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Noblet Paris / Beaugnier Curved Soprano 13xxx

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This is a saxophone that I will probably only see once. It’s a rare Beaugnier Paris curved soprano, made mid-century by this small instrument maker in France. Beaugnier saxophones are not yet appreciated as much as they deserve to be. This company produced a small number of high-quality saxophones made by hand and sold them both under their own name, and under other brand names, like Noblet and Vito. These horns all have a rich, centered, medium bright tone that is reminiscent of other French saxophones of that time, like Selmer, Buffet or Couesnon.

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This is a saxophone that I will probably only see once. It’s a rare Beaugnier Paris curved soprano, made mid-century by this small instrument maker in France. Beaugnier saxophones are not yet appreciated as much as they deserve to be. This company produced a small number of high-quality saxophones made by hand and sold them both under their own name, and under other brand names, like Noblet and Vito. These horns all have a rich, centered, medium bright tone that is reminiscent of other French saxophones of that time, like Selmer, Buffet or Couesnon. This horn is a beautiful example, retaining almost all of its original lacquer and including its original warranty card and nice original case. I think the hang tag may be in there too, with a price of $360 from around 1950-1960, which is around $2500-$3300 in today’s dollars, to give you some idea. I have never seen another curved Beaugnier soprano, so this horn definitely has collectibility potential as well, as people gradually discover this currently-lesser-known vintage pro saxophone.

This sax has a quite recent repad, done well, and it has no leaks and plays well from top to bottom. The tone is medium bright, fairly focused, more round and less reedy than a Mark VI soprano, and more complex than a Yamaha. The intonation is pretty good, but certainly not automatic. You cannot expect any vintage curved soprano to simply play in tune without your having to use your ear and work with it. And the reward of that work is the tone you get, and the saxophone-geek factor of everyone wanting to know what in the world you are playing, and your being able to smile and shake your head and say, “No, I don’t know where you can get one of these.” In terms of ergonomics, the main adjustment for me is getting used to a somewhat spaced out upper stack. The palm keys and pinky cluster are also different from a modern horn, but perfectly serviceable. This should be a very cool soprano for someone out there, both as a player and as an interesting horn to own. Get it now before it’s gone.

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