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Seeker Of A Clever Title.
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Discussion Starter #1
If you had a horrible playing horn, with Monique-like intonation, could an overhaul completely change that? The reason I'm asking this is that I'm interested in buying a buescher 140 alto, but it had bad response, bad tone, and extremely bad intonation. But, on this forum, everyone has only good things to say about bueschers. Would it be worth it to take the risk and buy it, get it overhauled, and hope it plays well?
 

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I'd pass on that one. Horns are a plenty. Really!

It's pretty hard to evaluate a horn if it's leaking. It will definately play better after a repad. But are you sure it's a Buescher from a good vintage? Resale value is important if you don't know if he horn will work out for you.

There are many, many Bueschers and I advise you to be patient and try more horns until you find one that plays for you.

Try horns as often as you can. If a horn plays well for you with minor issues like a few leaks, it can definately be improved by some pad work. But don't expect miracles.

I will advise you on personal experience: don't buy the first horn you try! Good Bueschers appear all the time on eBay. Altos are lower priced and far more abundant than tenors. So what's the rush? Unless you are willing to have a pile of horns in your house, take your time.
 

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Researcher, Teacher and Horn Revitalizer, Forum Co
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3,505 Posts
horns can be taken from trash fodder to excellent instruments. Many techs buy "junk" from ebay and return them to glory. Of course, once in a while some of those instruments *are* trash and are then used for parts or a good game of hammer, ala dent making and other experiments such as "how does a trash compactor really work?"

For most ppl it all depends on the horn in question ....
a vintage Selmer SBA - you bet 'ya.
a vintage Amati? well, maybe if it doesn't cost too much

but it all depends upon the current condition of the instrument. Most of the time a repair person will be able to tell you if it's rescueable within a certain $$ range.

So I'd say "yes" BUT with the big caveat that you should have the horn looked at first by a repair person before plunking down some cash. I've had many ppl email me ebay links to review and instrument and I can usually give them best/worst possible conditions based on pics - assuming the pics are pretty good too ... but pics may not tell the entire store too.

Good luck

If it was me on a Buescher I'd pass with the description that you gave
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013-
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5,183 Posts
I'm curious about the horn you looked at. A 140 that plays at all should play better than what you are describing. What's the serial? Is the horn bent or twisted? Have you looked closely at the bell to body brace?

From your description something must be seriously out of whack.

IF the horn is not bent or twisted, IF the horn is not growing science experiments, IF you have a good relationship with a competent Buescher tech, and IF you can buy it cheaply enough, it could be worth a flier.
How much does the seller want for it?

You are probably best advised to find another 140. These are normally consistently good to great horns.
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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23,016 Posts
I'll second what Saintsday said. The short answer to your question in general is "yes." But there are many caveats, as the other posters have pointed out. The 140's are great horns. They are the same horn as the Big B Aristocrats, but with different engraving. If it were me, I'd contact some of the reputable dealers and pick up an Aristocrat that is already overhauled and in tip-top shape. You'll pay a bit more, but at least you know you're getting a horn that plays, and you'll get a trial period. Go here, click on the alto link and scan through the beautiful Aristocrats Gayle has. That will give you an idea of what is available from a top notch dealer:

www.vintagesax.com
 

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I just had my primary Mark VI alto overhauled by Horn Improvement and the first thing I noticed when I started going through it was that the pitch was significantly better.

Granted it's been probably been through 8 or 9 years of reasonably hard playing since its last overhaul, but still...
 
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