Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone Soprano For Sale

If you are a player/collector of fine, vintage saxophones, then Saxquest is a shop that you likely frequent. Currently they have a fairly rare bird listed on their eBay site: a Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano.

soprano sax, Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano, vintage saxophone, rare sax

Source: SAXQUEST.COM on eBay.com

These Tipped Bell sopranos not only have a bell that is slightly flared upwards, but their neck is tipped as well. Presumably this downward tilt was for the player’s comfort.

soprano sax, tipped neck, Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano, vintage saxophone, rare sax

Source: SAXQUEST.COM on eBay.com

Saxquest describes this horn like this:

Rare! Original Lacquer Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone Soprano Sax # 204656

This is an extremely rare tip bell vintage Buescher Bb soprano saxophone sax, serial number 204656. These tip bell sopranos were made at the end of the 1920’s along with the standard straight bell models. They feature a tipped angle on the bell along with a slight bend to the neck at an angle towards the player. This particular Buescher is in excellent physical and cosmetic condition featuring original lacquer. There is some light play wear around the body but it has never received any damage. The bell flare, body tube and neck area are in great shape and have never been pulled down or pushed in.

These horns have a very positive feeling under the fingers and are an absolute blast to play. The core sound of the instrument is a nice balance between free blowing and focused, not stuffy or nasal. It has a nice warmness to the sound but is not overly dark in anyway. The intonation and distribution of resonance across the range of the instrument is exceptionally even. Every instrument set-up at Saxquest is professionally regulated and play tested in our shop until we are satisfied it is playing at the top of its game.

These vintage tip bell soprano’s are a highly sought after rare vintage American instrument. This one is in stellar condition which makes it a very nice find for any collector or player.

It’s interesting what they write about original lacquer. While the engraving certainly looks crisp…

soprano sax, bell engraving, Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano, vintage saxophone, rare sax

Source: SAXQUEST.COM on eBay.com

… a couple of the left hand keys appear to have some kind of lacquer overspray on them—the kind you commonly see on older relacqs.

soprano sax, saxophone keys, Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano, vintage saxophone, rare sax

Source: SAXQUEST.COM on eBay.com

I did a bit of digging, and on the old Saxpics site came up with the following page for the Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano. Among other things, this page mentions five different finishes that these horns were available in (Finish A, E, G, J, and L).

Some further digging turned up this page on the old Saxpics site that is a vintage price list from Buescher. At the bottom of the price list the finishes are explained. (Check this page for more info as well.)

The Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone soprano was model 121, and note that lacquer was not finish A, E, G, J, or L. Most likely the horn currently for sale by Saxquest was originally sold with finish A (high polished brass), and lacquered at some point during its lifetime.

For me the lacquer doesn’t detract from the uniqueness of this horn. I find these instruments extremely interesting. It really is too bad that they were introduced at a time when the saxophone craze was waning, and the Great Depression was looming.

Here are the remainder of the photos of this interesting Tipped Bell Buescher True Tone Soprano…

Source: SAXQUEST.COM on eBay.com

If you’re interested in adding a Tipped Bell Buescher soprano to your horn stable, then you only have a couple more days left through this eBay auction. The auction for this vintage sax is scheduled to end on November 26.

Saxquest has a starting bid of $5000.00 on the horn. At the time of writing there were no bids on this vintage Buescher.

…this is just my blog. My “real” website is www.bassic-sax.info. If you’re looking for sax info, you should check it out too.There’s lots there!

© 2013, Helen. All rights reserved.


Helen Kahlke is a professional horn player and sax teacher who lives in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She plays soprano, alto, C melody, tenor, baritone, and bass saxophones.


  1. Update: This rare, tipped bell soprano did not sell. I bet if you called Sax Quest they still have it in there inventory. (Unless they dropped the price of course.)

    IMHO, it is the relacq that reduces the value of this particular horn.

  2. I agree: I’d get the PM Woodwind one. It’s not that much more expensive.

    I think that the reason why neither of these horns sold (the Saxquest auction has ended) is because not a lot of folks are interested in shelling out $5 to $6K for horns that are (arguably) not as good as a Yanagisawa that costs a couple grand less. That, and they don’t have the name “SELMER” engraved on ’em.

  3. This horn was either sold by Saxquest then repurchased by them or it didn’t sell the last time Saxquest put it up for sale. I say this because the date on the pictures I have is Dec. 2012.

    I also don’t worry too much about the finish. However, I would have gone for plating the horn rather than lacquering it. It’s a more original look and there probably wasn’t much of a price difference at the time the lacquer was done.

    It’s interesting to note that these horns were $90 in 1928. In 2012 dollars, that’s a bit under $1200. $5000 is fairly reasonable for one of these, based on past auctions I’ve seen. That makes this one of the very few saxophones that have appreciated in value over the years.

    • I suspect Pete, that they still have it for sale. Remember this minty-looking tipped bell TT soprano that Paul had at PM Woodwinds years ago? He still has it. It has been at least 3 if not 4 years now. I contacted him earlier this year about the horn, because I had someone who was perhaps interested in buying it. He and I discussed the horn then.

      Personally, if I was looking for one of these horns, I’d buy Paul’s. At these prices, I’d spring for the $950 extra, and get the (probable) original silver plate with the original mouthpiece, and case. Paul’s horn is what I would call pretty much minty. I don’t understand why it hasn’t sold.

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