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Discussion Starter #1
I have an Aristocrat Alto that has been overhauled at least once back in about 1976. It is either a 335xxx or a 385xxx very difficult to read the serial. I played the heck out of it through college and then put it away (1988) in pretty worn out condition. My son is now playing and ready for an upgrade instrument. Is it worth it for me to sink some money into this antique? How many times can they be overhauled? Need to move on this pretty quick if possible. Thanks!!


Side question: In looking up the serial # I find that if it has a 385xxx it is right at the cusp of when Selmer bought out Buescher. Is there a way to find out more exactly what I have? The is a 140 below the serial #.
 

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but to answer your question, I imagine the profit would not go up on that instrument unles someone specifically asks for it to get overhauled first.
 

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Ummm, I am not sure what you mean by "profit wopuldn't go up." I am not necessarialy interested in selling it, but I would like to know a $ value of its worth. I am more interested in my son having a good quality horn to play.
 

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How much a horn costs doesn't necessarily relate to its quality. I have a $500 Buescher Series III Aristocrat tenor that could blow a new $3000 Yamaha out of the water. Your Alto is a 335xxx (you can tell by the 140 marked on your instrument), which means it is a Series III Aristocrat that was made right after the transition away from the famous "Big B' saxophones. These horns are nearly identical to the "Big B" saxophones, with the only major difference being that it does not have an alternate g# trill key. They are nearly the cream of the crop when it comes to Bueschers, and I highly recommend that you fix the horn up. Mark Aronson is one of the best Buesher repairmen around, and I highly recommend him. He just got done recently overhauling my Aristocrat Baritone. If you are interested in getting his information, send me a PM.
 

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Is it worth it for me to sink some money into this antique? How many times can they be overhauled?
It is absolutely worthwhile to get this horn overhauled. As others have pointed out you have a very good, solid horn there. Many of us prefer these vintage Bueschers to any other horn. It will cost you a lot more than an overhaul to get a different horn as good as that Buescher and if you get this horn overhauled properly it will be as good as new (or better--a lot of new horns are not properly set up).

A sax can be overhauled dozens of times, but once a total overhaul is done, it should last quite a few years, with only minor tweaking or a new pad or two, every couple of years. I have a Buescher alto from 1929 that is in perfect playing condition after a relatively recent overhaul. I have no idea how many time it's been worked on, but with some care it should outlast me! And it's already 70+ years old...
 

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+1 on the horn, and Mark Aronson. Mark overhauled a TT and and an Aristo for my son, who still uses the TT for recitals, and has a 335 Alto as his main alto right now. Great horns, and as JL mentioned, they should last damn near forever with care.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for all the great advice folks.... I was sure hoping, from my personal web research, that I had a series III. Here's the funny thing. My parents bought it used for me when I entered the 7th grade, in about 1976, from some friends at our church. They paid $45 for it and immediately sunk about $150 in an overhaul. I didn't even know what kind of horn I was getting (soprano, alto, tenor...) until the morning I got it on the way to school. I recall often winning chair placement challenges on tone when all else was equal. Man, wish I had known then what I know now.

Thanks again, folks, your help was appreciated!
 

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+1 on Aristocrats, especially Series III. I have a matched pair of Series three alto/tenor (1951 models, 140/156) and they are my favorite saxophones. I have Selmer, Conn, Buescher, and Martin at my disposal, and I love them all, but the Aristocrats seem to be my "go to" horns. I have sentimental attachment to my Mark VI after 40 years of playing it exclusively, but the 140 gives it a run for the money in every way, and I find the 156 superior to the tenor VI.
Get it in playing condition and love that tone and fine intonation.
Sax Magic
 

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Hi Soilmapper. That´s a nice story.

A horn you got from your parents bought from somebody in the church. This all say me... "PLEASE, keep the horn".

In addition to this nice family story is that this horn is a very good one. You asked how often can a sax be overhauled!

No idea how often a modern sax can be overhauled but the vintages are solid animals.
I own some of them Conns, King Zephyrs and two Aristocrates.

Give it a good prof. overhaul and give it to your son. I hope he will understand to appreciate it in the right way.

all the best
 
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