Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / Conn or Martin or ..??

Dan the Man
User ID: 0456964
Mar 26th 6:48 AM
OK Guys, I'm sure this will get plenty of input but which do you recommend for an Alto? I've heard good thing about both the Conn 20 and the Martin. Which should I buy?
User ID: 1132714
Mar 26th 8:21 AM
There is only one alto worth considering- a Martin Committee II-or my old Aristocrat that's for sale-or...
mark m
User ID: 8973393
Mar 26th 6:53 PM
That's so silly!

Really, there are really no altos at all worth considering.

Well, maybe about 30...
Dan the Man
User ID: 0456964
Mar 27th 6:03 AM
Gee Thanks Mark. That was very helpful. I consider the Mark VI to be tops, but I am interested in something a little more affordable.
The Martin
User ID: 0631424
Mar 27th 6:08 AM
I have a nice early Bundy *:o)
(that's the best (and only) alto I played in years)

But as being a Martin fan I would suggest any pro-Martin starting with the Handcraft Imperial... up to the Magna's.
There are people saying the Comm-II alto's are the best intonation wise.
User ID: 9495963
Mar 27th 1:38 PM
A Martin or a Buescher, I would urge you to chase the Buescher as it will out play a mk vi in terms of sound and intonation. Thekeywork is fast and slick. Try a 30's aristocrat in silverplate or the BIg B or 400 models.
User ID: 3055604
Mar 27th 5:00 PM
My experience has been:

Conn, Buescher, and Martin all make better Tenor saxes than altos.

However, the 40's King Zephyrs are better than their Tenor counterpart. Also, King Zephyrs are generally a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Bueschers and Martins. Good luck.
mark m.
User ID: 8973393
Mar 28th 2:26 PM
sorry dan da man

This forum is just so full of enthusiasts for so many different horns, it's always funny to hear someone say there's only one worth considering.

All I have is a couple of older silver Conns, which I love, but within this forum there are many recommending Martins, Beuschers, Conn, SML, and others. Within the Conn lineage, silver Chu's (as well as later pre-Chu's and early post-Chu "transitionals") seem to be the picks.

I would say, at the very least, the VI's don't seem to be the only game in town.
Dan the Man
User ID: 0456964
Mar 30th 6:28 AM
OK Guys, I think the way to go is with the Martin or Beucher or possible the Chu Berry. One question: The 400 Beuchers I've seen have nickel plated keys. Are they still the good ones? Thanks for the input.
User ID: 1132714
Mar 30th 12:20 PM
Dan,I've got a great 280xxx Buescher Aristocrat-alto-all original for sale.If you're interested I'm at; [email protected]
User ID: 9670323
Mar 30th 11:28 PM
id get the martin "the martin" bootman. sorry the bueschers dont outplay mark 6s ,good sound but not better than a 6 in my opinion.ive had old bueshers and thy are ok. the last one ive sold on ebay went for 156.00$ and it was in great shape too! repadded clean looking and from the late 20s.. there is a reason they go for less than mark 6s.a lot of reasons.!!some have intonation problems and the action on some feels wierd if your used to modern. find a great martin. they are will find plenty of guys willing to part with old bueschers cheap. but not old selmers or martins
User ID: 9495963
Mar 31st 3:10 AM
jd, The reason you can find so many Buescher is because the secret of how good they are is still alive and strong. I have a 290K silver plated buescher that will cream any mk vi I put up against it. My guess is that you had the wrong vintage of Buescher and that they weren't silver plated or had had the snap in's and non genuine pads put in them.

When chasing a Buescher, think 270 through 290K in silver plate, the later Big B's are also good. The Conn vintage to chase is late Chu through to transitional (mid 30's) and pre war 6M's in silver plate or gold plate. Martin Handcraft altos of this same time period are also strong playing horns.

Just play as many horns as you can before you buy one and use this information as a guide, not as a set of rule which must be religiously followed.
User ID: 1132714
Mar 31st 6:42 AM
I've gotten rid of a Selmer BA,and two VI altos but have always kept the 280xxx Buescher Aristocrat. The Crat is a superior alto to any Selmer I've ever owned or played.Mine is lacquered,and I know Bootman will disagree,but I think the tonal differences between lacquer and silverplate is minimal,meaning I don't prefer one over the other.they're both fine horns.
User ID: 9670323
Mar 31st 7:05 AM
ok bootman,we will agree to disagree. ive had about 30 old bueschers.(i buy and sell saxes) for a hobby. id say the best ones i liked were the big b tenors.i also loved the king zyphers. 40s .if you can find one. ive had plenty of handcrafts also. they sound great but the intonation on "the martins" is better.i think that a great martin can hold its own against an early balanced action but the mark 6s (early ones)are awesome horns.if i couldnt play a 6 id get a yamaha 62 because the intonation is right on. none of that 20 cents sharp 10 cents flat or whatever. they play right on the money.although i admit the sound is much better with the vintage horns. its just that i cant take the sound of the sax if its a little off. most people dont notice but it drives me crazy! im not knocking anybodies crat(they are truly nice horns} but i really loved the martins.what can i say. whatever works... all the best jd
User ID: 9495963
Mar 31st 4:42 PM
jd, the choice of mpc on the Aristocrats has a lot to do with how well they play. I use the JJ on the alto and find no problem with the intonation. Intonation problems are often caused by movement in the embouchure of the player who is accustomed to adjusting for intonation quirks of the Selmer altos. If you play an Aristocrat with a set and forget embouchure then there is no intonation problems.

I have found that the difference between the silver and lacquered Aristocrats is as you stated minimal. The sivler plated horns just have a little more sparkle to the sound and centre the sound a little better. I guess it comes down to personal preference in the end.

I love the Bueschers because of the way that each particular note centres correctly on pitch, there is a definite centre to each note that I find lacking on other horns. The Martin handcrafts are also great playing horns and I do still own several of these instruments. The sound is different, a little thicker with the Martins, more tenor like. Both are great but I prefer the Buescher overall.
Roger Aldridge
User ID: 0735934
Apr 4th 8:14 AM
Several months ago I was looking for a vintage soprano. Bootman steared me to Buescher. What he said about Buescher tone and intonation appealed to me. I was able to get a 1928 Buescher soprano (238K) from Gayle at Vintagesax. This horn is absolutely the BEST soprano I've ever played in terms of tone, intonation, and action. It's everything Bootman said it would be.

I'm now in the process of getting a 1928 silver Buescher alto (246K). The serial number is a little earlier than what Bootman suggests. However, if it's anything like my Buescher soprano from the same year it should be a really fine horn.

Choosing which saxophone make and model is a personal thing. Each one has its particular qualities. I like Conn and Selmer for certain reasons. However, everything considered, I've come to appreciate what a vintage Buescher saxophone can offer.
User ID: 1564944
Apr 6th 6:00 PM
Dan the man: I bought my son some real nice altos. Including a Buescher 400, a "the Martin" and a very top of the line Yanagisawa 9933 (the sterling silver horn one. Like jd suggests above, he also has a Yamaha 62 (for leaving at school). Everybody who has heard all these horns says the Martin is the best sounding.

No question.-The Martin.

But my son prefers to play his Buffet SDA (Super Dynaction) to every other horn, including the Chu he has. It needed some work before it would play well, but even before it got those pads replaced, he prefered it over the others. He says it is heads and shoulders easier to play, that the "feel" is perfect. Still has a great sound too and it sounds at least as good as the Yamaha and Yani! Put a Morgan 6 or a Jodyjazz on it and it rocks. FYI, I don't play, but I bought these horns (and more... uh mmmmm, yes a Yamaha WX-7 electronic wind instrument and a Buffet Soprano too) primarilly off of recommendations from folks on this site. I think whatever you decide, you'll do fine. Sounds like all the horns you are thinking of are real good. "The Martin" horn has great sound, but I think Shaun finds it a lot of work to get the sound he wants. Since he's the lazy type, it tends to be left in the case. We have 6 saxes in the living room set up on stands all the time, the Martin is not one of them. Hope that helped some. BTW, at some point I will be selling some of these, I hope:-) Unfortunately The kid is still too attached to them at this time.

Good luck: