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Hello All,

I have recently come upon a Buescher Top Hat and Cane alto that I am interested in purchasing. It is in pretty rough condition. It was sitting in a attic without a case. I would like to get some feedback on whether $350 is a good deal for this alto, in its current condition. It looks to have a frothy/foggy texture on the lacquer, but appears there are no dents. Is this salvageable? So the questions is, Buy or not to buy? Please take a look at the photos here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/9aiq1rjcjnvi0bk/AADsGW6egX-EMURVxhuaRbrAa?dl=0

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Thanks, Jim
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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So, in playing condition it's a $2200 horn. It will take at least $1000 to get it there, but you could be without it for 6 months. The math isn't hard. Depending on your expectations regarding the repair, the rest of it might be.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Note my edit after your post:

Depending on your expectations regarding the repair, the rest of it might be.
That said, I would buy it, but there have been a number of techs that have questioned my sanity regarding restoring horns like this.
 

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Personally, based on my experience mainly on vintage metal clarinets, I would stay away from horns in these kind of situations
My thoughts was also "hey, I'm lucky enough to get a priced instrument for cheap, let's jump on it!" but I regretted this choice soon!
Lacquer wear, worn pads, some dent and tarnish are the least things you will find on horns like these; bent body and then pillars out of line, metal corrosion hard to defeat, rust and stuck screws will dramatically increase the overhaul price and you have always a "refurbished" horn and ugly looking as well

The TH&C is a great horn but I definitely wouldn't suggest to buy that one
If you are looking for a 400 there is also an option
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c71Ro_ou25g
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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$2200 as a final value after repair is a bit optimistic IMO these days, I'd say this a bit of a gamble at that price and condition.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
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I have recently come upon a Buescher Top Hat and Cane alto that I am interested in purchasing. It is in pretty rough condition. It was sitting in a attic without a case. I would like to get some feedback on whether $350 is a good deal for this alto, in its current condition. It looks to have a frothy/foggy texture on the lacquer, but appears there are no dents. Is this salvageable?
Do you have a tech in mind for the job? You need to talk to them.
 

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Do you have a tech in mind for the job? You need to talk to them.
+1. Although they'd probably want to see the horn in person before saying too much.

Almost any horn can be salvaged and put into top playing condition. It's just a matter of money and finding a good tech to do it. In this case, the only reason to consider it is that is one of the better horns ever made. The problem is, you don't know how much it's going to cost and what the end result will be.

I'd be more inclined to look for a TH&C or an Aristocrat (equally great Buescher) alto in top condition and just pay the price up front. But that's my approach, not necessarily everyone's.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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+1. Although they'd probably want to see the horn in person before saying too much.
They could probably give a minimum and maximum quote. The minimum being their price for a full overhaul, the maximum would include the sound of air being sucked in over their teeth.

Again, it looks like a real gamble at that price. I would make a lower offer and if they don't accept it walk away.
 

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The only reason I would buy it
is if I am a skilled technician and do myself the work
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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$2200 as a final value after repair is a bit optimistic IMO these days, I'd say this a bit of a gamble at that price and condition.
Backtracking a little... looking at eBay, Pete may be right. Looking at the sold ones on ePay lately, they're running from $295 for a wreck, and up to $1695 for one that doesn't look bad at all, but not a closet queen. I'm assuming here that the horn would be overhauled and cleaned, which might be $1000, might be quite a bit more, but the pics are not good at spotting rusted rods or other possible maladies that could drive up the cost of the repair.

Regarding flip value, I don't think I would do it. Final cost of the horn as a player is always the purchase cost + repairs, and this one needs a lot, but they all need some. Sometimes it's $400, sometimes it's $1200. I'll admit there's some risk to this one in terms of value.
 
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