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LeBlanc Rationale Alto Sax


This horn is serial number 9xx.

I've sold some Vito Model 35's which have the key and tonehole layout of the Rationale, but they have cork adjustments whereas the Rationale has adjustment screws.

This sax was made in France, at the Beaugnier factory.

These G. LeBlanc Rationales are rare and scarce with a combined 1,564 altos and tenors being made. Far rarer than Mark VI's or SBA's.

The extra fingerings make certain transitions easier with this sax and there are additional altissimo fingerings as well.
Or...you can just ignore the extra fingerings and play it like any saxophone.
I think these horns were designed by a fellow named Charles Houvenaghel.

Here are a couple of things that I have read that are special to Rationale horns:
1) The sax was designed by the Boehm principle of tonehole placement to make one of the most in-tune sax ever produced.
2) The regular fingerings of the sax apply, but extra fingerings are made possible when the second finger of the right hand is depressed…it lowers all the notes in the upper stack of instrument by one half step. This allows many options, but one of the most interesting is that both whole tone scales can be produced without using any side keys.
3) There is a forked E flat, just like the saxes of the 20’s, but it is better engineered.
4) This was the first sax with a high F sharp key.
5) The table is fully articulated and although unusual looking, quite comfortable.

I loaned this out for a week to a local jazz guy. He was playing in the orchestra pit for a musical and was having trouble playing in tune. With the LeBlanc he was dead-on accurate in intonation. He loved the tone of this horn.

Both models featured gold springs and have fast action.

In addition to being a unique, minimal-run instrument, this is a full-blown pro horn of the highest quality. They must have cost a lot to manufacture and LeBlanc probably lost money on them.

Steve Goodson at SaxGourmet gives a nice write-up on the horn on his website.

Looks like all the pads except for 3 have screw-on flat metal resonator pads. I have never seen these kind of resonators before. I can only assume these resonators are original to the horn, though the leather pads have little or no wear and so I will consequently call them 'like-new'. The low D and C# have brown plastic resonator pads and the High F is a rivet pad.
I took off one of the keys with the flat metal screw-on resos so that you could have a look (the last 3 pix)

The LeBlanc has nickel-plated keys where the Vito model 35 had lacquered brass keys.
The neck receiver sleeve and the neckstrap eye are also nickel-plated.
The neck also has a cool nickel-plated (I assume) applique emblem. I added those pix on to near the end of the other pictures.
The left-hand thumbrest is a large mother-of-pearl oval.
The decorative inlays on the low key keyguards are probably mother-of-pearl, but they look almost like opals or something. I don't know my semi-precious stones very well.

Hard to see much detail on the first few photos, but the later ones have better detail.

This sax comes in a different (nicer) case than the one shown.

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LeBlanc Rationale Alto


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