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Saxophone/Buescher True Tone 1921 alto sax


Hello, I was given a saxaphone by my grandfather 30+ years ago and would like to find some information about it. It is a Buescher True Tone made in Elkhart In, the serial number is 97599. It is silver but I do not know if it is silver plated, it does not have the Elk head on the horn. It is in great shape with the case. Thank you for your time

Wanda Bruce

Hello Wanda, Yes you have a wonderful vintage professional saxophone.
There are unquestionably several "series" or "groups" of Buescher horns that can be called "True Tone". There are also a couple of major things to note about each series. Hang on. Let's take a look at a chart and see if we can track the major features.
Common Name:   Series I   Series Ia
Lowest Serial Number:   1   5xxx
Highest Serial Number:   5xxx   30xxx (very approximate)
Dual-Octave Key:   Yes   No
Tone Holes:   Straight   Straight
Roller Color:   Metal   Black
Engraving:   The Buescher Mfg. Co.
Elkhart, Ind.   The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.
G# Key Picture:   Metal Button   Pearl Button
Neither is the first model made by FA Buescher. The award of first is given to the Conn "Worcester" made in 1888.
The main difference between these two "models" is the subtraction of the dual-octave key.
Here is the history of the company...F.A. "GUS" Buescher left Conn in 1894 to establish the Buescher Manufacturing Co. This was later restructured as the Buescher Band Instrument Co in 1904. In 1916, FA Buescher sold a major share of his company to six businessmen including Andrew Hubble Beardsley. FA Buescher remained president until 1919 when Beardsley assumed that title. FA Buescher was vice-president and general manager of the company until 21 January 1929, when he resigned these positions, but was retained as a consultant engineer.
In 1926/7 the Buescher Band Instrument Company was joined with the Elkhart Band Instrument Company1 (some claim that Buescher was bought by the Elkhart Band Instrument Company), a company founded two years previously by Beardsley with Conn's Carl Greenleaf as secretary-treasurer. When Beardsley died in 1936, the Buescher company began using the Elkhart Band Instrument trademark on a line of instruments until 1958.
FA Buescher then founded Art Musical Instruments in 1932 -- they didn't produce their own saxophones, but used Martin stencils.
FA Buescher died in 1937 and was succeeded by Harry Pedler, the VP at the time, at Art Musical Instruments. Slightly after this, Art Musical Instruments had a name change to "Harry Pedler and Sons" -- and still stenciled Martin instruments.2
The Harry Pedler brassworks were bought by Selmer USA in 1958.3
So, from this one can assume "natural" breaks in Buescher designs in 1916-ish, 1926-ish and 1929-ish. Looking at the Buescher horns, this really does appear to be the case.
Let's continue:
Common Name:   Series II   Series III   Series IV   Custom Built
Lowest Serial Number:   30xxx?   200xxx   220xxx   270xxx?
Highest Serial Number:   200xxx   220xxx   260xxx   294xxx
Dual-Octave Key:   No   No   No   No
Tone Holes:   Straight   Straight   Straight   Straight
Roller Color:   Black   Black   Black   Brown
Engraving:   The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.   The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.   The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.
USA   The Buescher
Custom Built
Elkhart, Ind. USA
G# Key Picture:   Pearl Button   4-Roller Cluster   4-Roller Cluster   5-Roller Cluster
These are the "meat and potatoes" series of True Tone: they're the most common and are the best horns of the series.
Many, Many Notes
Possibly the most important: in 1921, Buescher patented a new invention called the "Snap-On Pad". This innovation is important as it is considered the first real "resonator" (unless you want to consider the Conn Res-O-Pad a resonator). Take a moment to read my detailed feature page on this innovation.
In 1928, Buescher introduced three "gimmicky" horns that were actually a significant improvement over their older, conventional siblings: the Straight Alto and Tipped Bell Bb and C sopranos.
Your sax was made in 1921
It is silver plate over brass, not solid silver...the Elk head is for the second line sax you have top of the line sax
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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