Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Buffet Archive / info on Buffet Dynaction please

User ID: 0213374
Sep 22nd 2:25 PM
I have the opportunity to buy an overhauled Buffet Dynaction from 1953. I will have a week to try it out, but I would like to get any opinions from someone who has tried or owns one. Info about keywork - particularly in comparison to Mark VI.
Intonation. and anything else you could tell me.
Value. (I think I can get it for $1200 US)
Brian M.
User ID: 9962683
Sep 22nd 3:04 PM
smitch -
It's been a long time, but I had a Buffet SDA tenor in the late 60's, and I gave it up to play a Mark VI. The SDA had a much bigger sound than the Mark VI, it was heavier, and it took more air to play (with the metal Berg I used at the time). I don't remember any problem with the keywork, nor do I remember feeling the keywork was improved with the Mark VI. Mostly, I remember how much easier it was to blow the Mark VI - you could truly whisper the notes. I played the SDA in a Soul/Rock band doing things from Otis to Chicago. I remember playing Funky Broadway and holding a high F# (no F# key) with an altissimo fingering and crescendo-ing from mp to ffff. The SDA would play that F# so big that I could completely overshadow the guitar and organ. Intonation was ok, except for open C#.

I think $1200 would be the going rate.

Good luck.
Matt Carlton
User ID: 1230224
Sep 22nd 8:13 PM
The old SDA's were considered the best sax that wasn't a Selmer, because back in that time the Mark VI had a stranglehold on the market. The SDA featured modern keywork that was comparable to the Mark VI. These horns are quality! Give her a try and I think you'll be pleased.
Matt K
User ID: 9642053
Sep 22nd 8:27 PM
I have a '59 SDA and had a ca. early '40s Buffet tenor (series vii). I think the keywork on the vii and the dynaction are pretty much the same. I never played a dynaction but I but think I have a decent idea. I also have a MkVI.
Here's what I think about Buffet tenors:
Love- The sound! It's really dark and strong esp on the SDA.

Like- The keywork. In general. The palm keys are great.

Don't like- The strap hook location. Sucks on all Buffets. The table keys. Heavier on the SDA than the vii. The play angle was very awkward on the older horn. I had to add a strap hook and turn the neck way left to line it up like most other horns. I think they were built to play sitting. I 'think' the dynaction was built this way but not sure. The SDA is much better in this regard.

That's my take, ymmv.
User ID: 9649143
Sep 23rd 1:46 PM
Smitch, I purchased my SDA Alto new in '74. I had a choice between it and a Selmer MK VI. I have never regretted my decision.

I had it overhauled by Steve Goodson awhile back and it is even better than when it was new.

Check out the thread under Other French Saxophones.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Sep 23rd 2:53 PM
Just had my first short session with a Buffet Dynaction--a real DA, not an SDA. The horn sure seems to be made for playing seated, because in that position, with the bell between my legs, the alignment and key layout are quite comfortable.

This horn needs some tweaking. It may have a few leaks--has that much talked about low end gurgle starting at low C. Some of the cork is compressed, especially the neck cork, so much that the mouthpiece physically wobbled unless I pushed it on way past the point of being in tune. That made it hard to judge the gurgle's cause, and impossible as yet to measure intonation.

The keywork is noisy in places due to compressed spacers, and some of the pads, which are red, are sticky. This horn hasn't been played in quite a while, and has never had any real overhaul work, so the cork compression and general loseness of the action (in their normal planes of motion, not lateral as in needing to be swedged) isn't surprising. That all said, the horn plays top to bottom with little resistance, and gives the promise of very light and quick action once it's been massaged a bit.

The tone is rich, dark, and full, even with an S80 C*. With a Yani HR, it was scary dark, but that's exactly what I was hoping for. The sound is smoky, like a Kolhert. The sonic analogy of a good Highland single malt. Should be well suited to ballads, blues, and the like.

This example has the most beautiful deep gold lacquer I've ever seen on a horn. A shade or two darker than any MKVI I can remember, much darker than my S1. It's original and almost perfect. No repairs, no dents. The worst mark on the horn is two tiny dings, like a hamster bite, on the neck. The neck, BTW, has no brace at all and apparently never has had.

Beautiful to look at, not needing much to play reasonably well--I'm gonna like this horn.
mostly alto guy
User ID: 0122954
Sep 23rd 2:55 PM
All the above is for an alto, but from what I've uncovered in my research, it should carry for the tenor as well, except for playing position.
User ID: 0213374
Sep 23rd 5:42 PM
Thanks for the help guys. I guess I should have posted this under the "Other French Saxophones" thread...oh well.

Anyway, I will be trying the horn out for a week starting tomorrow. From what I understand it is a DA, not a SDA. It has been overhauled and is supposedly in good shape.

I appreciate your input. I sure hope it plays with very little resistance the way mostly alto guy described his experience. Let's hope I get lucky!