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On the Bench: Selmer Bundy Tenor Saxophone

Picked this one up locally for $75 (with a mismatched clarinet as a throw-in). Really hard to beat that for a tenor saxophone with no pieces missing. Here are my impressions:

GOOD: very substantial neck brace.

BAD: parallel pivot screws. Insufficient reinforcement for a horn so often thrown into marching duties. Noisy action. lots of empty space between rods and posts.

This was in unplayable condition with the palm keys and high-F pads completely moth-eaten
RH side palm-actuated pads were compromised.
Had a few dents that would complicate pad seating including the low Eb/C post pushed into the body.
Low C brace was partially off.
Missing a lot of silencing and regulating materials.
upper and lower stack pads leaking

Luckily, most of the larger pads are in fair condition and can be adjusted, same with those on the bell.

This thing has lived a fairly hard life. It has scratches throughout the body with dirt, dust, and other odd material hanging between the keywork. As is normal for the dilapidated instruments I buy, the nickle plate is coated with that grey icky tarnish. The last tech that dealt with the high F and low Eb keys did so choosing to work with the malformed instrument rather than remove the dents. This was my first foray into dent work, and for this very purpose I bought items N31 & N81S from Ferrees.

Trouble is I burned the lacquer trying to get the solder to flow juuuust right on that one post. Live and learn, I guess. I'm an amateur, after all. My other solders went well.

Don't really know what I'm going to do with this thing yet when it's finished. I learned on a comparable alto in school only to move onto a Yanagisawa for college that changed my perspective of saxophones entirely. These things are kind of clanky, even in certain places after the application of appropriate silencing materials...

Keep for nostalgia? Sell for tool money?

I may like it given that I like Bueschers and this thing is a scion of Buescher. It's funny, Buescher people say they love these things as student instruments, they say the Yamaha tone is soul-less and empty by comparison. For some reason, these same people talk down the other post-Selmer products (as if they weren't made in the same factories by the same machines and people), but talk these up????

Anyway, more to come on this after I finish the project.


Striving to play the changes in a melodic way.
Staff member
Gotta love it, saving one instrument at a time. Someone will love it, especially if they are doublers. I have sold so many instruments that I didn't appreciate. AND in every sale, the new owner kept them! Something to think about.
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Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
The main positives I've ever hard about the Selmer USA Bundy horns are cheap and can play relatively OK even if flattened by a tank. I don't think anyone's ever said that they had great tone :).

You could always strip the lacquer off completely and hand polish. It'd look pretty nice. Dunno what you'd do about the keywork. As a hobbyist project, I suppose you could replate. Might be a tad expensive.

After a hiatus I've gotten back to this thing. I've sort of messed up the finish taking off the Bell (or rather, trying to get it back on and sealing). Lacquer burn!


I'm kind of cutting my teeth on soldering right now. I've had some successes and some defeats with a lot of opportunities on this horn. I had to move some posts to work out dents or because they were put in the wrong place to begin with, which was causing some binding on the bell mechanism. Some solders were done well with minimal sign that a re-solder happened. But the bow/bell rim is a bit, how should I say.....colourful??

Oh in other news, I've finally gotten around to getting a dent rod and a few barrels.. On my first efforts I worked a number of dents out of the bell, which looks much improved! I used This for the work.

I also bought a dent rod and a couple barrels from Ferrees. (N31 and N81A & B) that I used to push out some dents on the upper body, including one that had the palm keys misaligned.

I'll see about pics.
yeah, i'm going to have to make a habit of doing before pics. I'm pretty sure you all know what a Bundy Tenor looks like, but it would be nice to show off what I've done/screwed up...

My Camera I think is due for replacement. It's ten years old and despite having good reviews when I bought it, has always struggled to render colors accurately....

There's still stuff to do on this instrument, and I lack some of the tools to get some of those dents out. Its currently on the back burner while I work on something else...


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Banned :(
My Camera I think is due for replacement. It's ten years old and despite having good reviews when I bought it, has always struggled to render colors accurately....

What camera is it and what lighting are you shooting under? Sounds like white balance might need adjusting.


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Banned :(
Its a Kodak M341. I'm using room lights, which are 3600K CFLs....
I dont know what those lights are but most indoor lights will put out a colour cast. Our eyes adjust to it but a camera sensor can't. The old tungsten house lights used to make photos very red and fluorescents can vary from green to pink. I photograph clothes for a charity shop and they use fluorescent LEDs which put a weird colour on shots, so I had to adjust the white balance on my DSLR to compensate.
This project is coming to a finish. I may remove all the lacquer to mask the burn, but I'm not sure. The big issue is that I'm certain there is a neck leak. Low D is stuffy, and it improves as I relax the tenon screw. I'll need more tools for this, so it will have to be set aside for the time being.
At least these are tools that will likely be used often. I suspect there are more than a few "bad horns" that suffer from neck leaks as I am convinced it is doing to this Bundy.
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