Saxophone Players Have Meaningless Arguments About Trivia, Too!

On a private saxophone page, I accidentally started an argument over whether two saxophones from the same factory had the same bore. (Bundy I and Bundy II, in case you wondered). All agreed, as I had always claimed (based on my personal experience with these horns) that the Bundy I had the same bore as the old Buescher True Tones (with keywork borrowed from 1935ish Aristocrats).

Most asserted that the Bundy II was an entirely different instrument with a different bore that made it nearly impossible to get a good sound.

I interjected that Ralph Morgan, the lead woodwind designer at Selmer’s Elkhart plant (formerly Buescher) claimed that he left the bore alone and only redesigned the keywork when he designed the Bundy II. For evidence I published a quote FROM RALPH MORGAN to that effect. The quote was originally posted on the web page that hosts the discussion.

And not retooling the bore makes sense from a purely financial standpoint. The Bundy II was made on the same line that had previously made the Bundy I, its predecessor the Buescher Elkhart, and its predecessor the Buescher Tru-Tone. Retooling the keywork to reflect modern advances is one thing. Redesigning the bore would be something else altogether, requiring hundreds of hours of experimentation, evaluation, and testing, then expensive re-machining. At that point in history, as Selmer proved later, Selmer was in no danger of injecting huge amounts of cash into a company they had bought mostly for its distribution channels.

Before Morgan developed the Bundy II, band directors’ biggest complaint about the Bundy 1 was its 1935ish keywork.

So it made perfect sense for Ralph to update the keywork to a more modern “balanced action” standard (which almost all saxophones have used since the 1980s) and leave the bore alone.

Nevertheless “experts” are chiming in saying, to the effect, “I’ve taught/played saxophone for X number of years, so I know more than you do, and they do NOT have the same bore.”

Note: Looking at their claims of longevity, none of these folks were teaching/playing back when the model number switched over, so any experience they have is with used horns decades later. Which means that their experience with these horns is anecdotal, hardly in depth. (BTW, I was working in a music store not long after the switch happened, and I tested my share of rental saxes when they came back for cleaning and resale, but what do I know?)

Posting this just in case you wondered whether woodwind players are any less likely to jump in on fruitless arguments about different models of what is essentially the same instrument than, say, guitar players.

What started the argument? A question about what mouthpiece could give a Bundy II Tenor a more focused tone.

BTW, Ralph Morgan’s post on the subject is here:

. . . I was the Cheif 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 Sgurd 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. I see many blogs from supposed “authorities” for saxophones, especially SELMER models, but see very in the way of really accurate knowledge, such as I have after 30 years with the company. I retired 26 years ago, so witnessed the growth of the company at first hand. I wish you all the best in the musical world, Musically yours in Christ, Ralph Morgan


About Paul

Paul Race has been writing and playing all kinds of music since the 1960s, though he tends to favor acoustic and traditional songs. He has created resources like,, and to help other musicians get a good start on their own journeys.

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