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Discussion Starter #1
So, I'm in the market for an alto sax, and, from what I've tried, I prefer vintage to modern. Now, just how far would $2500 go in terms of vintage altos? I'm open to Bueschers, Conns, Selmers, Kings, you name it...recommendations are appreciated.

I know this is vague, but I'm really just looking for an all-around player that is within that price range. Good action is essential, but a great tone is what tops my list.

My thanks.
 

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All of them will be good horns and most are well under your price range. Don't be scared of those relacquered horns. I've played them both and they're killer. Personally out of all of those, I'd take the buescher or conn and pocket the rest of the cash. Of course, that's just my opinion and buescher and conn make my favorite horns.

Needless to say, that selmer, SML, martin, and King would all be great horns. I don't think the selmer would be worth an extra $1500 on top of the buescher though. You could get yourself a new tenor too!
 

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2500 buys just about any Buescher alto you want, including my Top Hat and Cane.;)
Or you could buy a dead mint True Tone and lots and lots of mouthpieces and lessons.
Or you could buy a New Aristocrat and still have lots of money for mouthpieces and lessons.
Or you could buy a Series 1 and still have lots of money for mouthpieces and lessons.
Or you could buy a Big B and still have lots of money for mouthpieces and lessons.
Or you could buy a 140 and week at a top resort in Mexico.
Or you could buy an early 141 and have it engraved like a TH&C.
Or you could buy a nice TT and a 140 and a Carribean cruise and come to Fredonia for the Rascher Archive opening in November.
Or you could just buy a 140 and go visit Hakukani.:twisted:
 

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Don't buy anything until you've tried a modern B&S made alto...
 

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For 2500 try a Yanagisawa 991 series.
 

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hgiles said:
Don't buy anything until you've tried a modern B&S made alto...
I second this. I own one and I looove the sound I make on it. :]
 

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Or you could buy a Yanagisawa A991 and some sand-paper and just scratch it until it looks vintage. Then you would have a fantastic horn for that money :)
Cheers!
 

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2500 is a lot of money for an alto. You should go out there and play them all before you decide. You might be surprised that you get a really nice alto and still have lots of money left over. I got my JK alto for 1600 and was very happy with that price. I'm also very happy with the horn which is by far the most important thing. Good luck, there's plenty of folks here that wish they were in your position right now.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the help thus far. The only thing that I'm a bit concerned about is the keywork and action on some of these horns, as I've never tried a Conn, or a Buescher, or an SML. I know Selmer does make horns with excellent keywork, but how do some of these other brands compare in that sense?
 

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Selmer is going to have a more fitted feel to its keywork as the right and left hand tone holes are offset, unlike the vintage horns. With my hands so big, I actually hate the feel of more modern keywork as it actually seems more constricting. I also grew up playing vintage horns (as well as modern ones), and the keywork doesn't take long to get used to even if you hadn't. As far as action goes, many of the early greats played on such limited instruments, and had no problem. Think Parker.
 

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This summer, I went nuts buying and trying altos. My favorite alto was a new Borgani vintage finish, but it was about $4500 (with a resale value of about $1700) so I had to pass. Otherwise here are my alto rankings:

1) King Super 20 ($1500 + overhaul) ebay
2) SML stencil (King Marigaux) at USA Horn (I didn't ask the price)
3) new Yamaha 82Z regular lacquer at USA Horn (with a great set-up) about $2800
4) a bunch of Selmer MArk VI altos (various dealers - all over $4000)
5) Silver Conn 6M (art deco) from ebay ($1200 + set-up)
6) Mark VII alto ($1700 on SOTW)
7) new Keilwerth Vintage - ($3300 at Robertos) I love the look and feel of this horn, but the sound I get is dull and the horn feels stuffy to me (I don't have superlungs and I love freeblowing horns.)

I play mostly rock, blues, and world music stuff. The King Super 20 was the easiest for me to overblow and get a real exciting sound, so I went with that...Good luck!
 

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Quite a scary amount of choice, eh? May I just offer a little homespun "wisdom" and say "money doesn't always buy you happiness"? :D

Seriously, though, with that sort of money i'd go to a shop with lots of vintage selection and try quite a few. And don't go for the first one you like. Go for the first one you can't leave behind. With that money to spend I think that attitude should be fine. I envy you the choice you're about to make. :)
 

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If you're open to a new alto, make sure you try a Yamaha 82Z.
 

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That's not my 82Z. You can get a new one for less than $2500 though.
 
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