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The "22 Features"

 

Website Home > SML Home > "22 Features"
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Commentary: General Information

The following are the "22 Features" touted by SML for their early Gold Medal "Mk. I" ALTO and TENOR, from about s/n 15xxx to about 18xxx.
The features are taken from a press release from SML found at Sax-on-the-Web.

Please note: King Marigaux stencils are essentially Gold Medal II horns.

Please also note that Gold Medal ...
- Sopranos and baritones had the features of the "Rev. D" models.
- Sopranos and baritones did not have "Gold Medal" engraved on their bells and may not have ever had engraving on the bell lip (#16).

and note that ...
- Sopranos did not have the neck lock (#4).
- Sopranos never had rolled tone holes (#19).
- Both baritone and soprano models did not have clothes guards (#15).
- Sopranos were lacking in all set screw adjustments (#12, 14 & 20).
- Sopranos did not have removeable keyguards (#17) -- they didn't have keyguards at all.
- Baritones did not have G# (#12) or Bb (#14) adjustment screws.

 

1. Removable neck lock. A 4-slot ring exerts an even pressure on neck without leakage.
Available from the "Rev. D" horns throughout the Gold Medal series.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from s/n 165xx Gold Medal "Mk. I" bari (courtesy vintagesax.com)
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2. Improved octave key features a bearing-type, rocker-arm mechanism for faster action.
Facilitates wide jumps and assures a full-bodied middle D, especially on tenor.
Available from the "Rev. D" horns on.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (from eBay)
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3. All screws are made of first-grade tool steel. Pivot screws are hardened to blue grade for long life.
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4. All key mechanisms are hand forged.
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5. Individual screw adjustments permit perfect key alignment.
Some adjustment screws were available on the "Rev. C" & "D" horns. None were EVER available on the Standard. (This feature really applies to the upper and lower stack adjustment screws only. The G#, middle Bb and bell key adjustments are seperate features.)

The bell key felt adjustments were available only on LATE "Rev. D" and EARLY Gold Medal "Mk. I" horns.

--> Picture Info: of all key adjustments from a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (from Morgan Witthoft): A B C D
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6. Properly cupped pearl buttons are scientifically located to encourage flying fingers.

The key layout of the SML has been virtually the same since the "Rev. C" model, as far as I can see. Slight adjustments may have been made for the Gold Medal horns.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a s/n 2355x Gold Medal "Mk. II" soprano (courtesy of Bill Kasper)

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7. Ribs of key cups (tone hole covers) reinforce entire cup diameter.
The same "hand forged" key construction was used on all SML horns.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a s/n 25xxx Gold Medal "Mk. II" alto (courtesy of Rick Mussi)
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8. D, D# and F keys are mounted on a single plate for security of posts in fastest passages.
This construction has been available from the Super horns on. (This is hard to see in a picture, though, especially through the B/Bb/C#/G# cluster.)

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (from eBay)
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9. Main actions are anchored to a single plate for greater strength.
See #8. You can also have a horn with posts soldered directly to the body. These style posts are easy to break off, especially when shipping a horn. The SML, Buffet and others have all posts on a plate and then the plate is soldered to the horn, which is considerably more rugged. This construction has been available from the Super horns on.

--> Picture Info:
Closeup from a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of Morgan Witthoft): Chromatic F# key plate & low B/Bb plate.
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10. Optional articulation feature with adjustable G# lock permits both group and individual execution of G# to C#, B-Bb. Makes entire action easier!
Available from the 1948 Super horns on. Earlier horns had a different G# cluster.

--> Picture Info: Closeup of switch on and switch off from a s/n 140xx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of PC).
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11. Side and main action rods are hand-ground ("swedged") for precision fit.
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12. Set-screw adjustment for G# key.
The rather nice looking thumbscrew G#-arm adjustment screws have been around since the Rev D models first appeared.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of Morgan Witthoft)
13. Extra large (6+ inch) bell (tenor only) affords unusual carrying power and clear, pure pianissimo.

The extra large bell has been around since the Supers, at least. Even the alto has a slightly larger bell than the Selmer Mark VI, as evidenced at left.

However, the bell size was probably the largest on the Gold Medal.

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of Morgan Witthoft)
--> Picture Info:
Closeup from a s/n 20xxx Gold Medal "Mk. II" tenor (from Dr. Rick's Village Music)

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14. Set screw permits a better adjustment on lever that operates Bb key.
This is the lower thumbscrew on the G#-arm. This adjustment screw was available on the last 100 or so Rev. C horns on. (I'll try to pin a serial number down soon.)

--> Picture Info: Closeup from a s/n 19xxx Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (courtesy of Sandy Witthoft)
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15. Clothes guard on back of instrument eliminates possibility of catching clothes under keys.
The back-side clothesguard was not introduced until the "Rev. C" horns, interestingly enough, and wasn't "standard issue" until the Gold Medal horns. The 'guard does not appear to be a feature available for the Standard model.

The 'guard may be elaborately engraved, have the letters "SML" cut out, or just be kinda plain

--> Picture Info: Closeup of the "SML" cutout on a circa 1940 "Rev. D" tenor (from Saxteacher's web site)
--> Picture Info:
Closeup of an elaborately engraved 'guard on a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of M Witthoft)
--> Picture Info:
Closeup of an plain 'guard on a s/n 2331x Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (courtesy of Bill Kasper)
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16. Entire bell, from opening to bow, is exquisitely hand-engraved.

This may have been a standard feature that was available from the beginning of the Gold Medal horns and became a custom feature during the latter half of the Gold Medal "Mk. I" horns -- I'm not quite sure. I can say that some SML horns had beautiful, ornate engraving on the bell lip (and, sometimes, body), but most did not.

I've aslo been told that some silver plated horns (specifically) may not have any engraving aside from the SML logo.

The engraving pattern for the Gold Medal horns started during the reign of the "Rev. D" models.

The baritone and soprano, which were never labeled "Gold Medal", have somewhat different engraving, as well as does the Standard model. Stencil horns (King Marigaux, etc.) have different engraving, essentially determined by which company stencilled them..

--> Picture Info:
Closeup of engraved bell lip on a Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (from eBay)
--> Picture Info:
Closeups of engraving on a s/n 2331x Gold Medal "Mk. II" alto (courtesy of Bill Kasper): A B C

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17. Removable key guards allow easy access to low pads.

A good feature available from the horns with the first sheet-metal keyguards on: the late Supers throughout the Gold Medal series.

--> Picture Info: The first sheet metal 'guards on an SML: Detail of a late Super tenor (courtesy of Morgan Witthoft)
--> Picture Info:
Completely taken apart s/n 21xxx Gold Medal "Mk. II" alto (courtesy of Rick Mussi)

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18. Low B and Bb handle smoothly because of special SML jam-proof rollers

This essentially refers to the beautiful B/Bb/C#/G# cluster that was found on all SML horns from the middle of the Super series on.

--> Picture Info: Detail of a s/n 2331x Gold Medal "Mk. II" alto (courtesy of Bill Kasper)

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19. Drawn tone holes with precision-rolled thin-gauge edges allow maximum air passage without leakage or cutting of pads.

The best description of rolled tone holes that I've ever heard.

Rolled tone holes were available on some Rev. B horns (according to posts) and select SML horns up to and including the all Gold Medal "Mk. I" horns.

Neither Standard nor soprano models ever have rolled tone holes.

--> Picture Info: Detail of a s/n 12xxx "Rev. D" alto (from www.cybersax.com)

20. Adjustable bumper felt pads to permit tuning adjustments on low B, Bb, C and Eb

The bell key felt adjustments were available only on SOME LATE "Rev. D" and EARLY Gold Medal "Mk. I" horns. This feature started to disappear by s/n 19xxx or so and was not on the Gold Medal "Mk. II" horns.

--> Picture Info: Closeup of all B & Bb key adjustments from a s/n 11xxx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of Morgan Witthoft)
--> Picture Info: Closeup of B, Bb & C key adjustments from a Gold Medal "Mk. I" alto (from eBay)

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21. Brilliantly hand-burnished from bell to neck.
Protectively coated with a flawless lacquer finish applied by the exclusive Multi-Coat Process.

Of course, the SML horns were available in a variety of finishes. The Gold Medal series included:

- Lacquer: detail from a 1960-ish Gold Medal "Mk. II" tenor (from eBay)
- Two-tone (lacquer with nickle keys): detail from a s/n 1963x Gold Medal "Mk. II" alto (from eBay)
- Silver (both matte and satin finishes): detail from a s/n 25xxx Gold Medal "Mk. II"alto (courtesy of Rick Mussi)
- Nickle: detail from a s/n 18xxx Gold Medal "Mk. I" tenor (courtesy of Fred Cicetti)

It is POSSIBLE that these horns were available in Gold plate -- and they would have looked similar to this example, a 95xx "Rev. D" tenor from www.vintagesax.com. I have not yet found any Gold Medal examples in this plating, though.

I have heard from someone who has a King Marigaux with sterling silver neck and bell. He still hasn't sent pictures :( (I tend to think he was talking about a bass clarinet and got confued)

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22. Precise intonation in the entire range!
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23. Rocking or swiveling octave key thumb rest.

A feature that isn't included in the original sales blurb, but should have been.

This feature was available on some of the Rev. D through Gold Medal horns. It's pretty kewl.

Bill Kasper has indicated that his Gold Medal "Mk. II"-era soprano has a "pivoting" octave key thumbrest. This may have been the standard for the sopranos and baritones.

--> Picture Info:
Detail from a 140xx "Rev. D" alto (courtesy of PC): A B

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