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PostPosted: Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:29 pm 
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Hello, I have a soprano sax Kustom brand. We bought it used in the mid 90's. I have not found any information on this brand. I am hoping you can give me some information on this company. Thank you!

------------------------------------

Thanks for getting in touch. I'm sorry that I can't give you much help. The concensus is that it was probably made in Taiwan in the 1980s. The ones people are reporting on tend to resemble the Selmer Mark VI, not the the Selmer Mark VII, which more recent horns imitate.

See if the key configurations are close to this one:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Selmer-Paris-Ma ... 1922997264

Ignore the fancy engraving. :-)

None of the Kustom sopranos currently unearthed seem to have country-of-origin markings. People who have picked them up seem to feel like they're in the same class as the Winstons and other relatively low-price Euro sopranos of the era. Before Kenny G's "songbird," hardly any sopranos were made, and those tended to be extremely high end. As soon as Kenny G became famous, there was a flood of "student line" and "intermediate" sopranos, mostly from Japan, Taiwan, and Europe. Most of them weren't all that great, although they'll all outplay and outlast most under-$1000 list-price sopranos coming out of China today.

The brand name Kustom doesn't really mean anything - lots of sax factories would allow you to have whatever name you wanted engraved on it. In the US, Kustom made PA systems and guitar amps in the 1960s and 1970s, maybe into the 1980s. But it may not even be the same company, since there's no evidence that their name was ever associated with any other wind instruments.

The serial number doesn't really mean anything either. Saxophone factories making custom runs of saxes for other companies often just started at some random high number, the same way you might start out with checks numbered in the thousands when you open a new account checking account.

(BTW, the name Kustom today, is just a name that somebody bought to put on a line of cheap Chinese PAs and guitar amps, no meaningful relation to the old amp company.)

Sorry I seem to be telling you a lot about what I DON'T know. Kustom soprano saxophones tend to change hands for $200-300, when they do show up. But don't let that put you off if you're otherwise satisfied with the horn. My current soprano is a Taiwanese Sears brand "Lafayette" I got at a flea market for $100 and put another $200 into getting playable, and now it's a very nice little horn with good tone and intonation. Perfectly suitable for doubling once in a while.

In fact, when I first brought it to my repair guy, he said he couldn't warranty his repair work because the horn was so cheap. But a year later when I took it to him for another "tune-up," his opinion of the horn had improved significantly.

Yes, if I had deep pockets, I might try to find a better soprano, but I only play it a few hours a month, so I don't really need a top-notch horn.

Hope this helps - Paul


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