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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

Just wondering...
How would my Big B tenor compare to a Top Hat?

What about Altos which one to go for, Big B or Top Hat?

Regards!
 

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Much of the answer to your question depends on the quality of the individual instrument you are contemplating. I have all three altos mentioned above . . . early TT, Big B, and a TH&C 400. Among my three, the TT is the best player, but I'm guessing that if I wanted to put a grand or so into overhauls, both the Big B and the TH&C would shine. Overall, any of those three altos would make a fine player once it is set up properly.

Me? I'd go for a TH&C assuming it played well, only because it looks so weird alongside other altos.

I also have two TT sopranos from 1928 and while both are fine players, one is clearly superior to the other. I think that you may find variable playing attributes among several different saxophones, even of the same model. Impossible to say that all Big B's would outplay all TH&C models, or vice-versa. DAVE
 

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This also kind'a depends on which era Big B and which era TH&C we are talking about.
 

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Thanks, Grumps. I'm enjoying my return.

As far as eras for those horns, I suspect they are all pretty good good until the Selmer buy-out . . . then maybe some are still good. Some will be better than others at this late stage, and more depends on the individual horn's pads and regulation than does the era from which it came. At least that's the way I see it.

For instance, my TT is from the pearl-button G#/no-front-F era - it is a fabulous alto. I wouldn't trade it for a later TT just to get the roller G#/front-F features.

My Big B is from, well, the Big B markings on the Aristocrat era. And my TH&C is pre-buy-out horn by Buescher, with all the known features of the TH&C models. I mean, how many eras are we talking about here? DAVE
 

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What Sr Nr range of TH&C would be the better/ desired ones?
That depends on whether price means anything to you and how much you want to impress your friends and neighbors.

If you are really going for WOW factor, you need as early a top hat engraved 400 as you can find with mint original lacquer and all the Nortons and snaps but with some kind of kangaroo pads. If you really want to go all out, you'll need to send it out for a $1500.00 or more overhaul (even though it is already perfect) by the biggest name shop you can find. It is acceptable if you want them to platinum plate the original resonators.

On the other hand if you just want to play it and save a bunch of money, forget the top hat engraving and start trying later Super 400s, 141 or 157 model Aristocrats, and even some of the later 400s close to the buyout.

FWIW, my personal preference in altos is the same as Grumps's. For tenors, if you prefer the sound of a Martin or Keilwerth over that of a Selmer, look at 400s. If you prefer the Selmer, try any Aristocrat tenor before the 157 model.

The usual caveat: Your Mileage May Vary.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
That depends on whether price means anything to you and how much you want to impress your friends and neighbors.

If you are really going for WOW factor, you need as early a top hat engraved 400 as you can find with mint original lacquer and all the Nortons and snaps but with some kind of kangaroo pads. If you really want to go all out, you'll need to send it out for a $1500.00 or more overhaul (even though it is already perfect) by the biggest name shop you can find. It is acceptable if you want them to platinum plate the original resonators.
That sounds like very posh... But i´ll have one of those please!!!haha

I actually own a Big B pre 157 Sr 298xxx and very pleased with it! Never had the change to try a TH&C...
 

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If that 298,xxx saxophone is a tenor, I think that puts you in our friend Juan Caino's favorite range. The tenors changed a couple thousand serial numbers after yours.
 

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yes indeed. I'll take a 295-309XXX buescher tenor over anything else. Be that Big B, or 400. They play very similar. After the 156 stamp the 400 retains what the earlier aristocrat also had and they lose.
 

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yes indeed. I'll take a 295-309XXX buescher tenor over anything else. Be that Big B, or 400. They play very similar. After the 156 stamp the 400 retains what the earlier aristocrat also had and they lose.
+1 The pre-War Crat is a great sounding horn.
 

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yes indeed. I'll take a 295-309XXX buescher tenor over anything else. Be that Big B, or 400. They play very similar. After the 156 stamp the 400 retains what the earlier aristocrat also had and they lose.
What about a 292XXX Buescher tenor, Big B?
 

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As far as eras for those horns, I suspect they are all pretty good good until the Selmer buy-out . . . then maybe some are still good. Some will be better than others at this late stage, and more depends on the individual horn's pads and regulation than does the era from which it came. At least that's the way I see it.
I agree totally, and would another big big factor": it's which horn you like and get on with the best, we are all different. So if you are buying without trying, then it's a gamble, either could be best for you. If you can playtest and compare, then you will get a far better answer than you can get from us.

(And welcome back Dave!)
 

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What about a 292XXX Buescher tenor, Big B?
typo, meant ~285. Early crats are the same until they start stamping 156 below the serial numbers. It's the most unique main body in Buescher tenors.
 

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I own 3 Buescher Aristocrats (alto). 2 of them are Series 1 and both are in the 290XXX range. One is silver plated and the other is lacquered. The third one is a Series 3 and in the 333XXX range. Also lacquered but most of it is worn off. All 3 play completely different from each other. Not better or worse, just different.

These horns were made during a time when happy accidents were allowed to occur during the manufacturing process and sometimes one may outshine another by just enough to surprise you. Overall, I think its important to try them out to see which is right for you.

Personally, I don't mind "buying without trying" because I usually have them overhauled anyways. So far, I've not been disappointed. Cheers!
 

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I have some interest in this thread as I have (all tenors) a Series 1 Aristocrat from 1936; a Series 2 (Big B)small bell flare from
1941, a Super 400 from 1961, and a 1967 (post-Selmer) 400.

The Super 400 is a TH&C without the fancy engraving.

All have the characteristic Buescher sound and lush low ends. For me, the Super 400 is the easiest and most enjoyable to play.
 
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