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Discussion Starter #1
Following up on the recent tenor discussion, what say ye on it's aging partner in crime? Naturally, it must be stipulated that Bird seemed to make out on whatever horn that replaced the one he just hocked. And Ornette broke ground on a hunk of plastic that I doubt anyone could keep in working order that long. But there sure is a recorded history of some really sweet sounds.

The only alto I've ever played is a Martin Searchlight, which seems like a killer to me. Of course it probably doesn't hurt that it came with a vintage Meyer in the case. Plus I wouldn't be surprised if someone mentioned a preference for the Committee II. I also wouldn't be surprised by a lack of consensus on any particular Buescher (though I'm real curious about the TH&C). And while I've heard the claim that it is the alto that shines brightest in the VI family, I got to wonder about the old Radios. (Meanwhile, I know a talented young lady looking to trade her ancient King in on a Conn.)
 

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I'm going to put my vote for the Conn 6M with rolled tone holes and microtuner as the best alto ever made.
 

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I haven't tried them all, but I will say, I LOVE my King Super 20! Big sound, a blast to play, by far the best horn of any that I have tried.
 

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Conn 6M => Martin Committee => Buescher "The New Aristocrat".

But IMO, there is no such thing as "The best" for any individual horns, rather across the board, how did or still do they stack up against others. There are Selmers and Keilwerths out there that are equally good or better. The 6M, though ..... dang it!!
 

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All of my (working) altos have their charms: my 1950 Zephyr, 1946 The Martin Comm. III, even my cheap 1960s(?) Kohlert Bixley stencil, though it needs some TLC. Wouldn't let any of them go, though haven't decided whether or not to have the Bixley serviced.
 

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Among the best: a late 1930’s Balance Action...
 

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I once had a Conn New Wonder nickel plate with the micro tuner neck. It was a sweet sounding horn but the ergos were so so. I still own a Selmer Largebore (cir. 1929), but don't really play it much. I tried selling it but couldn't get what I wanted so I still have it. Anyway, I much rather play my Cannonball alto over any of the vintage horns I've owned. It's got a great sound and the ergos are much better than any of my vintage horns ever were.
 

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I thnk it will rival my 5 year old YAS 82 Z as my gig horn. I think the Yani was made in the 70s 80s so its a few years old. Whatever., works for you K
 

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My very first alto back in the 60's was a Conn NW that I found at St. Vincent De Paul for $30. I don't remember if it was a I or II but it was really sweet. Then after decades of not playing alto back 14 years ago I bought a NW I again. Great sounding horn but the pinky table left a lot to be desired in my opinion.

So I got a Buescher TT Series IV that not only is a breeze for fingering but has the nicest alto sound I've ever had. Better than the Conn IMHO. So I sold the NW, and this TT has remained my alto ever since.

I also briefly had a Martin Handcraft Committee I alto mostly because I love my Martin Comm III tenor and wanted to see what an alto was like. That was a really great sax for sure, but still not as great as my Buescher. So I sold it to another Martin lover here on the forum.
 

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I have a Mark VI, Conn 6M viii, Conn 28M, Martins of all series and a King Zephyr Special plus about 20 others. I would put the Zephyr as the best all around horn but hard to beat a Conn or Martin.
 

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I’m pretty much a modern sax guy I like mark 6 and Yamahas but if I had to go vintage I’d go with a king or a Martin. I do like the super 20s and the Martin. Not a conn sax guy but the 6m without the tuning slide wasn’t bad either. I’ve had every vintage alto you can name over the years and I prefer the new yas 62 and I have mark 6s that I like.
 

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I've played a lot of different horns, "Balanced Action/MKVI" Selmers, 6M and 28M Conns, "The Alto" Committee III Martins and "Zephyr Special" Kings, but, by far, the best one for me has been my '51 Buescher "Big B" Aristocrat.

Great, easy playing ergonomics, "snappy" but not "stiff" action, in tune enough, but with "wiggle room" and tons of POP.

I liked it so much, I got a matching Bari (1949) and just this year a Tenor (1950) - top notch horns, all.
 

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I favor the vintage flavor of my Buescher True Tone alto over any Aristocrat or TH&C alto I've gotten to try. After getting it, I soon sold my Selmer SBA alto. Found the same flavor though, with a gold plated Conn NWII alto that I got to borrow for a bit.
 

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Started life on a Buescher Aristocrat Alto but was talked into buying a new SA80 in 1982 buy my Sax Teacher and sadly let it go,regrettably. I was 9 mths into learning the Sax at the time so probably sounded like a lost Ship in the Fog.
Guess like many of us, I didn't know any better back then and had very little knowledge or appreciation of what was in my Hands at that moment in time.
If only for the Internet and SOTW way back.
It's the only Vintage horn I've had...
 
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