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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

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1926 Buescher TT Alto, 1936 Holton Revelation Tenor, 1954 Holton 271 Bari
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What's different about this bari from the other models throughout Buescher history?
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's the genesis of the entire line Aristocrats and the later 400's. Completely different body tube than the 129 (the TT's that preceded it and Big B's that followed which were identical except for the bell keys) baris. Much more powerful instrument with a more spread sound to it. They only made it from 1934 to 1938. Nickel-silver rods (aka 400s) along with different octave and other mechanisms, and the introduction of the "new & improved" spatula keys of the Aristocrats. From 1934 to 1936 they marketed the TT (model 129 with split bell keys) and the "Custom Built" (model 139 with l/h bell keys) at different price points with the 139 as the more expensive instrument. From 1937 and 1938 they produced both the 129 and the 139 as "Aristocrats", with the 139 being the more expensive instrument available on "special order". In 1940 the 139 appears to have been dropped entirely and they went back to the TT-based 129 body tube exclusively as the Big B, copying most of the keywork including the l/h bell keys of the 139 in the process, but not the sound or the overall sophistication of the 139 horn.

Played side by side, it's very clear these are very different horns. The 139 is more spread but quite a bit more powerful. It's quite different visually as well -- overall it's longer and with a larger bore but with a teeny tiny neck (no idea why on that one) that puts your nose in very close proximity to the crook.. Top octave vent was moved to the body tube from the neck and they had additional features (e.g. G# activated by the rest of the pinky table) that they didn't provide on baris again until the advent of the 400 bari in the late 50's. The "Martin Magna" of Buescher baris if you will.

This is the Buescher bari to have. A serious competitor to the Conn 12M, the Martin Magna, Selmer, and frankly the better horn (I've played all four).

Buescher baris overall were popular in schools then, but I think this was a marketing problem for them and they lacked a "professional" reputation for their baris, unlike their altos and tenors. Trying to break into Conn's 12M territory while carrying two lines of baris at different price points (which isn't a particularly volume selling instrument even today) probably was the 139's death knell. Sheer speculation on my part, but I suspect that once they had the other more profitable alto and tenor Aristocrats defined and in the market, they dropped the expensive to make 139 bari in favor of the older version that was cheaper and fit their school market better from a cost perspective.
 

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i saw this last night and had a feeling you would jump on it! I love the tiny neck!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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Model 139 as listed in the 1938 Buescher catalog.




By the late 1940 rollout of the Big B alto and tenor, the 139 has been stricken from the ranks.
Bringing up the low end, like Papa Mills with the Mills Brothers, is good old split-bell model 129.

 

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1926 Buescher TT Alto, 1936 Holton Revelation Tenor, 1954 Holton 271 Bari
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Sounds like a great horn. I'd be really interested in sound clips comparing your Big B and the 139.
 

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Thumbing thru Buescher materials of the late 1930s, I actually get the opposite impression from maddenma, that the Buescher sax most widely accepted in name bands was the 129 bari. I suspect it cost less than the market leader, Conn, and was popular for that reason with alto doublers. Still a very nice playing horn, and a good value on the vintage market today.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Correcting myself on the dates -- oldest production date appears to be about 1929, not 1934, so it looks like it was 10 years in production.


Cool pics, Paulwl. You also seem to have stumbled across verification of a different model number for the Big B tenor in 1940 -- the model 155, whereas I was under the impression that was still a model 127. Further validation that the Big B tenor was at least 2 different horns during its run.
 

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Correcting myself on the dates -- oldest production date appears to be about 1929, not 1934, so it looks like it was 10 years in production.
+/-5 years when you're over 80 years old... does it come with dentures? :bluewink:

When I first saw this thread, I didn't think much of it. In fact I thought $2000 was too much.

But now that you've explained the horn more and have some personal comparisons, that horns sounding pretty darn good.

Congrats on the find.
 

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Correction on prices: In 1938 the Buescher 129 cost $165 in lacquer, exclusive of case. So did the Conn 12M.

Model No. 129 was used way back for Buescher baris. The final split bell version - front F key, curved E, New Aristocrat type pinkie table - did in fact emerge in 1934, as maddenma said.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
For perspective, that's $2630 today for both the 129 and 12M. $3300 for the 139 -- a 25% premium.

Curiously, that's less expensive than just about all but the PRC horns today.

Was just noticing on Saxpics that a Selmer BA of the same vintage has the same dinky neck and crook-based upper octave vent. Seem to be a lot of parallels between these horns. Got any pricing info on the Selmer BA baris for 1938?
 

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Not handy. Might be available under Museum / Publications at saxophone.org.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Spot on advice for where to look. Cheapest one was $245, $3906 in today's bucks. Not only do they really look similar, the ad copy reads remarkably the same as well -- clearly the intended target of the 139.

I can just hear the marketing guy(s) now.... "Why spend an extra $600 to buy that French horn, we've got essentially the same thing." You suppose that argument would work today? :bluewink:

Anyone out there want to buy a brand new Selmer Series III bari for $3900? Or would you rather have the Yani 991 for $600 less? :mrgreen:
 

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The cases were their profit point. I don't know that I'd pay 2013 dollars for those lightly padded, formed plywood cases, especially considering how poorly they hold up with age and moisture. One place modern materials mean a lot.
 

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I saw this one. I drooled for a second. Ah, well, I like my fat silver TT. :mrgreen:
I knew you would be all over this one, too. Please do post picture and audio comparisons to the Big B.
Dang that is a puny neck.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Well, horn arrived today. Love to do an audio compare for you, but as you can see from this thread, there was a shipping issue.

http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?203859-Damaged-Bari-Crook

That said, it was interesting to discover that the E3 and F3 tone holes are soldered on, rather than drawn like the rest of them. Hoping to be able to play it soon.
 

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wow, beautiful horn. such a shame it was damaged in transit. really a shame that a music store allowed it to be packaged so scantly!
 

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Oh Man, that's really a shame. How could one pack this rare Beauty like a cheap tool. I hold my fingers crossed that it will be fixed perfect that you'll have fun with it. I'm shure that you're worth this horn.

Best Christoph
 

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Wow I own one of these! Its an amazing baritone & your right I prefer it to any conn,martin baritones.Its has the biggest bell I ave ever seen.Mine has gold plated keys on a lacquer body.Thanks for posting this information!!
 
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