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Discussion Starter #1
I'm the very proud owner of a York curved soprano. I've had it for a few weeks, but only recently figured out how to get it to respond well (a pad wasn't sealing properly);
apart from that, it's surprisingly beginner friendly for a vintage sax, and has a very sweet sound. But I'm having much less success figuring out if this neat little horn is a stencil or not. There's a curvy identical to mine currently on eBay (though with a higher serial number) that the seller identifies as a Buescher stencil, but the shapes of the octave key and pinky cluster don't look like anything that's appeared on any Buescher I've seen, stencil or otherwise; I HAVE, however, found similar shapes on other Yorks (altos and tenors, though). I was all set to declare this a true York until I found out about the special True Tone models that had soldered tone holes and key guards. And then I found some confirmed York curvies that had octave keys and pinky clusters more in line with the Buescher stencils than mine.

...Needless to say, I have no idea what I have anymore. I was hoping someone here with a little more expertise can help me out.

View attachment 238788 View attachment 238790

If these pictures aren't much help (and they probably aren't because my camera is a bad joke by this point), here's the original listing for my sax:
link
 

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The flanges on the low note tone holes are a well-known York feature. I've never seen a Buescher with tone holes like that.

That said, why don't you just call up the seller, he's a well-known retailer and will probably be happy to answer any question.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
There were some Bueschers made with the flanges, such as this one, albeit with fewer flanges than the confirmed Yorks I've seen. From what little I've found, though, they're pretty rare. And York definitely held the patent for the design. (I love saxophone research!)

If I had to hazard a guess, it probably is a true York; when it comes in a York case with a York mouthpiece and is sold by a highly reputable seller as a York, there isn't that much room for doubt. I took another look at that eBay listing that raised my doubts, though, and realized that I wasn't paying attention to the flanges. It still has the weird octave key and pinky cluster, but, while it has soldered tone holes, it doesn't have the flanges. So theirs might actually be the stencil they claim it is, while mine is the real deal. Or theirs is some sort of in-house frankenhorn with a Buescher body, York keywork, and whatever that serial number is.

The serial number is another thing that gives me pause. Yorks with a serial number close to mine usually had "patent applied for" markings on them; mine and the eBay curvy do not. There's not even an LP marking (even though it's a Low Pitch horn). Plus the number isn't in that distinctive York font. Of course, with the flanges and the keywork identified as York, arguably I'm just fussing over minor things at this point. Maybe I should just say it's a York and call it a day.
 

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There were some Bueschers made with the flanges, such as this one, albeit with fewer flanges than the confirmed Yorks I've seen. From what little I've found, though, they're pretty rare. And York definitely held the patent for the design. (I love saxophone research!)

If I had to hazard a guess, it probably is a true York; when it comes in a York case with a York mouthpiece and is sold by a highly reputable seller as a York, there isn't that much room for doubt. I took another look at that eBay listing that raised my doubts, though, and realized that I wasn't paying attention to the flanges. It still has the weird octave key and pinky cluster, but, while it has soldered tone holes, it doesn't have the flanges. So theirs might actually be the stencil they claim it is, while mine is the real deal. Or theirs is some sort of in-house frankenhorn with a Buescher body, York keywork, and whatever that serial number is.

The serial number is another thing that gives me pause. Yorks with a serial number close to mine usually had "patent applied for" markings on them; mine and the eBay curvy do not. There's not even an LP marking (even though it's a Low Pitch horn). Plus the number isn't in that distinctive York font. Of course, with the flanges and the keywork identified as York, arguably I'm just fussing over minor things at this point. Maybe I should just say it's a York and call it a day.
Well, it has been common for manufacturers of any product, if they find themselves with over-capacity, to sell parts to their competitors. (One of the dirty little secrets of industry.)

But given that on your instrument the keywork doesn't look like Buescher, the flanged tone holes don't look like Buescher except that there's a photo of a Buescher that appears to have ONE flanged tone hole, the key guards are unusual for Buescher, and it is engraved "York", my guess is that it was made by York. That does not mean it's impossible that parts might have come from the factory of another sax manufacturer. As for the Buescher with one flanged tone hole, there are a number of possible industrial explanations for that, including the possibility that they had trouble with that particular tone hole and might have bought some flanged tone holes from York as repair parts in case they had trouble with that hole. Or any of a number of other explanations. (Like, the stamping tool for the bow broke and they bought some bows-with-tone-holes from York to keep production running while they fixed it.)

Of course, a hundred years on, the only real question is what kind of shape it's in and how it plays.
 
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