Tuesday, December 24, 2013
1958 Sorkin Music Catalog - Featuring Revere Saxophones
Well, look what I got a peek at today. A 1958 Sorkin Music catalog. That's just what I needed to confirm my hunch that Revere branded saxophones are a house brand of Sorkin Music.
The catalog also shows the Stra-Do-Lin line of Sorkin house branded mandolins, as discussed in the prior Sorkin blog.
But our interest here at Stuff Sax is in saxophones. Unfortunately, the quality of the pictures is not good enough to read the text in detail. Still, there is plenty of information, especially if you are familiar with vintage saxophones.
The catalog hypes the special features of the horns, but the special features are not common to each of the horns, in part because these horns were stenciled by different manufacturers. The advertised "Cantilever Neck Brace" is only on the tenor and it is an easily recognizable brace. It is a Beaugnier Special brace, just like on my Revere tenor. The Kohlert tenor neck brace in 1957-58 was a "man in the moon" style like the old Buescher True Tones. Plus, the B/Bb key guards are individual and rounded, which Beaugnier was still making in the late 50's, when Kohlert was using a single stamped piece.
The catalog also mentions the special feature of "Rolled Edge Tone Holes." Those aren't on the Beaugnier stenciled tenor, but they are on the Kohlert stenciled alto, just like on my 1957 Revere alto. The special feature of "New Designed Guards" shows the stylish Beaugnier deco pant guard, hardly a new design and clearly Sorkin was reaching for something to say about the horns. Same with "Raised Grouped Keys," which were just the standard Beaugnier and Kohlert key arrangements. And then there's calling the saxophones the "Revere Paris Model Saxophones" with a picture of the Eiffel Tower. My Revere alto is stamped "Made in Germany." It's a little difficult to see how a German alto can be from Sorkin's "Paris Model" saxophone collection. The baritone is likely a Beaugnier, as Kohlert '57 and '58 baritones had right hand bell keys. All of the Revere baritones that I have seen have been Beaugnier stencils.
Sorkin did later go to Kohlert for their tenors. I've seen a Kohlert '58 stenciled as a Revere, so sometime after this catalog Sorkin switched from Beaugnier to Kohlert for all of its saxophones, including tenors. Here is a Kohlert 58 with rolled tone holes (serial number 55133) stenciled as a Revere. It has the man-in-the-moon style of neck brace.
Even though there isn't a accurate serial number list for Beaugnier saxophones, I had estimated that my Revere tenor was from about 1957 (like my Revere alto, for which there is an accurate list). Now, based on this 1958 catalog, I'm even more certain.
Sorkin had used Kohlert for its stenciled altos back at least to 1955. Here is a Kohlert 55 (serial number 25956) stenciled Revere. It has the same fake alligator skin case and the gold Revere logo as my Kohlert 57 stencil.
One of the interesting "special features" with the Revere horns are the mouthpieces, hyped as the "Revere Ivory Mouthpiece." I have one. It isn't ivory. It's white plastic. Like the horns, it isn't even really a Revere "Paris Model" mouthpiece. It's also a stencil. As are the Revere cases. Let me explain. My 1957 Kohlert Revere and my 1957 Beaugnier Revere both have their original cases, and they are identical. Same fake alligator skin covering with darker trim, same hinges, same clasps, etc. It's not likely that Kohlert in Germany just happened to use the same design, hardware, and materials for its case as did Beaugnier in France. It's not even likely that they would use the same European sax case manufacturer (especially prior to the EU). And why would Sorkin pay an import duty on cases when it could buy generic saxophone cases in the U.S.? Sorkin bought the cases in the U.S. and had them "stenciled" with the Revere logo.
Same with the "ivory" mouthpieces. Sorkin had them stenciled in the U.S. for the Revere "Paris Model" saxophones. I did some research on them. They are American made. They play very nice. I play one on both tenor and alto as my main pieces. In fact, they were the mouthpiece played by Lester Young. I'm not kidding. Everybody guesses from old pictures as to what mouthpiece Lester Young was playing, and it changed over time, but there is one mouthpiece for which it is absolutely certain that Lester Young played. It's shown right there in the Sorkin catalog. But that's for another blog.