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The SML Rev. A

These horns began the SML saxophone dynasty: essentially a Selmer Super crossed with a Buffet.

Disregard Marigaux horns produced before the 1930's: these were not produced by SML.

    Tech notes:
  • These horns may have one or more "Star of David"-type (six-pointed star) patterns engraved on the bell in addition to "Strasser, Marigaux and Lemaire." There are generally two. There has been a bunch of speculation about why these stars are engraved on the logo, but no one has come up with a convincing answer -- especially since there are other French-made horns of the same era with the same stars.

    The modern SML company just doesn't know (no, the founders of SML weren't Jewish and weren't required by the Germans to affix these stars -- as had been a popular theory).

  • These horns had bell keys on the LEFT side of the horn (soprano excluded).
  • Note that these horns generally lack a front altissimo F key, except on some special models.
  • The "prototype" horns pictured here, most contributed by Fred Cicetti, do not have serial numbers.
  • See also the SML Model Comparision Chart.
  • While I have not seen a Rev. A baritone, that doesn't mean they don't exist -- but I'd say it's probable there aren't any. SML never made basses.
  • While I have not seen a Rev. A, Rev. B, Super (up to the 49) or Coleman Hawkins in lacquer finish, that doesn't mean they don't exist -- but I'd say it's probable there aren't any.

Model Names

Most of the "production" SML horns had model names engraved on their bells -- I've seen "AW2", "Alliance", "Primax" and several others. My working theory is that each "model" was created by a specific team of craftsmen, very much like the Martin Handcraft. Unlike the Handcraft, which sometimes just had the name of the engraver/foreman on the horn, these horns were assigned a full "model" name.

Whatever the reason, the odd model name keeps popping up until sometime in the Rev. C era and then just stops.

However, no matter the engraving, all the horns seem to share the same basic feature set, so I don't see a need to (say) give an "Alliance" it's own model subset -- especially as newer horns sometimes carried the model name across "Revision" lines.


I've been doing a bit of research on this series of horns and I've come up with a couple of conjectures:

  • While each of the Rev. A horns that I've seen have slightly different keywork and probably have slightly different bore size, but they all have bell keys on the left hand side of the horn (as you're playing). That definitely differentiates the Rev A and B horns.
  • The older SML's have a different lower G#/C#/B/Bb cluster than the newer ones, a cluster that looks kinda like a Buescher or Conn of approximately the same era. Disregarding the prototype horns, this "Buescher-style" key cluster was used, with a few variations, up until the Super transitional horns.
  • An occasional few Rev. A's do have rolled tone holes, but this does not appear to be the norm (a 2355 horn was spotted by Rick Mussi, engaved "Modele Standard". There are also notes of a gold-plated rolled-tone-hole 2xxx tenor HERE).

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