Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm getting back to playing saxophone again after about 7 years away. Playing used to be such a major part of my life but life, school, and finances got in the way. But i'm back and ready for that part of my soul to be fulfilled. Only been half alive without this. Currently, i'm looking at different altos on a dealer website I found recommended here on SOTW. Ideally, I'd like at least an intermediate sax to give me the flexibility and response I need as I get my chops back. I think I've narrowed it down to 2 saxophones, a 1945 Buescher Aristocrat and a 1933 Vintage Martin Handcraft Imperial.

A dark tone but not muddy tone is important to me as well as being free playing at the low end. I've been seeing that Bueschers are great horns but haven't come across as much talk about early Martin horns. I'm currently leaning toward the Martin but . It's marked as having a dark tone and being in what seems like slightly better condition:
  • Possible left the factory as bare brass and later lacquered
  • Older lacquer ~80%.
  • Large dings in the bow and minor repairs
  • Newer pads with dome metal resonators.

The Buescher
  • Original lacquer ~60%
  • Keyguard leg repairs.
  • Minor dings
  • Snap-in resonators removed
  • Pads with plastic resonators
  • Pads good to excellent condition

I don't know much about buying horns or what is the most important to have. I also don't really have the budget for expensive repairs. I don't care about aesthetics or dents much. All of the horns I've been able to own have been pretty beat up/ lower cost horns. As long as I could get a good enough tone, it was fine by me. Lol. For a while I was even having to hold open a key with my pinky. Now that I can afford to get myself a bit better of a horn, I'd like to do it right. It'll be nice not to struggle as much. I'm definitely deferring to your experience here. Please let me know what you would pick. I don't know much about the resonators. Some info on those would be great just for my own knowledge.

Thanks everyone. I'm excited.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,202 Posts
Be very skeptical of a 75 year old horn being advertised with "original lacquer" or the other advertised as "possible" bare brass to begin with. If these horns are listed on ebay, factor in the cost of a complete overhaul as well. But unless you're both very, very familiar with how ebay works and how to shop for used horns... I'd consider other options if you're buying sight unseen.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,724 Posts
The newest of these two instruments is 74 years old. They have both been through the wringer, it sounds like.

Both of these were designed and made as professional grade instruments of their time. But in dealing with something that old, its current condition and its history will be 95% of the choice, not what some guy putting it for sale types in the description. There's so much left out of the descriptions above, such as condition of the keywork, how it's set up, is the neck still properly fitted to the body after all these years, and so on and so on.

You need to try the instruments.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,161 Posts
I second what turf3 says.

Don’t buy with your heart buy with your brain. Go try them and spend some time in doing so, bring along a person with a degree of skepticism because often times people have already set their mind on buying something even before they see it.

I understand that you want a vintage saxophone, they are beautiful and have history, but the second part may be the one which may cost you money and it may be a lot of money because repairs these days cost more than some horns are worth.

Both these horns are described as heavily used and repaired I would stay well away form these and would buy something in better state.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
26,202 Posts
Both these horns are described as heavily used and repaired I would stay well away form these and would buy something in better state.
Yeah, major bow dings on the Martin, and who knows what that did to the soldered tone holes down there. And like an Aristocrat that had its snaps ripped out during an overhaul wasn't relacquered as a matter of course at some point in its 75 years. Just the highlights from those ad copies is enough to scare me away.

There are plenty of vintage saxophone dealers right here on this site that can get you a great old horn ready to go at a reasonable price. Take the time to get to know them and see what they might have to offer.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,161 Posts
indeed, sometimes I do wonder how cheap they have been to start with to be able to be sold at those rates. If I find anything in the $100-200 range ( that’s before pads other parts and labour costs) they are normally things of no quality.

Add the cost of an overhaul or even partial repairs and they are no longer viable. Some techs much be able to find horns for very low prices then put some work into getting tem closed with the minimum of expense to be able to sell at the prices that I see them going for.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,863 Posts
I bought a vintage horn 10 years ago sight unseen from eBay for $600. I put another $900 into it to get it overhauled. It's a nice horn now but if I knew then what I know now I'd have slowed down and shopped for vintage horns in my local music stores. In the end I would have spent about the same but I wouldn't have had the disappointment of a horn with 50 year old leaky pads and waiting several weeks for the overhaul work to be done. Not to mention the shock of the $900 bill to fix it. I thought I'd take it in for a re-pad for $200 and be done with it only to find out the hinge joints needed to be tightened up so the pads would seat properly and probably a lot of other stuff like tone hole leveling. Better to find a nice horn in ready to play condition from a reputable dealer than take a blind stab on eBay, for a first horn anyway. Not to say I wouldn't buy another horn on eBay but if I did I would factor in the price of an overhaul to my bid.

I waiting for someone to tell you to buy a Yamaha YAS-23 even though you say you want a vintage American horn. :rolleyes:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your responses. I wrote a quick reply a while ago but haven't seen it pop up. I hear your responses and I'm holding off on buying those horns. I've gotten a few offers to buy personal horns. While I really appreciate it, I think that, for my first horn, I'm going to try a dealer first. If you have any recommendations for good dealers in the Palm Beach County area, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru
Joined
·
39,161 Posts
Thanks, everyone. I appreciate your responses. I wrote a quick reply a while ago but haven't seen it pop up. I hear your responses and I'm holding off on buying those horns. I've gotten a few offers to buy personal horns. While I really appreciate it, I think that, for my first horn, I'm going to try a dealer first. If you have any recommendations for good dealers in the Palm Beach County area, I'd appreciate it.

Thanks again
We have a dealer list which is compiled by Saxismayaxe , there is a Florida section, https://forum.saxontheweb.net/forumdisplay.php?336-Florida Good.Luck

Buying froma Dealer will always be considerably more expensive than from a private seller.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top