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Modele 28 through Jimmy Dorsey Research


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
There was a Modele 28 introduced in ... 1928. Here's a pretty one, s/n 7983. Take a look at the G#/C#/B/Bb cluster, especially. Rotating the pic a bit, it looks like ...


There are some other horns that have this G# cluster and a serial number from 1928. I'm calling those "Modele 28 Transitional" horns, because they're not stamped "Modele 28" and aren't New Largebores. So, if you want a serial number range for Modele 28 and Model 28 Transitional, a good approximation is 7851 to 112xx. However, there are some really odd exceptions:

s/n 9816 (1928). This is a Modele 26. Easiest way to tell: low Bb key doesn't have a roller.
s/n 10201 (1929). This is a Super. Easiest way to tell is the low B and Bb keyguard. I have another album of pics in my gallery that has a few better pics and it's definitely 10201. I think the serial number is just mis-stamped and should have been "18201."
s/n 10656 (1929). Another Modele 26.

The New Largebore was introduced at almost exactly s/n 112xx (1929). I base this, again, on when a new G# cluster design was introduced ...


Which is almost identical to the Modele 26, but the Bb now has a roller.

The Selmer Super Series (SSS) debuted in 1930, around serial 14xxx. If you look at Douglas Pipher's model chart and just at a bunch of horns, the "cigar cutter mechanism," which looks like this, doesn't follow an exact serial number chart, but appears sporadically all the way up until the Radio Improved horns were introduced (latest one I know of is s/n 18318). There are a few more things of interest in the SSS ...

* Horns were either not stamped at all -- which were probably horns sold in the domestic (French) market -- or were stamped "British Agent" or "Sole Agents US & CAN."
* There were four G# clusters available: Screenshot_1.png. You've already seen #1 and #4. The former was introduced on the New Largebore and latter was introduced on the Modele 28.

The "agent" stamp or lack thereof seems to have had some influence on which G# cluster you'd get, but it's not consistent. Listing the clusters from left to right in my pic, the farthest left (#1) was the most common. I only saw one instance of #2. #3 and #4 were most commonly found on horns that were unstamped or stamped "British Agent."

I've seen a couple of horns presented as "Jimmy Dorsey Models Series I" or similar. I have not seen the stamps on the bells of these horns. If there's a stamp that says "Radio Improved," it's just a Radio Improved horn with interesting engraving. Jimmy Dorsey horns look like these -- i.e. they're the ones with the funky keyguards. They all may only have the #1 G# cluster and all may have serial numbers in the 27xxx and 28xxx range. That's 1938/9 and deep into the Balanced Action run.


Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
So, you want content, huh? I got your content riiiiight here.

The above link is to a sortable and searchable table I made of about 75 altos and tenors, from the Modele 28 through the Selmer Super Series, including the Jimmy Dorsey. The chart features horns from Helen's and my Piwigo Gallery, GetASax.com, saxpics.com, and Saxophone.org. Things I was specifically looking for:

* Left side keyguard. I don't list that, but it's a helpful feature to look at to determine if the horn's a Super or not.
* Agent stamp or lack thereof.
* Actual "cigar cutter" octave mechanism.
* G#/C#/B/Bb cluster.

MOST of the time, if I couldn't make out these features, I didn't include the horn in my chart. This was something I really had to watch for on the "cigar cutter" horns, as a lot of galleries didn't picture this.

Speaking of the "cigar cutter" mech, I finally found a Selmer-made Adolphe Sax horn with one. It's a fairly late horn, too.
My first tenor was a Modele 26. I bought it used probably in the late 1950s at a shop in Miami (Ace Music - R.I.P.). It was silver plate covered with gold lacquer to make it look more modern. I don't remember the keywork or engraving at all. I played it for a few years and then bought a brand new Mark VI at Ace.

I traded the VI in and bought a new VII - big mistake. It played well in the shop, had nice tone, but when I got it on the gig I found it only had one tone. Subtones or overblowing didn't change the sound, and that is part of my expression. I went back to the shop to try to buy it back the next week, but it was sold already. From there I bought an H.Couf Superba which I actually liked more than the VII. A few saxes later, I'm now enjoying a Yamaha.
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