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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Okay, I am starting to see Bueschers in my sleep... LOL
Can I get some feedback on the various types of Buescher tenors and their quality of sound and play? As well as a bit more understanding as to post buyout, prebuyout (other than after Selmer purchased and before Selmer purchased)
The significance and change in the horns when this happened and thoughts on post buyout horns...
Specifically Aristocrat Series I and later Aristocrat as well as the 400 pre and post buyout...
I have read about everything here as well as information I found at Saxpics.com and saxophone.org... I am headed to vintagesax.com just to see if she also has info listed on the horns in general...
Thx for the feedback.

~Luv
 

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I've never played a Buescher tenor I didn't like but liked some more than others. I settled on a Series 1 Crat and absolutely love that horn. Why? It just has so much volume and such a rich, warm tone. I like the resistance as I can tell what note I'm playing in loud situations. It's got a nice focus to it which I like and because I like playing a Link, the Link spreads it out just enough for me and not one bit too much. I've played lots of 400's, I almost bought one from 67' that was fantastic, and lots of TH&C's and big bell crats that I liked but didn't fall in love with. I like the Series 1 beacuse it's even like my Chu, the other ones have a bigger low end, so big I feel like the top is small. But really I could get used to any of them.
I'd say that the Series 1 (and I've played several of these too) has the most singing quality to it of any tenor I've played too.

Enjoy! Jef
 

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Ok, I'll chime in. I can only speak for the two Aristocrat tenors I have and they do span a fair period of the "pre-buyout" time. A few years ago I picked up a 331,xxx (circa 1950) 156 tenor with the bigger bell flare. This is the identical horn to the later Big B also with a larger bell flare. This horn was meant to be a backup to my MKVI, but it quickly took over as my number one gigging horn, for a time. Big sound, 'freeblowing' (maybe too much so), and wonderful lower register, just as Baltimore B says. After a couple of years I went back to the VI because I simply missed some of the focus and depth/resistance of the VI.

Then I picked up a series one 'Crat (circa 1940), and it definitely has more focus, and resistance, similar to the VI, but with a very bold sound and a great tone quality from top to bottom. I can honestly say this series one rivals my VI, and I do prefer it to the later Aristocrat. It seems to have more punch and substance, but it's very subjective and I could see where some would prefer the more open/spread sound of the later model. It's really a matter of preference. How the TH&C compares, I don't know, but from what I've heard it would be more like the later Aristocrat.

I don't think you can go far wrong with any of the tenors from the series one Aristocrat, on through the Big B/156, and 400, in good playing condition. After the Selmer buyout, they really aren't the same horns, but some say they are still pretty good for the price. If I was looking, I'd stick to the pre-buyout horns, and probably stick to pre-mid '50s. Mainly because you can get those 'real' Bueschers for a great price. If you really want to go super-budget, then maybe the post-buyouts would be worth looking at.

I just realized Baltimore B said pretty much the same thing I did regarding series one (small bell flare) vs later Aristocrats. My experience matches his pretty closely there. By the way the bell on the series one is just as big as the later horns (some say it's bigger), but it just doesn't flare out as far.
 

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I suspect my bias' are pretty well known by now. I've had my tenor for 37 years, and my father bought it new. The others are recent purchases, but quite frankly, this is the line-up I would go for again.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thx again guys! So, rather the 400 or Aristocrat, obviously both would be heads and tails above what he is using now... YTS-475-
Between the two models earlier or later... would both be considered a horn to take him on quite a few years?
Another question I had... I saw an Aristocrat that had barely any engraving but had Aristocrat on the horn in "blue, I believe was the color" and a B above the Buescher that looked kind of art deco type font also in Blue... Would that have been a "BigB" and if so what time frame would that one have come from?
It definitely was not as ornate as other Bueschers I have seen...

~Luv
 

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So, rather the 400 or Aristocrat, obviously both would be heads and tails above what he is using now... YTS-475-
Only if your child has a preference for vintage horns. While there are numerous vocal advocates of such horns here on the site (and I'm probably one of them), outside of same you may not find many to agree with the above. I prefer vintage horns because I grew up playing them. For those growing up on Yamahas, their true preferences may be entirely different.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Thx again guys! So, rather the 400 or Aristocrat, obviously both would be heads and tails above what he is using now...
What who is using now? You don't say who this is for.

I have found many vintage Buescher tenors to not play well in tune for me. I have no real problem with my TH & C Buescher 400 alto, but all the 400 tenors I tried I had real tuning problems. Now this may be just my mouthpiece, or it may be me.

But they are not a horn I would recommend blindly for a beginner, or someone who may also have tuning issues if they or their mouthpiece is not compatible. If that is the case I would recommend a new Asian horn for tuning, ergonomics, and value for money. Even apart from the pitfalls of buying a second hand horn.
 

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I would recommend a new Asian horn for tuning, ergonomics, and value for money.
If purchased new, such horns regardless of where they come from don't always equate to value for money when they lose much of their value as soon as they're purchased; no name Asian horns much more so.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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If purchased new, such horns regardless of where they come from don't always equate to value for money when they lose much of their value as soon as they're purchased;
I haven't seen any evidence of this. In fact if you buy a horn from any of the top vintage dealers, that's exactly what happens. Look at the prices in vintagesax.com for example. Those are top prices and you get a horn in top condition. Plus you are paying for the great reputation of seller. But it's very unlikely you'd get that kind of money if you sell it 6 months later.

OTOH you can pay a lot less and buy privately, but unless you know a lot about horns, this is very risky. Even if you do know a lot it's risky as anyone who has bought a few "near mint" or "almost mint" saxophones from ebay will tell you.

no name Asian horns much more so.
I would not buy or recommend a no name horn, wherever it was from.
 

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I haven't seen any evidence of this.
New saxophones instantly depreciate when purchased new and you cannot deny this. Just because certain dealers may have overpriced their second hand stock that remains unsold has no relevance. Most second hand horn deals are private sales anyhow; despite the known risks.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
What who is using now? You don't say who this is for.

I have found many vintage Buescher tenors to not play well in tune for me. I have no real problem with my TH & C Buescher 400 alto, but all the 400 tenors I tried I had real tuning problems. Now this may be just my mouthpiece, or it may be me.

But they are not a horn I would recommend blindly for a beginner, or someone who may also have tuning issues if they or their mouthpiece is not compatible. If that is the case I would recommend a new Asian horn for tuning, ergonomics, and value for money. Even apart from the pitfalls of buying a second hand horn.
Sry, I guess I am assuming that by now most people have seen my many posts (Yeah about all 40 of them- LOL) and remember me as posting for my son, the player...
My son- 19, playing tenor almost 9 years and well past beginner stage... Yes, mostly playing on Yamahas and Selmers with the occassional Conn (not vintage) as well as a Cecilio (sp*), and maybe a few others through his musical escapades... He is preferring a vintage now because he wants a horn he can take into quite a few more years and possibly keep as his "old standard" until he, himself can afford another pro horn of which cost nor value will be an issue...
He has also played a few friends horns and professor horns just trying them out...
Over the last couple weeks we have looked at many and researched a lot of information... obviously not everything there is to know or I wouldn't still have questions...
We have narrowed it down to 3 Bueschers between 2 sellers here on SOTW... I am waiting for the pics from 2 and sound clips from all 3 although, one of them we may not be able to get a sound clip from and that will probably be a deciding factor for my son... We are not internet purchasers and a horn being bought from such a distance is scarey but I feel I have developed a trusting relationship and am confident that we will make a good decision.
Still deciding overall between the models before soundclips and pics of all of them, so I am still seeking public opinion -
In the end, what one person likes in sound another finds horrid though and so, my son's opinion will be the only one that matters...
Listening to many sound clips on youtube and other sites w/ jazz/sax info and even he is torn between the different Bueschers...
So, as the question was put...
My son is who I am asking for, and although he has only posted once here he comes in and reads the forum quite often. I guess I am more the aggressive inquisitive one for information that he knows he can benefit from w/o having to ask hisself... as well as the fact that he has quite a full schedule so if he relays to me what he wants, I find it, ask the questions, and then tell him to go check out this or that... it has been working and he has actually posed a few of his own questions about a couple of the horns.
BTW, we are not so much concerned with resell value as we are quality of horn. I am hoping this will be a horn he intends to keep for the next 40+ years whether it continues to be his all the time player or not. Another reason I am somewhat happy that we didn't buy him a student horn so many years ago.

Back to original topic, I appreciate the feedback on the quality of sound many of you have with the Bueschers, I also appreciate the honesty and opinions on those who don't care for the horns and the reasons why not... it all helps-
Any additional advice/suggestions are definitely welcome- I hope I did enough initial reading that our decision is not changed based on any opinions but gives us awareness of what to look for when he plays the instrument.
He intends to try quite a few mp's with the sax and find one or two he really likes with it... That will be harder than getting the horn... again we are not in an area with set ups and multiple stores... the closest is about an hour or so away and still very limited. Of the stores that are close to us, they are small and do not keep multiple pieces of equipment in stock... if it is not guitar, drums, or student level instruments it is probably not to be found here- or in very limited selection.

Other than my decision to start this thread, a great thread I found some good info on here is "...Bueschers are not Bundies..." or vice versa, I am not sure if that was the exact title- It was a great thread with a lot of good information as well.
& mind you, we know this is not the BEST vintage sax to get but we feel it is one of the best for the budget we have at this time (and I have gone up in budget since researching)
Again, still following this thread and am eager to here more...
Thx

~Luv
 

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If purchased new, such horns regardless of where they come from don't always equate to value for money when they lose much of their value as soon as they're purchased; no name Asian horns much more so.
This is surely true.
So the cumulative (P.Thomas + Grumps) advise could be to bet on an used asian horn, which is what I generally recommend to beginners or intermediate players.
Example of good deals on ebay are Yamaha 52, Jupiter 889, some Cannonball. Those can be had for about 800$ in very good shape.

Anyways, back to Bueschers, I like all the Aristocrat I owned (3 of them) but in terms of ease of playing I do not find them recommendable to players needing/seeking ease in first place.
 

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... I am waiting for the pics from 2 and sound clips from all 3 although, one of them we may not be able to get a sound clip from and that will probably be a deciding factor for my son...

I am hoping this will be a horn he intends to keep for the next 40+ years whether it continues to be his all the time player or not.

& mind you, we know this is not the BEST vintage sax to get but we feel it is one of the best for the budget we have at this time (and I have gone up in budget since researching
Just a couple points. Don't get too hung up on sound clips. A sound clip will tell you next to nothing about the horn! It will tell you quite a lot about the player, but not the horn. I don't want to get way off on a tangent, so I won't try to explain all the reasons why...

I also wouldn't get too hung up on the 40+ years thing. I do think it's wise and admirable to look for a top-quality horn for your son. There are many such horns, but everyone has their own preferences and your son's may, or may not, change over time. At this stage, he's still in the beginning stages of learning (9 years is a short time in terms of learning a musical instrument) and the important thing is to get a decent brand horn (modern or vintage) in excellent playing condition. That's the important part! So if you get any sort of horn, be sure it's in good playing condition or be prepared to take it to a tech and have it put right.

Finally, how do you know a Buescher is not the BEST vintage sax you could get? It might very well be (and some here would argue that it is). But really there is no such thing as a 'best' horn, just the horn a given individual might like best. You are right that a Buescher can be found at a good price (unlike a MKVI).

p.s. Regarding 'best,' if you want to start a real firestorm, just make the statement that the MKVI is the best saxophone ever. Or that it's NOT the best sax ever...
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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In the end, what one person likes in sound another finds horrid though and so, my son's opinion will be the only one that matters...
Listening to many sound clips on youtube and other sites w/ jazz/sax info and even he is torn between the different Bueschers...
I agree with JL, basing a purchase on soundclips is meaningless.

However listen to Lee Allen on a Buescher 400:

Walking with Mr Lee

Slippin ans Slidin
 

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You may want to consider a dealer that has a return policy. You may pay a bit more than a private sale, but IMO, it is worth it. I played and returned three perfectly good tenors (I was on a Martin search) that looked great, played well and in tune, but just "weren't for me". Certainly not something that can be determined through pictures and someone else's sound clips.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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You may want to consider a dealer that has a return policy. You may pay a bit more than a private sale, but IMO, it is worth it.
Exactly my point in a previous post.

Buy a used or vintage horn from a dealer. It loses value as soon as it's yours (just like a new horn from a shop), but you have the peace of mind that goes with it. The resale value is obviously lower, you accept that with a new horn or vintage from a dealer.

To get a new or used horn that doesn't devalue the minute you buy it you need to be clever enough to play the ebay/craiglist game and accept the risks.

Simples.
 
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