Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 20 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello everybody, recently I've been spending way too much time on the internet drooling over the various vintage horns on tenor madness, etc. I'm not, however, very experienced when it comes to vintage horns (playing-wise); so I have a few questions for you guys! (I'll be in the market for a new tenor soon, so the opinions are greatly appreciated).

-What do you think are the best of the best when it comes to vintage tenors? (excluding MKVI)

-10m vs 30m, what are the differences?

-Are 10ms w/out RTH subpar or just different?

-Are later Buescher 400s without the TH&C engravings the same?

-What about Buffet SDA?

-As far as MKVI, what are things to look for? (positive or negative - besides the obvious sketchy intonation, leaks, etc.)

I would love to hear your -let me reiterate- opinions, thanks guys!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
260 Posts
I have played many vintage saxophones. Probably the 3 best were an early King Super 20, and early Selmer SBA and a really killer early MK VI.

I have played many MK VIs and only found 2 that I really liked. I would prefer a Super 20 over a MK VI.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,985 Posts
You really have to get out and try these horns for yourself. The opinions are everywhere on this site, and such open ended questions will only lead to more subjective preferences that will do you no good in the long run until you actually get out and try some of these horns. You can do what I did many years ago, and that was to meet up with other local SOTW players and try their horns, or take a trip to a dealer like USA Horn in Jersey and try out their stock.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
53 Posts
Regarding 10Ms versus 30Ms, they are not much different soundwise. I just can't play the 10M because of the little finger key plate, whereas I had no problems switching from my Mark VI to the 30M, it was ever so easy! However, if you don't have tiny hands/fingers, the 10M should be workable...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
1,596 Posts
Excluding Vi's The Martin, 10M, and a SBA
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,597 Posts
I am with Grumps on the idea that you really need to try them. Horns are really personal - it is part of a system that includes the mouthpiece, reed, and your mouth/head/ears/hands/etc. Using Smokey's example, can you easily deal with the LH pinky table or is it a serious problem? I had a late Conn 10M - nice sound, keywork was good, but for some reason I could never get comfortable playing it while sitting down, and its weight bothered my neck. But others may not have those issues.

And everything is a trade-off - is having rolled tone holes worth paying an extra $1000 to you?

Also, there is variation from horn-to-horn (some more than others). I have a Dolnet BelAir that I like - some folks say they are LOUD and some say they are heavy, but mine does not seem to be either (at least for me - but maybe see "horns are personal" above).

My basic take is that if you are concerned about the cost of the horn, and are more interested in playing than collecting or prestige/coolness, you should look at the slightly less collectible horns - non-RTH 10Ms, King Zephyrs (instead of Super 20s), Buffets, etc.

The best horn for you (assuming you want to play it) is just that - the best horn for YOU, not the best in theory or reputation.
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,021 Posts
-What do you think are the best of the best when it comes to vintage tenors? (excluding MKVI)
I agree with Grumps and art that it really doesn't matter what we think; you really have to play them and decide for yourself. However, you probably know that already and just want to hear other's opinions (I understand that).

My answer would be a series one Buescher Aristocrat tenor (about 1940 vintage), since it's the best vintage horn I've played. I've at least tried a 10M, a couple of Super20s, and also own a 156 'Crat. I could heartily recommend those as well, but my series one 'Crat just has something special. Tonewise, I prefer it to my '65 MKVI; overall I have trouble picking between them. And I love that VI.

Just as an aside, I feel pretty strongly that if you were to pick up any one of the more reputable vintage horns, get it overhauled or make sure it's in top playing condition (very important!!!), and play it for a year or so, you'll be all set.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
6,086 Posts
I bought some vintage (very) Conns sight unseen recently with the intention of flipping the one I didn't like.

I still have them both :)

Like them both a lot. These days better than my fancy paris Selmer....

I think.

Part of it is that cool vintage vibe, the other part the sound I hear while playing it. They sound very similar to the Selmer recorded, but they vibrate differently when being played. They sound "bigger" in my head. When pushed - they both outshine the Selmer for old school blues & R&B as they can get really nasty. I heard a cat here playing some great jazz on one too, so I guess it's how you play it.

As others have said (sort of) -
Any vintage players horn will probably please you after you get to know it well.

I can't even offer an opinion as the old Conns are my only real experience with vintage saxes so I have no basis for comparison other than my modern Selmer. They are both a New Wonder and a New Wonder II.

I'd be happy with either as my only sax though. I have not been so lucky with all my purchases over the years.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician
Joined
·
25,985 Posts
I took some chances with my two main tenors, buying both sight unseen from Ebay. I got my 10M though after testplaying a vintage Conn, and my Silversonic after trying out a Zephyr. It was trying out that vintage Conn tenor that had me drop my quest for VI tenor; which had been consuming me since a wall of VI's I spent an afternoon with at USA Horn put my then VII tenor to shame.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,711 Posts
It all comes to personal taste but my choice would be my Vi. If I didnt have my VI I would have a Couf Superba I. I keep drooling at each one that comes up for sale but I really cant justify it.

SDA fans, dont take it personally but I really dislike that horn. To me it feels like the volume and tone has a compressor hooked up...they just wont open up...the sound is way too closed and sound somewhat awkward with a lot of typical jazz setups.

If you go really vintage I like the transitional Conns WAY better than the 10M. They fill the space in an amazing way. However, the ergos leave a lot to be desired.


Thats my 2 cents. Treat it as such and play a lot of horns before buying.
 

·
Indistinguishable Resident Buescher Bigot and Foru
Joined
·
8,588 Posts
Should I join the train of hyperbole? Mebbe not this time.

Go try some horns. Where are you?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
Like I almost know what I am talking about (NOT!) but I have big hands, and picked up a used H Couf Superba II tenor that fit like a glove. years ago I had a Selmer SA80 II. I would NOT trade this Couf for that Selmer. Not on feel, not on sound.

Today I tried a Martin Committee III. It had a more "lush" tone than my Couf (to my ears) but they weren't too far apart. Given pricing of Selmer VI's or even new selmers, I would take the Martin any day over the Selmers.

But that is just me, and I have not a lot of experience, like darker sounding horns, and find paying ridiculous prices for 'vintage' Selmers because they are Selmers to be nothing more than 'marketing'...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,853 Posts
I just bought a Martin Committee III after trying out a few other vintage horns within my price range ($2000). I tried 2 Conn 10Ms, a Buescher Aristocrat, several different Martins and nothing came close to having the sound of The Martin. The whole vintage horn thing is a very, very personal thing and so much depends on the horn itself and how well it fits you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
yeah, and then spring for a really good mpc for it as well. not necessarily expensive, just good, and awaaaayyyyy we gooooo!
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,853 Posts
A good mouthpiece is necessary. I am transitioning from a Keilwerth SX to this Martin Committee and I am finding that what worked on the Keilwerth, is not working on the Martin (this is one dark horn!). I'm ready to have fun searching for a "Martin mouthpiece".
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
127 Posts
A good mouthpiece is necessary. I am transitioning from a Keilwerth SX to this Martin Committee and I am finding that what worked on the Keilwerth, is not working on the Martin (this is one dark horn!). I'm ready to have fun searching for a "Martin mouthpiece".
Bob Carpenter, whom I just bought a couple mpc's from, plays a very nice Committee III. He is a mpc refacer in Bothell, Wa. I am sure, given he has the same horn and works mpc's that he could set you up. Lemme know if you want contact info...
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
2,853 Posts
That's a good idea. I know of Bob Carpenter from my dealings with World Wide Sax. From all I've heard, he is a good mpc guy. I appreciate the offer.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
864 Posts
Since I don't believe anyone's answered this one yet--yes, the later 400s are pretty much the same design-wise as the Top Hot, at least according to Steve Goodson (of Saxgourmet.com), who, though he does not have a great rep on here, knows way more than the average poster on here about saxes.

From my own experience, I owned a 369,xxx 400 alto that was so rich and buttery sounding that I assumed it was probably just as good as any Top Hat out there (though admittedly I have never played one of those). Plus it sounded better and outplayed my 1932 Conn Tranny 6M, which is saying something.

It had the Vertical BUESCHER engraving on the bell and just "400" in small letters I believe (it was not a Super 400). So I would recommend one of those up to serial number 380,xxx or so, which is when they say Buescher was bought out by Selmer. Or a Super 400 with the nickel tone ring (instead of sterling) might be even better, though again, I bet my regular 400 sounded just as good as any Super 400.

The later ones are also a good buy, as I bought my alto with original case for around $300 off ebay.

Regarding pieces, I think my fellow members may be assuming too much from your newb-style question, given that your avatar shows what I would imagine is you performing with a modern sax (JK?). But as long as we're on the topic, I feel compelled to share a recent revelation of mine. Well, you've probably seen how heavily Links are pushed on here for tenor, and as such, I have played one for the last two years; and even though it's a vintage one (ca. 1980 "Fat Boy" Tranny STM) which everyone swears are better than the current crop, it always left something to be desired in the volume department, especially in the upper register.

And no, I have not had it refaced yet, which is something I am hesitant to do since I do not want to remove the gold plating from the piece. BTW--I want to start a separate thread on this, but exactly how much plating is removed in the refacing process and in what areas? If it's only on the rails and table, I would be okay with that, but I cannot stand the idea of playing a bare brass mouthpiece (meaning mainly the sides of the piece, etc. that touch your oral cavity)--YUCK!

But anyway, back to my revelation--I just bought the rare Vandoren V16 T6 hard rubber mouthpiece (supposedly you can only get the T6 (tip opening around .97 or something) from the infamous 1stopclarinet or wienermusic.com (equally infamous in my book due to their PUNATIVE return policy and restocking fees that are so complex and multilayered they're almost comical. Go to that section of their site that explains it for a good laugh! The only problem is its not very funny when you find out as I did that it will cost you $40 to trial a modern Berg Larsen SS piece when it's all said and done. And I thought Saxquest's restocking fee was onerous! :))

But man, this T6 with a LaVoz reed was just the ticket for my 1950s vintage American tenor. Way more volume than the Link when pushed but with a darker vintage Slant Link vibe. Think Getz or mid '50s Mobley (such as his "Madeline").

Simply an incredible mouthpeice and more vintage/open like an old Link Tonemaster as opposed to the so-called "New Vintage 'Slant' " from Link which I found to be a huge disappointment as it's way too focused like so many other modern pieces and not open and vintage enough for my liking.

Well, have fun. Vintage is the only thing that will give you that tonal warmth that you obviously seek. Yeah, just like old Zoot Sims said, they used better brass on the old horns (my old tech who is close to retirement said it was called "cartridge brass," which is the same stuff they used for WWII shell casings and which they don't use for saxes anymore). Yeah, that's why--despite claims that they all sound like Mark VI's--all the new horns coming out of the Far East today sound so tinny--and why when no one's looking, all the big name pros who endorse them continue to play vintage on stage and in the studio.
 
1 - 20 of 20 Posts
Top