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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently purchased a new horn and have decided to sell this on consignment at a local shop. I was curious what it might be valued at. The store where I want to sell it recently did work on it. Just an adjustment. They felt strongly that it's a Buescher stencil (IIRC)
I had it dated when I first purchased it and had it overhauled. It's believed to be from around 1941. It sounds lovely and it plays well. The pads are in good shape. The only issue is the high F & F# are a bit flat.
I'm honestly not expecting to get much. I'm mostly curious what's something like this would be worth.
I want to be clear that I am not intending to sell it on this forum nor will I take offers.
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‘38 Buescher AristoTenor, ‘66 Martin Magna Tenor
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I have sold a handful of these over the years (at least 1 tenor and a few more altos), but it's been a long time since the last one I had. I want to say that I sold the tenor one for $1000 (give or take). One recently sold on ebay at bidding for $524, but it looked rough.

There is a certain allure to these due to the fact that Wayne Shorter is said to have played one for a time. Also, exquisite (for a Bundy anyway) engraving. I think it is the same pattern on Selmer paris horns from the period. The flowers sure look like it anyway. One wonders if these might not have been practice canvases for training engravers.

As for it being a Buescher stencil, I'd say yes, but with an asterisk...a lot of people claim these are the same as an Aristo series 1. I don't think so. The Aristo 1 doesn't have that cheap looking neck brace, and the key post feet are diamonds rather than round/oval. The G# looks awkwardly small on the Bundy too. What it looks a lot like to me is an 30A "Elkhart by Buescher", or maybe somewhere in between. I suspect that they had left over parts that they were using up. In fact, I have seen 30A's that clearly had remnants of a snap in reso post on the inside of key cups. My guess is they snipped those out to cheapen it up and put in regular pads, but that's another story.
 

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Selmer MK VI, Selmer SA80 II Silver-plate Alto, Selmer SA80 II Silver-Plated Tenor, Yani Soprano SC
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For what return you may get on the open market, I would keep it as a back, especially as you have had an overhaul done on it in the past. Nothing wrong with having a second horn. Especially one that is so different to you current new horn the YTS-62 III.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wow, you folks are impressive. Thanks.
I'd be curious to know which recordings Shorter played on this...

@Global Woodwind, yes thanks for the suggestion. I certainly did consider holding onto it. Based on the relative rarity of this horn, there could be a day in my future where I regret getting rid of it! I really do love the sound.

Funny side story: When I purchased it about 14 years ago, the guy who sold it lived in Santa Cruz. He told me his brother got a hold of this horn while working as a contractor in Los Angeles. He said the horn came from the father of Henry Winkler. For years I believed I had the Fonz's dad's horn! Why would he make up this odd story if it were a untrue?

Cut to about 3 years ago: Henry Winkler is on a book tour (co-wrote a chapter book for pre-teens) and he's coming to my local bookstore. I buy the book, buy a ticket to hear him interviewed and, in the split second I have with him while signing my book, I ask him if his father ever played the sax...and he says no. 😆
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I had one of these years ago. It was the first tenor that I owned. It was in much rougher shape than this, but still sounded fantastic. The only real issue I recall was the location of the auxillary F# key. The design lent itself to catching my right hand ring finger. I ended up giving the sax away to someone I knew who wanted to learn how to play the tenor. It worked out pretty well for him, but there are times when I certainly miss the horn. I recall this model being exceptionally light.

Regarding Wayne Shorter, I've come across some grainy videos of him playing on one of these with Miles. Though details in these old video recordings are hard to make out, this model's neck angle is not. Selmer wouldn't develope such a high arch neck until the Mark VII. The left side bell keys are also fairly visible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Regarding Wayne Shorter, I've come across some grainy videos of him playing on one of these with Miles. Though details in these old video recordings are hard to make out, this model's neck angle is not. Selmer wouldn't develop such a high arch neck until the Mark VII. The left side bell keys are also fairly visible.
Cool! I'll try and search for them.
 

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Funny side story: When I purchased it about 14 years ago, the guy who sold it lived in Santa Cruz. He told me his brother got a hold of this horn while working as a contractor in Los Angeles. He said the horn came from the father of Henry Winkler. For years I believed I had the Fonz's dad's horn! Why would he make up this odd story if it were a untrue?
[/QUOTE]

Don't you see, that's the genius of it...if he'd said Liam Neeson you would know he's making it up...

(for those who don't get the reference...watch Seinfeld episode 94)
 

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JS Crescent, JS NOS, Selmer SBA, Couf Superba I, Conn, Buescher, King
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It's not really correct to call it a Buescher "stencil," although you can tell by its features that it's "Aristocrat descended," i.e. most of its parts appear to have been made on Buescher tooling.

If Buescher actually made the parts -- which is possible, even if the horn was assembled after Selmer took over "Aristocrat" and other Buescher brand names around 1963 -- then it makes some sense to use the term "stencil." If it's made on old Buescher tooling by a Selmer owned factory, then "stencil" (most who have some expertise would agree) is at best (whether unintentionally or intentionally) misleading.

"Stencil" normally refers to something like what we call "OEM" today, where a factory (the one of stencil attribution) actually makes the product but puts another brand name on it, or sells it to another brand name who then puts their branding on it.

There is a significant difference between "stencil" and "made on [fill in the blank's] old tooling," it's not splitting hairs to point this out. An SML stencil's value is massively different, for example, from a horn made on SML's old tooling (both of which I believe exist -- sure about the latter, can't remember right now about the former).

$2000 for an old Buescher-descended Bundy is a bit crazy, as in detached from reality.
 

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I'm no expert but that looks more like 1941 than post 1963 (Selmer buyout). We know Buescher and Selmer USA had a long standing relationship (for example, the Padless). This looks to me like Selmer bought it from Buescher, specifying that "Bundy USA" be engraved on it. That seems to be the definition of "stencil" to me.
 

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I didn't check the serial for assembly date. It sounds like you didn't yet either. Maybe someone less lazy than us will come along to do that.

If it's made with Buescher-manufactured parts during the Selmer ownership of them (i.e. from parts that were transferred to Selmer's ownership after the changeover) then it's in sort of a netherzone, i.e. according to the criteria I listed (granting them for a sec, as you seem to do in your reply).

It IS normal for a legit (as in made by the factory of attribution) stencil to have parts from earlier eras, e.g. a 1930s or even later Conn stencil might have opposing bell keys, on a bell actually made by Conn, and assembled much later by Conn, but if the assembly team was Selmer-hired instead of Buescher-paid, then it's sort of ridiculous to call it a Buescher stencil, since "stencil" means made by one factory to be branded by another. To call something "a Buescher stencil" literally means "manufactured by Buescher." If Selmer assembled it, then it's not a Buescher stencil per se.

I do find some of the features kind of neato, fwiw. E.g. the LH table looking kind of like the tables of the New Aristocrats of the Rascher period, rather than the later Aristocrats. Some of the later, undesirable Selmer variations also have that feature, e.g. some Signets. I'm comparing them from memory, though, without looking up photos to see if my memory's playing tricks on me.
 

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Love hearing about Bundys! Never get tired of reminding everyone. I have 2 from the ‘60s and a ‘75-all tenors.
I picked them up cheaply,..$200. and had them OH’d. I’ll probably keep two, but should let one go. I mean, who needs 2 backs?
 
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I didn't check the serial for assembly date. It sounds like you didn't yet either. Maybe someone less lazy than us will come along to do that.

If it's made with Buescher-manufactured parts during the Selmer ownership of them (i.e. from parts that were transferred to Selmer's ownership after the changeover) then it's in sort of a netherzone, i.e. according to the criteria I listed (granting them for a sec, as you seem to do in your reply).

It IS normal for a legit (as in made by the factory of attribution) stencil to have parts from earlier eras, e.g. a 1930s or even later Conn stencil might have opposing bell keys, on a bell actually made by Conn, and assembled much later by Conn, but if the assembly team was Selmer-hired instead of Buescher-paid, then it's sort of ridiculous to call it a Buescher stencil, since "stencil" means made by one factory to be branded by another. To call something "a Buescher stencil" literally means "manufactured by Buescher." If Selmer assembled it, then it's not a Buescher stencil per se.

I do find some of the features kind of neato, fwiw. E.g. the LH table looking kind of like the tables of the New Aristocrats of the Rascher period, rather than the later Aristocrats. Some of the later, undesirable Selmer variations also have that feature, e.g. some Signets. I'm comparing them from memory, though, without looking up photos to see if my memory's playing tricks on me.
I'm going off of memory from what Pete Hales had up on saxpics.com back when he owned it. I can't find the Bundy readings anymore, so I'm assuming that USA Horn removed them. In short, these were war era horns which (allegedly) used Aristocrat tooling. Selmer USA was making what they could since the Henri Selmer Paris factory was under occupation. These Bundy's share many features with the Selmer Signet and Selmer Padless saxophones of that time, with the latter allegedly being a design to cut down on leather and other textiles needed for the war effort. Pete called these Bundy's "an upper intermediate horn". Personally, I always enjoyed playing mine. I don't think that anyone has ever taken measurements of the bore and tone holes in order to confirm that these were Aristocrat bodies, or at least something made with Aristocrat tooling. The keywork seems to be the same as the Elkhart stencils I've seen. I'd guess that Buescher and Selmer used the existing keywork and mandrills they already had while manufacturing body tubes and necks with the thinnest amount of sheet metal that they could get away with. These saxes are extremely light due to the thinnest amounts of sheet metal I've seen coming out of any of the USA factories.
 

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I love the knowledge all of you are sharing about the horn. 🙂

I know! Unfortunately, the leather mostly deteriorated around the stitching. There were interesting artifacts still in the case. A 1944 penny, as well as a war-era calorie counter booklet?! View attachment 114336
Ooh does that fat-away dial really work? I could use that!
 

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I'm going off of memory from what Pete Hales had up on saxpics.com back when he owned it. I can't find the Bundy readings anymore, so I'm assuming that USA Horn removed them. In short, these were war era horns which (allegedly) used Aristocrat tooling. Selmer USA was making what they could since the Henri Selmer Paris factory was under occupation. These Bundy's share many features with the Selmer Signet and Selmer Padless saxophones of that time, with the latter allegedly being a design to cut down on leather and other textiles needed for the war effort. Pete called these Bundy's "an upper intermediate horn". Personally, I always enjoyed playing mine. I don't think that anyone has ever taken measurements of the bore and tone holes in order to confirm that these were Aristocrat bodies, or at least something made with Aristocrat tooling. The keywork seems to be the same as the Elkhart stencils I've seen. I'd guess that Buescher and Selmer used the existing keywork and mandrills they already had while manufacturing body tubes and necks with the thinnest amount of sheet metal that they could get away with. These saxes are extremely light due to the thinnest amounts of sheet metal I've seen coming out of any of the USA factories.
This sounds about right. I've never "dealt" in the Selmer era Buescher-descended horns, because the demand until fairly recently was about zero for them. But a fair number have come through for service or overhaul (more on this in a sec) and I did handle a few earlier on (as in 15+ years ago) for resale, and have actually bought a number over the years for parts and potential donor status for custom work (they didn't really pan out for that latter use for a host of reasons).

There is a lot of variation in the mix, in the Selmer-era horns made on Buescher tooling. Some of it is pretty critical to note, such as widely varying characteristics in how the necks play. I suspect the one in question (OP's) is probably in a nice range, colorwise, not shrill as some Selmer-era Buescher-based altos can be -- and some can be extremely shrill (though those will also be unusually powerful, not a negative for those for whom that shrill tone would be a positive).

Some of the Signets have a very lovely voice, and there is again not just variation in how those play but in how their keywork is designed. I had a rare nickelplated early Signet tenor in recently for overhaul, and it was just great. It didn't yet have the weird keywork adaptation that one sees on the version that seems a segue to the Bundy II, where the most natural orientation for many is with the horn almost laying sideways across the player's body (weird, and undesirable for many), and there was very little practical difference between it and a Big B Aristocrat (it had the Big B's bell style and LH table) other than a subtle difference in tone that was neither fully a negative or positive for me personally (I like classic, typical Buescher Big B tenor tone, over later Selmer era Buescher-based tenors). I could easily have been happy playing that Signet forever, if I had no other choices, yet knew they were out there.

Re metal, my finding re the later Signets is as you state: thinner metal, weaker metal. But that earlier nickelplated example, not the same story. Things that seem worth noting.
 

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I have sold a handful of these over the years (at least 1 tenor and a few more altos), but it's been a long time since the last one I had. I want to say that I sold the tenor one for $1000 (give or take). One recently sold on ebay at bidding for $524, but it looked rough.

There is a certain allure to these due to the fact that Wayne Shorter is said to have played one for a time. Also, exquisite (for a Bundy anyway) engraving. I think it is the same pattern on Selmer paris horns from the period. The flowers sure look like it anyway. One wonders if these might not have been practice canvases for training engravers.

As for it being a Buescher stencil, I'd say yes, but with an asterisk...a lot of people claim these are the same as an Aristo series 1. I don't think so. The Aristo 1 doesn't have that cheap looking neck brace, and the key post feet are diamonds rather than round/oval. The G# looks awkwardly small on the Bundy too. What it looks a lot like to me is an 30A "Elkhart by Buescher", or maybe somewhere in between. I suspect that they had left over parts that they were using up. In fact, I have seen 30A's that clearly had remnants of a snap in reso post on the inside of key cups. My guess is they snipped those out to cheapen it up and put in regular pads, but that's another story.
Wayne Shorter played on a Selmer Padless , not a Bundy, I wish I could find the interview where he talked about this horn. here's an overview.

 

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Wayne Shorter played on a Selmer Padless , not a Bundy, I wish I could find the interview where he talked about this horn. here's an overview.

I'll have to respectfully disagree from the evidence that I've been able to find. Here's a picture of Wayne with the horn in question. The giveaway is in the bell brace itself. While the Selmer Signet and Selmer Padless used the same Aristocrat 1 body tube as the Bundy, with the padless having modified toneholes, the Bundy was the only of the 3 to have a straight wire bell to body brace. The other two had the "S" shaped brace. I'm also wondering how that padless would hold up in a recording session, as Matt points out in the video, the model was rather noisy.
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Responding to ptung, I hear what you mean by resale. The kid I gave that Bundy to was hesitant to have any work on the horn done about 13 years ago. I had to convince him to get the overhaul as his local tech insisted that it wasn't worth it. Fortunately, reasoning prevailed, he was a Shorter fan, and he gave the sax the overhaul it deserved. I had aquired that horn off of eBay around late 2003. While the horn was still on its original pads, the sax was luckily kept in a relatively dry place. While the resonator-less pieces of leather saw better days, I was still able to get a few years out of them without a problem. Flash forward to a few months back, and karma finally came back to get me as another friend sold me an Aristocrat Series III model 156 tenor with a Dukoff Fluted Chamber mouthpiece for $80. That horn is just about to come out of the shop, and I'm excited to get an Aristocrat back into my hands.

Regarding the 2 tenors, I have little doubt that the Bundy and 156 have more than just a few things in common. Though the pinky keys and Aux F are different on both, the stack keys and overall layout feel very similar to one another. While the pads on the 156 didn't fair as well despite being about the same age as the Bundy's when adjusted to the time of my experiences with them, they did tell me enough to know that the horn was most certainly worth the overhaul. One thing that I love about the Aristocrat is that they feel very "Selmer-ish" outside of the left hand pinky table. I have rather large hands, so the under-leveraged low C# isn't that big of a deal to me. I'm just excited to have another high end tenor that can be used interchangeably with my Super Action 80.

I found your noting of "shrill" Bundy alto necks rather interesting. Usually, I find those necks to be rather dark to a fault. Nothing bad about how they play, but I'm used to more strident altos like my New Wonder and Yamaha 21. The Bundy altos I've played remind me of Yani altos, being very dark and easy to play all around. Great instruments, but not the tone I'm used to hearing. I'm probably just splitting hairs here though.
 
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