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Vito Alto Sax s/n 1649A

Model 35 - LeBlanc "Rationale System"

This horn is serial number 1649A.

Freshly padded with rivet pads...new corks and felts.
I left the felt bumpers protruding out of the keyguards. I will probably cut them off flush before I let the horn leave my workshop.
Regulation and adjustment of these saxophones are different from any other, but they are well-engineered horns that are fairly easy to work on.

I read one place they were made in France by Beaugnier, but I have come to believe they were assembled in Kenosha from parts made by Beaugnier in France.

Sorry, Sold...March 2007

The Vito Model 35 is a pretty rare instrument…less than 2,300 of them were manufactured…but the G. LeBlanc Rationale was even more so, with a combined 1,564 altos and tenors being made.

The extra fingerings making certain transitions easier with this sax and there are additional altissimo fingerings as well.
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.

The fingering of this Vito Model 35 and the LeBlanc Rationale are practically the same and they have identical tonehole placement, except the lower octave key which is on the side of the Vito model and over the thumbrest of the Rationale. The vent is at the same distance, so it is harmonically identical.

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 a lot money on them.

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

If you are interested in exploring the possibilities of this sax and don’t want to pay the price of the LeBlanc Rationale model…if you could even find one…this is the way to go.

The only real differences between this model and the G. LeBlanc Rationale are as follows:
1) The LeBlanc has adjusting screws where the Vito has cork.
2) The LeBlanc has nickel-plated keys where the Vito has lacquered brass.

Otherwise, the sound and the response are the same on the two horns.

Vito Model 35 Alto

 

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