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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I am new to the Forum and thought I would write this "testimonial" to Buescher

I am 63 years old and when I was at the young age of 58 I decided that going through life without playing a musical instrument was a life fully not lived. I had possession of a Selmer Series 9* clarinet that had belonged to a relative but for all practical purposes was mine. So, I called a music store and asked who gave adult clarinet lessons, signed on with an instructor and got started. After about 4 years of lessons, playing in a community band, and going to an adult jazz camp I felt I wanted to try the saxophone. This was probably influenced by the fact that I had changed instructors who played tenor sax as his primary instrument, but more importantly because he was "...teaching me what I wanted to learn."

Here I regress a little...for about two years I had read a little about the sax and how to buy one, but quite honestly was afraid to take the step...I could really get hosed if I didn't know what I was doing.

One day about a year ago I felt a calling...sorry to put a religious spin on it...to try the sax and went to Craigslist and ended up with a Selmer USA Signet alto. After about two or three months with the alto and making some basic progress I learned of a book "The Devil's Horn," and after reading it twice decided I needed to try the tenor.

This is where it gets interesting. I had a budget. I knew I wouldn't be buying a Mark VI, SBA or the like, so I asked a reputable vintage dealer what I could get for the amount budgeted. The answer was...a Buescher Aristocrat Big B Tenor 140, 307,XXX, completely restored to as original condition as possible. NEVER having blown a note through a tenor sax, I made an appointment and sat down with the horn. The low D just popped out without hesitation. It was totally amazing how much easier it was to play than the Selmer alto. I added a MC Gregory mouthpiece, and a little instruction on my embouchure, away I went. I started taking the tenor to my lessons and spending all my practice time with it.

Things got complicated then. At community band, there are three tenors so I was forced to play the alto. I actually was dreading, in a sense, having to play the alto because it was simply a lessor quality instrument; and harder to get a good sound from. During my practice sessions and lessons I worked the Big B; at band I played the Semer USA Signet alto, oftentimes not having practiced that much because it wasn't that much fun.

This is the happy part! About three months ago, I found a Buescher Big B alto 140, that was totally original. I talked to the owner who is my age and had had the horn since he was about eight or ten years old, he really couldn't remember. I had this horn completely rebuilt to original standards, including metal backed pads, and totally love it. It has all the original Norton Springs and snap in system intact. One of the resonators on a palm key had to be glued in because it wouldn't "snap" but otherwise it is perfect. It really plays well, has a great sound, and looks pretty good too. Now I am looking forward to community band starting again.

I may even acquire another Big B or a THC one of these days. The only downside is I got started so late in life that I missed a lot of musical opportunity, the upside is I have a fun and rewarding hobby. I get to make music!!

One thing I am certain of, without a doubt, is that I'll always be happy with my Buescher horns. Rose colored glasses? Maybe...because I've never played a Mark VI or SBA but I don't care. I feel I have two great horns.

That's enough but I'm a Buescher disciple and proud of it. I'm a fan of Adolph Sax too.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Certainly nothing to be embarrassed about here from my perspective. Once played, Buescher's do tend to convert people. It can be a wonderful, if expensive, hobby -- particularly when you get hit by GAS. :)

Welcome to the forum, Wilbur!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2009
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Congrats, that Big B tenor surely wails at least head to head with anything out there.

Welcome to the forum.
 

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SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Hey Wilbur, let me say you a lucky man to have picked up that Buescher from the start. I've owned a MKVI tenor for nearly 30 years (it's starting to hurt to say that, because it seems like just yesterday I bought it), and I've owned a couple of Buescher Aristocrat tenors as "backups" over the last few years. It's a great VI and I really love it, but let me say right now, the VI has nothing on those 'Crats and they have more in the tone department. I've been playing my 292,xxx Aristocrat just on the last couple of gigs and I have some more to say about that, but no time right now. I'll come back later with some observations.

Welcome to the forum and stick around!
 

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Sorry you didn't discover saxophones a decade or two sooner. ;)

I've had my MkVI alto for better than 30 years, and recently inherited my grandfather's Buescher Aristocrat. I can't pass judgement on it though as it needs a complete restoration, because my uncle thought it looked too scratched up and spray painted the entire thing flat gold. Right over the pads and all. Even without the paint, I think the pads are original equipment from 1937, so probably wouldn't have been any good by now anyway. I hope to be able to afford to get it worked over and made playable again sometime in the not too distant future.

Glad you are enjoying it so much. :thumbrig:
 

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Welcome to the forum. It sounds like you have some very nice saxophones. Enjoy.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
In rereading my Buescher post this morning, I realize I sounded pretty dogmatic about the Buescher sax's I own. That wasn't my intent and I apologize to owners and devotees of other makes. What I was trying to say is simply, that at my age and ability/capability/apptitude and limited exposure to other makes, I have all I need and all I want. I'm sure there are those who would say something to the effect "...how the heck can he rule out a horn he has never tried or played?" I agree completely. I'm just extremely happy where I'm at and satisfied to focus my energy on playing and sounding good rather than always wanting a better horn.
 

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:tsk: no no no don't explain... we buescherites are all dogmatic, take no prisoners and don't apologise when we say that MK VI's sucks because we all know that the ugliest Big B is "at least" head to head with the outstanding VI's and then there's the azz whippin' 400's to bury them :twisted: :mrgreen:
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member and Forum Contributor 20
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Had a VI alto . . . and a Super 20 Alto. Had a Martin tenor . . . and 2 Yanagisawa tenors. Nothing but a Buescher 140 alto and a Big B tenor in the stable now . . . well, there's the '29 Buescher Soprano too.

They may not be right for everyone, but DANG! . . . I love 'em!!
 

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. . well, there's the '29 Buescher Soprano too.
Hey Fred, is that the one I sold you? That's a great horn. I would have kept it, except I never play the soprano.

Wilbur, don't apologize. Those who haven't owned & played a Buescher (in top playing condition) will never understand what great horns they are. Those who have, will...and do.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Sax Historian
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There have been quite a few grand marques in saxophone history. But there is something about a Buescher sax that makes true believers out of people. Even I don't quite know what it is, and I play them myself!
 

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Even I don't quite know what it is, and I play them myself!
For me, it's the tone. They have a tonal flexibility (for lack of a better term) that I really haven't noticed to the same extent in other horns, although I certainly haven't played all the brands out there. I can make an ongoing comparison to my VI, which most would agree is a good horn (some would call it the 'gold standard' or something like that). What I referred to in my first post in this thread was a recent experience on the last couple of gigs where I took the Buescher (series one 'Crat) tenor instead of the VI. The Buescher will whisper at one end of the spectrum, then when pushed will really scream and maintain a great tone quality all the way from one extreme to the other. I don't find that to be so true with the VI. It's more middle-of-the-road without as much flexibility. And the Buescher has a certain 'sparkle' or pizazz in the tone. It's sort of like it has some natural, subtle effects built in. Again, the VI is 'drier' in this respect.

This is all very subtle and subjective, but it's there. Just for reference, I use an RPC 120B mpc which really seems to bring out the 'beast' in the Buescher. And I'm playing in the jump blues style, with some jazz & old school R&R mixed in.

Maybe it's all in my head, but I've had several years and a lot of gigs in different situations to make these observations. Just like any horn, you do have to adjust to the Buescher and learn how to bring out the best in it.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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This is all very subtle and subjective, but it's there. Just for reference, I use an RPC 120B mpc which really seems to bring out the 'beast' in the Buescher. And I'm playing in the jump blues style, with some jazz & old school R&R mixed in.

Maybe it's all in my head, but I've had several years and a lot of gigs in different situations to make these observations. Just like any horn, you do have to adjust to the Buescher and learn how to bring out the best in it.
Try one with a Strathon. Will make your toes curl.
 

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Hey Fred, is that the one I sold you? That's a great horn. I would have kept it, except I never play the soprano.

Wilbur, don't apologize. Those who haven't owned & played a Buescher (in top playing condition) will never understand what great horns they are. Those who have, will...and do.
Yep . . . still got her. She's lookin' mighty fine for a senior citizen!
 
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