Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Buffet Archive / Best years for S1

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digifish
User ID: 9342693
Sep 30th 9:51 AM
The S1 was built by Buffet-Crampon from 1973-1988. In 1981, the company sold to Boosey & Hawkes. Seven years later, Buffet-Crampon ceased building and marketing the S1. Sometime later they quit making saxophones altogether.

Does anyone know what years of production are most desired for the S1 (especially for an alto), which are least, and why?

Thank you.
stevew
User ID: 8868883
Sep 30th 10:38 AM
Possibly the late SDAs (which have the same keywork as the S1s) and the earliest S1s would be preferred, all else being equal. Mind you, this was based on my experience with tenors; the SDAs had a more weighty body and with it, a darker sound with more kick to it. The S1 I had, which was a late model, sounded incredibly sweet, but lacked projection.

I had a 1976 (IIRC) 150th Anniversary model alto in silver plate which was a nice sweet horn with a good action, but I couldn't manage the intonation which was really difficult at the top end. I tried everything short of a full re-pad and overhaul, and lost patience with it and sold it.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Sep 30th 12:57 PM
Interesting question. You hear a lot about the best serial number ranges for MkVIs, Conns, Bueschers, etc., but never the same discussion about Buffets. COuld it be that Buffet has simply maintained their standards throughout the years, making no year or serial numer Buffet better than another?

I have an S1 alto from 1981, and if there;s a btter one out there, I MUST have it.

digifish, BC does still make saxes, but only the S3 alto and only in A=442 Hz. Production duties are shared wih JK, but the bodies are still Buffet, and they play SWEET!

stevew, does your S1's new owner like it? Do you still have contact info for him?
Saxydude
User ID: 1139804
Sep 30th 4:28 PM
Digifish- You have seen my threads on this forum about Buffets. After a long wait, my S-1 tenor finally got here today. It is a very early S-1 (probably one of the first actually stamped with a S-1) and it plays very nice. It projects very nicely with my jazz mouthpiece and a Java reed, but it's also easy to control. As for best serial ranges, Buffet does have an outstanding record of craftsmanship, I don't know if there was that much difference between early and late model S-1's.
Stevew
User ID: 2414344
Oct 1st 2:51 AM
Do you mean the alto or the tenor? AFAIK, the alto owner was satisfied, I probably still have his e-mail address. The tenor was sold on, I saw it again on ebay.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Oct 1st 7:52 AM
I was thinking alto mostly, since if the new owner doesn't like it I'd see if is willing to let it loose. I am still looking for a tenor though.
digifish
User ID: 9342693
Oct 3rd 11:12 PM
Thanks stevew, mostly alto dude and saxydude. Your responses mirrored the words of a local repairman and player I heard from today. I was surprised to hear Buffet-Crampon still builds S3s. The Buffet dealers I spoke with said they didn't build saxophones anymore. The Boosey & Hawkes web site also didn't offer much direction. On my first visit, I thought the S3 was a discontiuned product line. Has anyone had experience of buying a new S3 lately?
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Oct 5th 11:36 AM
I've got one on order and will have it in my hands in a week. I'm buying through Stephan Boesken, so I know I can't go wrong. It has taken a bit less than four months since playing a demo to get mine built and tweaked.

If you're diligent you can find dealers advertising new ones; after an extensive search I ran across one in Sweden, another two in France. But that's all. If you really want one, contact Stephan.
SAXGOURMET
User ID: 9725373
Oct 5th 12:16 PM
RE: Buffet is not making saxophones anymore

See my site www.saxgourmet.com and take a photo tour of saxophone prodution at the Buffet shop. These pictures were taken a couple of years ago by Tim Green, a long time client of mine (he plays with Peter Gabriel, among others) who is a Buffet fanatic.
Dr G
User ID: 8659853
Dec 23rd 6:10 PM
Any comments to share regarding Saxpics.com comment about European vs American market horns and their native pitch (442 vs 440)? Was that stevew's problem? I want to avoid it as well but I'm curious to play an S-1. Do I need to find a horn with an "A" after the serial number?
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Dec 24th 12:12 AM
Dr G, I have an "A" serialed S1 from 1981 and a European S3, a factory new copper one jointly built by Buffet (see Steve Goodson's comment above) and JK. The inherent scale on both these altos is superb, and I'm able to achieve the same pitch results on my tuner (calibrated to 440Hz) with either horn. Given that I can play the 440Hz S1 and the 442Hz S3 so close to pitch that my tuner sees only a negigible difference, certainly no more than between any two altos, a very experienced player should find no difficulties playing a 442Hz instrument. In fact, I find the S3 tends to be very slightly flat with most mouthpieces positioned where I would first guess to place them, so I'm always pushing them on about 1/8 inch further than I expected to.

If it makes you nervous to buy a 442Hz horn, and you're in the US, I suspect most of the S1s that come on your market are A horns anyway. There are a couple of S1s on ebay right now, but I can't recall where thay are located and if they are A horns or not.
stevew
User ID: 9412633
Dec 24th 6:43 AM
The A=442 was not my problem, the S1 alto I owned just had very poor intonation at the top end. It played with just the same intonation tendency with the mouthpiece placed to give A at 440 or 442. The S1 tenor I had was absolutely fine intonation wise.

Just about every French made clarinet or flute is nominally A=442 and no-one seems to notice. No, as MAG says, don't let it put you off. This subject has been debated here many times. I have owned a number of A=442 instruments and in practice, you can tune to A 440 with mouthpiece placement and it's no issue at all.
Dr G
User ID: 8659853
Dec 24th 10:23 AM
Thanks, guys. That makes me feel a lot better. Now I've got to figure out whether I need another French-made horn. I'm thinking probably so... ;)

I appreciate your remarks at the top of this thread, Steve, about projection of the tenors. Do you recall if that horn had the larger flat reso's or something else?

MAG - there's a tenor at eBay now that seems to have undersize reso's on the bell keys especially. It doesn't have an "A" after the serial number (hence my question). Located in Texas of all places! ;) Comments???
stevew
User ID: 9412633
Dec 24th 11:48 AM
My tenor had original pads and flat metal resos. It probably needed an overhaul, but to be honest I was rather disappointed with it, the ebay seller had been economical with the truth about its condition and I don't think it was a very good example, so I cut my losses and sold it on. The subsequent buyer didn't keep it very long either. I'd go for a late SDA with the S1 keys if I were you
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Dec 24th 1:16 PM
Dr G,

A lot of Buffet nuts (are there really a lot of us?) like the transitional SDAs, as stevew points out. I haven't played one. I saw the S1 tenor on ebay (a couple of altos there as well), and I know of another tenor for sale. If you'd like the guy's email address, I think he'd be happy to hear from another interested person. I think I still have the address.

In fact, in the tenor world, the only Buffet I've played is also the one I own--a Dynaction (some people call these SA or 18-20) from 1952. It's ugly and has leaks, needs a pad job, but it has a marvelous sound. Deep, round, dark. It'll be my balled horn.

I don't know what resos were original on the S1. When I bought my alto, it was wearing pretty basic stuff, tan leather pads with average-sized riveted flat metal (I'd say steel) resos. They may have been original, but I don't think so, and neither did the guy I bought it from. They were not in great shape, but not too bad. The horn itself is gorgeous, at least 95% lacquer and zero damage. As you know, it's an A model at 440Hz. In general it was mechanically sound, but needed fine tuning. It sound was, well, sort of nice, but a bit muffled, as if the whole thing was wearing a big fur coat and mittens. It played just well enough to demonstrate a superb scale, and showed tonal promise as well.

So I decided to have new pads and a full mechanical overhaul this summer (a la Stephan Boesken), and now the horn's a delight to play. The new pads are the same that are being used on new Buffet Prestige altos, still tan leather, and what I'd swear is black nickel on the smallish, slightly domed, riveted resos (the domes on the Prestige are copper). It's sound is polite, slightly bright, very French, perfect for classical. But it has a naughty side as well. With a Buffet Le Jazz, or even with a Meyer, it can be persuaded to step out a bit. I don't need it to do this, but in a pinch, it would. I don't think you'd want to have a go un-mic'd in a loud band though. It's not that sort of horn.

I heartily recommend the S1 (remember, I only know the alto) if you need a classical horn. Get one that's in good repair, but don't necessarily expect the pads to be right for the horn. The ones on mine were clearly not. Maybe that's why the seller wanted to send it on.

Now the horn is mechanically tweaked to a tee, and the pads and resos are right for the horn. It's properly voiced. It sings.

As a bonus, these have increased in value (my unscientific observation over the last year). I think I could back get every dime I have in mine if I sold it today.

But I'm not selling.

Dr G
User ID: 7468553
Dec 24th 2:53 PM
Whew... Thank you both for sharing your insights in such depth. You've given me much more to think about.

This forum is really great. Happy holidays to all.

Saxydude
User ID: 1139804
Dec 29th 8:40 PM
All- I have a VERY early S-1 tenor for sale. NO high F# key....but all the other S-1 features. The serial number is 23xxx.....anyone know the serial number the high F# key was put on? E-mail me at Saxydude05@yahoo.com Happy Holidays
Dr G
User ID: 7468553
Dec 30th 10:31 AM
Price, location??? Type of reso's and condition of pads and mechanism? All the other usual questions?? ;)

Regarding the features: Have you checked www.saxpics.com?

Cheers,

George (GeoKasch@Juno.comn)
Saxydude
User ID: 1139804
Dec 31st 9:27 AM
Dr G- I sent you an e-mail.
Dr G
User ID: 7468553
Dec 31st 10:04 AM
Got it, thanks. Sounds like a well set up horn. What is left in your stable that compels you to set this one free? Do you consider the S-1 best suited for classical as well?

So many horns to try. What a great world we live in.

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