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The Dolnet M70

Next comes something rather special, my M70 [model name engraved on the bell]. This I got from a European dealer who listed it as "a beginner's horn ... very difficult to play". I got it for very little.

This horn has some remarkable features such as a bell offset sharply to the right with compensatory adjustments to the bell keys and a narrower bore than the Belairs -- yet with a considerable flair to the bell (reminiscent of the early Buescher 400s).

It hasn't got the big sound of its older brothers, but it is one of the sweetest and most clear-voiced classical tenors I've ever played. Just recently I performed a Haydn duet with harpsichord/electric keyboard, and the audience was ecstatic about the sound: it plays the most controlled pianissimos of any of my saxes and has a lightning-fast action.

Again, it has pearl touches to the keyguards which are typically Dolnet art-deco, though the engraving is quite different: this time in very beautiful series of straight and zigzagged lines in true deco style.

Ser. no. 834** places it very late, possibly 1969-70.

I also know that my M70 's original and battered case is one which was in production in the late 60's -- I actually remember them being sold.

(Purely speculatively: could M70 stand for 'Modele (19)70'? Some manufacturers start off a new decade with a new model [e.g. the Mark VII and Super 80]. If it is true that the case is from the late 60's and this horn was only produced in the early 1970's, this might explain the extreme rarity of the sax, the significant departures from earlier Dolnet keywork and the dramatic lefthand angle on the bell.)1

The horn also has a redesigned G#/C#/B/Bb cluster, more "rounded" (i.e. not "Art Deco") keys and "Selmeresque" lower keyrods. If you accept my theory that Dolnet borrowed heavily from Buffet design, this horn looks an awful lot like a combination of a Buffet Super Dynaction or S1 and a Buescher 400 "Top Hat and Cane".

Bb Tenors

s/n 834xx

Silver Plate

Thanks to Laurie Pimblett

Footnotes & References

  1. Written by guest columnist Laurie Pimblett

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