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Saxophone/buescher/selmer stencil



Hello, and thanks in advance. I have been a semi-pro player for 40+ years, and now have a small repair shop, mostly for the local public schools. I recently acquired a true tone tenor I can't quite identify. It has all the features of an early true tone, double octave keys and the daisy bell strap, but has no pearl buttons, only metal, and is clearly engraved 'Selmer' on the bell, s/n 34812.The engraving has no other words or letters, and bears no resemblance to the NY or Penn bells. It is done in the classic Selmer font. It's in rough shape, but complete. I tend to leave better horns to better technicians than me, but am curious as to playing or collectability of this horn. I can not find any photos or even any mention of this particular sax. It appears to have soldered-on tone holes that are conical and beveled at the top


I cant say with 100% certainty but based on the 2 photos I believe you have a very early Selmer U.S.A. saxophone made by the Buescher company. Henri and Alexander Selmer established their factory in Paris in the late 19th century. In 1908 Alexander Selmer moved to New York and became a clarinetist with the New York Philharmonic and set up a music store to sell the products being manufactured by his brother in Paris. Due to the laws in place at the time and being that the US and France are completely different countries. The store in New York had nothing to do with the factory in Paris and they operated as completely different entities. The only thing they had to unite them was an exclusive import and export agreement. This is why there is a Selmer Paris and a Selmer U.S.A. Since 2004 Selmer U.S.A. has been known as Conn-Selmer as they acquired the United Musical Instruments conglomerate which included the ownership of brands such as Conn, Armstrong, Martin, etc.

Back in the early days of Selmer U.S.A. Alexander Selmer had Buescher and Conn make instruments for him and had the U.S. version of the Selmer logo stamped on the bells. This is a common practice refereed to as stenciling and is still practiced today. This is what I believe you have. From what I can see in the photos this looks like an early Buescher. If there is a True Tone stamp on the back than that would confirm it. The reason for the metal touch pieces is that was the common method of manufacture. Pearls didn't become common and standard until around 1915. The double octave keys would be a throw back to earlier designs as would the soldered and beveled tone holes.

As far as value that is going to be a really tough call and I wound not feel comfortable placing a value on it. There may be some collectors who would like to have it as it's a nice piece of history but I'm not sure if it would be worth restoring. That would depend on what the buyer wants to do. If you have a shop and you would feel comfortable restoring this to playable condition and you don't have much invested in it than go for it. All you would be out would be a set of pads and the time you have in it.

I hope this helps.

Charles Harris


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Charles Harris


questions regarding equipment, performance, repairs, lessons, etc. Almost all saxophone related questions.


I am a professional member of N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instruments Repair Technicians). I have been repairing saxophones, flutes, clarinets, and brass instruments since 1993. I perform in several professional groups covering genres form classical, jazz, and rock.

N.A.P.B.I.R.T (National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians

St. Petersburg Junior College (AA) University of South Florida.

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