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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi! There is a Buescher series I aristocrat for sale near me. Serial number makes it a 1938-ish model. Appears to be in good shape from the photos; likely has not had a lot of use but not quite a closet queen. Pads were last changed in 1960 or so. Asking price is $350. I am an intermediate and wouldn’t mind trying out a vintage sax for kicks. I have another alto, and even an old spare Yamaha so this wouldn’t be my main player. Seems like $350 is a fair price even if a repad is needed. But what do I know. Any thoughts as to whether this might be a interesting experiment vs a money pit I’d regret the rest of my days?
 

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I spent a hundred less on an earlier True Tone model needing a full overhaul almost twenty years ago and it's still my alto of choice. Your Aristocrat was probably relacquered at some point, but even so, unless it was beat to hell by a student player $350 is a fair price for such a player's horn needing work.

I wouldn't give out much more information in its particular regard... as someone else might beat you to it.
 

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That's the time period when Elkhart turned out like a bazillion great altos. Which is why they can be had at such reasonable cost. Not exactly something you can count on flipping. But no one should blink if you ended up telling folks that a Crat 1 was your go to horn.
 

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I bought a series 1 aristocrat, while owning a Yamaha 23 and a Yanagisawa 901 (all altos). The others are gone, but still have the aristo.

I found it on sale for $350, and knowing it would need work, got them to drop to $300. It did require a lot of work to overhaul, and that cost me $850, but it ended up being worth it as it is a really great sounding horn.

Plus I found an old Otto Link Joe Allard model mouthpiece in the case. These are pretty rare and, if I were to ever sell it, would likely fetch a moderately good price, so there was that too.

Go for it.
 

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That’s a great price for a series I crat. But since the pads are 60 years old you should expect it will need some work. Be prepared to drop several hundred to $1k on an overhaul, but even with that I would say it’s still a reasonably good deal.
 

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I picked up a Series 1 Aristocrat late last year from shopgoodwill.com with a very low bid. It really should have gone for about $100-$150 more. The action is gummy and it probably needs some new pads, but it looks good and even sounds good. I'll eventually take it to a shop for cleaning and pad evaluation.

I'm curious about how it will compare to my New Aristocrat that I've been thinking of selling. It won't be my goto for most things alto, I'll probably stick with a Vito model 35, but I expect to keep it around and trot it out occasionally.

Conn-Hunter once described the Buescher tone as "refined" Best era for Buescher Alto's. I agree, but refined is not usually what I'm going for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks everyone! Great forum, really appreciate everyone’s willingness to help. Think I will go for it, consistent with the consensus here. I have a good tech to work on it, and it a eems like worst case, I overspend just a bit but still end up with a really nice sax.
 

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Alto: Buescher Aristocrat, Tenor: Yanagisawa T880, Bari: Selmer La Voix II
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i have a 270xxx - 1937 alto - i love it. sounds amazing - incredible value at the price
 
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