The Eye (Brows) Have It


“Eyebrow keyguards” are bent wire keyguards found on the low B and Bb of a few saxophones. It’s a very distinctive look.
 


HN White King Zephyr Special Bb Tenor Saxophone. Silver plated. From Kessler Music.
HN White King Zephyr Special Bb Tenor Saxophone. Silver plated. From Kesslermusic.com.
 
Possibly the original horn to have the eyebrow keyguards was a very late King Voll-True, which was manufactured around 1931. While the eyebrow guard was used until the 1960s, the most elaborate HN White horn to sport them was unquestionably the Zephyr Special. A slightly redesigned version of the Zephyr Special became the famous Super 20.
 


Max Keilwerth-made Hohner President Bb tenor. Lacquer body w/ nickel-plated keywork. sn 104xx (ca. 1961). From Bassic-Sax.Info.
Max Keilwerth-made Hohner President Bb tenor. Lacquer body w/ nickel-plated keywork. sn 104xx (ca. 1961). From Bassic-Sax.Info.
 
Probably the second saxophone to appear with eyebrow keyguards is the Max Keilwerth-made President (also spelled “Präsident”). The first Max Keilwerth horns featuring the eyebrow guard were made in the 1930s, but were perfected when he started working for Hohner.

For much more information, I recommend reading Helen’s articles at Bassic-Sax.Info on the Max Keilwerth horns and on the Hohner President, specifically. She’s also written several posts on the Hohner President in her blog.
 


Julius Keilwerth King Imperial Bb tenor. Silver plated. s/n 94xx (1937). From Michael Halverson via Bassic-Sax.info.
Julius Keilwerth King Imperial Bb tenor. Silver plated. s/n 94xx (1937). From Michael Halverson via Bassic-Sax.info.
From Max Keilwerth, we go to his brother, Julius. This particular horn is the forerunner of the first New King models. The obvious point of interest is the interestingly-shaped right-hand side Bb/C/altissimo E vent keys.
 


Weltklang (VEB-B&S) Eb alto.  sn unknown (ca. late 1940s).  From plumpsfee via eBay.
Weltklang (VEB-B&S) Eb alto. Silver plated. sn unknown (ca. late 1940s). From plumpsfee @ eBay via TheSax.info.
I e-mailed Helen at Bassic-Sax.info when I had found this horn. She replied with something along the lines of, “You know, I just finished my page on Weltklang. Thanks for ruining it.” I live to please :).

This horn is the only one of its kind that I’ve seen, so it’s obviously not very common. However, Werner Roth was supposed to have made some horns for B&S — and Weltklang was a part of B&S. A feature-by-feature comparison might be interesting to do.
 


Werner Roth WERO Royal Eb alto saxophone. Silver plated. s/n 2256 (ca. 1949). From The Little Sax Shop via Bassic-Sax.Info.
Werner Roth WERO Royal Eb alto saxophone. Nickel plated. s/n 2256 (ca. 1949). From The Little Sax Shop via Bassic-Sax.Info.
The last saxophone on my list that has the eyebrow keyguards is this Werner Roth horn. Considering that WERO horns were available from appx. 1949 to 1972, it’s the last maker to introduce eyebrow keyguards and the last to discontinue them.

One Comment

  1. Paul Lindemeyer
    March 26, 2014

    The very earliest Conn 10M tenors had an eyebrow-like form to the key cages, which are not very visible on the left (body) side of the bell. This was changed early on, first to an enclosed oblong shape, then a straight bar.

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