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True Tone Series
Series II, III, IV and Custom Built

Commentary :: Beveled Tone Holes
The "True Tone" Name :: The "Parabolic Bore" :: Picture Galleries


Website Home > Buescher Home > True Tone Series (2 of 2)

These are the "meat and potatoes" series of True Tone: they're the most common and are the best horns of the series.

Common Name: Series II Series III
Lowest Serial Number: 5xxx?
Highest Serial Number: 200xxx
Dual-Octave Key: No
Tone Holes:
Roller Color: Black
Engraving: The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.

The Buescher
Elkhart, Ind.

The Buescher
Custom Built
Elkhart, Ind. USA

G# Key Picture: Pearl Button
Many, Many Notes

* Possibly the most important: in 1921, Buescher patented a new invention called the "Snap-On Pad". This innovation is important as it is considered the first real "resonator" (unless you want to consider the Conn Res-O-Pad a resonator). Take a moment to read my detailed feature page on this innovation.

* In 1928, Buescher introduced three "gimmicky" horns that were actually a significant improvement over their older, conventional siblings: the Straight Alto and Tipped Bell Bb and C sopranos. Take a moment to read my feature page on these horns.

* In 1931, the waning days of Vaudeville, Buescher was contracted to create, of all things, a straight baritone: a one-off working custom horn. Take a moment to read my feature page on this horn AND a modern straight baritone.


* Baritones switched to the "rounded rectangle" G# key a little after s/n 173000 -- and I do mean "a little after", as I have pics of a 173xxx bari with the new G# and a 1730xx bari without. There does not appear to be any other significant change in the baritone design until the Aristocrat -- excepting, of course, the Custom Built series. I will therefore "break down" the baritone models according to this break, rather than the 200xxx break.

* The Custom Built True Tone model (yes, it's engraved that) is possibly baritone only. It's sort of a combination of the New Aristocrat and True Tone styles.

* I see no change at all in design of the bass, other than with engraving, so I'll break diown these horns as I have with the altos and tenors. Do note that these horns have a keyed range only to altissimo Eb and do not have a G# trill.

* One topic of much debate is the introduction of the front-mounted altissimo F key. It seems to have been introduced as an option around s/n 157xxx and become standard on alto and tenor around 200xxx -- and, according to Bootman on the SOTWF, there was, at least, a provision for this keywork a little earlier, probably 1923 (and a front F from a later horn can fit on these horns, if it doesn't have one).

* There is one major keywork change to look for on the straight Bb soprano (only. The straight C soprano doesn't change): the G# hinge changes from being "under" the left-hand altissimo keywork to being in a "normal" location. (This change is very apparent in the example pics linked in the previous sentence.) I don't have enough examples to give you an exact "fail-over" date, but an 86,466 horn has the old hinge and a 137,828 horn doesn't, so we're talking 1921-1924 when this change took place. My money's on 1923.

Note that considering the C soprano never changed from the old-style hinge, this is a sure-fire way of determining if the horn you have is a Bb or C soprano.

* There doesn't appear to be much consistency in the design of the Eb sopranino until after s/n 117,230 (more probably, sometime in 1923). I can't say that later models are significantly better than earlier ones, but they definitely have tweaked keywork.

* Speaking of Eb sopranino keywork, a lot of people point out that the majority (if not all) of Buescher sopraninos after around s/n 117,230 don't have a G# key (earlier horns had either a pearl button or a rectangular bar). They're right. Foreshadowing the "articulated" G# cluster, to sound G# on the sopraninos that "don't" have a G# key, you depress the C# key. Note, also, that sopraninos don't have a G# trill key.

* I've seen a few random curved Bb sopranos that had a rectangular G# key, starting around s/n 164xxx and ending before s/n 170xxx. Again, this is not a consistent design change so I cannot accurately track it.

* Please note that Buescher did not design a new sopranino, soprano or bass after s/n 2627xx or so: in other words, there aren't Aristocrat or 400 models of these pitches. HOWEVER, if you wanted a bass in 1950, say, Buescher would trot out the old True Tone molds and make you one, generally with different engraving and sometimes with slightly different keywork, such as a redesigned G# cluster. Extended keywork ranges are NOT found, though.

Beveled Tone Holes (BTH)

Also something of a mystery.

Officially called the "Buescher Improved Method", in 1923, these are soldered beveled tone holes -- as opposed to the "normal" straight formed tone holes indicated by the Haynes patent -- very similar to the ones found on later Martins.

Considering this feature is mentioned in a kind-of "throw away" advertisement for playing the sax and not in other catalogs I've seen from 1923 or after, and because BTH Bueschers are uncommon, I can *assume* that they were by special request only, like nickel finish.

Additionally, note that the earliest horn I have pics of with BTH is from 1914. It could very well be that FA Buescher wanted to use BTH on all his horns, but the sale of conrolling interest in 1916 to Beardsly, et al, may have been a turning point. It could also be, of course, that horns were able to be more cheaply made with the Haynes process, so the BTH featureset was significantly downplayed.

In any event, BTH instruments do not appear to have any extra keywork or other tweaks. I also tend to believe that BTH went away completely by s/n 200xxx.

. .


Thanks to Pinnaman for the 1923 advertisement for Beveled Tone Holes.

Picture Galleries: Series II (clicking on a link or picture will take you to a gallery with more pics)

Eb Sopranino (Model 123)

Straight Bb Soprano (Model 122)

Curved Bb Soprano (Model 125)

C Soprano (Model 124)

Eb Alto (Model 126)

C Melody (Model 128)

Bb Tenor (Model 127)

Eb Baritone (Model 129)

Bb Bass (Model 130)

Picture Galleries: Series III (clicking on a link or picture will take you to a gallery with more pics)  

Straight Bb Soprano (Model 122)

Eb Alto (Model 126)

Bb Tenor (Model 127)

Eb Baritone (Model 129)

Picture Galleries: Series IV (clicking on a link or picture will take you to a gallery with more pics)  

Straight Bb Soprano (Model 122)

Curved Bb Soprano (Model 125)

Eb Alto (Model 126)

Bb Tenor (Model 127)

Eb Baritone (Model 129)

Bb Bass (Model 130)



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