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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2012
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In lieu of actually working, I was perusing some of the stock at Junkdude today and noticed that Buescher 400 Top Hat n Cane tenors have a "tone ring" under the bell.



Does this thing have any intended function? If so, what?

Does it work?

Any other manufacturers ever use it?

Do I need one? (feeling G.A.S.sy)
 

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I've seen similar things on trombones. No idea if it is there for acoustic reasons, or just a reinforcement of the lip of the bell.
 

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Hmmm, if they were using those 50 years ago...

If they really did work, don't you think you'd see them on SOMETHING else today?

I do think they look cool, tho'. ;) Better than stones glued on. :twisted:
 

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My TH&C alto has that silver ring around the outside lip of the bell. It is a factory installation common to most if not all Buescher 400 TH&C saxophones.

Does it work? How would anyone know that?

The silver ring is obviously another example of marketing hype that made it to production (or vice-versa). If it was all that hot, I'm sure we'd be seeing it on many saxophones of that era - and now.

I love old Bueschers, but I'm skeptical. I have no way of comparing my 400 with one that doesn't have the silver ring (nor can I make objective comparisons to smaller bell-sizes, etc) AND concluding that it was the silver ring that made the difference, if there was one. DAVE
 

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I've seen similar things on trombones. No idea if it is there for acoustic reasons, or just a reinforcement of the lip of the bell.
You know the Brass instruments are some hundret years advance. The brass instruments makes know much saxophonists can't even imagnine.

But in history there were some good ideas which got lost with time.
Ergonomic left thump rest for example
 

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My guess is it's partly cosmetic, and the name, tone ring, is hype. The practical use may be to reinforce the lip of the bell. I suspect it didn't become popular because other sax manufacturers decided it wasn't worth the added expense.
 

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The things ( generally called the "kranz") are all over the low brass and several very popular trumpet/cornet designs in the sixties and back. They're still out there on some models. If nothing else, when you do dent one of these it becomes a notable pain to properly remove it and then refit it just so when resoldering it. Planar expansion of the metal when rolling hammering out the dents make it a real challenge. Makes a bowguard refit pale by comparison.

http://www.oberloh.com/gallery/tubaoverhaul3.htm offers a view of a project involving such a refit on a tuba. This gentleman (Dan Oberloh) is a true craftsman.
 

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My guess is it's partly cosmetic, and the name, tone ring, is hype. The practical use may be to reinforce the lip of the bell.
I think this is exactly right: "tone ring" sounds better than "bell rim reinforcement" or whatever.

The brochure that Buescher put out regarding the 400 and its various innovations (found at saxpics.com) doesn't appear to attribute sonic claims to the tone ring -- instead they say that the bell's "new proportions help you play low tones with expressiveness or extreme fortissimo and improve quality in the low register" (again, from saxpics).

The bell on the 400s is flared farther than on "normal" saxes, which leads to Cybersax's speculation:

"I've always believed that the metal ring was added as much as reinforcement for the wider, flatter bell flare as for sonic influence. I suppose the bell ring performs both functions, but I'll stick to my guns on WHY this design feature came about. A rounded, conical shape is a much stronger structure than a flatter piece of metal. The Buescher designers had to see that some bodacious bell bends were in the cards once their 400 bell was put into service. The ring would obviously serve to mollify a potential source of complaints."
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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I have a TH & C tenor and alto, and there is something special sounding about these horns. Whether the silver ring improves the sound or not, I don't know. We may never know, but I like to think they do.
 

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In the case of placing one on the bell of a horn stencilled for Olds as a "Super" it would have almost certainly have been to keep the sax matched up with the very popular Olds "Super" trumpets whose signature feature was just such a ring.

These were called a "spun reinforcing band" in the Super trumpet description in the 1932 Olds Catalog. In the 1947 Catalog they were referred to as a "Super Tone Control Band". It seems evident that the bands were reinforcement first and tonal attributes were a marketing afterthought over the years.

At the same time as the Buescher 400 ultra glitz horn was being marketed the Olds Company was bringing out the "Super Recording" trumpets with the very fancy Rey-O-Loy bells and an offset middle valve.... and the carryover tone ring. It would seem to make sense for Buescher to lift a feature from what was then a "hot" design feature in American musical instruments.

Though I'd put the ring down more to marketing cosmetics than sound I did love the sound of my old TH&C tenor which was a nice blow in any case. (Alos admired the mechanism, but hated the finger positioning... ah well.)
 

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I have a TH & C tenor and alto, and there is something special sounding about these horns. Whether the silver ring improves the sound or not, I don't know. We may never know, but I like to think they do.
And it makes you feel good right? If you feel good - it's good, in fact it might be "mo' better den good"!
 

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I have a TH & C tenor and alto, and there is something special sounding about these horns. Whether the silver ring improves the sound or not, I don't know. We may never know, but I like to think they do.
I agree with you completely, Pete, that these horns have a special and glorious sound, whether it's the bell flare or (who knows?!) that tone ring, or whatever other secret Buescher mojo was factory installed!

(The *real* thing about the tone rings, though, and I wasn't going to mention it because it's kind of a secret amongst us 400 owners, is that they're a real chick magnet....)
 

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I'm sure silver laquered paper will work too....

Indeed, I will be able to produce tons of them!
quite cheap...about 100 bucks a ring... interested?

:mrgreen:
 

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No no no! It's gotta be an ORIGINAL tone ring. As the great poet Wallace Stevens wrote:

There must have been some magic
In that old tone ring they found.

For when they put it on the horn
It really made a sound!​

What you guys are describing, your after-market monstrosities, just sound ... gaudy. The kinds of chicks magnetted by your cheap silvery baubles would be ... would be, you know ...

Hmm. Might be worth a try.
 
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