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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
This is a 156 body model tenor with the Big B engraving. I was so curious about these vintage Bueschers, the way people rave about them… I bought this tenor from anther forum member. It was a slightly later horn than I was looking for, ideally I wanted one closer to 300,xxx this was close enough. After seeing pics and vids of Sonny Rollins playing one of these I got even more curious. Given the fact that I didn't have to do more than click a mouse to buy it, for well under $1000.00 with shipping, i was very happy. This sax has "lacquer pox. Its my "Ugly Beauty." But it was only lightly played, and there are no dents or damage, the keys, body and neck are in beautiful condition not bent or hurt in any way, really pristine, not even any visible scratches anywhere on the body or neck, just rotting lacquer… I really dig the look. Musical instrument Reed instrument Wind instrument Woodwind instrument Art Musical instrument Reed instrument Wind instrument Brass instrument Sleeve Musical instrument Reed instrument Brass instrument String instrument Wind instrument Drinkware Wood Close-up Human leg Glass

After much handwringing about how to OH it, I finally settled on the Matthew Stohrer compromise solution: Adapt high quality standard pads to the original snaps.
The OH was done by Peter Bannon of Nyack, who did an incredible, superb job adapting the pads to the snaps. This OH is a lot of work, but the horn came out playing and feeling fantastic.

The horn is finally done.

Ergos and build quality:
Ergos a bit on the awkward side for sure, especially the pinkies, but still far better than the horrible 10M ergos, but not nearly as comfy as a Selmer Mk VI. The angle at which it enters the mouth is not entirely to my liking… The Selmer and Viking definitely more comfortable. Maybe I will experiment with a repositioning of the strap ring.

When I go from this back to either my Selmer or Viking M40, the ergos feel better, but leaving the incredible crispy, snappy brightness of the Buescher behind makes me a little sad... there is something more fun in the sound. This is an extremely light weight sax.

Intonation
Fantastic "modern" intonation, octaves line up incredibly well, no problem playing this very well in tune. I am playing an old Brilhart tonalin with an .088 tip and LaVoz Hard reeds on this.

Sound:
Wow this thing is VERY bright, but not thin at all. The tone is very colorful for sure. Very very responsive instrument. It but with a bit of spread and bigness,and a lot of fun. The sound is very intimate, feels like its right there with you, very close to you… The Selmer feels like somehow the sound is a bit out in front of you more, sorry if that doesn't make sense. Could be the angle of the neck and bell relative to your ears.

So this tenor is definitely a monster player, But the comfort factor is big, and still makes the Selmer, Viking and TK tenors more likely to be on the gig for now.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

On the ergos it's clearly in what you get used to. I personally struggle with Selmer-based key placements. I certain I could get used to them if I had to, but I'd have to spend time on them to get comfortable and keep my fingers from interfering with each other. :)

That's a good characterization of the sound. You feel quite close to it and everything else sounds like it's way out in front of you.
 

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Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

Thanks for the great info! I've got a 48 Big B - the resonators look like the ones in the video. Is there a way to tell for sure without taking the horn apart?
 

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Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

Latenight, I have one of these in silver plate and they are really nice horns. I guarantee you'll get used to the ergos if you play it for a while. I got mine several years ago as a backup for my MKVI. The VI went into the shop for some pads, etc, and so I played the Buescher on several gigs. By the time I got the VI back, the the VI became the backup horn, primarily because of that livelier sound you describe. For at least a year I stayed on the Buescher, then gradually went back to the VI as the main horn, but I still use the Buescher when I feel the need for that particular sound. It's not so much that it's brighter, more like it has some 'effects' built in. Hard to describe.

Just fyi, the horn Sonny played was an earlier (pre-156) Big B, with the smaller bell flare and different-shaped bell. The bell is not smaller, but it looks smaller due to the smaller flare. That particular horn has a somewhat different sound. More compact, focused, and slightly darker, deeper (?), but still with that 'spark' in the sound. It's the same body as the 'series 1' Aristocrat. I also have one of those and can do a direct comparison to the 156. Still can't say which I prefer. Anyway, enjoy that horn!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

Another great thing is the altissimo fingerlings are identical to Selmer/Viking/TK the those notes pop out effortlessly and big.
 

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Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

On the ergos it's clearly in what you get used to.
Not necessarily.....
I dug out my 300xxx silver/gold B for a blast the other day......excellent sound, as good as my Grassi.
Great altissimo also, as good as my Grassi.
However, whereas I loved the low action low Bb, I simply could not get used to digging around in a remote corner for the low B.
To eliminate the problem of access to the low C# I have previously linked it in with the large G# plate....low C# is now accessible & lighter in action. Low C# can also be activated in the normal way for any masochistic players.
Apart from being prettier & more elegant than my Grassi it has no advantage over a well set up Pro 2000....& the keywork, in my view, is worse....so....back to the Grassi. :cry:

PS.
Forgot to mention.
Like the OP, I found the neck angle to be too flat....the mouthpiece entering my mouth horizontally.
I found myself pulling the base of the horn to my side, & rearwards in order to achieve the "right" mouthpiece angle.
In this position, I lacked only the greased hair with centre parting & co-respondent's brown & white shoes to qualify for a 1920s Vaudeville band.
 

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Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

Great horns but is the serial # in the title correct? Should it read 329xxx?
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Re: Review of Buescher Big B tenor 229,xxx

Yes sir!
Its that left hand pinky thing that I dislike the most. Maybe I can have the action lightened a bit down there, but it is a problem for sure. But the tone, tuning and vibe from this horn is simply awesome.
great horns but is the serial # in the title correct? Should it read 329xxx?
 

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Martin Commitee 3 52bari & 56 tenor 49 Big B tenor 58 Buffet Alto, 28 Martin sop, bassclar Leblanc
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I play a really fine totally overhauled with the original Norton springs and snaps on pads (By David Barraut , very famous tech in france) 328590 Big B tenor.
Compared to my 1956 commitee III Martin, the Buescher has a darker and sweeter sound.
I feel High register is not so powerfull as the Martin.
Big B Tune and homogeneity are fantastic. But i keep the 2 tenors.
The Buescher for duets and soft atmospheres and the Martin for quartets and more and when i need Power and dirty sounds (blues, rock and experimental music).
If i had to keep only one, the choice would be difficult !
Before these tenors, i've played many Conn and selmer (Balanced, Mark VI) .
Buescher and Martin are differents and have a particular feeling that i prefer.....
 
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