I’m not sure that there is a sax player, current or former, over the age of 30, who hasn’t at one time in his or her musical life, either played a Bundy, or sat next to someone, who played a Bundy saxophone.
Bundy, and then their slightly less popular successors, the Bundy II, were staples in most bandrooms in North America for decades. They were, arguably, the most popular student model saxophone brand until they were toppled from their throne by Yamaha.
The Bundy line of musical instruments owe their name to a Selmer employee by the name of George Bundy, who in 1918, had taken over the Selmer USA business when Alexandre Selmer returned to Paris. In around 1930, Bundy began marketing a subsidiary brand of Selmer USA instruments under his own name.
At first the Bundy line consisted of items imported into the US from various sources, some of good quality, but later Selmer made their own Bundy instruments in the US. After Selmer bought Bach in 1961 and Buescher in 1963 it attempted to absorb some elements from these two companies’ instruments into the line of student Bundy-brand instruments, leaning on Bach for the trumpets and brass and on Buescher for the saxophones. Selmer’s US-made Bundy instruments are not well regarded [they are not pro-model horns]. The Bundy brand was dropped by Selmer US during the 1990s.
So for a period of nearly 60 years, Bundy was a name synonymous with student model saxophones.
Depending on your age, and the age of the saxophone you or your band-mate might have played, the Bundy you remember might look something like this…
Just a note for my less technologically savvy readers: Many of these files are actually quite large, so if you really would like to experience the full visual trip down memory lane, you can click on the individual pictures, and then magnify them again by further clicking on them. To get back to this page, just use your back button on your browser.
A Bundy alto: A Bundy II tenor:
The bell to body brace on a Bundy II tenor:
The bell keys of a Bundy tenor with a red painted-on logo:
The bell keys of a Bundy alto:
The bell keys of a Bundy II alto:
A Bundy tenor with a red paint logo:
A Bundy II tenor:
In case any of you were dying to know what the differences between the Bundy and the Bundy II were, I came across this interesting piece of trivia courtesy of Saxquest’s Forum:
Difference between Selmer Bundy and Selmer Bundy II?
Just wondering if there is a difference of if they are the same. There is someone selling one in our town used and he said it is a Selmer Bundy (he had bought it for his grandson who never played it much) he couldn’t find a II anywhere on it. Is there any difference between a Selmer Bundy and a Selmer Bundy II? Are all Selmers good for beginners?
The answer to the question posed in the forum, came from none other than Ralph Morgan himself. (I took the liberty of spell-checking & formatting Ralph’s post.)
I am interested in your question because I was the Chief Woodwind Technician and Designer for the SELMER Co and did the designing of the BUNDY II saxes.
A bit of history—-for many years previous, the BUNDY saxes had been made by the BUESCHER Company in Elkhart, Indiana, the home also for H. and A. SELMER, at 1119 N. Main St. The body design was the same as the famous BUESCHER TRUTONE saxes, which were patented in 1914, and were so fine that Sigurd Rascher, the world’s finest player always used one. There certainly was no way of improving on that, so my attention was focused on variations in the mechanism, especially on the reshaping and location of the table keys for the left hand little finger.
There were a few other minor changes made, but they were not what contributed to the sudden spurt in sales we enjoyed. The regular BUNDY had been by far the most purchased student model for years, but
the first year of the BUNDY II saw a 38% further increase in sales….
What Ralph writes about the Bundy saxes being made by Buescher would explain this rather pretty horn that Woodwind and Brass Ltd. in Cowplain England has on their website:
This is what they say about it:
Selmer Bundy Buescher Aristocrat Saxophone with the engraving and cluster keys classically indicative of the Buescher Aristocrat. This instrument is in excellent condition having been relacquered – while still preserving the beautiful engraving. It has also had a total overhaul – pads, cork and springs have been replaced. Touch pieces are mother of pearl. Comes complete with Yamaha 6c mouthpiece and Rovner 1RL dark ligature and cap. Also has Hiscox professional hard case.
The other thing Ralph mentions in his post is that he redesigned the left hand pinkie cluster on the Bundy IIs.
Here are the original Bundy table keys for the left little finger…Remember these:
And these were the ones he improved for the Bundy II:
So fast forward a number of years, and here we are in 2008…
Bundy has faded into history, well except on eBay, Craig’s list, The Buy and Sell, pawn shops, and every other second hand place you can think of…
But wait…What’s this? …An email…
Ah yes…2 days ago I got an email from WWBW proudly announcing “The return of a legend” … Bundy is back! They tell me that:
In 1941, George Bundy created the Bundy line of instruments specifically for students. Today the name Bundy is the most widely recognized name in student instruments worldwide. Begin your exploration of the wonderful world of music with a new Bundy instrument.
I’m psyched! I click on the link, and then suddenly I realize, I already know how to play the saxophone, and don’t need to buy a Bundy…again…My parents got me mine in around…well let’s see… sometime when the original Charlie’s Angels was on the air… I suddenly realize I’m older than I feel…
OK, so I’m on the Woodwind and Brasswind website now, and looking at the new saxophones, might as well, I’m here now. I look at these new Bundy tenor saxes model number BTS-300…
There’s something about them that looks vaguely familiar…I’m having a strange sense of deja vous…Let me see now…What is it…Oh I know…They look like those horns most of my students have been using for the last I don’t know how many years…You know the ones….The Yamaha YAS 23s and the YTS 23s.
On their website WWBW doesn’t give a country of origin for the new Bundy, but I’d be willing to bet, it isn’t made on North American soil like the old ones were. I’d also be willing to go out on a limb and say there is a good chance they aren’t manufactured in Japan like those enduring 23s were.
We shall see if the new Bundy student models will endure like the old ones did. Only time will tell. Me, well I’m a bit of a skeptic.
© 2008 – 2009, Helen. All rights reserved.