Saxophone Forum


by CatfishJazz
(6 posts)
2 months ago

Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

Several years ago now, I bought a vintage Buescher bari. I thought I had it pinned as an old Aristocrat, but I've started to doubt that, for a variety of reasons. It needs some complicated repairs, so I'd like to determine what model it is to better look for help.

It is a Bb with the "old" low-key configuration (you know, low B in the middle of the left pinky bunch). Serial number is 273xxx. There's no evidence that the serial has been tampered with. It has the Aristocrat name on the bell and says "True Tone" under the serial. It had snap-on pads until my shop was forced to grind down the snaps earlier this year because they couldn't find the right pads. :(

Does anybody know if my horn is considered a "True Tone", an "Aristocrat", or something else? Date approximations are also helpful.

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  1. by mijderf
    (79 posts)

    2 months ago

    Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

    According to the serial number chart on this site, this is an Aristocrat Series I model from 1936-1937 production.  You can find this by going to the upper left hand tab titled "saxophone museum".  Place your cursor on that tab and the third item down is the serial number list.  From that list, choose Buescher and find your serial number.
    You can also do a google search of Buescher Series I Aristocrat Baritone sax and find photos and do a visual comparison.
    To bad about the snaps.  Some of the snap in pads are still out there, but maybe not for baritone. 

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    1. by CatfishJazz
      (6 posts)

      2 months ago

      Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

      Thanks for your post. I have checked the serial list, but I read somewhere that the Aristocrat "Series I" contained only altos and tenors. According to Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buescher_Band_Instrument_Company#Saxophones; and also http://www.saxgourmet.com/675/), the baris made in that era were considered "True Tones" still. Of course Wikipedia's section on it has no references. Any idea if the wiki's right?

      I think you're right about the date, so thank you again for the help, but I'm still a little confused.

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      1. by mijderf
        (79 posts)

        2 months ago

        Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

        Well it is kind of confusing.  Here is some information about Series I baritones that I found, but how accurate is it???

        http://www.doctorsax.biz/buescher_bari_268336.htm

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      2. by GFC
        (644 posts)

        2 months ago

        Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

        Looks like Wikipedia and Saxgourmet both got that one wrong, since there are 1934-36 Aristocrat baris in the saxpics.com collection.  It also seems there was a model change to left side bell keys some time in 1936.  So it seems there are actually two different model baris with the same name produced during the "Series I" period, with the first being a continuation of the previous model.  Apparently Buescher later used three different model names for one model of bari.  It's almost like they were deliberately trying to be confusing.

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    2. by GFC
      (644 posts)

      2 months ago

      Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

      I suppose if it has "Aristocrat" engraving an Aristocrat it shall be named.  Does your horn have the old split bell key design or the left side bell keys?

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      1. by CatfishJazz
        (6 posts)

        2 months ago

        Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

        I will guess its configuration is the "split bell", because its low B key (pad) is on one side of the bell and the Bb key is on the other side. I'm not sure what the terms mean exactly, as far as where those should be. My horn looks almost exactly like the horn in @mijderf's link, just in a bit better shape.

        I agree that Buescher seems to have been intentionally confusing. Thanks for all the help, @GFC and @mijderf!

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        1. by GFC
          (644 posts)

          2 months ago

          Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

          Yes, that is what the "split bell key" design means.  It looks from the serial number like yours is one of the very last of the old design from 1936, essentially the "True Tone" model with updated engraving.

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          1. by CatfishJazz
            (6 posts)

            2 months ago

            Re: Trying to ID an old Buescher Baritone

            All right, cool! Thanks again!

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