the full directory of SML stencils I have pictures of, go
major things to note about SML stencils are a) they have the
same serial number scheme as other SML's and b) they have
the same feature set as other SML's around the same serial
number and c) stencils can be made from STANDARD or regular
Heimer and Parker AS/TS500's were probably made with the SML
Gold Medal "Mk. II" TOOLING (that is, the mold that
you create the saxophone with) and keywork, however, it is
a much lower quality horn, primarily due to lower quality
(and thickness) of brass and poor quality control. One statement
I've heard was that the keywork is literally "jammed
together", like the keywork is longer than is required
by the posts. It's a good demonstration that the best design
in the world can't overcome bad materials and workmanship.
of course, could just be that Heimer/Parker just made a copy
of the SML design.
I've read elsewhere, regarding other Heimer
instruments, that they are severely low quality and you're
better off renting a Bundy than you are buying one of these.
(Or put another way, a Heimer is slightly better than being
poked in the eye with a sharp stick. SLIGHTLY.)
Interestingly, most of the people that have
sold Heimer and Parker instruments in the past aren't selling
them anymore, but they ARE selling MONIQUE-branded instruments
(this includes DOMINIC'S MUSIC).
I've sent about a half-dozen e-mails to these
music stores and haven't received a single response, so I
can't tell you if Monique owns/owned Heimer (which is a possibilty,
as Monique horns are "designed by French craftsmen"
and have similar quality issues) or if there is any contact
information for Heimer, but I'd think it likely that, like
Monique, Heimer/Parker is a name that was used by a nameless/faceless
Chinese or Taiwanese instrument company.
In any event, not all Heimer/Parker horns
used the SML tooling -- some are Selmer
copies, some are Kohlert copies, etc. -- and not all of
them are labelled "Heimer" or "Parker"
-- some are completely unlabelled. All of them do have a one-piece
low B/Bb keyguard and they do have non-SML serial numbers
(primarily beginning with a zero) and, of course, play terribly.
There has been some buzz that some Heimers
may have actually been made by SML as an example or promotional
horn for Heimer (here's a picture directory of the horn
that caused this ruckus) or were manufactured with some combination
of SML parts and Heimer parts. I can accept this, if Heimer
bought SML's remaining stock along with their tooling. However,
I don't recommend that you toil on eBay to find one of these
because you think you'll find one of these "prototypes":
I haven't heard from a single person that says that he has
an excellent playing Heimer.
However, if you have a Gold Medal that you're
missing some parts from, don't buyone of
these horns, as the keys and neck are not interchangable.
Last I saw, new Heimer saxophones are in the
neighborhood of $400 US and are currently Selmer copies. New
horns are occasionally found at places like half.com and occasionally
on eBay. All indications are that Heimer stopped production
of the SML design around 1999 or 2000, which is about the
time Monique came on the scene.
If you know anything about the company that
makes or made Monique, Parker or Heimer, please contact
was a horn imported by King and somewhat customized for the
I've recently been seeing a lot of posts about
these horns, both for sale and how they're "decent"
horns (not a one saying they're pro quality, btb). It seems
to me that there were at least two revisions of this horn
and the ones with engraving on the keyguards seem to be higher
quality than the ones without.
King did prefer much heavier construction
than just about anyone, with the possible exception of Martin,
so if King influenced the manufacturer of these horns, I'm
sure it did have a somewhat darker sound than some of the
other student-horn offerings.
Please note that these
horns are NOT manufactured by SML, are stamped "Made
in Czechoslovakia" and do not follow SML serial number
February 2003, I was researching the Amati and Kohlert
companies for my Keilwerth page (a long story; go to the
page and check it out). I finally found the pictures I
was looking for: the AMATI
CLASSIC SUPER. This horn is most definitely the horn the
Lemaire is stenciled from -- a low quality intermediate model.
The "Santy Runyon SML Stencil"
back in 1999/2000
on the old eesites "saxjazz" forum, a lady named Greta who
had a horn labeled "Santy Runyon" and Paul Coats later said,
in an article (see the link), that the horn was one of the
rare 150-or-so horns stenciled for Santy Runyon by SML.
Here are the quotes that sparked the controversy:
I just purchased a mysterious horn that has turned out to
be made by the Marigaux Co. of France! I was directed by
Paul Coats to this great discussion group. An UNUSUAL alto
is what I've come across...at first I thought it might be
some knock-off brand. On the bell is printed "SANTY RUNYON",
"made in France". Has gold lacquer, silver keys. SN# 25xx
. NO other company name. Anywhere. Case: also blank, though
I believe it may be the original (fake alligator skin look,
It played very freely, although it had leaks, had great
action, (and sounded like a typewriter clicking, ha!) and
had unusual key placement compared to my Selmer SA80 (series
I)The spatula keys were radicaly different, and the octave
key (thumb key above rather than to the side of thumb rest).
I was directed to Paul throught the newsgroup, and he found
out from Mr. Runyon himself that this was indeed an SML
The top of the body and brace under the neck are exactly
like the picture. But...the big B and Bb keys on the bell
are on the opposite side of the bell! I've never seen anything
I'd love to know if anyone else has one like this or knew
that it existed, LOL. I thought you'd be interested in hearing
about it. I am about to have it padded, etc. and will take
the advice I've found on here. I have no idea yet what MP
and reeds I'll use on it. It seems bright with a Selmer
C* and Vandoren reeds..I would think it needs a different
setup than my other horn.
I'd love to see any comments on this unique thing! I can't
wait to get it redone, to decide if I will really keep it
or keep searching for a Mark VI...hhmm. (Greta, Aug. 20,
the Marigaux manufactured Santy Runyon saxophone... further
conversation with Santy reveals these were made for him
and sold in the late 50's--early 60's. There were only 150
made. No other records or serial numbers are available.
These records, and much of his memorabilia were lost in
a fire years ago.
Santy further stated that he had SML make some changes to
the neck in order to give a more modern, projecting. It
must be remembered that Santy's background was as a theater
player, and "if the guy in the back last row of the balcony
can't hear you, you aren't doing your job". He also commented
these were very good saxes. (Paul Coats, Aug. 22, 1999).
a further e-mail from Paul:
info is straight from my longtime friend, and sax mouthpiece
mfg, Santy Runyon. Santy had some Santy Runyon altos made
in the '50's by SML. They were marked Santy Runyon, and
only about 150 or so were made. The records were destroyed
in a house fire. He was on the road a lot then, and his
memorabilia was stored in his sister's home, which burned.
I have been in contact with a lady in Beaumont, TX, where
Santy lived for a while in the 50's [and had a music store],
who has one of these SML made Santy Runyon altos. The neck
was slightly modified, at Santy's request, to give these
altos more projection (which I understand SML's had no trouble
"Santy was, as you know, a lead alto/theater ww player.
(Check his history on runyonproducts.com, About the Founder
at the bottom of the main page.) Santy had tried to have
Selmer make him some Runyon labeled saxes, but they would
not. He wanted only something that was of top notch quality.
I knew this fellow, and if he had them made by SML, then
they were great. This man was a perfectionist, constantly
trying to improve the saxophone, making products that ease
the way for the player.
two years ago, I was contacted by two different folks, a couple
months apart, with horns that were labeled "Santy Runyon"
and followed the serial number scheme, as mentioned in the
I was expecting a horn with all the characteristics of a Rev.
A, based on the supposed serial number range, and just
assumed that Mr. Coats was off by a few years.
that were sent to me were a couple tenors that looked unlike
any SML I've seen. I tenatively identified the horns as Pierrets
or Beaugniers based on the facts that a) both companies produced
a LOT of stencils, b) they looked similar to, but not exactly
like, pictures of other Beaugniers and Pierrets I've seen
and c) the serial number ranges for these companies matched
to the 2xxx to 3xxx range nicely.
I was still holding out some hope that there would be a SML-made
Runyon found in the future. I had written to Mr. Runyon on
a couple of occasions, but he never responded regarding the
SML question before his death (he did ask me to contact him
if I found any Conn 28M Connstellation horns around -- that's
another horn he was consulted on for the design).
these Runyon horns were also purchased around Beaumont, TX,
so it wasn't looking good for the theory that Santy Runyon
had custom SML horns made for him.
paid off, slightly.
2004, I found a Beaugnier-made stencil labeled "Gretsch".
It looked enough like the pictures of the above Runyon horns
for me to start telling folks with these horns, "Yep:
a little longer ....
I got an e-mail from the afore-mentioned Greta.
I am the the woman Paul Coats had spoken with several years
ago about the Runyon stencil I ran across in Beaumont...I
saw your website page about the SML stencils and here are
some pictures I took of my horn.
You are welcome to put any of the pictures on your site
that you wish. Thanks for providing such a resource to us
I have a picture there of the serial #, 2532, I am curious
when the horn was made? It had one owner before me, an older
man who bought it new in high school, in Beaumont. I half
expected to see another of Santy's horns here in the Beaumont
music community sometime, but I never did hear of any others.
I was going to have this alto overhauled (pads and mechanical,
not lacquer), but I treasured it a lot and didn't want to
play it everyday and risk wear and tear of dragging it back
forth around college. It has a very nice sound, rich and
open, quick tone response, and good volume. As Santy intended,
it does indeed project!
It has almost all of it's lacquer still, no large dents
or dings, very pretty horn with an attractive bell engraving.
In Santy's old stomping grounds of Beaumont-Port Arthur
and southwestern Louisiana, Hurricane Rita really dealt
a huge blow. We had severe damage from Rita putting us in
a tough spot, and unfortunately I will now have to part
with some beloved horns.
I will be sure to put something at the SOTW forum about
it, it's great to see so many others there who also have
discovered the unique sound of SML horns.
If you need any other pictures, just let me know! Glad to
be service to your site.
guessed it: the photos were not of an SML, but were similar
to those earlier tenors.
in December 2005, we got a FINAL ANSWER on
the make of these Santy Runyon horns: a gentleman posted a
Pierret horn on eBay labeled "Oxford".
Instead of this looking "similar to" these Runyon
horns, it looks "exactly like" them.
and props to the people who made this FAQ-toid possible: Greta,
Paul, Fred and SOTWF poster outtolunch.
in 2003, a Taiwanese/Chinese company began selling SML-labeled
horns. The horns were definitely not made with SML tooling
of any kind and looked very similar to other Chinese junk
horns, such as the Swallow.
conclusion of the story comes from Roland Miane, the sales
manager of the current SML-Marigaux company:
Strasser-Marigaux is an European musical instruments distributor
member of the German group JA-Musik. Under the SML holding,
we [have] two French instrument factories: Marigaux (Oboes)
in Normandy and Antoine-Courtois (Brass) in Amboise. SML
still being in Paris at the famous adress 144 Bld de La
Villette. [At the] SML [location] we have the offices, the
stock, the show room and the repair shop for oboe, sax,
flutes and brasswind instruments.
The T400 is not an SML[-made] saxophone!!!! It's a Chinese
"instrument" engraved without any authorization
from our side. We brought an action against the company
[making these horns]. We will never engrave "SML"
on an import instrument.
Other Non-SML Marigaux Horns
are a couple of Marigaux's that aren't SML's: