Selmer “Super” Sax – “Cigar Cutter” Alto Sax
Manufactured 1932-33, this is a Selmer “Super” alto sax. It also earns the “Cigar Cutter” nick name from its distinctive octave mechanism. The first thing that you might notice (or not) is that this horn has left-hand bell keys, like most of the American-made horns of this ere. The horn does have a front F key.
The finish is unusual. Parts of it are bare brass, with a nice patina; other parts appear to have the original Permagold finish. Additionally, parts seem to have either a regular gold plating, or are worn down to the silvery under-plating. The easily reached parts on the bell, bow and body, have been polished to the bare brass, most noticeably where the Selmer imprint is on the bow. The more protected areas, like under the keys, show the original finish, which we suspect to be the Permagold finish…a unique finish that is gold-colored dichromate and that does not tarnish. I have personally not seen a Permagold horn, only photos on the Internet, so let the photos I took be your guide. The neck is a smooth silvery color, matching some of the keys.
As mentioned, the serial number on the bell of 16160 dates manufacture to 1932-33. There is second number at the bottom of the body, right above where it is banded to the bow as shown in THIS PHOTO and THIS PHOTO. I assume this is a factory parts number stamped on the body before assembly to the bow and bell.
This horn is in great mechanical shape with very few dents or solder repairs. The neck has no pull down.
The sax is missing part of the original keyguard for the bell keys. HERE IS A PHOTO OF A COMPLETE KEYGUARD from a different Selmer Super Alto for comparison purposes.
Also, there are a couple of modifications to the bow. The low C tonehole chimney has a liner which decreases the size of the low C tonehole opening. Photos are HERE and HERE. This would come into play when playing the low D# and low D. Also, and finally, a layer of wax has purposely been built up in the bow. This may be to correct and intonation problem or an issue with a low-end oscillation or waver.
I replaced a couple of pads, adjusted the key action and regulation of the stack keys. Also replace corks and felts as needed. The pads are sealing and the horn is a very good resonant player. It has, I believe, a larger bore than modern altos.
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