Buescher-designed Signet Tenors
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Author:  paulrace [ Mon Jul 28, 2014 4:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Buescher-designed Signet Tenors

A reader writes:

Thanks for getting back so quick!

I have a couple of the late 60's Signet Tenors you discuss here: ... r_sax.html

I purchased them off Ebay about 18 months ago when I was looking for some project horns (that's also about the time I started playing again after 30 years away from it). They were in not-so-good condition, but the dents came out quite easily and overall with some pad and cork work, they scrubbed up quite nicely

Those were early days and I have learnt a lot since then, but, my impressions when playing them are that they are an OK horn.

Anyway your article seems to suggest you think they are a decent horn, and in particular you mention that you believe the bore has some similarities with more up-market French horns (I assume you are referring to French Selmers). A lot of people seem to like them.

However when I look at them however the look very similar to a Buescher Aristocrat of the same time, such as this one that just sold in Australia: ... 7675.l2557 <> . Would the bore of those also be the same?

I guess I' am really asking - just how 'decent' are they and are they better than your average Bundy or Aristocrat from around the same time? Does your bore comment suggest they are? Some people claim they are Buescher 400 like - do you think so?

It is time I sold at least one of the 2 I have and want to know what a reasonable price would be.

Cheers and thanks for the web-page articles

-----------our reply - feel free to add your own reply below -----------

OOOOPS, I have to update that article. Since I wrote it, I have done a LOT of research into the Buescher-Selmer buyout, and as far as I can tell:

"Common wisdom" on the internet is that the Selmer Bundy was a "dumbed-down" Aristocrat. That isn't true.

The first Selmer Bundy was a relabeled Buescher Elkhart, which was essentially a Buescher True-Tone with lacquer and both the low B and Bb pad moved to the left side of the instrument (accompanied by the Aristocrat-style left pinky-keys).

The first Selmer Signet was essentially a relabeled Buescher Aristocrat with an S-shaped bell-to-body brace. The fact that the bore was more like a Selmer Mark VI than a True-Tone/Elkhart has more to do with the Mark VI's ancestors and the Aristocrat being reengineered about the same time for the same pro customers than with any direct influence the Selmer had on the Buescher.

The second-generation Bundies and Signets (with the low B and Bb pads on the right side of the bell) were Selmer's response to Yamaha building some of the Mark VI's professional features into their student YAS-21 and YTS-21 horns. Selmer had no choice but to "upgrade" the Bundy/Elkhart/Truetone horns, but when they did that, they apparently abandoned the Aristocrat-based Signet. As far as I can tell, the second-generation Signets were just Bundy IIs with a nicer finish and a few more features.

If your signets have the low B and Bb key on the left side of the bell (from the player's perspective) they are, for all intents and purposes, Aristocrats. If they just sound "okay," you may need to fix registration issues, add resonator pads, and or upgrade your mouthpiece. (The Brilharts that Selmer put in with those were crap, and the Yamaha 4c mouthpieces some people have exchanged them for aren't much better.)

Here's an irony - the description in the link you sent me is wrong six ways from Sunday. NO Buescher horns were made after 1964. Selmer DIDN'T continue to build saxophones under the Buescher name. Period. The fellow probably has a nice horn. But it was built before 1965, and has nothing to do with Selmer Paris engineering.

Also, Selmer has recently been advertising a slightly upgraded Chinese student horn as a "Buescher Aristocrat." It's not. Look where the bell keys are - that tells you everything you need to know.

I live in a small city, and don't have access to a lot of used horns, so I have never been able to A/B my
first-generation Signet with any Aristocrat. I've played Aristocrats, and when they had the same mouthpiece I use on my Signet (Selmer S-80 C*) they seemed to feel and play about the same as my Signet. The key layout seems identical with most Aristocrats (there were minor tweaks within the Aristocrat line).

Hope this helps.

Thanks for getting in touch - I definitely need to go back and fix that Signet article. :-)

Paul Race - School Of The Rock

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