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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a question for the experts, but first....In the end, nothing really matters except how one feels about a horn when they hold it and play it. I've all but given up on being able to date my Buescher Elkhart 30A tenor, but I know that I like it a lot. There is such a wide range of guesses on the web coming from owners of this horn model that it's crazy; Some people think that these were all made in the 1930's. Others think that they are/were produced late 1940's through early 50's. Some say they are all related to True Tone models.

Some say thin brass and others state that it sounds as good as or better than a True Tone, some people including myself have noticed that there are several different "Elkhart Built by Buescher" logos inscribed on the bell and some are taller than others, some have the Elk antlers within the heart but others have the antlers extending outside of the heart, The Elk face is different on some of these horns, etc, etc....

Rather than so many being confused about when their horn was made based off of serial numbers, I'm wondering if it's possible to date just about any horn (approximately and knowing that it's original to it's case) based on case construction and hardware?
For example, I know that this horn originally came with this case. The original spring loaded clasps on this lovely old case have hardware that is stamped " P Northfield NJ Made in USA" and I would think that the hardware changed pretty frequently, or at least once every decade.

Finally, I would just like to say that I've played/play Martin, Conn and Buescher and I love the sound of my Buescher Elkhart 30A. Its sound is very, very big and it's rich.

Dating by case construction/hardware or the color of velvet is just a thought that I had.....
Any idea what era/decade my horn was made in? Let the confusion begin!
 

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Sure you could. It would depend on a lot of variables, though; for instance, did Buescher (or other makers) order / make a whole bunch of cases and then work down the stock over a long period of time, or did they make/order the cases more frequently, as-needed? If the maker contracts out the work, did they use the same manufacturer all the time? Did the manufacturer consistently use the same provider of case hardware? Etc.
 

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I've also given up trying to date my 30A, but It's a great back-up to my Mk 6. The action is not quite as slick but the tone takes a back seat to none. I've also seen several variations within the 30A model line:some with brass key cups, some with nickel key cups, some with high copper content in the bell. I have two of these sleepers which were used by two sons through High school band. One is silver in the 52,000 serial number range and the other is a 45,000 series. These are good horns.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hornlip, those are some very, very good points. I recall my grandfather stating that back in those days the manufacturers usually made everything in-house (Which to me is what made the quality/craftsmanship so superb), so I'm guessing that would include cases. I will guess that they had working relationships with hardware makers, lumber supply, leather and stitch supply, etc....

Sax736, that is awesome to hear! I agree with you about the tone quality. My serial is 697XX so again, I have no idea where that places it time-wise.

To my untrained eye, the Art-Deco style of the case and the stenciling scream pre-1950's.....
 

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I thought the Elkhart was discontinued around 1955. I don't remember that tweed case being around in the late 50s.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Bruce,
I'm thinking that your guess of 1938-52 is probably very good. I've been trying to study a lot of construction and hardware from the 1920's-1970's and I'm pretty sure that there's no way they were using this style of rear hinge past the 40's. I'm also pretty sure that they did not use the primitive hardware plate rivets past the 40's/early 50's either. The only thing that I'm pretty certain about is that many, if not all, instrument cases from the 1920's seemed to use purple velvet.

I'm not skilled enough to speak on the stenciling, but this does not look like any stenciling that I've seen from the 50's/60's.

p.s.
Now that you mention it, the main body material appears to be either a varnished leather or tweed/burlap material with leather accents stitched at each end
 

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It has distinctive features of a late 50-early 60 horn. If you guys wanna date a horn based on the case... [rolleyes]

post flanges, key construction, and neck brace are late 50's early 60's.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It has distinctive features of a late 50-early 60 horn. If you guys wanna date a horn based on the case... [rolleyes]

post flanges, key construction, and neck brace are late 50's early 60's.
There were no Buescher Elkharts made after 1954 (According to one of Denver's longest Buescher playing collectors/shops http://www.flesherhinton.com/store/pc/viewContent.asp?idpage=4)
Also, I'm not sure if the photo quality is good enough for you to spot them, but if you look closely there are 8 thin Victorian-type "L" shaped trim cap brackets on the case corners, at the joints, that secure the dark leather accents. This was a more costly and time consuming feature that was standard from roughly late 1920's through the mid 1940's, but after WWII it became less and less common and this construction technique had completely vanished in the mid-late 1940's. (Hardware and manufacturing techniques changed a lot in the 1950's). The neck brace doesn't look like any 1960's brace that I've ever seen, though.
 

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The neck brace doesn't look like any 1960's brace that I've ever seen, though.
I guess you haven't seen very many saxophones. That was the most common neck for Aristocrats in the sixties, but not before that. There is a 30s Aristocrat on eBay right now that I know has the wrong neck because it looks like yours. As for that style being gone by the 50s, when do you think that this saxophone was made? http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-Selmer-...tu=UCC&otn=15&ps=63&clkid=2112328596135400162
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Saintsday,
That Signet doesn't look too bad for that price....... And it is almost certainly a 60's make.
Not trying to be a jerk, but you have to slow down and work on your eye for detail. That Signet neck is nothing like my 30A neck; It has a completely flat squared under brace mouthpipe guard and mine is very clearly oval, nearly round.
The octave riser guides/key saddles on the Signet neck are short and wide. The octave riser guides and saddles on mine are very tall and narrow.
The round loop at the bottom of the octave key on mine is perfectly round.
The loop on that horn is a nearly perfect 4-sided square loop.
Also note that my thumb levers are quite different from that horn.

Perhaps most importantly, I'm becoming fairly competent at cataloging cases and the hardware which they were built with. Look very closely at the Selmer case. It is a perfect example of 60's design and hardware. Look closely at the downgraded/cheap corner hardware and clasp locks on it, now look at the color of the stitching, the black material and the cheap looking generic handle. It's very modern.

Now look very closely at the 30A case; It screams "Art Deco!" with completely different accents, stitching, build materials and hardware.

To the best of my knowledge, there were no Buescher Elkhart 30A's made after 1954-5.
Our very own Pete Hales states that they were made in the 1930's and I completely agree with him that it was the same tooling as the True Tones: http://www.saxontheweb.net/Resources/Stencils.html

I agree with Bruce Bailey's post above... 1938-52 -ish...... 1940's seems right when all is considered.

This 1951 'Crat neck looks almost exactly the same as mine and the "Buescher True Tone" badge on the case is almost an exact match to the badge on my case: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130561836839&ssPageName=ADME:B:WNA:US:1123

If you're a younger guy, don't sweat it; Over time you'll develop an eye for detail as you grow older.
If you're an old fart like some of us, you need some glasses because the 2 necks are nothing alike :bluewink:
 

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My eyes are fine. I thought you meant that general style neck brace which didn't appear on any Buescher branded instrument until around 1960 about the time I got my first saxophone. That isn't based on an opinion but on having owned a couple hundred Buescher saxophones.
 

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Round post flanges started in late 50's when they introduced the 141-156 aristocrats (back bell tone holes a la buescher 400) they moved them form those aristocrats to the stencils/cheaper line after the '60's. Your pre 55 elkhart would have oval post flanges. I don't know who gave you the 54-55 deadline for the Elkharts but he's wrong. They were produced at least for 10 more years after that date you're mentioning. They replaced the 20A-30A with the 21A-31A wich had less elaborate engraving and nickel keys.
The brace on the neck of yor horn is from the 60's. It would have come on a cheaper aristocrat around '61 or '62.

You're being called wrong by 2 persons (saintsday and me) with not only solid experience on Buescher and stencils, but we have had a LOT of different horns over the years. Don't care if you're 70, 80 years old. I think that the only way in wich you could have seen more different bueschers than Saints and me is if you worked at the factory AND packed them different horns into their cases.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
"I don't know who gave you the 54-55 deadline for the Elkharts but he's wrong. They were produced at least for 10 more years after that date you're mentioning."

Do you have any scanned catalogs/ad's showing the 30A or did you own a brand new 30A that you walked in and purchased in the 1960's in America or what? How do you know this? Post some solid photo or article evidence of some sort please.
I don't want to spin this thread way off topic because all I'm saying is that it's fairly easy to compare case builds and the era they were built in. One has to know that the case is original to the horn, though. It's totally possible, but not likely, that myself, Pete Hales and Bruce Bailey are mistaken about the date range.

I know that my case is original to the 30A. A pastor from my local church had been the original owner and passed it down to his son before he was killed in a car wreck a few years later. (At that time I was playing a Conn 16M but really wanted to try a Buescher. My memory is fuzzy, but this was roughly 1969 when I purchased it in quite used condition)

Jicaino, I would be grateful if you have any close-up photos you could post of cases (out of the hundreds that you've had in your hands) that you know are original to the horn from the 1950's and 1960's. I borrowed this idea of trying to guestimate a horn based on original case hardware/construction from a few professional luthiers that I have spoken with over the years. Those guys are incredibly good at getting in the ball park based on the case construction and hardware, and it's something that they have to resort to once in a while. I can absolutely promise you that my case is not from the 1960's. It may be from the 1950's. I honestly don't know if it's from the 1940's.

Basically, just take a long hard look at your case hardware/locks/clasps/stitching if you have one of each from the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's. Cool?

You will never, ever, ever, ever find a case that has a badge like this from the 1960's: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?f...&type=1&theater&pid=595555&id=100000812259222

This 1951 badge is nearly identical:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130561836839&ssPageName=ADME:B:WNA:US:1123

(I notice that you are in S. America and I don't know if you're from the USA or not, but this style of art/logo would have been considered EXTREMELY "Square" or "Uncool" to a young music student in the 1960's because "modern" was the in thing. Also, The type face/font of the letters is exactly the same as what Buescher used in the 1940's-early 50's and is nothing like the 60's font on all Buescher cases)
 

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I don't have much to add here, but several 30A and 20A stencils that I've owned or had my hands on could be dated to the mid 1950's. Some of the instrument companies like F.E. Olds used serial numbers on stencils that can be accurately dated.
 
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