LeBlanc 1964 ‘Rationale System’ Bb Tenor, w/ F#, #790

G. LeBlanc System Rationale Tenor Saxophone

Price: SOLD

  • Year:  ~1963-1970 (see below)
  • Make:  LeBlanc
  • Model: LeBlanc System Rationale - Model 120
  • Status: SOLD
  • Finish: Original, 90%+
  • Serial Number: 790 ***Highest tenor number on file!

One of the coolest saxophones ever made! - Made to solve most all of the "saxophone issues" such as stuffy notes, trouble intonation areas and note passages. Data would suggest that there were less than 750 (alto and tenor) ever made.  The design with intonation and evenness with tonehole venting was also so engineered that it has mass amounts of screw adjusters (Add $300+ to a rebuild price for such; more pads, more adjustments like a Conn 26M/30M...). I have seen multiple variations on this model as they may have made changes along the design (different neck emblems, octave keys..., most notable -- You can compare it to Sarge's Collection LeBlanc too; at #513 it had a different neck altogether! I won't list all of those.)

In Sarge's words: "This is an amazing and rare pro horn with the unique Leblanc mechanism, where the G# tone hole is at the rear and all the front pads remain open - the fingerings possible on a Leblanc are far more versatile than a conventional sax allowing for easier transitions in what are usually difficult passages - as well as multiple false fingerings and a greater range of altissimo fingerings. The Leblanc has a strong individual voice and speaks extremely well, one of the great advantages of the system is that normally stuffy notes like middle D and E speak with a clear open voice - the uniformity throughout the range is simply achievable in any other horn. "

Other notables:
-gold plated springs
-LH high F#/trill key!
-backside G#
-heavy construction
-screw + locking nut adjusters; ALL there!
-two-tone model
-post construction (some are brazed directly on the body!)
-jump keys(trills)

Confession: Serial number dating information on these is a bit low; considering how cool these are, I wish we sax-community members would build this one up along with all the variations that I've seen. Some will say 1950s, some 1960s. It's pretty safe to say that its era is in the range of 1963-1972. With extensive research, there have been original receipts of a #549 purchased in 1963, thus, my era guess on this one is ~1960-70.
Research: With combined research from S. Meier, at the time of this post, we have traced about 185 LeBlanc/Vito/Beaugnier saxes from serial numbers #100-1400. Of the 186 we have documented, only 30 are these "Model 120" tenors (64 were altos "Model 100").  Some sax forum rumors discuss that there were less than 1500 of these made(alto and tenor). I would conclude that the dating of LeBlancs was inconsistent! These are far more rare than "1,500" out there. I suggest that: 94/186 is about a 50% sample rate. Apply that to Serial #100-1400, = 1300 total, and you have 750 as an adjusted, estimated quantity ever made... now apply the alto-to-tenor ratio of 31%, that means:

Only 200-400 "Model 120" tenors exist.

WEIGHT: 3.60kg/7.94lbs! Rather heavy at nearly 8lbs!

SPECS: The sax is in great shape overall but does have a few small bumps to mention: a dent to the Eb top guard post, and a smaller ping dent on the rear U bow, and one on the front bow U area.. There is only one missing screw (backside pants guard) to mention (this is a trend FYI!)-  ALL 11x NUTS ARE PRESENT!--wow. All screw in resonators are present also! It also has the original end cap (another style change based on era) and Neck strap!(not recommended for use). This sax's known history is this: WWS is the 3rd owner. The 2nd owner bought it used, it excellent shape in 1977 in New Mexico.

SOUND: Big, resonant, loud but centered core, controllable power, focus yet depth....
Chadd Comment: "They remind me of a SML Rev D/GM crossed with a Buffet S1!"

PADS: the setup is currently in original setup! (I love that) with old pads and screw in resonators (must be reused; highly suggested). It plays surprisingly well as is! and you may want to keep it this way.

CASE: Original LeBlanc case in excellent condition. It's the black cloth exterior (I've seen several color variations on these.

For other fun research, I have also enjoyed Goodson's post on this sax here: LeBlanc Rationale Saxophone Literature.

Sound Files on Leblancs:

Actual Sax in TRACK 1

  1. 1.
    TENORs 4x: 1973 Selmer #216k, 1964 LeBlanc Rationale #790, 1955 Conn 10M #566k, 1955 Buescher AristoIV-157 #356k on MPC: Noblet N2 0.090", Sound File 11-2019
  2. 2.

See Track 1 above to hear these 4 saxes in a Sound File:

Item #:WWS1W0.0W1.06071.9-C0