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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
489xxx. Nickel keys. Minimal engraving. Just a rounded “B” on top of “Buescher” on top of “Aristocrat”. A closet queen, which at least means the thing has been beaten to death. Let’s say the tech who set this up was good and specialized in these horns. What is the ceiling of playability on this, compared to classic Bueschers? A student horn? Can this possibly be a pro horn? (You would think I should know from my ‘49 tenor, but this is only the 2nd alto I’ve ever tried, the first being my old Martin.)
 

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They are not the 'Crats of the sweet spot era. The bodies are pretty much the same, but the responsiveness of the keywork is significantly different.

Not bad student horns or horns for someone looking for something on the cheap, really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
Not bad student horns or horns for someone looking for something on the cheap, really.
That's very helpful. I got this thing as a loaner from a friend, and I was trying gauge how much to put into it while waiting for my one and only alto to get worked on and shipped to me. Yeah, its alright, but not inspirational. (It's too bad. Even the original case it comes in is absolutely pristine. Like a Museum piece student horn.)
 

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Answer: Very Good. Just give it to Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove, Richard Elliot, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, et al, and you wouldn't really know what they were playing in a blind test.

It's the player, not the horn.

And you will always sound like you, regardless of the horn.

Those two lines should be posted on the home page. It would sure save folks a lot of time and trouble! But some of these lessons have be learned the "hard way" (through personal experience). LOL

The real bargains are the ones from the early to mid 60s (before the Selmer buyout). Can't think of the exact range right now, but they have the same dark, rich sound as the earlier ones from the 40s and 50s, just with nickel plated keys.

That's an early Selmer Buescher you have there. My first tenor in school was one that was quite a bit newer than that one, and I still remember the store owner raving about it being a "Buescher." To me at the time, it was the prettiest horn I had ever seen (because it was the only one I had ever seen). But it was new, and my band director always commented on how great it looked: "That's a beautiful horn you've got there, but if you don't practice you'll just sound like a honking goose!”

Could be a great backup horn, if nothing else.
 

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This is a Selmer stencil of the Elkhart Band Instrument Company alto [20a?].

It is a correct Buescher body with a nickel-plated, simpler key arrangement than the Buescher 140 Aristocrat of the 1940's and '50's. It is also the exact same horn as a Selmer Bundy 1 with a different logo.

It will play well and hold its regulation well. These are strong as nails, and are great backup horns, if not quite as swift as the former Bueschers were. Even the lacquer was quite robust.

Their one issue is that Selmer kept the old True Tone, pre-140 Aristocrat neck on them (to encourage upgrading to a Selmer Paris, you understand). This neck is very sharp on A2 and above.

Bruce Bailey here on SOTW has a fix for this sharp upper register problem; IIRC, it deals with a small piece of plastic tubing cut straight on the top but diagonally on the bottom, and slid into the neck's octave pip with the diagonal side down. If Bruce does not chime in here, start a private conversation with him for exact details. The neck can be also be retapered on the interior to a 140 neck taper (although I have forgotten which tech here on SOTW does that... Mark Aronson?). Failing that, find a 140 neck or a 1960's Selmer Signet neck (which is the actual 140 neck).

I started my sax life in 1964 with a new H&A Selmer Bundy 1 (same horn, but 1 year after the Selmer buyout). I never had a single problem with it in the 3 years I played it, even learning to lip down that upper register eventually.

Mom traded it toward a Mark VI in 1967. I wish I could have kept it as my marching band horn. The horn is worth keeping and playing, especially since you found it in pristine condition, if your purchase price is low enough.
 

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Answer: Very Good. Just give it to Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove, Richard Elliot, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, et al, and you wouldn't really know what they were playing in a blind test.

It's the player, not the horn.

And you will always sound like you, regardless of the horn.

Those two lines should be posted on the home page. It would sure save folks a lot of time and trouble!
Answer: Very Good. Just give it to Kirk Whalum, Euge Groove, Richard Elliot, Jeff Kashiwa, Steve Cole, et al, and you wouldn't really know what they were playing in a blind test.

It's the player, not the horn.

And you will always sound like you, regardless of the horn.

Those two lines should be posted on the home page. It would sure save folks a lot of time and trouble!
Not really, tho...since your reply (at least the first half) is a bit of a digression into another subject.

Sure, any good player will sound good on anything...but the OP was inquiring about the relative quality of the piece of hardware....which replying with "it's not the horn, it's the player"...is sorta non-sequitir....

Yes a good player will sound good, but will the key action, blowing response, ergos etc. be something which they would wanna play ? Is the horn built to stay in regulation and take some usual knocks ? Etc, etc...

(If it's the player and not the horn, and there's no need to say more - why doesn't everyone just play a Yamaha 23 and spend the saved $ on their family, or a good cause ? Probably because certain players seek certain intrinsic qualities possessed by the musical instrument model itself).

Basically, most replies concur....a bit of a dumbed-down classic 'Crat...so it still retains SOME qualities of the zenith production, but lost some as well.

Generally, in good clean, serviced shape, these are worth about $400 tops on used market. A project one can be had for as low as $100-ish....not that that would do you anything since it'd need $400 of tech work.

(FWIW, in my experience I did not find these to have a 'very sharp A2 upwards', myself. Not to a degree of being problematic. Once keyheights are regulated, the intonation stays in the pocket of about 10-12 cents up and down...not bad for a 60's horn...again, that's me as a player on 'em)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
So this ain’t my horn. It’s a loaner that I might be able to hang onto for quite a while if I want, but I could never sell it. The guy who tracked it down and set it up was Peter Farrante. Operated a small shop in Arlington VA. He’s the reason I ended up tracking down my TH&C tenor a decade or so ago. That shop is long gone.

I wish the keywork was slicker, but you surely can beast on it. Just like an old Bundy, I guess. I wasn’t crazy about the mouthpieces that come with it, but I got a Meyer Bros 5M that I found in the pocket of the old Martin I’m waiting on. I love the keywork on the Martin, and its heavy metal (literally) darkness. But the Meyer sounds a little sweeter on the economy Buescher. (I’m also waiting on a new metal Link, which I’m hoping will add a nice smokiness. Not to replace the Meyer, exactly, but like a guitar player having another pedal effect.)

Anyway, glad I got this sax for the time being. Keep up the embouchure and maybe record it a bit.
 

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I have heard these are good horns. Jicaino used to talk about this. They are just a watered down TT or Aristocrat. I have played one in poor regulation and was surprised at how good it sounded. They're not worth very much though.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I have heard these are good horns. Jicaino used to talk about this. They are just a watered down TT or Aristocrat. I have played one in poor regulation and was surprised at how good it sounded. They're not worth very much though.
Yeah, definitely not something to flip for quick $. I miss Jicaino's sage posts, even if he did desert the beloved vintage Buescher for latter day Selmers. Now I got to get on the search engine here to dig up what he may have said about post buyouts.
 
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