Buescher True Tone Series IV Tenor (1930)

The Story

This is a recent acquisition. I’ve owned a ‘naked lady’ alto for a number of years and jumped at the chance of buying a great big sounding tenor from one of the key American saxophone makers. I’ve played this once so far – it has the loudest, fullest sound of all the tenors I own.

The Instrument

Gus Buescher set up his company in the late 19th century in Elkhart, Indiana. Like the Martin brothers he had worked for colonel Conn for a time. This is one of the last True Tones made, with its serial number dating it to 1930. It uses resonator pads following the company’s patent for Snap-On pads in 1923. Resonators have a metal ring which broadcast the sound out of the horn. The engraving is less elaborate than the later 400 series saxophones, some of which have a silver ‘Buescher’ label added.

The Player

I’m very impressed with the volume and tone of this instrument. It’s certainly harder to blow than my modern Keilwerth SX90R and even more raunchy than my Conn 10M. It doesn’t have the facility of either though from the fingering point of view, lacking a top F# key and not running over semitones as easily. I’m sure it will get easier as I play it more often.


  • Make – Buescher
  • Model – True Tone Series IV
  • Serial Number – 260361
  • Date of Manufacture – 1930
  • Place of Manufacture – Elkhart, Indiana, USA
  • Finish – Gold lacquer
  • Weight – 7lb 1oz
  • Sound – Full, loud, raunchy
  • Ease of Blowing – A big horn to fill
  • Ease of Fingering – Less facility than more modern instruments

More about Buescher saxophones can be found currently on the Web from saxpics and an excellent small article on True Tone saxophones on Wikipedia.
Do you own a Buescher? I’m particularly interested in reviewing the 400 series. Please let me know by commenting on this post.

3 Responses

  1. If you’re getting “raunchy” and “not easy to blow” from a T-T tenor you might need to have it looked at. The T-T is about the smoothest blowing tenor ever, especially the low register, assuming good pads and adjustment. It is a horn with a wide range of expression.

  2. […] which I bought from in 2006. I haven’t played it much, but intend to, especially as its big brother is currently my favourite […]

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