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I came on to this subject as I was shopping for one of these a year ago, having come back to playing after 45 years of not. i just assumed I wanted one, as I've had a first gen post Selmer buyout (is that how you say it?) tenor since 1967. Thought I could find one in my meager price range, but at the last second, went a different route.

Secondhandsaxes, however struck a real cord with me, something I constantly wonder over the last year as I've discovered this site; has anyone, or SOTW itself, ever tried distinctly to find and recruit these people and glean all of their knowledge about all of the makers, not just Buescher. Like an add in Elkhart, Cleveland, Elkhorn (etc.) to see if anyone answers? If they worked or managed in these factories in their 20's-30's during, say 1960, they'd be 75-80 today--there must be some left!! My 90 year old mother-in-law would remember those days with more clarity than last week. Just like WWII vets they're dying every day.

Tell you what, I'm going to start with a no-cost try (Craigslist) and maybe local paper as I live near Elkhorn WI (Holton). Anyone else? Sorry if a "hijack" but I'm new to this. Or move this to where it might be seen by more who have wondered the same!!!
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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So, do you concur that the bell-keys-on-the-right-rear 400 baritone was introduced around 1959 or thereabouts?
It's pretty established fact.

As I said earlier, it seems a little surprising that Buescher (were they still independent at that time?) would have invested in changing over from Aristocrat to 400 on the baritone at such a late date, when the Buescher reputation was on the decline, rather than closer to the time when the alto and tenor were introduced as professional horns. Of course we all know that baritones typically change configuration much later than alto/tenor, but that's usually considered to be a matter of minimizing investment in a low volume product. So why not, as Buescher was transitioning to the student-grade horn, just keep making the baritones in the Aristocrat style, thus really minimizing the investment?
I don't believe in 1959 that Buescher was intending to leave the professional horn market. That was a marketing decision by Selmer USA.

As for why update the bari, well, they had been producing the same model 129 baritone since the beginning of the 20th century. The company had just changed management in 1957, and was clearly trying to update their instruments that would provide some sort of competitive advantage. They started by adding the back bell keys of the 400's to the alto and tenor Aristocrats, then 2 years later introduced a back bell key baritone -- presumably to match the 141 and 157 Aristocrats of the period.

Now, they did introduce a new model bari in 1936, which a number of us think was actually the predecessor to the original 400 line. It was, however, very expensive and didn't sell well enough to continue past 1939. So the bari that matches the "true" 400's (not relabeled Aristocrats) is the Custom Built. No back bell keys, but all the other features of the TH&C horns that the Aristocrats didn't have including articulated side keys, nickel silver rods, etc.

After 1939 they never produced a bari that was the equivelant to the TH&C and Super 400's. Look at that 400 bari as a relabeled Aristocrat, which is fundamentally what it was. It had the features of the Aristocrat line, not the Super 400's.

You know, if these were cars, there would be all kind of documentation and information on the product line decisions that were made by executives and management, but it seems like we have to largely guess about how these things came about. A much smaller industry.
Well, unless the car company was privately held, as was the case with Buescher. Publicly traded companies have to produce and archive a lot of public documentation for their share holders that privately held ones do not.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Sure, it's just that I am wondering about what appears to be an 18 year delay between the 400 alto/tenor and the 400 baritone, during which the character and marketing focus of Buescher completely changed.
It hadn't changed between 1941 and 1959. There's nothing I've come across to suggest that Buescher, in 1959, had any plans to focus their product line on (and create) a student-centric market. That was a Selmer USA decision after 1963.
 

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It hadn't changed between 1941 and 1959. There's nothing I've come across to suggest that Buescher, in 1959, had any plans to focus their product line on (and create) a student-centric market. That was a Selmer USA decision after 1963.
I defer to your knowledge. I have only a sketchy understanding of the corporate gyrations in the saxophone world around that time.
 

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There's nothing I've come across to suggest that Buescher, in 1959, had any plans to focus their product line on (and create) a student-centric market.
It may be the nickel-plated keys that fooled people all these years. Same as Conn. The top-line horns at Martin and King didn't go that route and were accepted by pros for quite a few years more.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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I defer to your knowledge. I have only a sketchy understanding of the corporate gyrations in the saxophone world around that time.
In truth, that's all any of us have. Bits and pieces that lead to a theory until something shows up that doesn't fit your theory and then you change it. Looking back at some of my posts from 6 years ago, I can see how my own understanding evolved as something that didn't fit the theory caused me to re-evaluate.

What you're getting right now is my latest theory, which of course is subject to change when something else shows up that doesn't make sense.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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It may be the nickel-plated keys that fooled people all these years. Same as Conn. The top-line horns at Martin and King didn't go that route and were accepted by pros for quite a few years more.
I think that's probably true from the perspective of evaluating a late 50's horn based on knowledge of a 70's horn. I do, however, think that there's some build quality and features that Martin and King retained through the 70's that the other American manufacturers did not and made those instruments more attractive to a professional. An early 70's Silversonic is a truly nice pro horn. I wouldn't say the same about an early 70's Aristocrat.

What ever reputation the Elkhart crowd built in the late 60's through 70's was deserved and it affected the perception, not only from the appearance of cheap, but also affected the brand name association they made later. All Bueschers became perceived as low quality instruments because the ones in the 70's actually were.
 

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True enough about the low A, but when you see someone playing a low Bb horn, it seems to be almost always the Conn; or maybe a Selmer.
Mulligan played Conn. Adams played Selmer. Classical players play Selmer.

Sometimes, it's just as simple as that...odd as it may seem.
 

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I came on to this subject as I was shopping for one of these a year ago, having come back to playing after 45 years of not. i just assumed I wanted one, as I've had a first gen post Selmer buyout (is that how you say it?) tenor since 1967. Thought I could find one in my meager price range, but at the last second, went a different route.

Secondhandsaxes, however struck a real cord with me, something I constantly wonder over the last year as I've discovered this site; has anyone, or SOTW itself, ever tried distinctly to find and recruit these people and glean all of their knowledge about all of the makers, not just Buescher. Like an add in Elkhart, Cleveland, Elkhorn (etc.) to see if anyone answers? If they worked or managed in these factories in their 20's-30's during, say 1960, they'd be 75-80 today--there must be some left!! My 90 year old mother-in-law would remember those days with more clarity than last week. Just like WWII vets they're dying every day.

Tell you what, I'm going to start with a no-cost try (Craigslist) and maybe local paper as I live near Elkhorn WI (Holton). Anyone else? Sorry if a "hijack" but I'm new to this. Or move this to where it might be seen by more who have wondered the same!!!
Bruce Bailey, of this very Forum, used to work for Conn for a while.

I agree with you....I mean Eastlake (King) produced until '84, then and Conn/Armstrong/UMI had a factory all the way into '03. It wasn't eons ago.

Dey all cain't be daid, yet ! :dazed: ;)
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Mulligan played Conn. Adams played Selmer. Classical players play Selmer.

Sometimes, it's just as simple as that...odd as it may seem.
I'll point out that Ken ****, of the Rascher Quartet, plays a Big B Buescher.
 

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I came on to this subject as I was shopping for one of these a year ago, having come back to playing after 45 years of not. i just assumed I wanted one, as I've had a first gen post Selmer buyout (is that how you say it?) tenor since 1967. Thought I could find one in my meager price range, but at the last second, went a different route.

Secondhandsaxes, however struck a real cord with me, something I constantly wonder over the last year as I've discovered this site; has anyone, or SOTW itself, ever tried distinctly to find and recruit these people and glean all of their knowledge about all of the makers, not just Buescher. Like an add in Elkhart, Cleveland, Elkhorn (etc.) to see if anyone answers? If they worked or managed in these factories in their 20's-30's during, say 1960, they'd be 75-80 today--there must be some left!! My 90 year old mother-in-law would remember those days with more clarity than last week. Just like WWII vets they're dying every day.

Tell you what, I'm going to start with a no-cost try (Craigslist) and maybe local paper as I live near Elkhorn WI (Holton). Anyone else? Sorry if a "hijack" but I'm new to this. Or move this to where it might be seen by more who have wondered the same!!!
i did, by the way, place a Craigslist ad trying to find anyone in the Elkhorn Wi area who worked for or knew anyone that did work for Holton. Best I got was a rep for a veteran's newsletter wanted to sell me an ad for $150.
 

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The Buescher-style low A baritone was also sold under Selmer USA brand until they ended sax production in Elkhart. These baris have a huge, booming low end. They are a little clunky and there is no clothes guard behind the lower stack.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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The Buescher-style low A baritone was also sold under Selmer USA brand until they ended sax production in Elkhart. These baris have a huge, booming low end. They are a little clunky and there is no clothes guard behind the lower stack.
Curiously, Buescher never did put a pants guard on a bari, even on the 139's. No idea why, though it's clearly needed. I've had one added on all of mine with an eye on replicating what they might have done. If you find one with a pants guard it was added post-production.
 

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I had the opportunity to try a 400 model a while ago and thought it was actually pretty good.
I have heard however that some are more mouthpiece picky than others which may be a factor if you like pieces
with a high baffle.
 

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Curiously, Buescher never did put a pants guard on a bari, even on the 139's. No idea why, though it's clearly needed. I've had one added on all of mine with an eye on replicating what they might have done. If you find one with a pants guard it was added post-production.
not so curious when you remember that in the 30s to 50s era, baris were almost exclusively played from a stand as doubles, or else marched.
 

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not so curious when you remember that in the 30s to 50s era, baris were almost exclusively played from a stand as doubles, or else marched.
...It really pains me to think of marching with a Bari like that.
Of course marching with a Bari in general probably also would be hard.
Still not as bad as one of our 9th graders marching a TH&C Alto.
 

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... It would be interesting to see the oldest SN 400 baritone.
...This one is going to be pretty close. http://saxpics.com/?v=gal&a=2559
I know this is an old thread, but I own an S-80 Buescher 400 Low Bb Bari, and my serial is 3610XX...which puts mine as a 1960 model as best I can tell and earlier than the other one linked. It looks identical to both of the ads posted above.

I like it a lot. I am no professional player...just a hobbyist, but I've played a few horns over the years, including a Yamaha YBS-62 modern Low-A pro horn. As amazing as a new Yamaha is, it lacks the character and tone that the Bb Buescher has. I do sometimes miss the Low-A that I used to have, but there is something special about a Bb bari. A modern, perfect horn such as a Yamaha is more of a "sterile" experience compared to a vintage sax that has some quirks.

I'd like to try a model 129 Buescher Bari sometime just to see what the differences are like compared to mine.

I agree that the nickel keys make it look like a student horn, but I assure you that this thing is built like a tank and feels as professional from a build-quality standpoint as any other pro horn I've handled and played.

Pics of mine:





















 

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If you need measurements of a Buescher custom built neck PM me and I'll measure mine for you. I can take pics of it also. I would get a neck tenon the correct size and modify a tawain made selmer copy neck to fit.
 
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