Music for life pt. 3: Adolphe Sax & cie by Karel Goetghebeur

Music is here with us ever since the beginning. And it is not just about singing, dancing and concerts, but also about the instruments. And these instruments need to be made by someone. I had the luck and honour to meet a few people in Bruges which are making handmade music instruments. Three men, three incredible stories. Here’s part three of this series, about Karel Goetghebeur and his Adolphe Sax & cie.

Karel Goetghebeur (Adolphe Sax & cie)

The owner of the Adolphe Sax brand, Karel Goetghebeur, is truly an unbelievable man with superpowers. I spent my visit to his showroom with my mouth wide open. His showroom is used both as a shop, office and as a workshop. The interior design is breath taking and so is the story of Karel´s life!

Karel wanted to play the saxophone ever since he was 4 years old and tried to play music on a borrowed sax from a friend of his parents. He never truly believed in the school system and that’s why he ended with no degree at 19 and left to do some volunteer work in Israel. After he came back to Belgium, he had a few negative experiences at music schools and so he decided to learn how to play by himself, at the age of 27! Unfortunately he had an accident with his motorbike and since that moment he could not play anymore. That was the moment when he decided to build saxophones.

Karel started to study the mechanic of the saxophones, how they work. He went to Taiwan, made a contract with a saxophone factory, made a lot of work, ended his full-time job and started working full-time on saxophones. Unfortunately in 2011, shortly after this decision, Taiwan broke his contract and he had to stand on his own feet.

In 2012, Karel blew new life into the Adolphe Sax brand, which was a big success. He is now producing since 2013, constantly looking for new techniques and methods, keeping prices low and offering instruments all made in Belgium!
Karel is part fighter, part superhero: he was fighting with illness and accidents in the last few years, almost died a few times and had to start his business all over again. Luckily, music and his business are keeping him alive – as well as he is keeping alive his business. And all of this is possible thanks to his fully supportive wife and family.

Check his work on www.adoplhesax.beor visit his shop at Gistelsesteenweg 97 (8200 Sint-Andries).