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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,
my first post here and i'm writing because I'm looking for a tenor for my son which is an advanced jazz student and so he's aiming for a more advanced/professional model. I came across this instrument which I don't know anything about except for it's looks through the pics. It has the serial 9165(1962 I Think). Your comments are much appreciated.
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Buffets are great horns but this one looks like it's been very well used over the last 65 years. Be prepared to put another $1000 into it for new pads and a complete overhaul. Unless the seller has had it overhauled recently it will probably need one. There don't appear to be any major dents or damage to the body or the neck so that's good. If you're willing to invest the extra money to make it play like new again it could be a great horn. Some of the techs here may notice things I don't see. I wouldn't be surprised if they did.
 

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Hi all,
my first post here and i'm writing because I'm looking for a tenor for my son which is an advanced jazz student and so he's aiming for a more advanced/professional model. I came across this instrument which I don't know anything about except for it's looks through the pics.
Thank you for caring enough to ask about getting a horn for your son. I was fortunate to have supportive parents when I was in high school, and 50+ years later, I am still benefiting from the music in my life.

These can be great horns, but wear and condition are paramount regarding vintage horns. Do you have the opportunity to have someone other than the owner play test it? The ideal situation would be to take it to a repair shop for an evaluation.

All the best to you and yours,

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, the description is pretty succinct and it says " horn in very good condition and with annual revision made", for whatever that means but yes, we will come over to test it but I don´t want to rely exclusively on my soon's opinion as I think he's more influenced by the fact that almost every jazz player (here in Portugal at least) seems to prefer old instruments that look crappy but sounds great!!:lol: Anyway, thanks for the valuable thoughts, I'll proceed with caution.
 

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Well, the description is pretty succinct and it says " horn in very good condition and with annual revision made", for whatever that means but yes, we will come over to test it but I don´t want to rely exclusively on my son's opinion as I think he's more influenced by the fact that almost every jazz player (here in Portugal at least) seems to prefer old instruments that look crappy but sounds great!!:lol: Anyway, thanks for the valuable thoughts, I'll proceed with caution.
Hah! I understand the current fad of "look crappy but sounds great"! I've seen finishes that look a lot worse - usually horns that have exposure (they will get green and red splotches).

Pads that are worn and leaking are easily replaced. Wear to the mechanism is more difficult and expensive to repair. Ideally, the fit between rods and posts should be sufficiently good that the pad cup cannot move side to side. If the cup moves easily, then the pad doesn't always come back to the same place, and the horn will have intermittent leaks. Check also for fit of the neck to the body - it should be snug and not rock from side to side with the neck screw snug (but not cranked down tight).

Enjoy the day with your son!
 

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I'm a recent SDA tenor owner. They are great saxes and the one you are looking at does look good from the pictures. While most folks here are skeptical of descriptions of a horn's playing condition, my instinct is that a well maintained sax won't immediately need a $1000 overhaul to be playable.

Before you go, have a look at this video. When you do go, pay particular attention to the left hand bell keys as pointed out in the video. I'm sure I got a good deal on mine because those keys were not set up well. Also, while it shouldn't influence your decision for a student's instrument, the neck may not be original. Although it is obviously a Buffet neck, it is probably from a later vintage. You may be able to use this info as a bargaining point.

Dr. G, do you have first hand experience with the SDA? If not, I'm sure you'd enjoy them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EvpQBeK0NQ
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm a recent SDA tenor owner. They are great saxes and the one you are looking at does look good from the pictures. While most folks here are skeptical of descriptions of a horn's playing condition, my instinct is that a well maintained sax won't immediately need a $1000 overhaul to be playable.

Before you go, have a look at this video. When you do go, pay particular attention to the left hand bell keys as pointed out in the video. I'm sure I got a good deal on mine because those keys were not set up well. Also, while it shouldn't influence your decision for a student's instrument, the neck may not be original. Although it is obviously a Buffet neck, it is probably from a later vintage. You may be able to use this info as a bargaining point.

Dr. G, do you have first hand experience with the SDA? If not, I'm sure you'd enjoy them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EvpQBeK0NQ
Hi, thanks for your help. The instrument was tested and my son's first impression is that the intonation is good as well as the high notes. Very good sound also. However it seems to be a problem with the low end register, as he found difficulty in playing those notes (from F down). Can it be a simple fix or a more serious problem with the instrument itself?
Thanks again!
 

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alviropinto, the only way to determine the cause of the problem is going to be to bring it to a tech for evaluation. It's impossible to know what the issue is from just the picture. Hopefully, it will turn out to be a pad needing to be reseated or replaced.

Good luck.
 

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These can be great horns, but wear and condition are paramount regarding vintage horns. Do you have the opportunity to have someone other than the owner play test it? The ideal situation would be to take it to a repair shop for an evaluation.

All the best to you and yours,

George
Hi, thanks for your help. The instrument was tested and my son's first impression is that the intonation is good as well as the high notes. Very good sound also. However it seems to be a problem with the low end register, as he found difficulty in playing those notes (from F down). Can it be a simple fix or a more serious problem with the instrument itself?
Thanks again!

OK, so you’ve done the play test - intonation good, tone good. Check!

Now you need to get a shop evaluation to see how much repair it needs to get it into good playing condition. It may be as simple as replacing pads, or it may have bent keys or excessive wear that put the pad cups out of alignment over the tone holes.

Yes, Robert, I am familiar with the SDA tenors. I had a friend many years ago that was a college music major, and pro musician - he played an SDA for both classical and rock.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I'm a recent SDA tenor owner. They are great saxes and the one you are looking at does look good from the pictures. While most folks here are skeptical of descriptions of a horn's playing condition, my instinct is that a well maintained sax won't immediately need a $1000 overhaul to be playable.

Before you go, have a look at this video. When you do go, pay particular attention to the left hand bell keys as pointed out in the video. I'm sure I got a good deal on mine because those keys were not set up well. Also, while it shouldn't influence your decision for a student's instrument, the neck may not be original. Although it is obviously a Buffet neck, it is probably from a later vintage. You may be able to use this info as a bargaining point.

Dr. G, do you have first hand experience with the SDA? If not, I'm sure you'd enjoy them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-EvpQBeK0NQ
Hi there,
actually, and after some googling I found out that this kind of neck is pretty hard to find. It is probably from a Prestige model which is a bit latter??
 

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Hi there,
actually, and after some googling I found out that this kind of neck is pretty hard to find. It is probably from a Prestige model which is a bit latter??
This kind of neck appeared on the last SDAs (the transitionals with S1 keywork, my SDA alto is one of them) and was then used on the S1 series.
Of course, the S1 Prestige had one (with a copper tube) but the neck in the picture is made of brass -so, the association with the Prestige is a bit far fetched. When the neck got replaced, you could order a replacement neck from Buffet-Crampon (I know: I've done it for my SDA alto in 1981).
I don't know wether there is a difference in the bore between a S1 neck and a SDA neck. On my alto, the S1 neck I got plays without any issue.
 

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I love and appreciate vintage horns, and that Buffet is a beauty. But I'm gonna go against the grain here. Would you buy your son a 300,000 mile 60's vintage car for his first car? It would be a treasure for sure, but what he really needs is something practical that's not hard to play or maintain. Let him buy his own vintage horn when he's an adult and experienced player. For now, get him a quality modern horn like a Yamaha or something like that. Remember, 99.9% of the sound comes from the player, not the horn. He's gonna sound basically the same on a $8,000 Mk VI as he does on a $250 Bundy. He needs something reliable and easy to play.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Hey mdavej,
yeah, I've the same opinion but his teachers think that he is more than ready to develop his own sound based on the style and type of music he wants to explore. A vintage instrument in good shape might help him to get a richer and more sophisticated sound. The problem is that this instrument in particular is not in good shape at all, it has all kind of problems and mistreatments. The technician was overwhelmed with the instrument and both his teachers said it was a great saxophone so I had no choice than decide to bring out this horn from the darkness and try to restore it to his former glory. The technician said it will be 100% after the repair. Let's just hope it will. I want to thank you all for your help and comments. I'll post the result of the repair in 2 months time!! Cheers to all!
 

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Thanks for the update.

I suggest that you ask the tech not to polish the horn - it looks like it has a stable patina. If you started from a fresh shiny finish, there’s no guarantee that it will age as gracefully again.

“Overwhelmed” - I hope in a good way. If not, there are a lot of other technicians that are accessible by USPS. If you need recommendations of techs in your area, ask here - there is bound to be someone in your ‘hood.

All the best to you and yours!
 

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Hey mdavej,
yeah, I've the same opinion but his teachers think that he is more than ready to develop his own sound based on the style and type of music he wants to explore. A vintage instrument in good shape might help him to get a richer and more sophisticated sound.
I don't agree with this at all. I'm surprised his teachers feel that way. If I had to quantify how much the horn contributes to the sound, I'd say maybe 5%, mouthpiece/reed 20%, neck < 5%, player > 70%. I think most any experienced player will tell you they sound pretty much the same on any horn, vintage or otherwise. The only case where the horn in good working order can hold a player back is ergonomics, which are usually worse on vintage horns.

In any case, your son will end up with a nice horn. But it won't give him a rich, sophisticated sound unless he plays it that way. Mouthpiece would be the most important piece of equipment to spend your money on as that will have the biggest effect on his sound. Even that pales in comparison to the player's contribution. I know a lot of players with top of the line horns and mouthpieces who sound exactly like they did before they spent a mint on equipment.

My 2 cents
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for the update.

I suggest that you ask the tech not to polish the horn - it looks like it has a stable patina. If you started from a fresh shiny finish, there’s no guarantee that it will age as gracefully again.

“Overwhelmed” - I hope in a good way. If not, there are a lot of other technicians that are accessible by USPS. If you need recommendations of techs in your area, ask here - there is bound to be someone in your ‘hood.

All the best to you and yours!
Overwhelmed in a good way indeed! In fact he mention that "they don't make saxophones like this anymore"...and so it's worth the work you have to put on it. So, let's wait.
https://forum.saxontheweb.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=115601&d=1499183857
 

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I play SDA horns in both alto and tenor. They are awesome. Getting the lower register easy to play is usually just adjusting the keys/pads. I can't tell you how many vintage horns I received that wouldn't play, and an hour later they play so well that I decide not to overhaul. My SDA alto has needed pads for the last 10 years........! Check for the flat metal resonators - that's all I've seen on these for original pads.

And by the way, the Buffet horn prices are going nuts now. If you can get one for a decent price, grab it.
 

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It sounds like you found a winner for your son. Congratulations. I'm sure he will learn more from witnessing your patience and the care you took in making this decision than he would have if you had just gone into the music store and bought a shiny new Yamaha, Yanigasawa, Selmer etc. etc.
 
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