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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello all,
Ive been playing Tenor for about 6 months now, but ive decided to try an Alto too. Ive got a very very very old Conn im using as a project horn (1924), but id like a vintage alto preferably with the more "updated" keywork as a player, in the $600 or so range. Is there anything that wouldnt require work that someone could reccomend that usually goes for around that much? Or am I pretty much stuck with a YAS-23 or a Bundy for that amount in that condition? Oh and it doesnt neccessarily HAVE to be Vintage, the local tech praises vintage horns so its rubbed off on me :)
 

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Vintage saxophones have a certain cachet that the modern horns don't enjoy. I have both vintage and modern in soprano and alto.

I think the Buescher Aristocrats and 400 models would suit a beginner just fine. I've never played a Conn with intonation equal to Bueschers, but recognize many like their old Conns. And Conns generally have a huge voice.

I don't think the ergos matter all that much, especially for a beginner. A beginner will learn to play whatever horn is provided as long as the horn is tight and has a decent scale. I get along just fine with my 1920's Buescher TT's, 1940's Big B and early 1950's 400 TH&C; and just as well with my modern saxophones. DAVE
 

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I agree with Dave, but would add the TrueTone for alto. Later serial numbers are preferred (190K onwards). The TT would be a much cheaper option.
 

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If you are lucky, you can get a 50's model Buescher 140 in decent playing condition for that money. They're a Big B with different engraving. An early 141 isn't a bad choice either. Intonation and keywork are likely to be better than on a TT, although I agree with Dave, you shouldn't have any problem with keywork because you don't have any strong preconceptions.
In a French sax, you could get lucky with a Couesnon or one of the Vito/Beaugnier horns.
 

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I read somewhere that Benny Golson said his first sax was a Buescher Aristocrat, and look where it got him. ;) But really I love how well they play, the action is comfortable, the brass is really strong, it's a tough sax all-around and definitely not a sleeper in the tone department. The intonation on the Conns is a bit less slotted, so it may be harder to control for a beginner. Bueschers are undervalued, they are very well-made. I like the later models with the bigger bell flare which has a bit more edge and is more free-blowing. Saintsday is right, look for a model 140 without the "Big B" engraving. It is a pro horn.

I would also recommend a Martin Indiana, because I think it has very good intonation and response, but the keywork is not the most modern and it is a little more delicate than the Buescher. But I love the tone of mine, it's definitely got the vintage vibe going on.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well I went with a Buescher 140 Aristocrat, couldnt be happier with it! I like it more than my Tenor now, and I thought that was an eternal relationship...
Feels great in the hands, I got a Selmer C* mouthpiece with it (I really need to practice, for some reason, on tenor im fine, but on alto I end up shredding my lower lip...). The horn was made all that much better by the seller, awesome guy to deal with! Thanks John!
 

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You're welcome, Brandon. Thanks for the kind words.
 

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If you can train your eye to pick out Martin stencils, there are great deals to be had on Ebay. A good friend of mine has a son who's been learning on one the last few years and my son played one into high school.
 
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