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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter #1
There was a thread a year or two back about a tenor on Ebay that had 'FR' stamped beneath the true tone logo on the body tube. There were a few reasonable guesses, but there didn't seem to be an absolute answer as to what it stood for.

Well today, I picked up another TT alto and sure enough...it has FR stamped into the body tube.

While 'factory repair' might be possible, I'm not entirely sold that the factory would stamp instruments that they repaired to label them as such (if this were the case, we should see quite a few more FR stamps, shouldn't we?).

This sax also has a few quirky things, such as having the relatively newer engraving style, as well as a proportionally incorrect G# key (looks more like what's on my bass...though I haven't measured to compare them yet). It's a 162XXX, which should make it a '24.

Since it's been a while...has anyone figured out once and for all what this stamp means? (or run across any others?)

Or I could just start a rumor that the FR saxes are the holy grail of TT's, and they simply outplay any other sax in existence :twisted:.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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21,030 Posts
There are also some Conns and Bueschers that have "exchanged for xxxx" engraved on them as if one company took the horn back on another brand.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor
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It might stand for "Factory Reject". But I'll help you out and give you $20 for it. :bluewink:
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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As far as I have been able to determine from various other Buescher fans, the "FR" horns are:
- serial numbered in 1924, but engraved with designs used in 1927-'29.
- mostly altos and C melodies. (I own a 149k straight soprano and VintageSaxGuy mentioned a 162k tenor.)
- upgraded with minor keywork changes but not front F.

Here is my theory about their origins.

We know that starting around 1926 - about the time front F, roller G#, and the seesaw bridge mechanism appeared - Buescher began an exchange program. You could send them your old saxophone in restorable condition and they would trade you a factory fresh True-Tone, no money required. Buescher then stamped the trade-ins "Exchanged for New Buescher" (as bruce bailey mentioned), reconditioned them, and offered them for sale.

I believe the FR horns were back inventory Buescher had made in excess of demand - no longer salable as new instruments. Slightly upgraded and engraved with the latest designs, they were what you got in exchange for your old horn. No Front Fs were installed, perhaps because they required soldering on new posts and more labor than just fitting a new G# lever or key bridge. In any case, one had to make some features exclusive to the new models.

Now why stamp "FR," and what might it have stood for?
- Stamping instruments given in trade would prevent the recipient from trying to trade them in on a still newer horn - only one to a customer!
- In view of the exchange scheme, the most likely possibilities that come to my mind are Factory Remainder or, perhaps, Free Replacement.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Certainly plausible.
 
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