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Discussion Starter #1
I know there have been comparisons as a part of other threads, but I'd like to focus directly on these two alto horns. I have a Buescher Top Hat & Cane tenor which I love and now want to get a vintage alto. In your opinion is the TH&C or a Martin Magna the better alto to buy? I'm in the geezer category and want to get the best vintage alto I can find for the long term. It's for all around purposes, mainly big band, rock and light jazz. For several reasons, I'm not very inclined toward a Mark VI. Thanks for any perspective you can offer on this comparison.

Also, I'm wondering if anyone has had experience with an after-market silver neck on the Magna, as opposed to the rare original silver Magna necks. I asked this question on another thread as well, but wanted to ask in the context of the comparison above. Thanks very much.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
No thoughts on these two? Intonation?
 

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I have three vintage Buescher altos (TT, Big B, TH&C), no Martins. I love my Bueschers - all have good intonation and tone. Of the three, I prefer the Big B, then the TH&C, and then the TT. Just as easily someone else may rate them in a different order. All are good players. DAVE
 

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John - and I have a Martin Magna alto, but no TH&C's. (imho) Martin Magna is about as good as it gets, but then you'd expect that from a Martin enthusiast...

I've owned and played Buescher TT's, but naturally that's not a fair comparison to the Martin Magna.
 

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Thanks Dave and CMelody. That's all helpful to know. I'm trying to test both out, but it's difficult to make arrangements to have both at the same place at the same time, and to also compare to my current Yani A992. I'm going to try to make a decision in the next couple of weeks and get on with it. Thanks again.

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John
 

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John S: I rarely make pronouncements that one example of one marque will be better than one example of another marque. My love for Bueschers is general but I will acknowledge that there may even be a Yamaha out there that plays better than one of my Bueschers!!

The point being that I doubt if anyone can generalize and say that between the two horns you are considering, one would be better than the other. You just gotta test 'em to make that very personal decision.

As far as your A992 goes, I've owned one of those, too. Very nice modern alto alright. DAVE
 

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Dave - and I'll add to that by saying that, apart from first impressions, I was still getting to know (and finding more subtle sounds on) my Magna for weeks afterwards.

Yes, I was able to make a quick judgement in an afternoon, against a couple of other horns I really liked as well, but only after a few weeks - including live playing, and with a couple of mouthpieces - was I really able to say "this is an amazing sax, no regrets whatsoever". So difficult...
 

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I agree that it may take a while to identify all of the pros and cons about a newly acquired instrument . . . AND that playing it in public performances is the TRUE test. But few of us can take that long before making a decision.

So, we try to play candidates side-by-side and depend on our ears and fingers to make the initial decision. OR we do like I have done many times and just buy the thing . . . on a whim or based on past experiences with similar models or brands.

Still, just because I like Bueschers and you like Martins doesn't mean that from my perspective all Bueschers will outplay all Martins - or vice versa. Some posters seem to make those comments and that's what I wanted to stress - having any of us say that any Martin or Buescher would be a better buy (the original question of this thread) can't be answered. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Yeah, agreed on all of the above. One tech guy told me that, as good as the Magna tenors are, he finds the altos tend to have intonation issues above octave G. No substitute, though, for a good demo on any possible horn. Thanks again.

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John
 
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