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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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Do you have any ideas of what Altos should I consider?
It'd help if we knew exactly how much "not much" is. Buescher 140's can be found in good playing shape for under a grand, and they're marvelous horns. I've never tried a Martin Indiana alto, but the tenor I just picked up is every bit as good as folks said it would be. Conn NWII or Tranny.
 

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Selmer Paris - SBA alto (‘50); Reference 36; Mark VI tenor (‘74)
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So he said he sold his YAS-62 because it's too much horn to be sitting around, and you recommend a YAS-62. Nice
he said he sold his tenor and I was willing to bet it was a newer model, though maybe not.

A purple logo/mk1 alto will get you back to the 80s, is cheap, and will take you much further than a bundy or Indiana.

If an old 62 ALTO isn’t vintage enough…get yourself a 61! Even cheaper and will get you back into the 1970s!
 

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A purple logo/mk1 alto will get you back to the 80s, is cheap, and will take you much further than a bundy or Indiana.
Just one of the many opinions expressed on this thread.

Plus, 62 altos are no longer "cheap," at least compared to a Bundy, Indiana or many of the other suggestions on this thread.

On ebay, "purple logo" Yamaha 62s are going for $1,700 minimum.
 

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he said he sold his tenor and I was willing to bet it was a newer model, though maybe not.

A purple logo/mk1 alto will get you back to the 80s, is cheap
He said he sold his YAS-62 because he is mainly a tenor player. I understand your confusion though.

I won't discuss what is cheap or expensive, because that only depends on the buyer, but would reason anyway that anything above 1000€ can't be said to be cheap. A 1000€ mk VI is an incredible steal/deal, but it still isn't cheap to me, because it's 1000€.
 

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First off, let's make a distinction between a TRUE market value price and an incredible outlier/steal.

They are very different from one another, the latter being simply a matter of incredible luck and being in the right place at right time.

Suggesting one is gonna pick up a playing condition 6M for $600 or this or that for $100-150, that PLAYS....neither of these suggestions...are particularly LIKELY.
Matter of fact, they are so highly UNLIKELY that they are negligible.

Not calling anyone a liar, by any means...just saying...outlier steals are of little help in forming a realistic budget.

So, to be tethered to current market realities.....you need at least $350. Then add shipping, if it needs to be shipped. To get a horn in GOOD playing tack, no significant damage.
AND, you are NOT going to pick up a vintage top-shelfer (Conn, King, Martin, Buescher, Keilwerth, etc) in an Alto for under $800. In good play shape.
 

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OK, so....with THAT established...the next point (already made here) is....how germane is a pricetag on a horn which is NOT guaranteed to be in good play shape ?

AND...does @Pablitus wanna deal with that at all (buying horn, having it delivered, then shelling out $ for his local tech to get it into play shape (could be anywhere from around $100-1000 depending). Most folks would just like their $ to buy a horn that already plays (WELL).

So......
 

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Finally...some suggestions. Alto prices (playable, serviced shape) these days look something like this:

$250-325
Bundy I or II ( or Buescher Crat S-33)
Conn Shooting Star
Armstrong (I wouldn't, so much)

$325-$450
King Cleveland or 613
Late Martin Imperial
Vito Kenosha 37
Perhaps something like a Jupiter 5XX series (or Vito equivalent)
Possibly a Vito-Yamaha made YAS 21/23
Conn or PanAm 14M
Italian or French stencil (Malerne/Santoni/earlier Borgani/Orsi/Pierret/etc)

$450-600
Yama 21/23 in good aesthetic shape (Yama or Vito branded)
Jupiter 767 series (very good horns)
Buffet 100
Keilwerth ST90
Martin Indiana
Earlier KIng Cleve (5-digit)
Noblet (Beaugnier)
Grassi Jade or Standard


$600-800
Buescher TT
Martin Comm I "Searchlight"/"Cityscape"
Jupiter Artist 8XX
Keilwerth Germany New King Stencil
Buffet 400
B&S Blue Label
Vito "Duke" (or France "Special", same thing)
Late Conn 6M
Conn 7M
Grassi 2000 (possibly)
King Zeph (possibly can be had for the top end of this budget...but you want right era one, not the redesigned Eastlake keywork)
Buescher 'Crat "Art Deco" (pre-Big B)
First iteration of the redesigned Buescher 400 (referrred to as 'series II)

just off top of my head....

(You wanna talk used upper-shelf models, realistically you will spend $1000+ for a serviced one....talking Yama 52/61/62, Yani A6 or 800 series, Martin Comm 3's, King Zephs or late S20's, Conn 6M Lady, Buescher Big B's, Coufs, SML, Buffet Dynactions, etc....)

(This is why the definition of "not much" would be helpful here. To some.... it might mean $375, to others it might mean $1200....)
 

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Buescher True Tones can usually be bought at real bargain prices and are great instruments.
Maybe once upon a time - less commonly these days - not that easy finding a decent one of the right vintage at an agreeable price but yes - their potential is fabulous if you're not dependent upon modern mechanics. A Tone to 'almost' die for.
 

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Selmer Series III Alto, JL Woodwinds neck, Theo Wanne Durga 3 in a 6, Legere American Cut 2.25
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You can get one of the franken-Bueschers that are late in the pre-Selmer buyout run that have elements of both the 400 and the Aristocrat for really cheap and those things are great players. Just really fun to play.
 

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You can get one of the franken-Bueschers that are late in the pre-Selmer buyout run that have elements of both the 400 and the Aristocrat for really cheap and those things are great players. Just really fun to play.
I think you are talking about the Aristocrat that has the same body as a 400. You can also get a pre-Selmer buyout 400 that is actually a "Buescher 400" relatively inexpensively too. Look for the amber rollers, and whether it has snap-in pads and Norton springs.

Here's an example right here:

Buescher 400 Alto Sax Excellent Playing New Pads Overhauled Nortons + Snap Pads | eBay

Reading through the ebay description, it sounds like it had at least a repad, if not more like an overhaul, so for $750 this might be the ticket -- if it tickles the OP's fancy....

BTW I have owned another example of this alto from this same exact vintage, and it was an exceedingly warm and rich sounding vintage alto with a lot of flexbility and volume. It had that lively, fluid, almost organic sound and feel that great vintage horns can have, and that modern horns seem to be lacking.

I have never played a Top Hat and Cane alto, but I suspect this horn is its equal in the tone department (though not in the looks department). And Steve Goodson agreed. The 400 is his favorite vintage sax and he claimed the later ones like this were no different from the Top Hat in terms of sound and playing characteristics.

In fact, this vintage of 400 is my favorite of the vintage altos I ever owned. Admittedly, I have only owned a few since I'm a tenor player who once had a flirtation with the alto. I believe the others included a transitional Conn with the art deco engraving (HUGE sound but very bright and not as dark and interesting sounding as the 400) and a Mark VII alto which I thought was the least interesting of the three. Oh yes, I also had a Martin Indiana (my first alto once upon a time). It was nice but not as good as the 400. And I didn't really care for the adjustable thumbrest, which had a lot of wear and slipped on occasion.
 

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That model and the 400 'series II' with the standard neck octave key are essentially the same, and indeed are around 80% of what a THC is.
It has actually been written that these are "Aristocrat bodies" and written that these are "THC bodies"...but member Maddenma and I actually compared body measurements of the series II standard slung neck ones (so serials a bit higher than 377,XXX) to 'Crats and THC's...and lo and behold....they are neither. Or rather, sorta an amalgam of both.
They have some measurements of the earlier 400's, some 'Crat-ish, & some measurements/specs seem to be their own.
Anyways, I concur.....completely off-radar models, quite nice horns.
 

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Thanks everyone for the suggestions, I guess I will be looking at some Martins too. I used to have a tenor and indeed had a great tone.

Best,
I have a Martin CIII tenor too, and it's great, but i would not trade my Aristocrat alto for anything.

Gail has a bunch of nice altos. Altos - Vintage Sax
 
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