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Hello Everyone!
I'm a saxophone student at SUNY Fredonia where the "Sigurd Rascher" school of thought reigns supreme. I, initially being a tenor player, wanted to purchase an alto. On eBay I saw a Buescher True Tone for $700 and thought it was a steal because even getting it overhauled would keep my prices pretty low as far as working altos go. The seller told me that the pads and corks were replaced, which they were, but it still required some work on the horn, which it does. Unfortunately, whenever I play it the lower register goes very flat and anything above octave G becomes sharp (my tuner was reading my palm keys as a half step above the note I was actually playing). Should I attempt to get my money back? Is it worth getting the horn overhauled? Are the buescher horns worth it?
Thank you in advance
 

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Bueschers are worth it, I love my alto and bari.

What mouthpiece are you using when playing? It could very well effect the intonation.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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Given where you're going and what you're playing, I assume you're using either a Rascher or Caravan, or else a Buescher mouthpiece of the period. I wouldn't call a model 126 "TT" a steal at $700, particularly still needing work, but it sounds like a regulation issue with the horn, particularly if it's only half finished by the seller, and even more so if it was a DIY job by the seller who wasn't a tech to begin with. Likely less than a couple hundred to get it sorted out.

School's out, so this is a good time to send it off to someone to finish it. Lots of good techs on the forum. There's even a thread in here somewhere that lists saxophone specialist techs. Take the time to reach out to them and check their waiting list to make sure you get the horn back before school starts. Probably someone local to Fredonia that's servicing the sax students' horns and will be very familiar with setting up a TT to suit the school's requirements. Cleveland's not too far away, and John Geers is a major collector/reseller of these horns there.

You can contact Mark Aronsen, who appears to have been one of Rascher's students. He's pretty well known for setting up Bueschers for classical playing, particularly when there are intonation issues. Also Gayle Friedenburgh in Florida is pretty savvy on these and moves a lot of vintage Bueschers through her shop as does Curt Alderac at Music Medic. Lots of other good ones that I know and have worked on my own horns, like Matt Stohrer (NC) and Shelly Tanabe (NYC).

But, if you want it back by August, you'll want to check the wait list, as all the folks that have the high end reputations for these instruments are also quite busy and may have some very long wait times -- particularly as this is the season for student horn repairs. Worthwhile calling a few to talk with them and see what works for you.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/ Forum Contributor 2011
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My 2 cents:

Personally I wouldn't invest any more money in the TT alto if it isn't playing well for you, as you have already paid a somewhat premium price for it. You very likely won't get the sharpness resolved in the second-octave-vent range without a new neck or a neck re-taper. Get an Aristocrat or New Aristocrat and be done with it. Ask your teacher to help you locate a good instrument.

Send it back if you can.

Regards,

Alan
 

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I would send it back as there are a lot of these around from sellers off of ebay. Look around the marketplace here at SOTW as you may find a good one. It is remotely possible that the horn you got is High Pitch so look for the Low Pitch above the serial number. Have you had anyone else try it? Those intonation quirks sound way off as these are usually OK. Too bad you are not looking for a later Aristocrat as several of us have nice ones for sale.
 

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I will point out on later TTs than mid-1924ish that the Low Pitch is below the TT logo, not above it. I'll estimate that it changes at serial #150k, as I've seen earlier ones than mine (16871x) that have it above the TT logo.
 

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On eBay I saw a Buescher True Tone for $700 and thought it was a steal... Should I attempt to get my money back? Is it worth getting the horn overhauled? Are the buescher horns worth it?
Thank you in advance
You can get later (desirable) alto True Tone saxophones with original silver plate in need of an overhaul for around $300 on E-bay if you are patient and shop around. With that said, it is a common complaint with these horns that they play sharp from A2 and up. Mine did when I first bought it. I got used to lipping the top end down, which is what you'll probably have to do with yours should you keep it. I was fortunate enough to find a later 01 Aristocrat neck for mine which cleaned up the sharp top end for me, but that solution isn't likely to happen unless you are truly lucky (as I was). So if you can return the horn, I would; especially if it isn't silver (or gold) plated or isn't a later model with the roller G# and Front F key.
 

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Try a Yamaha neck. It should fit right in and improve the intonation.
Or simply ruin the great sound of a Buescher. Maybe, I don't really know. FWIW, I've owned a late '20s TT alto since High School (a loooong time) and never had any intonation problems with the neck (maybe with my playing).
 

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Or simply ruin the great sound of a Buescher. Maybe, I don't really know. FWIW, I've owned a late '20s TT alto since High School (a loooong time) and never had any intonation problems with the neck (maybe with my playing).
I have several Yamaha necks (G1, G3, V1) that play less sharp for me up at top with my TT (serial #222xxx) than the original neck. Your mileage my vary.
 

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Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
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The tenon fits without modification? Yamaha tenor necks are certainly not interchangeable with Buescher tenors -- way too small. Haven't tried the altos though, but it certainly strikes me that the difference between English and Metric measurements, the same thing that confronts anyone trying to use a post-Selmer buy-out Buescher neck on a pre-Selmer buy-out Buescher horn might be an issue.
 

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To cure sharpness from A2 up, I shrink the pip opening on the neck by putting in a liner or filling the hole a bit.
 

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The closest person to you in Fredonia is Steve at Alder Creek Music in N. Tonawanda. If you have already returned the TT, email me and either my son or I can help you out. There are about 40-50 Buescher altos here.
 

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Try a Yamaha neck. It should fit right in and improve the intonation.
A bit off topic, but I actually just did the reverse experiment using a 1921 True-Tone neck on my YAS-21. I'm currently overhauling the rest of the Buescher, but was curious to see if I could get the neck "to speak" in order to give me some idea as to what to expect from the rest of the horn. This particular True-Tone was fairly well preserved, but completely unplayable, so I wasn't even able to get a bit of an idea as to how it's going to play. The Buescher neck tenon was a near perfect fit for the Yamaha receiver, and even the neck angles/pip location looked very similar to one another. The only required modification was the addition of some aquarium filter tubing added to the Yamaha's octave linkage so that it reached the Buescher octave key.

The neck seemed to work well, with the exception of the lower notes. Low D was especially flat, and the other low notes were also flat, though not nearly as bad. I do know that the Yamaha 21 is going to be a much different animal from any Buescher True-Tone, but I'm also keeping this intonation tendency in mind when I'm putting the rest of the Buescher back together, as I may have to adjust the venting to compensate for an inherent intonation tendency. The earlier versions are not known for the fantastic intonation of the later incarnations of this model. I'm also wondering what bearings the forked Eb tonehole has on the lower intonation.
 

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If the alt Eb is plugged or (better yet) reverse sprung, the only note affected would be a slight flattening of F. I notice it more on some sopranos, not too much on altos. A lot depends on the individual horn. Some horns just are hard to keep the Eb set-up working so I reverse the spring, thin the felt under the E pear and lightly cement that felt down on the E cup to prevent rattles.
 

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Yeah, $700 was a lot to pay for one not in playing condition and with tuning issues. I got mine for $300 years back on Ebay and after cleaning off decades of tarnish off found it to be a 99.9% complete satin silver beauty. In total I've spent an additional $200 to change a couple of old pads and get some other mechanical issues corrected, but that's it.

On top of it it's a series 4 model with the great roller G# pinky table and the high C# adjuster. It doesn't have the better neck but I put a piece of ballpoint tube in the pip like Bruce always said to do and the intonation is pretty spot on. The sound of these saxes is better than most any vintage alto out there, and certainly better than any modern ones, IMO of course. I just started playing it again after only playing tenor for years and it is a real joy in every way. Going to be playing it along with tenor in the rock band I just joined two weeks ago. YMMV with TTsso please don't bother dissing them to me because this is my opinion and it's laid in stone.
 

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I'm regards to partially plugging the octave pip, I'm assuming that this is to bring a sharp upper register back into tune? I'm not very familiar with playing the earlier True-Tones, but read that some claim that there are intonation issues. I'm not sure if there's a common "bum range" in these horns, or whether they just have more flexibility than what modern players are used to.
 

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I don't have any intonation issues with mine. Any issues are more than likely due to me.
 
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