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I traded my early, short-bow VI alto for a Conn 10M and this horn, an early TH&C from around 1942. I really like the Buescher altos -- I also have a 140 -- there's a sweetness and a "cry" in their sound that's fun to work with, and that I never quite got in the VI. This Top Hat & Cane is louder than my 140, and it's a great lead alto horn -- I don't have to push it as hard as I push the 140 in that setting. Even though the VI had great ergos, this is a more comfortable horn -- it feels more flexible, less resistant, and is just in general more fun to play....

Here's a clip from a recent live date, on a "retro-ish" tune of mine:

Mr. Cool
 

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Hey man. That sounds really nice. I really like your tone and everything you were doing. Very lyrical and wonderful.

By the way, was your VI the 68xxx or the 90xxx horn at junkdude. I played them both and they were both incredible, the 90xxx being the best horn I've ever played. I don't even want to know what the TH&C plays like. By the way, is it the TH&C that was all beat up from junkdude or was it another one?
 

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Sound's great, Kelly. Nice horn--both of them.

Who is that fine guitar player? Very tasty.
 

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Very nice.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
jacobeid said:
Hey man. That sounds really nice. I really like your tone and everything you were doing. Very lyrical and wonderful.

By the way, was your VI the 68xxx or the 90xxx horn at junkdude. I played them both and they were both incredible, the 90xxx being the best horn I've ever played. I don't even want to know what the TH&C plays like. By the way, is it the TH&C that was all beat up from junkdude or was it another one?
Thanks! That 68K you tried was mine. I also got a chance to play the 90K, and thought it was a fine horn -- but once I tried the TH&C, it just felt like a great fit, and I kept coming back to it and didn't give VIs another thought.

This one was in great shape, not beat up at all....

hakukani said:
Who is that fine guitar player? Very tasty.
So cool that you noted that, hak -- he's John Allen, a journeyman player here in Buffalo who covers all styles -- and is a pretty darn good sax player to boot! I love the way he plays, and the sensitive way he comps. Since he's joined our group, he's also offered some nice originals to our book....
CountSpatula said:
Me likey. Killer alto playing!
Thanks, Spatula!
 

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Sounds fantastic to me. What a nice mix in the band and in the improvisations. I'd pay to hear that band live, certainly. The Buescher sounds great but i think maybe you'd sound pretty good on other altos too, Kelly ;) . When you refer to the "cry" in the sound i think i heard what you mean. There was something very boppy but also quite emotional about some of the lines (I thought). Quite a bit of Bird type sound. That's the way it sounded to me. Really really nice good :) .
 

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Welcome to the Top Hat Club (sounds better than the Cane Club). Really nice clip.

I got my TH & C a few years ago and recently compared it with about a dozen altos when I visited saxophones.co.uk. I really though I was goinf to leave there with a new alto (tried mauriats, Selmers, Yamahas, Rampone & Cazolis etc.) but nothing quite compared.

There is a review of mine at Stephen Howard's site - note the final comment.
and a clip on my Myspace (Swing Them)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
RootyTootoot said:
What a nice mix in the band and in the improvisations. I'd pay to hear that band live, certainly.
Rooty, then you must move to Buffalo! Often, at our Monday night gig (where this was recorded), we're the tree that falls in the forest with no one around to hear it! We have fun, and carry on regardless....

Pete Thomas said:
There is a review of mine at Stephen Howard's site - note the final comment.
and a clip on my Myspace (Swing Them)
I'd seen that review before, while strolling through Stephen Howard's very engaging website -- and a copy of it was lying in the case of the horn when Junkdude pulled it out for me to try!

Your clip is very nice, Pete, and definitively answers the question of anyone who wonders whether the horn's ergonomics hinder fast playing! Indeed, they don't: there's something about the feel of both my Bueschers -- maybe it's the Norton springs, I don't know... -- that makes them a joy to double-time on.... (Meanwhile, on ballad playing, they've got that sweet underlying sound.)
 

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TH&C vs Big B?

TH&C is often regarded as the best Buescher model. Wonder if anyone here has compared it with the Big B model which is often praised by users?
 

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ppamhk said:
TH&C is often regarded as the best Buescher model. Wonder if anyone here has compared it with the Big B model which is often praised by users?
I only wish that I played at the level that Kelly and Pete do, but I do have all the Buescher altos from the TTs through the 141 and prefer the earlier models in alto.
My TH&C doesn't have quite the sweetness and center that the earlier horns have, although the key work is probably the best.

The loudest Buescher alto I ever had was a 140 with plastic resos that now lives in Spain, although the TH&C is a close second. YMMV.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
ppamhk said:
TH&C is often regarded as the best Buescher model. Wonder if anyone here has compared it with the Big B model which is often praised by users?
In addition to my TH&C, I have a 140, which but for the engraving *is* a Big B, according to folks who know more than I do. I'm sure there's plenty of variation among these horns based on how they're set up and whatnot, so I can only speak of what I note about my two particular specimens of the breed.

First off, the TH&C trades away some of the sweetness of the 140 for balls and core -- it's a louder horn. As I mention in a posting above, I don't have to push the TH&C as hard in lead alto situations. (What really stood out the first time I played it in a big band was on a sax soli passage where the lead comes in fortissimo on a palm key high E. On the 140, I always had to work and finesse it to make it speak loud and clean. On the Top Hat, the note was just plain *there*, with no effort at all. I find just in general I can stay on top of the section with less work....)

The ergos are a notch better on the Top Hat than they are on the 140. The keywork feels a bit more logical and precise. Because of the unusual location of the bell tone holes, I hear the low end a wee bit differently on the horn. Also because of that set up, I'm having a heck of a time finding a replacement case for it!
 

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A Gator GL works fine. Just tight enough.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Pete Thomas said:
Pro Tec works for mine
CountSpatula said:
Same...tight fit though.
Wow, gents, this is great news, because my current case is stanky/nasty and semi-decrepit.

Pro Tec has several "flavors" of cases: are we talking their regular "contoured" cases, or their "Max" or "Xtreme" models?

saintsday said:
A Gator GL works fine. Just tight enough.
Okay, now I'm starting to feel just plain foolish, like I ought to be asking what cases *don't* work! I've tried a number of cases in a couple of stores around here, and nothing fit! Thanks for these possibilities....
 
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