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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Not sure if this deserves a separate thread, but I feel the need to tell this story. maddenma and other Buescher heads on here will love it.

Quick history recap; About 10 years ago I bought a beautiful silver-plated 331,xxx 156 Aristocrat tenor, same horn as the latest Big B, but with the script engraving, from Gayle at vintagesax, as a backup to my MKVI (which I've now owned for 30+ years). It quickly became my main horn and I played it for about 2-3 years. Then I went back to the VI, which is also a great horn, only pulling out the Buescher on occasion. Now, suddenly, I'm back on the Buescher after rediscovering what I should have known all along.

About a month ago, just for fun I brought it on a gig. I also had the VI and played it on an alternate set. Man, that Buescher has a HUGE sound and wide open beautiful tone. Much as I love the VI, it sounded kind of dull in comparison. And no, the VI is not dull, I'm just saying 'in comparison.' The Buescher has a sort of sheen to the sound, almost like some added effects. Now, it's not just my impression. After playing the Buescher on a tune, my guitarist came up to me and said "that horn sounds great, you should pull it out more often." After the gig, my bassist said "keep playing that silver horn!" And here's the thing, these guys have never noticed when I played on widely differing mpcs or different reeds or anything like that. So for them to take note means something.

A week later I brought both horns to a recording session. Same reaction from the guys in the band; they loved the Buescher. And I heard the difference on the recording too. I'm not saying it's a huge difference, but it's there for sure. The best way I can describe it in comparison to the VI is a bigger bolder, more 'in your face' sound, maybe a bit brighter but not thin, and a HUGE lower register. Wider dynamic range, from a whisper to a roar. Fantastic tone quality. All the things that make it the perfect horn for the jump blues, old school R&B/R&R, funk, etc, that I mostly play. And I'm comparing it to a really great VI that I've owned for many years.

Since then I've played it on several gigs, including an outdoor gig in cold weather, and it's come through every time. So bottom line, I'm back on this Buescher and I'm sticking with it. Not to say I've abandoned the VI, but that horn will get some well-deserved rest while I play the Aristocrat. FWIW, I'm mostly using an RPC 120B mpc, which really brings out the beast in this horn. Also works great with the Robusto 9. And Rigotti Gold 3 light reeds.

Now, go ahead maddenma. Say "I told you so!"

p.s. I have a series one 'Crat that also has most of the same characteristics, but I'm favoring the more 'wide open' sound of the 156 for the moment.
 

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I can relate. My 156 has a strong complex punch to it over some other of my horns. Lately I've been really enjoying my '29 Martin Typewriter with higher baffle mouthpieces- total R&b, 50's rock vibe. An amazingly rich, powerful tone as well. Surprisingly I can get around on it quite quickly. I think we just get used to something and then really appreciate the quality of a horn we at one time also got used to when we switched. Our hearing seems to dull out and needs a change once in a while. That's the nice thing about having a lot of quality toys.:)
 

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Nice insights and an entertaining story. I'm really envious of your SILVER 156. The 156 looks stunning in that livery. Rich, huge lower end, powerful core but soft edges. And fun to play too. It's impressive that the guys you play with appreciated the difference.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yeah bluto, these horns are beautiful in silver plate; it also has a gold wash in the bell:

Microphone Musical instrument Public address system Musician Reed


Nice to have a pretty horn, but of course the sound is the really important thing.

And ballad, you're right about mpc compatibility and style of playing. I do think the Bueschers are very flexible in terms of style, but like most of the great vintage American tenors, they excel in blues, funk, old school rock & roll, 'soul jazz,' etc.
 
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Cool, JL... play some Martins, Kings & Conns to get your head swimming even deeper, lol.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
very handsome.......not you....the horn! :whistle:
Yeah, you're right on both counts. "Lipstick on a pig" comes to mind...

saxphil, I've play tested all of those, Conn 10M, Martin, Super20. All great horns! Along with Buescher, I consider them the 'big 4' vintage American horns. Trying a friend's 10M put me on the search for a vintage 'back up' horn to my VI. I settled on the 156 Crat, but could have gone for any of them.
 

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I've previously owned a fine V1 and SBA, but utimately ended up with a 156 tenor, which I have been happily playing close to four years. Its all I need or want in a horn and I only paid $2000, which included a fresh top rate overhaul!
 

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Here's Tim Boniface on a mid '50s 156 Buescher Aristocrat


Merry Christmas to all.
 
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Now, go ahead maddenma. Say "I told you so!"

p.s. I have a series one 'Crat that also has most of the same characteristics, but I'm favoring the more 'wide open' sound of the 156 for the moment.
What? Who? Me? :bluewink:

*ahem*.... Told you so. :)
 

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I had a 1937 Martin Committee I, fabulous horn, dark with an edge. I had a 1967 Conn 10M with fantastic response and much better intonation than the vintage ones. And at the same time, I also had a 1951 Buescher 156 with rich tone and the best intonation of any tenor I ever played, bar none.
Guess which one I kept? ;^)

The Buescher is now my only tenor, and I have no qualms about that! Dark or sweet when it needs to be, roars when pushed... The most highly UNDERrated tenor of the Big 4.

Welcome back to the fold, JL!

Sax Magic
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Welcome back to the fold, JL!
Thanks Sax Magic. Actually I never really left the fold; it's just that my VI is also such a great horn, I've owned it for nearly 35 years, it 'fits' like a comfortable well-broken in pair of shoes, and so I couldn't help picking it back up and playing it for the past few years after a long 'honeymoon' on the Buescher. In the interim the Bueschers didn't get played a lot because I don't like switching back and forth a lot (takes a little adjustment); at least not for gigs. But now I'm back with the Buescher and am going to stick with it for a while. Maybe a long while... Yes TONE and really excellent intonation! Did I mention its TONE quality?
 

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Tenors - Selmer Series III, Buescher TT, Buescher 400; Baritone - Conn Chu Berry, Martin HC Imperial
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Pardon this minor bumping of this thread, but in my defense, it's in the Buescher section. Fun anecdote, JL. I too bounce between a few tenors (three for now). The Selmer Series III has been my main horn but it's way too nice to bring to dive bars where it can get knocked over. The King Zephyr is my dive bar horn, and it too has a great tone. Lately, though, I started playing my gold-plated True Tone tenor with good reeds and I'm loving this horn. Got it for a very fair price, with a plan to keep it at our summer cabin (to not have to transport a horn every trip). It may not be a 156, Big B, or Top Hat, but it has a gorgeous, full tone. Loving it and committing to practicing on it so I can start playing out with it.
 
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