Saxophone/elkhart buescher sax



I believe I have found a great sax at a second hand shop. It is an Elkhart by Buescher. It is marked 65179 and 20A. It does not appear to have been re-lacquered. I am looking to have it fixed up a bit and then resell it.

My question for you: My sax has a dent in the curve of the horn directly below the opening, right at the bottom. How will this affect the value? Can the horn still be played? Can this be fixed? should I bother or leave it to the new owner?

Thank you so much for your time.
Kind Regards,

Hello Emily, thank for your question. You have a second line horn. What's a second line? The best way of thinking of a second-line instrument is that they are student/intermediate horns sold by a major saxophone manufacturer. Here in America the big 4 saxophone
companies were Conn, King, Martin and Buescher. Each company had a second line.
* The Conn Pan-American
* The Martin Indiana
* The King Cleveland
* The Buescher Elkhart
Usually, the name of the second-line instrument comes from the name of a company that was bought out (for example, the Indiana Band Instrument company was purchased by Martin). Your Buescher Elkhart saxophone is a sort-of a stencil: an Elkhart-labeled horn is an older True Tone model, made with the same old tooling, but made in the 1930's. The Elkhart, however, is engraved as such and was available in lacquer. The quality of second-line horns was generally higher than their stencil brethren. It has a different serial number chart than the Buescher. Your sax is good, heck very good, but it's  a Buescher second line. Made for the growing number of elementary, middle and high school marching bands. There was a higher demand for instruments. The big 4 responded by making second line horns.
Most people don't have the time or the money to buy an old vintage beater sax. They want a mint condition sax for cheap money. Who would buy a sax with a big old dent in the bow? You must get it fixed.  If I was you, I would let your buyer pay to have it fixed themselves, but they won't want to buy your horn. Please get the horn fixed up. These are great players. Contact any NAPBIRT certified repair facility. They are professionals who specilize in vintage saxophones. This Elkhart is what's called a second line sax. It is basically an mid tier level horn made from the 30's on through to the 60's. Buescher acquired the Elhart Band Instrument Company (similar to Conn's purchase of Pan American and Martin's of Indiana) and retained the name (with the "Built by Buescher" tag) for its second line of horns -- student or intermediate quality depending on individual experience. Earlier horns were either Buescher or Martin stencils. The "Built by Bueschers" I've seen have only been altos and tenors, either 20A/30A or the later 21A/31A altos/tenors that look to have been made in the 40s and 50s. They are clearly Aristocrat horns with somewhat thinner metal and lacking ribbon guards (but note the similarity to the New Aristocrat/very early Aristocrat), amber rollers, Norton springs, and snap on pads. I have found the 20A I played to have the characteristic feel of a Buescher (relatively light, fast key action) and typical clear bottom end. The tone was a bit brighter. However, I find the late pre-Selmer buyout horns not even as much to my liking despite the presence of snaps and Nortons! The Elkharts sell on eBay for a pittance and, I believe, make excellent student and backup horns.
Good Luck
Grant Koeller


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Grant R. Koeller


I'm a Professional Jazz Saxophone soloist recently retired from 23 years with the USAF Band Of Flight, WPAFB, OHIO, experienced in performance, technique and equipment. I'm not a buyer/seller or dealer. I have 40 years Alto, Tenor, Soprano and Bari Saxophone performance experience with additional years on the Flute, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Bass Guitar, Piano, Drum-set, Guitar and Voice. I'm a third generation professional military musician, my father, Bill Koeller(1939-1997) was in the USAF 1958-1962, and played Jazz Hammond B-3 organ from 1957-1997, and my fathers Uncle, Alfred Koeller (1912-1993), was a professional Acoustic Bassist in the Army Air Corps in WWII, and also performed on Jazz Guitar, Hammond organ, Piano and tenor saxophone.


Professional Saxophone Soloist, 23 total years with the USAF Bands, 6 years with the USAF Band of Flight, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, performing on Tenor, Alto, Soprano, Clarinet, and Flute. 4 years in Japan, at Yokota AFB with the USAF Band of the Pacific. An Avid Composer and Arranger for the Night Hawk Protocol Combo. Former Lead Alto Saxophonist with the USAF Night Flight Big Band performing the music of Glenn Miller as well as other hits of the Big Band Era. I collect LP records of Jazz, blue's, classical and rock, and have over 12,000 records.

USAF,Phi MU Alpha Sinfonia, Men's National Music Fraternity, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra, Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Eddie Love Big Band, Gem City Big Band, Jazz Central Big Band, Shin Sings Orchestra, Kim Kelly Orchestra,USAF Night Flight Jazz Ensemble, Different Hats Big Band, Jimmy Baker Blues Band, This Side Up, Freelance, KING KOELLER Quartet, Jazz Central Big Band, GB Work, Sax On The Web,

Saxophone On the Web; Anchorage Daily News; All Experts; Augustana College Public Radio, WVIK;

North Texas State University School of Music, Jazz Studies 1982-1986 Lead Alto, Lab bands 1982-83 and small group leader 1983-1984, Jazz Radio Host WVIK 90.1 FM NPR affiliate Rock Island, IL United States Collegiate Wind Band European tour 1980 Augustana College, Rock Island IL, Liberal Arts Music Mentors/Teachers:My father Bill Koeller, a Jazz Hammond B-3 Organist (1939-1997) Great Uncle Alfred Koeller, Acoustic Bass 1912-1993

Awards and Honors
Paul Shartle Musician of the Quarter Spring 2008; Glenn Miller Festival, Clarinda, Iowa featured soloist; McDonald's All-American Band and Jazz Ensemble 1979; US Collegiate Wind Bands,Paul Lavalle Conductor, tour of Europe,1980; John Phillip Sousa Award, 1980 Dimond HS Anchorage, Alaska; USAF National Defense Service Medal with Bronze Star; USAF Achievement Medal with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters; USAF Good Conduct Medal with 6 Oak Leaf Clusters

Past/Present Clients
Performed with, Bob Hope, The Platters, Four Tops, Jimmy Dorsey, Crystal Gail, Helen Ready, James Williams, Dallas Jazz Orchestra, Jack Jones, The Mills Brothers, the G-Clef's, Lionel Hampton at Carnegie Hall, Performed for the King Of Thailand 2005, Tom "Bone's" Malone, Roy Hargrove, Tommy Turrentine, Performed for President Gerald Ford, President George W. Bush, The Maguire Sisters, The USO Girls-Andrew Sisters Tribute, The Four Lads, Lincoln Berry, The Dayton Jazz Orchestra, Louis Bellson, Buddy DeFranco, Walter Bishop Jr, Sadao Watanabe, Bobby Shew, Pete Jolly, Quad City Jazz Ensemble, Augustana College Symphonic Band, Jack Scott, Catfish Jazz Society, Intrigue-Boston Wedding Band, The Mark Herbert Little Big Band, The Pacesetters Big Band, The Ambassadors Jazz Ensemble, Pacific Showcase Big Band, Jimmy Dorsey Big Band under the direction of Lee Castle, Ronny Scott Orchestra, Big Al's Hot Dance Orchestra, The Dayton Sidewinders, Tom Daugherty Orchestra, Johnny Mack Super Big Band, Ken Peplowski, Eddie Daniels, Buddy Guy, Roy Hargrove, Warren Parrish, John OMeara Jr., Dave Holcomb, Albia Silva,Vinnie Demartino, Clon VonFitz, The G Clef's

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