Saxophone Forum


by Beckie
(6 posts)
10 years ago

Is it vintage?

So my father is an antique freak and I am a sax freak, put that together and a horn was purchased. It's a silver plate alto Elkhart. The engraving on the bell say 'The Elkhart Band-Inst.-Co. Elkhart, Ind'. There is also a really nice engraving of an angry looking elk. The serial number is 53656 and then the letter LP are marked below the serial number. Does this ring a bell with anyone?

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  1. by connsaxman_jim
    (2336 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Is it vintage?

    The Elkhart saxes were made by Conn, Beckie. I'm trying to dig up a serial number list for Elkhart saxes, but sometimes finding serial number lists for stencil horns can be difficult; especially Conn stencils, since a lot of these records were destroyed in the 1970's after the company was sold to MacMillan. I believe, although I'm not 100% certain, that this was manufactured in the mid-late 1920's, and resembles the Conn New Wonder Series I horns. Send me a couple pics if you would. I'd like to take a look at it. 'll keep searching for a serial number list and I'll let you know if I find anything. Jim

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    1. by Beckie
      (6 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Is it vintage?

      Thanks! just out of curiousity what is a stencil horn? I just sent you a bunch of pics too. Let me know if you need others.

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      1. by definition
        (963 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is it vintage?

        the Elkhart is a stencil of both Conn and Buescher, depending on age. If it is a Conn stencil, one of features it will have is a Low C gaurd that looks like the Mercedes Benz logo. If not, it is most likely a Buescher stencil. A stencil horn is a orn produced by one company with another company's name on it. Conn, King, Selmer, Martin and Buescher are the companies that are known mostly for making stencils CONN MADE: Continental Jenkins Sears & Roebuck Selmer US Selmer New York Wurlitzer Pan American Elkhart Lefleur Perfacktone Kalashen's Kleartone Bruno Gretsch Bundy Olympian SELMER MADE: Deville Adolphe Signet Bundy KING MADE: Cleveland Gladiator H. N. White American Standard MARTIN MADE: Lyon & Healy Manhattan Wurlitzer Vega BUESCHER MADE: Elkhart Wurlitzer American Artist Artist Carl Fischer Lyon & Healy Selmer US Selmer New York Silvertone Bundy Pete hales has an excellent article on 'stencil horns' and 'second line horns'. It can be veiwed at www.saxontheweb.net/Resources/Stencils.html He is also a sax historian and lots of information can also be found at is website on stencils and other major models. the site is www.saxpics.com

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Is it vintage?

          Thanks for the pictures Beckie. As defintion said, a stencil is a horn made by one company for another. That's a great list of stencils. The earlier Buescher True Tone and Conn New Wonder horns were VERY similar. The Conn horns had rolled tone holes, and the later New Wonder models had a microtuner neck. Yours doesn't have either of these features. I noticed also in the pic showing the serial number that it is stamped "LP", which indicates low pitch. Low pitch is the standard used today, which is good. Conn horns were stamped with simply an "L". I believe your horn is made by Buescher. The serial number, when checked with the list of Buescher numbers indicates that this horn was made in approx. 1919, and I think that's accurate. All Buescher stencil horns were numbered at the factory and used the same number sequence as all the other Buescher horns. It's certainly a neat old horn, and appears to be in decent shape. The intonation on these old Bueschers and Conns was pretty good. The silver horns usually clean up nicely. As long as all the keys are free and the screws aren't corroded it should come apart ok. You may not want to do this yourself. I usually remove all the keys and use a tooth brush and Tarn X to clean the body, and polish it with Wrights Silver cream; buffing it by hand with a rag.

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        2. by Beckie
          (6 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Is it vintage?

          Wow...I had no idea the history of saxophones was so complex! Thank you both for all the information. I have one more question. Once I have cleaned and polished the horn--how can I tell if it needs replating? or do you not replate old horns? how do I care for this horn in the future? okay so maybe that was a few more questions... :)

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      2. by Beckie
        (6 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is it vintage?

        I just checked out the website you mentioned, definition, and it mentioned that bevelled tone holes were a sign of a Martin make. How hard and fast are these rules? My sax has bevelled toneholes. Thanks!

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      3. by definition
        (963 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is it vintage?

        they arent rules so much as guidelines. The one person that could know definitively is Pete Hales, the guy that runs www.saxpics.com see if you can get his attention and send him som pics, hes usually pretty good about that stuff.

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      4. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is it vintage?

        They don't look like Martin tone holes to me. I looked at the pictures carefully. I saw one other Elkhart sax that was definately a Conn. I originally thought they were all made by Conn, but as definition posted, they were also made by Buescher. As I said both the Buescher True Tone and the Conn New Wonder are very similar. Gus Buescher worked for Conn before starting his own company in 1895. He designed the original Wonder series saxophone for Conn (1895-1917) The New Wonder had a few newer features, such as rolled tone holes and better keywork. Your sax looks identical to a Buescher True Tone and I am 99.99% sure that it is made by Buescher. I would change the pads. Even if the pads still seal, and I'd be surprised if they all do, the newer resonator pads are MUCH better. As for the plating, I would just clean it up real good. Replating is quite costly. It's a vintage horn. It's bound to have a few battle scars and wear marks. That's what gives it character. After you have it restored, you'll want to keep it in a warm dry play. Don't put it in a garage or a damp environment. After playing it, be sure to swab it out a couple times. You'll want to get a case for it if you don't already have one. I would buy a couple reed holders; the type that flatten out the reed, a silk swab , cork grease, a small bottle of valve oil, and a nice Neotech strap for it. You're probably going to want a better mouthpiece too. I use a Selmer Brillhart Ebolin mouthpiece on my New Wonder and t sounds pretty good.

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      5. by connsaxman_jim
        (2336 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Is it vintage?

        I'm not a big fan of Sax On The Web. I took a look at the link that you posted on stencils. This site offers a lot of general information, must of which is either inaccurate or misleading to say the least. www.saxpics.com is a much better source of information.

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