Stencil or Ghost Named Saxophones
by Dr Rick

1. The Saying Stencil Sax is a slang term used to describe a sax having a name other than that of the true manufacturer. Serial Numbers of Stencil saxophones and Serial Numbers of brand named manufactures do not always correspond, but sometimes can be pretty close.
2. Now! for the true pictorial definition of a Stencil Sax see examples of how a Martin sax is also called other names other than Martin. These other named Sax's made by Martin are commonly referred to as Stencils or better yet Martin Stencils.
3. The Below links include pictures of the main attributes of the most common / popular American manufactures who made sax's with names other than their own. If your sax has a strange name other then that of the true manufacture the links below should hopefully help you to identify what company or companies made your sax.
See ~
Martin  Conn  King  Buescher

Note: Manufacturers especially early in the 20th century sometimes bought parts from each other, therefore the individual attributes of different manufacturers can sometimes appear on the same horn making it very hard to distinguish who exactly made and sold the sax. Stencils Sax's almost never possess the same quality and craftsmanship as the brand named sax's. Stencils Sax's were generally not as expensive as the real McCoy and usually were and are considered second line horns.

 Stencils were quite the thing in the first part of the 20th century. There were literally hundreds of different names engraved on popular manufactured saxophones. It would appear that for whatever reason in the first part of the 20th century American manufacturers let people order saxophones and other instruments with a variety of names of their choosing. In order to try to determine who made what, I have taken pictures of some of the most prevalent key and part designs used by each of the four most popular manufacturers of stenciled horns. Hopefully you can identify which company made your sax and approximately when. There are literally dozens of variations through out the years on and between saxes so I'll just try to stick to the best and most obvious ones. Horns were sold between manufacturers so it is quite possible to find a named manufacturer with all the attributes of another manufacturer. A lot of typical attributes of later model horns are not included because the later models were not generally stenciled. Most Stenciled horns were made before 1940. Careful! never judge a manufacturer by just one attribute. Many times attributes are very similar.Good Hunting!  exchange links

VALUE The present condition of your sax is an important factor in determining its current value, so check with your local repair shop or music store for a proper hands on evaluation. If this is not possible check on line auctions for the current selling price of stencil horns similar to yours.
* Sorry, I do not buy, sell, trade or evaluate stencil horns unless they are one of a kind or uniquely special. Thanks, Dr Rick
Conns Patent Date
Bueschers Patent Date