Grassi? The original Grassis were made in Italy, generally student to intermediate horns, with haphazard approaches to design or serial numbers. As I understand it, there are many different designs, overlapping serial numbers, breaks in serial numbers and more. Comparisons make me wonder if Grassi wasn't just a supplier, buying saxophones wherever they could and stamping them with the I.M. Grassi name. The Grassi name has also resurfaced in a line of cheap Asian horns. So if it is a Grassi, at its best, it's an intermediat horn; most likely it's a student horn; at its worst, it's an Asian knockoff. I HAVE encountered Italian-built Grassis that were solid, playable horns, so if I was looking at one to buy, I wouldn't write it of JUST because of the brand name - I'd want to get my hands on it.

Most saxophones with the engraving Brevette SGDC are very old, often silverplate. Some seem to precede the pitch shift to what they call "low pitch" that affects ALL saxophones built since about 1917. Several different brand names have been associated with the Brevette SGDC stamping, and not enough have survived to give a clear picture of the history of this line. Again, if it was made before, say 1912, it may just be an interesting collector's item. If it was made since, it would probably be comparable to any "stencil" or student soprano built before, say, 1932. Maybe better, but I wouldn't count on it without getting my hands on the thing.

Okay, that's not much help. If you will send me detailed photos of the thing, I can probably get you a little closer. Are you thinking about buying it or is is already in your possession?

Have a great week,
- Paul

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:09 am ]
Post subject:  Re: J Grass Saxophone on eBay???

The reader replied:

Thinking about buying. It’s on eBay and it says J Gras on the bell. It’s a soprano and French I believe.


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 doing this research, so thanks for getting in touch.

- Paul

Author:  paulrace [ Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: J Grass Saxophone on eBay???

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.

Page 1 of 1 All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group