Saxophone/need info

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Question
Wondering if you can tell me anything about this saxophone? I found it several wks ago and don't know anything about them/I do notice that the mouthpiece is missing and it has the number 210206,TRUE TONE/LOW PITCH/thank you so much

Answer
Janet,

The True Tone saxophones were made by the Buescher company in the 1920's and 30's and were considered one of the best saxophones in the world when they were being manufactured. The characteristic of the Buescher saxophones were their ability to play relatively in tune compared to many of the other brands of the time, and a very focused and sweet sound. Thus the Buescher was the preferred saxophone for symphonic level work for the early 20th century. This differed from many of the other brands being produced at the time which were trying to take advantage of the emerging jazz market during the 1920's and 30's. This time period we refer to as the "Sax Craze" as during that time the saxophone was as popular as the electric guitar is now. The long lasting effect of this "craze" is that in the 1920's a huge number of saxophones were produced. Now many of these instruments are gathering dust in attics and  basements, show up at garage sales, antique shops, sometimes it's just grand-dads old sax etc. Just about anywhere you can buy something used these old 1920's era saxophones tend to show up.

It is commonly believed Gus Buescher designed the first saxophone ever made in the United States. However he was working for the Conn Band Instrument company at the time. In the 1910's Mr. Buescher left Conn due to a bitter disagreement between Himself and Mr. Conn. Thus he created his own company and a bitter feud between the two companies resulted. Some of the sales tactics between the two got down right nasty.   

When Buescher was making the true-tone they usually stamped the True Tone logo on the back of the horn near the brace where the body meets the bow directly under the serial number. However the True Tone name was usually engraved on the bell as well. If you have the True Tone logo, (it looks like a triangle with the True Tone name on it) but you do not have the Buescher logo or True Tone engraved on the bell than you would have a stencil saxophone. Stencils were instruments that were outsourced to a different factory. This is a very common practice and is pretty much how all musical instruments are made today. For example if you wanted to create the Janet sax company, all you would have to do is contact a saxophone factory, tell them what you wanted them to make and then write a check. In a few months you would be in the saxophone business. Back in the days stenciling was not as common as it is now but it was prevalent and we find saxophones all the time with uncommon names but to those of us in the industry we can recognize a particular manufacture based on a few features that were unique to that manufacture.

Don't worry about the missing mouthpiece. Most used saxophones are missing their mouthpiece. The original mouthpieces were usually sub-par and only used by students. Pro players would usually discard these or trade them for a more professional or better quality mouthpiece. Then when they sell the sax they would of course keep their preferred mouthpiece to use on their next saxophone. After market mouthpieces are readily available at just about any music store. A student level mouthpiece can easily be purchased for less than $20.

The info I gave you above is only very general and I would like to tell you more however without seeing the horn there is not much more I can do. If you can send me photos of the horn including any info that is stamped or engraved on it that would be a big help. Look closely at the bell and see if you can make out any type of engraving. If the horn has been re-lacquered the engraving may be very light and you might have to hold it at the correct angle to see it. If you could take some photos of the key areas, this is where your the touch pieces are for the fingers are that would be a huge help as well as the neck. if it is possible for you to send me a few photos, I might be able to tell you more about what you have. Please send them to My email at charles@harrisbandinstruments.com

Looking forward to hearing from you.

Charles Harris  

Saxophone

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Charles Harris

Expertise

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

Experience

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.

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

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

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