Correctly dating a beuscher alto sax
I just aquired a small pile of altos, mostly to use for parts, all Buescher stencils, two of which are Elkharts with a cartoonish engraving of an Elk on the bell with "Made by Buescher" enscribed beneath. The Elkharts sell on e Bay for a pittance and, I believe, make excellent student and backup horns. The reason I don't just put them together and give them to students is that they are literally in a pile: keys, rods, bells, bodies, necks, broken off posts, etc.
I found the 20A I played to have the characteristic feel of a Buescher (relatively light, fast key action) and typical clear bottom end. However, I find the late pre-Selmer buyout horns not even as much to my liking despite the presence of snaps and Nortons!
The "Built by Bueschers" I've seen have only been altos and tenors, either 20A/30A or the later 21A/31A altos/tenors that look to have been made in the 40s and 50s.
Earlier horns were either Buescher or Martin stencils.
In fact I dont believe the one I had even had resonators...maybe it was an alteration but again, they have a host of problems. Buescher acquired the Elhart Band Instrument Company (similar to Conn's purchase of Pan American and Martin's of Indiana) and retained the name (with the "Built by Buescher" tag) for its second line of horns -- student or intermediate quality depending on individual experience.
Selmer’s US-made Bundy instruments are not well regarded [they are not pro-model horns].
However, by educating yourself and taking a common sense approach, these hazzards can easily be minimized.
Hopefully this information will serve you well when it comes time to purchase your first or next saxophone.
This document is divided into sections that address the most frequently-asked questions about buying a saxophone.
One of the biggest decisions you will face will be new vs. modern, so you may want to look those sections over first.