Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,160 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
At one point, I owned a 1933 New Aristocrat Alto and really enjoyed playing it for my Middle School Lessons. A hard-core Rascher School player offered me a TON of money for the horn so I sold it. Someone locally is selling a 1930 TrueTone Series IV - Silver Alto for very little money. Not sure if it's playable but looks VERY original.

Are these worth the effort? Again - Something to use for group lessons at my Middle School.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
929 Posts
There are some people who sound great on a TT-if you enjoy playing an NA it shouldn't be significantly different, other than it has a different neck with different response to a TT neck, and the NA has a better G# cluster. If it's very cheap and doesn't have anything horrendously wrong it should be a fairly good deal. (although Aristocrat Altos are also rather cheap these days...)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,013 Posts
I picked up one from 1928 for a couple hundred bucks on ebay some years ago, and sold my SBA alto soon thereafter. They're only cheap because there were so many made and they were built to last. Well, that and they can play sharp from A2 and above. Even though I was okay lipping down the upper end, an Aristocrat 01 neck cured the sharpness completely. They are just great, flavorful horns; and well worth saving.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
I have a TrueTone alto from about 1929, and I am sure it is the most beautiful and the best sounding alto I will ever own. But I don't play it because the keys are in the wrong places for my big hands. I use a more modern alto.
If it was my only sax, then I expect I would get used to it, but I can't switch quickly from a modern sax to the TrueTone.

Of course, this is my experience, others may find the ergonomics OK.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
918 Posts
I tried playing an old Buescher stencil at a second-hand store just yesterday and my fingers absolutely could not find the keys, especially pinky cluster. I also would have an uneasy transition back from modern fingering.

But the tone of the thing was great.
 

·
Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
Joined
·
8,588 Posts
They aren't the same instrument dimensionally and in fact carry different model numbers. The 126 (TT) vs. the 135 (New Aristocrat and Aristocrat). Complete redesign of the alto between the two models. Both great horns, but very different sonically.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,013 Posts
I have a TrueTone alto from about 1929, and I am sure it is the most beautiful and the best sounding alto I will ever own. But I don't play it because the keys are in the wrong places for my big hands. I use a more modern alto.
My glove size is a 4XL, and I have the opposite take. Modern horns seem to want to place my fingers in ways they don't want to go. I find there's more flexibility having big hands with vintage horns.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member.
Joined
·
4,680 Posts
At one point, I owned a 1933 New Aristocrat Alto and really enjoyed playing it for my Middle School Lessons. A hard-core Rascher School player offered me a TON of money for the horn so I sold it. Someone locally is selling a 1930 TrueTone Series IV - Silver Alto for very little money. Not sure if it's playable but looks VERY original.

Are these worth the effort? Again - Something to use for group lessons at my Middle School.
I had one of these 30 years ago and liked it - it was noticeably different than the NW Conn alto I was playing at the time.

In Bueschers altos I have a '34 New Aristocrat and a "400" made in '63.. still w/ Nortons springs and snap-in resos.
It's basically a 141 style w/ the aristocrat neck and body and longer bow section and back bell keys .

The TT 'series IV' is a great alto as I remember it .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,166 Posts
If the price is right it's a worthwhile buy. TTs are great horns. That said, TTs aren't worth much - for a late one probably $800-900 after a fresh overhaul - so it isn't hard to overpay.

They aren't the same instrument dimensionally and in fact carry different model numbers. The 126 (TT) vs. the 135 (New Aristocrat and Aristocrat). Complete redesign of the alto between the two models. Both great horns, but very different sonically.
+1

If the OP doesn't end up with the TT, perhaps keep an eye out for one of those 135 Aristocrats. (Because then there were the two iterations of the 140 "Big B". Again not the same horn.) Last time I checked you could get one in playable shape for around $1000, and if you're patient you can probably snag one with shot pads and have it overhauled for $1200 at the end of the day.
I've had a 135 for a bit over four years now - it was my main horn for most of that, and it is briefly again while my Yamaha EX is in the shop. As a rock player I would perhaps be better served by a Big B, but the 135 is a solid horn, especially for the money I paid for mine. I can see why classical players love them to death.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
28,511 Posts
I have had a TT Series 4 alto for about ten years and it's been my main alto all the time because it's sound is better than that of the NW I and modern altos I have also had at the same time. I had a Martin Handcraft Committee alto for 2 months, but sold it because I think like the sound of the TT better for my alto chops, which are not really great. I don't play alto much so when I do I want a horn that has a beautiful tone by itself and the TT does. Plus the pinky table is much better and faster than that of the Conns.

As to ergos, key placement etc., I modded mine with Sugru risers on the palm and side keys as well as a big comfy indented one over the octave key thumb rest which is just a pearl and too low. This raises my thumb up so that by flexing the tip down I can move the key touch but at the same time it lifts my whole palm up to clear the palm keys better. They in turn were too low so I bent them out and upward....easy to do so that they are just under my fingers but aren't hit accidentally while playing the stack keys. To aid in that I put too soft foam cushions on the A and G keys that act as risers for those fingers allowing my hand to clear the palm keys so as not to hit them by error. I put sugru on the thumb hook to make it more comfy as well. Finally as to the famous bugaboo about it being sharp in the upper register, I followed Bruce's advice--given many times over the years to those paying attention--to put a piece of ball-point pen tube (or similar) in the body pip to adjust for that. It works and the intonation up top is within the range that it is on most vintage saxes.

And that's a point I want to remind people of. This model is a vintage horn, and as such not that much different than most any vintage sax made in Indiana before the late 50's. If you pick up a vintage sax and expect it to fit your hands like a glove--something not even any modern saxes do--without some modding and tweaking, you shouldn't play vintage horns. Stick with modern ones and stop dissing vintage saxes for their characteristics because sound and tone-wise no modern sax can match them. And that includes adjusting for intonation in one way or the other. You want perfect intonation get a fcking Aerophone or other windsynth.

Anyway, I just took mine out and played for two hours. It's been months but after an hour I had my alto chops back pretty good and the intonation was not a problem for me and I dare say a more accomplished alto player would do even better. So please, those of you who keep bringing this up, stop doing it because it is a non-farking-issue for the Series 4s, if mine is any indicator
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,160 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I ended up passing on the horn. It needed a complete overhaul and these are available in playable condition for around $400
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Hey nigeld, just curious, where did your fingers naturally go on the True Tone IV cluster.
What were your problems there- what part of a modern cluster changed that?
I also have big hands and used sugru to solve my TT problems, to a point-
The C# is still not fluid for me.
I have no problems w the Martin cluster and its a minimal cluster so I don't get it on the TT.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Hey nigeld, just curious, where did your fingers naturally go on the True Tone IV cluster.
What were your problems there- what part of a modern cluster changed that?
I also have big hands and used sugru to solve my TT problems, to a point-
The C# is still not fluid for me.
I have no problems w the Martin cluster and its a minimal cluster so I don't get it on the TT.
The TT palm keys were too low for me, but that is the same for all saxophones - key risers can fix it.
The right hand side keys were far too low for me - it required a large hand movement to play a Bb - a vast quantity of Sugru improved this.
The other main problem was the Eb and C# keys - my little finger is too long, so I was always hitting the edges of the keys - helped by extending the key touches.
Also the G# - ditto.
I found that after playing for a while my left hand fingers would get a little bit sore because I was hitting the edges of the stack keys instead of the centres.
The left-hand pinkie keys were heavy, but not impossibly so.

I stopped playing my TT alto after I tried a Yamaha YAS-280. It didn't sound nearly as good, but it was so much more fun to play! So the True Tone got left in its case. I now have a Buffet-Crampon S1 alto which seems to have the rich dark sound of the TrueTone but with modern keywork.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2016-17
Joined
·
232 Posts
Thanks nigeld- that is my only complaint with the TT IV, I have no other issue with it, love the sound and have a pro re-pad and set up, but am having trouble with that upper C# key.
That key seems really to demand to be hit on the inside edge by the roller and simply entending w/ sugru gives you a target, but , it is not the
right spot for a TT. I find myself favoring my Martin Stencil because of miss hits.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
312 Posts
Thanks nigeld- that is my only complaint with the TT IV, I have no other issue with it, love the sound and have a pro re-pad and set up, but am having trouble with that upper C# key.
That key seems really to demand to be hit on the inside edge by the roller and simply entending w/ sugru gives you a target, but , it is not the
right spot for a TT. I find myself favoring my Martin Stencil because of miss hits.
I'm a fairly new saxophone player and I don't play alto a lot. I thought that the TrueTone was great until the first time I played it in a quartet - playing fast was a struggle. The Yamaha YAS-280 was a revelation - it seemed so easy. I decided that I have enough problems playing the saxophone without fighting the instrument, so the TrueTone had to go. But the Yamaha wasn't smooth enough for my taste.
The closest that I have found to a TrueTone alto sound with modern keywork is my Buffet S1. Runner-up was a Grassi Professional 2000. But I didn't try a Selmer (too expensive).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
128 Posts
I had a relaqed buescher tt from 1925. awesome sound. for you it's even better because you are used to the vintage buescher key work. it took me a few weeks to completely adjust. That said my tech is in China and it costs very little(compared to what you would have in the US) to get an overhaul. If I decide to sell the horn again I can still make some of money. In the US I don't think you can find anyone to repad and adjust all the mechanics for $200. The reason some people are not into TTs is probably that the overhaul will cost more than the final value
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,712 Posts
Nice sounding compact tone if its the same as the 28 I had. Built like tanks. A you discovered, unless you know you want one the overhaul wont pay for itself in most case...unless you can do it yourself.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
Joined
·
21,035 Posts
I like the series III and IV better than the earlier ones as it is nice to have the rollers and front F. The one I have listed for sale is a great player but only worth about $800. You may be able to find a good playing series II for under $500. check the MARKETPLACE.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
158 Posts
The rollers on this sax are the thing I liked most. I have a series III and tiny hands, and this TT had the smallest left hand table I've ever seen. Felt very natural and comfortable to me. Same for the palm keys, great for smaller hands. This horn has a great big warm vintage sound. Sounds like you made a good choice passing though if it needed a ton of work.

Thanks!
Kristy
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
Top