Sax on the Web Forum Archive / Alto Saxophone / S-1 or BA?

User ID: 0847534
May 29th 12:49 PM
I've been playing a 1936 Selmer BA for a few years now, and for a relac horn it does a great job. I put on Schmidt synthetic pads a couple of years ago, and have adjusted the action to about where I like it.
I just picked up a Buffet S-1 lacquer from 1981 that looks almost new. It plays more in tune, altissimo is a whole bunch easier, and it feels every bit as good (although different) as the Selmer. Although I got it for a great price, I would have to spend around $400-$500 for Schmidt pads and full setup.
Tone-wise the Buffet is clearer, and seems to be able to take more air and produce more volume than the BA. Neither one sounds like a MkVI, but both have very nice (although different) tone.
I'm not sure I can justify keeping both horns. I remember in the 70's going to jam sessions with my Buffet SDA alto and getting some funny looks (which is why I got the Selmer when I started playing again), so ther is that baggage.
I play for fun in a community band and a rehearsal swing band, I am able to use either horn in either setting.
Help me out here- anyone have some idea if I should just re-sell the Buffet (and make $800 to $1000), or sell my BA?
User ID: 8868883
May 30th 6:01 AM
I would have though either was a very saleable horn, yet it sounds like neither is completely to your satisfaction. The BA will surely be the better long term investment, although S1s are not that common either, although when they come up seem to be in good condition.

For me, the horn is primarily an instrument rather than an investment, I sold my S1 as it too could have done with an expensive overhaul, (you don't know how well-spent $500 will be until it is spent, then it may be too late...) and I could never get it to play completely in tune with itself, whatever 'A' I tuned to! I sold it and got a new Selmer III in flat matte and have a much better playing horn, with a more typical French alto sound, whereas the S1 has a lovely sweet 'ringing' tone. The action is if anything faster than the S1.
Classic Sax
User ID: 9161143
May 30th 6:24 AM
S-1 are nice horns, I could of bought the one you bought for $800.00 on ebay before you bought it.
decided not too buy since it is more common to get a minty S-1 for the same price you paid than any condition paris model selmer.
I also thought tone wise, not flexiable a very even timbre, very comfortable playing legit horn, a repad won't chage that. There was a Buffet steciled by keilwerth sx90type I regret not buying on ebay for te same price.

Jerry K.
User ID: 0596854
May 30th 9:32 AM
CS, I bought the Keilwerth/Buffet stencil in question and hope to have it within the next week. Looks like an interesting sax with the Buffet look and the Keilwerth mechanics and most likely sound. What do you know about these? I bought it because I like the Keilwerths and $900 seems pretty fair an SX90 clone.
User ID: 0554384
May 30th 10:37 AM
I bought the S1 thinking it would be my prime horn. I bought a new SDA alto in the 70's over a new MkVI as the action was so much better. I'd heard the S1 was even better, but find that for me it really isn't. Maybe I should just sell all 3 (CC, BA, S1) and buy a Serie III. Anyway, I got too many altos, so one or more has to go. Thanks for the thoughts everyone.
Jerry K.
User ID: 0596854
May 30th 10:57 AM
<<Anyway, I got too many altos, so one or more has to go. Thanks for the thoughts everyone.>>

I'm with you on that, I also have too many altos. I am going to settle on probably a couple newer horns and a couple vintage ones. Now which ones to keep and which to sell - tough choices.
Classic Sax
User ID: 9161143
May 30th 8:00 PM
Jerry K Congratulation- a great horn for a great price.
I bought mine brand new in 1994 from a dealer who had the for 50% off list. Cost me $1479.08 plus tax. Played it for a year and SBA 52xxx alto and tha thas been my primary axe. I played the Buffet sx90 clone and can understand why they still make the SX90 today.

let us know how you like it. Mine had a buescher aristocrat quality in timbre with a tad less projection. Mine also had the domed steel resonaton like the buescher snap in resos. Word of caution, the later Buffet keilwerth stencil were ship with necks made by armstrong. It is still worth it to buy a neck. I think the 97xxxx range is when the armstrong necks began to ship, mine is a 96 series. I think Keilwerth did this to make their own horn perform better.

MBushaw, I too have to many alto. I played many S-1 alto and tenors and they all sound the same sonic wise. To bad they didn't retain the old buffet SDA timbre. The series III brushed finished
altos really peaked my interest in selling a few of my prized five digit mark sixes. You got to milk them 5 digit horns but the ref 54 and the series III brushed or so comfortable to play.
Jerry K.
User ID: 0596854
May 30th 11:34 PM
Classic Sax, I'm guessing you would need to sell only one MK VI to buy a Ref 54 or Series III, and then you would probably have some change in your pocket!
User ID: 1146894
May 31st 9:29 AM
Classic -- Since you have a stable of Mk VIs to play, what do you think of silver Mk VI altos, and can the later s/n horns be good ones? What mouthpieces do you like with the Mk VI altos?

Classic Sax
User ID: 9161143
Jun 1st 12:25 AM
One of the best attributes of the MK VI is their flexibility. They're mouthpiece friendly.

Every Late MK VI alto I've played were great players, great intonation.
The timbre is a little darker and more spread, projection is also some what less.
The mechanics aspect; Keywork spaced/spread a bit more, bigger pearls