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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have the chance to pick up either a Buescher 400 Top Hat & Cane (ca. 1945) or SML Rev. D (ca. 1955) (both tenors) for approximately the same price.

Though I have played and/or owned SML and Buescher tenors, I don't have much experience with vintage Top Hats and have limited experience with SML's. Now I know every vintage horn tends to be different, but generally which one of these do you think would be the better "all-around" horn (i.e. versatile) that could cover all the styles, from classical to rock?

Specifically, which one from your experience has a better and easier altissimo range? I have heard from some Buescher 400 players on here that the palm and/or top notes on 400's can be weaker than on other horns. OTOH how good/easy is altissimo generally on SML's?

I am not a big altissimo player but am looking for the next best thing to a Mark VI or Super 20 in terms of versatility (btw I am only interested in the two horns mentioned at present, as I've played Conns, Martins, Buffets, etc. and have already ruled those out for various personal reasons).
 

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I think the Buescher 400 would be easier to resell later when you're able to get a VI or S20.
 

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I think the Buescher 400 would be easier to resell later when you're able to get a VI or S20.
I think there's a good chance you'd end up preferring the TH&C to a VI or a S20.

I'm not familiar with SML, but own a couple of Buescher tenors and they are very versatile horns, with a great sound. The TH&C has a rep as the best of the Bueschers. That's debateable, but it would certainly be a good choice, and almost certainly will not lose any value if you do decide to sell it in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Thanks, guys. I am leaning toward trying the 400 (at least for starters), but though it's a tall order it would be interesting to hear from that rare person with both SML and 400 experience (tenors) to hear their thoughts on which one is better all-around.
 

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Hey Dr.!

as mentioned, I also recommend the 400. It's a great horn. If you invest on another neck it can be very VI-ish too. I have the VI I mentioned still in the shop, I'll shoot a comparative session tomorrow between a 400 THC, a RI, the VI and whatever I have around.
 

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my first post on sotw...

i own a SML RevD, silver plate (not much silver left). I previously owned a 400, but one of the newer ones after Selmer USA took over. I played a TH&C 400 in a store in NYC a couple of years ago, when i was looking for a new horn (ended up with the SML which i found here in sydney).

I love the SML, for its loud, balls and all sound. works beautifully with my 7* link, which is the mouthpiece i tried out on the TH&C and used with the 400 i used to own. The SML and the TH&C were both horns i was considering, among others to upgrade from my 400.

I was particularly interested in how these horns played in the altissimo, and the SML was definitely easier to pitch the high notes, and to hold them and wail. i also found the overall sound a bit richer, and more suited to my playing. it was also louder, which i liked.

i reckon with old horns, it probably has as much to do with how they are set up, and how they have been looked after. they are both very cool horns.
 
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