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Discussion Starter #1
While I'm logged in, (and into my second beer), I just have to mention I picked up a friend's bass sax yesterday and I'm really digging it! I've got it for 2 years, while he is away in Pakistan, teaching jazz band, (of all things!). It's a Buescher, 1927 vintage, and blows nice and easy. Looks good, too. I want to find a source for silver polish to pay it due respect. Lucky me!
 

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I suggest spending your time playing it instead. My bass sax is oxidized and plays great. Better to focus on getting a good sound and having the bass in good playing condition. Hope he left you an old original Buescher or Conn MP to play. They work the best if you want the classic tubby bass sax sound which we all love.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
After a better look, some leisure time, I find the bass is nickel silver. No need to polish, just a dusting. I've been using a bari sax piece, (metal Link), but there is a Buescher piece that apparently came with the sax. Any suggestions as to what kind of reed I should use? I don't want to spend $50 or $60 for a box of 5 and find they're too strong/weak.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I suspect it's silver plated, but it could be nickel plated. Very unlikely to be nickel-silver (which is just brass with a higher nickel content).

The Buescher piece will be very closed. I'd suggest something significantly harder than what you'd normally think of buying for the Link, but you'll still have to experiment a bit. What tip is the Link and what are you using with it now?
 

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Recommend Marca 2.5 reeds unless you normally play very hard reeds on bari for example. These should be a good match to the Buescher MP (assuming its an original) Listen to Bert Brandsma on Youtube to get an idea of the sound using this set-up. He has a nice classic bass sound and feel.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Maddenma: What kind of finish is shiny, silvery...more like chrome, and doesn't need to be polished? I have a Holton CMel with the same look. Re. mouthpiece: The metal Link I'm using is a "Super" TONEMASTER 7*.
I'm using a Rico 2 1/2.

SaxTon: I'll start with the Marca 2.5. The Buescher piece looks original. It is huge, has a metal, clarinet-like ring at the insert end.

Thanks to all!
 

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Marca 2.5 should work very well Playing a gig myself today on bass always fun to play.
However your horn may need some adjustment to insure it speaks well in the low register if nothing else is wrong. But you may be lucky that it plays as is for now since you are only baby sitting the horn.

Again if you want the classic bass sound the original style MPs (or newer copies) are the only way to go. Otherwise, in spite of some comments to the contrary, the bass will sound like a bari that goes lower with too much center and edge. However some prefer this sound depending depending on the ensemble and music style. To each his own. But I'm a purist when it comes to bass as I mostly play 1920's style music when using this horn.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, SaxTon. The horn plays really easy, throughout the range. The owner is a repair guy as well as a teacher. I'm interested in trying out the original, going for an authentic sound.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Maddenma: What kind of finish is shiny, silvery...more like chrome, and doesn't need to be polished? I have a Holton CMel with the same look. Re. mouthpiece: The metal Link I'm using is a "Super" TONEMASTER 7*.
I'm using a Rico 2 1/2.
Well, without picks it's tough to tell, but since you've described it as "shiny, looks like chrome, doesn't have to be polished"; my bet is that this horn is nickel plated (but not solid nickel-silver which is a brass). It may have key rods that are made from nickel-silver brass for strength, but that won't be the whole horn. Nickel plating wasn't anywhere near as popular a Buescher finish as silver plate (#1) or gold (#2), or even bare brass (#3) (which were often lacquered or plated at some point in their lives), but there are nickel plated horns out there that were factory plated, and they are more common that some of the off-colors (like green lacquer) that came out of the factory.

Goiing from a Link 7 and a 2.5, to a Buescher original piece, you're probably going to want a "4-ish" reed of some variety. The ring around the "insert end" is probably someone's work to stabilize a crack in the shank of the piece. It probably seals fine and is stable, but it isn't original to the piece and is a common repair for a crack in the shank.
 

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Madenma, Do you play bass sax? Just came back from a 4 hour gig playing bass, tenor and soprano. Cant imagine playing with any control and finesse especially soft in the bottom end with a 4 strength reed on bass sax using an Old Buescher MP? Perhaps others share your reed recommendations but it makes no sense in my experience. What do others have to say?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Maddenma: Correct about the cracked mpc. The band was not like a usual repair band but like the clarinet type band I mentioned, but, sure enough, a crack was repaired at the end.
 

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However, the Conn eagle bass MP does have a thin ring on the end. But assuming the front part of your Buescher is okay (business end) and the MP seals ok with the neck cork all should play well. Does the MP have a "B" marking on the side. This is the only marking on mine. The Buescher works very well but I use it as a back up now as I tend to favor the Conn. These old pieces are getting as rare as the old basses.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Sandy, I'd take Saxton's advice on reeds. While I extrapolated my experience going from a bari Strathon or .115/2 Berg to the Rascher and Buescher bari pickle barrels in my collection, I haven't played bass in 30 years, and Saxton's the man.
 

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Maddenma,

Have fun. Indeed some people like to play tongue depressors but I can assure you a 4 will not work on any bass I have played. But, I always defer to the many experts that frequent this forum. Naturally I can only speak from my experience.
The bass can be played with a lot of dynamics and finesse and is very nice melodically as well not just to blow tuba lines in a vintage band.
You may lose a friendship over this as you will not want to give it back - ha!
 

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Well, I played NIU's Conn bass when I was in college a zillion years ago. I remember the thing having a stand with wheels, and I remember having to sort through a variety of previously played reeds before I settled on 3 1/2 Ricos with the Conn mp.

That said, it was our sax ensemble, and I wasn't trying to be subtle for the pit band of a West Side Story production.

My wife will have none of a Bass Sax, so no worries about losing friends here. No bass or lower on my radar.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow! Thanks for all the input and info! It'll be a while before I can get back re.how the original mpc. works as I have to special order the reeds.
Regarding the finish on sax, it doesn't have the matte silver plating of my Conn "Chu" alto or Buescher and Pan Am CMels. It's not quite as shiny as my Holton CMel. It does have a lovely gold wash bell. The finish on these horns tends to tarnish, especially when left out of the case. The sax's case is thisclose to being kindling wood. The horn has been standing on it's stand for some years now, collecting dust, but not tarnishing.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Regarding the original mouthpiece that came with this bass sax, I've recently rec'd shipment of a box of 10 Rico Bass Sax reeds, No. 2 1/2. $40.00 shipped, from US Reeds. I snipped a little off the end of one and have been blowing the horn. I do find quite a difference in sound and response, compared to the metal bari piece I tried. I'm sticking with the original piece and liking the "Tubby" sound. Thanks, Saxton! BTW the sax plays great down to it's lowest Bb. One problem I have is with the high "D" key. It doesn't seem long enough. I'm thinking of gluing a popsicle stick to it so I can reach it without turning my hand out of position.
 

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Sandy, where did you get Rico bass sax reeds. Do you mean Marca?
I think Rico makes contra clarinet/bass sax reeds and not strictly bass reeds???
Anyway glad you like the "tubby" sound. Bari mouthpiece with more centered sound could be better in a sax section setting.
But for playing bass as a solo and bass instrument in itself as I do for a range of music. This is the sound I like for sure.
Have fun!!!!
 
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